Rebecca MacKinnon in The New York Times on legislation that threatens internet freedom Both the Senate and the House are considering bills that would require internet providers, search engines, and others to protect intellectual property on the web. "Alarm at the infringement of creative works through the Internet is justifiable. The solutions offered by the legislation, however, threaten to inflict collateral damage on democratic discourse and dissent ... " writes MacKinnon. She explains that the bills could make sites like YouTube liable for copyright infringing content posted to their site even if they removed it upon notification. Precedent also suggests the law could be abused because providers would likely avoid legal hassle and grant requests to remove content whether or not they had a legal argument for keeping it. "While American intellectual property deserves protection, that protection must be won and defended in a manner that does not stifle innovation, erode due process under the law, and weaken the protection of political and civil rights on the Internet."
Holman Jenkins Jr. in The Wall Street Journal on Congressional insider trading There's been furor over reports that congressmen often trade stocks using information they glean as legislators because it feels like they are holding themselves to a lower standard than the rest of us. "That said, put us in the category of the nonplussed to mildly contemptuous over the newest fuss. Congressmen and their staffs aren't insiders in the classic sense, working for companies and holding a fiduciary duty to shareholders," Jenkins writes. The 60 Minutes report alleging "congressional insider trading" shows the way we throw around a loosened definition of insider trading, he argues, noting that in several of their examples, congressmen were using information that was available to the public. Smart investors, he says, should trade on information they encounter in their daily lives. The SEC, he says, "has come to see stock investing as a kind of sporting event, in which information ideally should be disseminated simultaneously to all traders so the one with the fastest fingers can profit."