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US Senate Passes 'Libel Tourism' Bill

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the words-you-never-heard-in-the-bible dept.

Government 467

Hugh Pickens writes "AFP reports that the US Senate has passed (by a 'unanimous consent' voice vote) a bill that prevents US federal courts from recognizing or enforcing a foreign judgment for defamation that is inconsistent with the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. If the bill becomes law it will shield US journalists, authors, and publishers from 'libel tourists' who file suit in countries where they expect to get the most favorable ruling. 'While we cannot legislate changes to foreign law that are chilling protected speech in our country, we can ensure that our courts do not become a tool to uphold foreign libel judgments that undermine American First Amendment or due process rights,' said Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy. Backers of the bill have cited England, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore as places where weak libel safeguards attract lawsuits that unfairly harm US journalists, writers, and publishers. The popular legislation is headed to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve it. 'This bill is a needed first step to ensure that weak free-speech protections and abusive legal practices in foreign countries do not prevent Americans from fully exercising their constitutional right to speak and debate freely,' said Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on Leahy's committee."

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Incoming trolling by sopssa aka SquarePixel ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976138)

sopssa = SquarePixel = fucktard troll. Remember it moderators.

Peace out!

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976142)

frosty piss from my dick to your lips

Hmmm (4, Interesting)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976144)

Not that I encourage deliberately starting wildfires, but does this encompass protection if you draw Mohammed now?

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976182)

Yes, but only from law suits. It will not protect you from actual bombers or bullets. --This is not really a joke because it is way to accurate.

Re:Hmmm (-1, Troll)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976834)

Yes, but only from law suits. It will not protect you from actual bombers or bullets. --This is not really a joke because it is way to accurate.

You're exaggerating. As far as I know not a single shot has been fired anywhere on earth because of a picture. There was even a draw-prophet-Mohammed-day a while ago to show those fools that us Western people like to sometimes insult others... so loads of pictures were drawn and posted online and not one bomb went off anywhere.

You're way too scared of those Muslim fundamentalists... in fact, you are SO scared that I'd say that the terrorists have won without ever attacking anyone.
For the large part they are only scary if you are in their country, where they are in power (like in countries with the Sharia as their actual law where you will simply go to jail or perhaps can even be put to death for something like that)...

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976230)

Mum's the word. -- Miguel de Cervantes

Let's test it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976278)

Mohammed sucks juicy big S

Re:Hmmm (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976290)

Man, I would love to see a libel lawsuit from Mohammed, considering the dude has been dead for 1378 years!
And if *a* guy was to show up and state his case it would go slightly along the lines of: "He can't draw a satirical picture of me because I proclaimed a rule that he cant!". I think that no court would ever convict anyone for this... not even the most medieval Sharia court in the world (unless the dude before them is the counties dictator of the moment, but I digress...).

Re:Hmmm (-1, Flamebait)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976404)

mohammed does file them, in a manner of speaking. A group of so-called "descendants" of the pedophile (married a 9 year old girl) "prophet" and founder of the Religion of Peace (my ass) often sue in British and other libel weak courts to harass people who write anything bad about islam.
 

Re:Hmmm (0, Offtopic)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976442)

Catholicism has a history of marrying off prepubescents until very recently, it still happens in Africa. It is a problem with all religious forms of marriage as far as I know.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976492)

NC, you can get married at 14. Plus you can marry your first cousin. And North Carolina is far from a Catholic state. In fact up until recently it was considered a missionary posting for Roman Catholic clergy.

Re:Hmmm (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976548)

Catholicism has a history of marrying off prepubescents until very recently, it still happens in Africa. It is a problem with all religious forms of marriage as far as I know.

Whereas the non-religious just have the paedophilia problem, without the marriage. That must make it so much better.

Re:Hmmm (2, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976614)

Catholicism has a history of marrying off prepubescents until very recently, it still happens in Africa. It is a problem with all religious forms of marriage as far as I know.

According to everything I can find, the earliest age that Catholicism ever allowed a girl to marry at was 12, which while very young is almost never prepubescent. So please provide a reference to your claim.

Re:Hmmm (3, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976782)

You are applying the modern onset of puberty to the "earliest age ever" that Catholicism allowed marriage? What kind of logic is that?

The onset of puberty has been earlier and earlier over the last 200 years. In the early 1800s it started (for girls) between the ages of 15-17, much older than your cited 12.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pubescence#Historical_shift [wikipedia.org]

Catholic attack fail (2, Insightful)

Conchobair (1648793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976640)

As far as Catholics, they have and still do require at least 16 y/o for males, 14 y/o for females. Which is more stringent requirements than the laws of some existing states. Really in most societies couples got married a lot earlier than people do now adays.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976654)

It has nothing to do with religion, it was just the way the world was in the past. I suppose it makes more sense in periods when life expectancies were 35 or lower. That being the case, marrying and having children in ones early teens suddenly doesn't seem as distasteful.

It's one of many reasons I always hate when people try to judge historical figures or activities according to modern sensibilities.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976868)

How does it ever 'make sense' for adults to start having sex with children before they have reached puberty? It does not matter how short life expectancies are. Sex with children just isn't going to produce more children.

Re:Hmmm (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976480)

Dont forget "material support" bites hard too.
via the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) terms like "service,” “training,” “expert advice or assistance” or “personnel" might just be found in your written words.
Just make sure your helping this generations freedom fighters and it will be fine.

Wowsa (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976146)

So what was the last piece of legislation before this that actually was designed to protect an individuals rights? It has been too many years....

Re:Wowsa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976220)

I've read the summary a few times now and am going to need to do so with TFA. My well-trained inner political pessimist can't shake the feeling that there's something in this law to screw us.

I don't know if I'm upset that I can't figure out what it is, or if I'm upset that the government has trained us so well that the most beneficial things they do are guaranteed to make us suspicious.

campaign finance and free publicity (1)

nten (709128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976424)

If you go to open secrets you'll notice that TV/MOVIES/MUSIC are a decent distance up the list. And notice how many contributions come from Time Warner. That's the smaller part of the reason though. The rest of it is that the media can spin any story to manipulate us one way or the other. Every legislator knows this, so none of them want to be the guy that stops this and gets pointed at. Big media wants its journalists to feel safe, and a public pat on the back or pointed finger isn't too far to go to get it as far as they are concerned.

This is a good thing that happened for the wrong reasons.

Re:campaign finance and free publicity (4, Funny)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976502)

Nono you've got your conspiracy theory all wrong. Big media can and always have been able to spin a story any way they like. That's part of free speech.

The real reason is that Disney wants to make a new movie about the life of Muhammad and wants protection from pairing him with an effeminate wise-cracking camel.

Re:campaign finance and free publicity (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976672)

Why make the camel effeminate? Just bring Eddie Murphy back. He's got TONS of experience voicing wise-cracking animal sidekicks. And if the formula works, why try to be original, amirite?~

(Yes, I know Shrek isn't a Disney property. Eddie Murphy has done more [wikipedia.org] than just the donkey.)

Re:Wowsa (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976258)

Well, although I applaud this, I don't see how it's necessary; wouldn't any US judge say the same thing? The Constitution says we have free speech, and that should be it.

Can someone here, preferably a lawyer or judge, explain?

Re:Wowsa (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976648)

Well, although I applaud this, I don't see how it's necessary; wouldn't any US judge say the same thing? The Constitution says we have free speech, and that should be it.

You're right, American courts already generally refuse to enforce libel judgments when they run afoul of fair speech, and I was a little puzzled myself at this news article. I guess the idea is to encode in actual statute what was already in common law.

Re:Wowsa (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976300)

Now all we need is for other countries to protect their citizens from similar patent tourism.

Re:Wowsa (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976524)

The Patriot Act. To protect us and the children.

FP Bitches (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976150)

FP Bitches?

Good, sensible decision (4, Insightful)

Dominic (3849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976152)

Good on you, Americans. So, now can you stop complaining if we try to stop our courts enforcing *your* mad decisions, like Gary McKinnon?

Re:Good, sensible decision (0, Offtopic)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976266)

Good on you, Americans. So, now can you stop complaining if we try to stop our courts enforcing *your* mad decisions, like Gary McKinnon?

And why is this flamebait? Really, sending a ufologist to Guantánamo is really overdoing it

Re:Good, sensible decision (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976270)

WTF is with the flamebait mod? I might or might not argue the Gary McKinnon question, but Dominic's point is on topic, valid, and does not appear to be designed to provoke an angry response. Please stop using mod points for "-1, Disagree".

Re:Good, sensible decision (0, Troll)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976420)

It wasn't -1 Disagree. He didn't make any sentiment that the mod was likely disagreeing with, he's just barging in with offtopic anti-American trolling, like every day on Slashdot.

"That's nice, but can you Americans stop bitching about this unrelated thing that isn't a good simile to this story at all?"

Re:Good, sensible decision (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976590)

The point as I took it was "If there is good reason why your courts shouldn't enforce certain of our laws, is the reverse true?"

Like I said, I might argue the McKinnon case if I had unlimited time, and a desire to dive off-topic. I think there are serious flaws in the argument if we look at the McKinnon case specifically, so it probably isn't the best way to illustrate the point as I read it. However, that still leaves the question of for which laws and under what circumstances should a court in one country legitimately refuse to enforce the ruling of a court in another country?

Re:Good, sensible decision (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976634)

I don't think it's anti-American as such, just a recognition that there are asymmetries the other way too.

Re:Good, sensible decision (0, Flamebait)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976676)

I don't think it's anti-American as such, just a recognition that there are asymmetries the other way too.

But outside the shrill slashdot echo chamber, the fact is American courts are generally very generous in enforcing foreign judgments, the asymmetry is frequently the other way.

Re:Good, sensible decision (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976494)

Sorry, hacking into secure military sites - and not just for UFO information (seems more paranoia than anything else, even if a bit of a benign case).

His case makes sense to me (as would be the case if a Brittan, France, Germany, Brazil, Japan, whoever wanted a US citizen for a similar premise, I'd say 'send him/her over...'

Re:Good, sensible decision (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976668)

For the sake of argument, let's say that we all agree that the crime occurred on US soil (and even that is by no means a unanimous opinion). The UK will only allow the extradition of they believe that he will receive a fair trial and (if found guilty) a reasonable punishment for the crimes he has been accused of.

This is a man with some psychological problems who appears to have made a very very stupid decision by breaking in to some poorly secured US government computers. There was little actual harm done. The consensus seems to be that in the UK he would receive a slap on the wrist, maybe some psychiatric treatment, perhaps some limitations on his future access to computers. At the time he faced a maximum of six months in a UK prison.

The US are calling him a terrorist, and lining him up for the distinct possibility of several decades, maybe even life, in a federal prison.

Do you believe he would get off lightly if extradited to the US, or do you think he would be made an example of? If the former, why? If the latter, do you think it is still fair to extradite him?

Re:Good, sensible decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976684)

I'd say 'send him/her over...'

Thanks, but your government doesn't, so no banana.

Re:Good, sensible decision (1)

Xarius (691264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976734)

What if China or Korea or some other shady country asked for someone, would you still hand them over? Given the USAs track record in treating prisoners (and basic human rights violations) I'd be reluctant to give anyone up to them.

Re:Good, sensible decision (4, Informative)

Dominic (3849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976742)

Well, *you* might say that, but your government wouldn't. The US doesn't let other countries judge its citizens nearly as easily. Take, for example, the refusal of the US to hand over Robert Seldon Lady, guilty of kidnap and torture (who was given 8 years in his absense). Or what about Captain Richard J. Ashby, who is one of four pilots responsible for the deaths of 20 people in Italy (and destroying the evidence)?

These are far worse crimes, and the US refused to hand them over to other countries for trial. They were also black-and-white crimes, whereas what McKinnon did was not even serious enough for prison time here, where he 'committed' it. That's what gets people - the double standards.

Re:Good, sensible decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976854)

Sorry, hacking into secure military sites

Hahaha, oh, wait, you were serious? HAHAHA

The security teams in some military agencies is absolutely laughable at best.
A script kiddie from 4chan /b/ could probably get in to some of those shitty agencies with little effort.

And it still doesn't change anything, military or some random website.
He done absolutely no damage, and please don't spout off some crap that they hyped the hell out of with the press.
He opened some "doors" and left some files, that isn't damaging at all considering how the doors were already ajar.
The security teams are at fault here, not Gary.
They are the ones who let the leaks flow out of that spout.

And you wonder why the world laughs at America?
Apparently this helpless twat is some sort of psychopathic terrorist to you guys over there.
"Lock him up for a lifetime", to paraphrase.
Nice law system you guys have.

Re:Good, sensible decision (3, Insightful)

Dr.Merkwurdigeliebe (1055918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976750)

Or Marc Emery, for that matter. It seems a little stupid to send a man to jail for 20+ years for doing something in his own country that would cost him a $250 fine.

Re:Good, sensible decision (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976860)

I know Slashdotters generally love McKinnon for sticking it to the Man, but the computer systems he tampered with were physically ON US soil, not in some fourth dimension of teh intarwebs.

Of course, I'll take the trade if you make it legal for US crackers to remotely crack systems in your country. Information wants to be free. ;)

Tag this one (1)

SynMonger (454795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976170)

suddenoutbreakofcommonsense

Good (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976184)

Now that one can do investigation journalism in US, reverse-engineering in Finland, publish leaks in Sweden could we please recognize that preventing the publication of a file on internet is utterly silly ?

There are several projects of a "bill of rights" for "the virtual place named internet". One will maybe stick. Information may not want to be anthropomorphized, but a lot of people surely want it to be free.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976282)

This is about libel, not the kind of DMCA bypassing ruse you're thinking of. They are trying to prevent Simon Singh type cases.

Re:Good (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976350)

Now that one can do investigation journalism in US, reverse-engineering in Finland, publish leaks in Sweden could we please recognize that preventing the publication of a file on internet is utterly silly ?

As long as you don't get your countries mixed up, and create leaks in Holland, or attempt to reverse-engineer Swedish.

Re:Good (1)

nickovs (115935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976874)

As long as you don't get your countries mixed up, and ... attempt to reverse-engineer Swedish.

And never, ever attempt to Reverse Polish [wikipedia.org] unless you have a whole stack in your defense fund!

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976448)

Now that one can do investigation journalism in US, reverse-engineering in Finland, publish leaks in Sweden could we please recognize that preventing the publication of a file on internet is utterly silly ?

Nope. Servers live places. The people who do the uploading live places. The people who run the servers can be punished. The people who do the uploading can be punished. There's no legal basis for your theory that criminalizing the publication of a file on the internet (I assume that's what you meant since nobody is preventing the publication of anything, if I assume incorrectly please let me know WTF you were thinking) is "silly". First we'd need to throw away IP law entirely, which is pretty much the opposite of what is going on in the world today. A significant part of IP law is written into international conventions to which the USA and GB are both signatories.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976760)

Well, it's hard to sue unknown uploaders and seize servers in a country that doesn't honor particular problematic legislation. Until this IP cancer gets everywhere it can be worked around as long as someone living in a suitable place bothers to set up a server. After that - well, we just have to make sure the authorities don't know where the server is either.

The first question that should be asked is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976202)

... what else is tacked on to that bill?

Re:The first question that should be asked is... (1)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976372)

Probably a multi-billion dollar study on three-legged dogs. If the EU can do it, so can we! And, yes, I know the EU study isn't actually a multi-billion dollar study (but rather a small part of a multi-billion dollar fund allocation), but in the US of A, we do things bigger.

Re:The first question that should be asked is... (2, Informative)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976604)

Admirable to ask this question. Vigilance is always required.

In the case of this bill, the text appears to be straightforward, well targeted, reasonably concise, and free from extraneous tack-ons.

Check it out: Full text of bill at Thomas [loc.gov]

I hope that URL will last, but the cgi looks suspiciously transient. If it stops working, just google "hr 2765 text".

That this was even needed . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976242)

. . . is slightly mind boggling, but I'm glad to see that the Senate has it's collective head screwed on tightly enough to get it done, and by unanimous vote to boot.

It was a 'voice' vote though. I wonder if there were any senators who didn't give an enthusiastic 'ya' when the time was right.

Re:That this was even needed . . . (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976650)

Nope. we're coming up on elections soon. Every last one of the incumbents was probably screaming "YES" to free speech at the top of their lungs.

A republican in favor of free speech ? (1, Troll)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976246)

I thought they were the party that's big on censoring. I guess libel-cases don't push the "morality" button like pr0n does. Oh well good for you American's anyway.

Raises an interesting question, am I the only one who thinks we'd be better of as a world if the UN Bill of Rights was as absolute in it's protections as particular clauses in some of our constitutions (like the first in America for example) and ALL U.N. member states were REQUIRED to implement it as part of their own constitutions (and where no constitution exists as in Britain be required to create one and make said bill of rights the entirey there-off ?)

We live in a global world now, life, law-enforcement and even international relations would all become a great deal simpler if we could agree on a set of universal human rights and be quite sure that in every non-totalitarian state you may visit those rights WILL receive absolute protection ?

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976430)

We live in a global world now, life, law-enforcement and even international relations would all become a great deal simpler if we could agree on a set of universal human rights and be quite sure that in every non-totalitarian state you may visit those rights WILL receive absolute protection ? Absolutely not. I want less focused power, more distributed. States rights in the US have been a cornerstone of how we have kept from turning into that which we declared independence from a ~250 years ago. We do not need one world government. As much as I don't like it that China has so many of what I consider backwards laws and practices, I want to stand by their right to decide their own fate as long as it doesn't threaten outside countries. The last thing I want to see if the U.N. being granted any power with teeth to it. While it turns into somewhat of a circus as a result (Resolution #389134014812 to embargo iran for nuclear weapons development going unheeded without actual repercussions) the more focused power is at the top, the more likely you're going to LOSE rights.

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976530)

Well I should have used the preview button because a fracked up the blockquote... My stuff starts at "Absolutely not" around line 3.

Re:A libcon stalinist favors speech ? (0, Flamebait)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976446)

Sorry lib.com scum ... your better world is a wog-infested shiitpile. No such thing as "UN rights". Those who enforce it are by=def totalitarian ... like your neo.Stalinist pals. Try to get perfidious Albion to generate a Constitution. And it's a "global" world when you pry the smoking melted barrel of my 270-cal from my cold dead paws. Now lib.com biitch what don't you understand ?

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (4, Insightful)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976452)

If you think the republicans have a monopoly on censorship, you've had your head buried in the sand too long.

Heard of the fairness doctrine?

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976476)

While I can understand your sentiments, I'm not on board with the world-government idea. For one thing, I don't like the idea of ramming constitutional changes down any country's throat, even though I might be tempted to do so myself. If I have the right to do that to another country, that means some other country has the right to do it to me, and there are plenty of nutjobs out there who would love to edit the US Constitution in ways that are abhorrent to me and many other Americans. For example, how many other countries would love to gut the 2nd amendment?

The current arrangement is more to my liking, although messy in some ways. As sovereign nations, we negotiate treaties with each other to balance relations between us, rather than seek to impose external control. The idea of sovereignty - as countries as well as individuals - does not reconcile well with externally imposed constitutional changes. Personally, I'd rather tell the UN to take a hike than change one letter of the Constitution to accommodate non-US interests and powers.

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976804)

Really, the goal should be to de-structure nation-states, not to create a world-state.

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976506)

Raises an interesting question, am I the only one who thinks we'd be better of as a world if the UN Bill of Rights was as absolute in it's protections as particular clauses in some of our constitutions (like the first in America for example) and ALL U.N. member states were REQUIRED to implement it as part of their own constitutions (and where no constitution exists as in Britain be required to create one and make said bill of rights the entirey there-off ?)

I'm sure you're not the only one, but I hope you're in a very small minority.

The UN cannot be trusted to do anything right. It is also populated mostly by officials from tyrannical regimes. If the UN suddenly claimed the power to force member states to pass laws on their citizens, the "US out of UN" movement would probably quintuple in size overnight and they'd be looking for new office space to lease.

UN out of US, and vice versa! (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976578)

If the UN suddenly claimed the power to force member states to pass laws on their citizens, the "US out of UN" movement would probably quintuple in size overnight and they'd be looking for new office space to lease.

Well shoot, when you put it that way it almost makes me want to support it!

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976828)

Contrary to what other people seemed to read - I did NOT suggest a global government nor did I suggest giving particular force to the U.N.
What I suggested was globalising human rights and using the UN as a vehicle to do that. If every state recognized your right to free speech for example as a constitutional right and (this one can be taken from my side) was forced to ensure the constitution is the highest authority in the land (MORE power than the government) then human rights would be protected EVERYWHERE.

A once-off thing, not a constant interference. One agreement that these 4 or 5 rights are universal to all humans and any government that does not ensure their absolute protection EVEN FROM ITSELF is by definition NOT a legitimate government, automatic sanctions against refusers up to and including no longer recognizing the passports they issue.

Think about that. We'd cut refugee problems by 80% in a day. We'd ensure every government on earth is in a position where they can be held accountable.
The rights American's are so proud off, the ideas you think you invented like government by consent of the governed - suddenly global.

I think it's arrogant that American's think they live in the greatest country on earth, but what's even WORSE is to genuinely believe that - and then NOT genuinely believe that people who were born in other countries deserve all the things that make your believe that.
You can't give it to them with wars, Iraq Freedom was a stupid joke... but you could help give it to them with economic pressure, the only problem is- you would actually be forced to admit you aren't perfect and adopt some of the good ideas OTHER countries have had.

I know it's a completely idealist sentiment, but human rights are either universal or non-existent. They most certainly cannot be dependent on where you happened to be born. If any humans don't have them, then they aren't human rights. If we believe they are, and are inalienable, then we automatically assume responsibility to give them to as many people as possible.

Sorry - you CAN'T say "China has the right to choose their own fate" - because there are more than a billion people in China and hardly any of them get ANY say whatsoever in those choices, you give the country a choice and remove it from ever person IN the country. Of all the possible justifications for not acting against China that is the worst one I have ever heard.
I can actually respect "We're too greedy to pay fair prices for labor" more easily - at least that's honest. To pretend that you are respecting the rights of China by supporting inaction against the lack of rights of it's citizens is hypocrisy taken too the level of parody.

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (3, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976730)

On the contrary, from my point of view, the Democrats are much bigger on censorship (such as so-called "hate speech", AKA opinions) and political correctness than the Republicans, but let's not fight. These opposing fundamental viewpoints are really not arguable effectively; i.e., stating this one way or the other will never sway anyone on the other side. Can we just agree that it is very gratifying that both sides of the aisle joined together on this?

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976768)

Hell no the last thing I want is some unaccountable corrupt U.N. body handing out "rights". 2 years of that and we would be living in a world where you couldn't disagree with the U.N. without violating someones rights.

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976852)

where do I sign to force the US to inact hate-speech and GLBT marriage laws?

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976864)

I thought they were the party that's big on censoring. I guess libel-cases don't push the "morality" button like pr0n does.

Because Democrats don't do any censoring...

No zero-tolerance chilling effects... or "think-of-the-children" surveillance...

At least we know that Obama has been successful in getting the world to blame a specific subset of Americans for everything...

Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976870)

I'm sure you can come up with more charitable interpretation than this one, but my initial impression is that it's a reaction (read "typical knee-jerk Republican reaction based wholly on idealogy") to anything that involves foreign "powers" with respect to how the US behaves collectively, or its individual citizens individually.

You only need to be a casual follower of current events to find evidence of that. A general distrust of the UN (when it doesn't suit the purposes of the US), trade legislation, or the uproar over the possibility that those in the US military could be guilty of war crimes and end up being tried in the Hague, are just three examples.

Confused (5, Funny)

AntEater (16627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976252)

I'm trying to figure this one out. A bill that passed the senate that reinforces some portion of our individual liberties. I'm having trouble seeing where the corporate benefit is here. I didn't think anything made its way through any part of congress without some corporation getting something out of it. I must be missing something.

Re:Confused (4, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976308)

A bill that passed the senate that reinforces some portion of our individual liberties. I'm having trouble seeing where the corporate benefit is here.

I know you're being facetious, but most magazines, radio stations & tv stations are owned by corporations, they can't just have foreigners suing them for their dramatic, yet wildly inaccurate and poorly researched news stories.

Other way around. (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976576)

A bill that passed the senate that reinforces some portion of our individual liberties. I'm having trouble seeing where the corporate benefit is here.

I know you're being facetious, but most magazines, radio stations & tv stations are owned by corporations, they can't just have foreigners suing them for their dramatic, yet wildly inaccurate and poorly researched news stories.

Actually, it's the other way around.

Where this law came from is because of England. Basically, journalists would publish something about a dictator and regardless of how true it was or where it was published (they always found a way to sue in the UK), the dictator would sue and many times win (England's liable laws are idiotic) - costing the newspaper millions in the process and then they have to retract what they said.

The Economist reports on this every once in a while.

Actually, that'd be a trip of the Economist/Financial Times move over here.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976378)

Clearly you are, corporations in America ARE people legally

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976460)

I'm trying to figure this one out. A bill that passed the senate that reinforces some portion of our individual liberties. I'm having trouble seeing where the corporate benefit is here. I didn't think anything made its way through any part of congress without some corporation getting something out of it. I must be missing something.

Tabloids gain the benefit.

Re:Confused (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976704)

Incumbency. The pols who voted this through are facing reelection in November. Nothing is as red, white, and blue as defending the Constitution.

Re:Confused (2, Funny)

ShOOf (201960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976708)

Ya my first reaction was to look at the date, nope not Apr 1.

The US Senate did something useful (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976286)

Now that is news!

And more seriously, this is definitely useful, because otherwise a foreign country could set up rules that heavily favors the plaintiff and abuse US citizens for, say, writing negatively about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Posh Spice.

Re:The US Senate did something useful (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976336)

Now that is news!

And more seriously, this is definitely useful, because otherwise a foreign country could set up rules that heavily favors the plaintiff and abuse US citizens for, say, writing negatively about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Posh Spice.

Or even the two of them as lovers!

Yea, thats the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976304)

Yea, thats it, it is all the fault of those forigeners for using the stupid laws and has nothing to do with the US being the only country with them. Perhaps there is a reason none of those other countries have laws that can be abused so easily. There are however always leaches willing to use them even if they had to travel.

Re:Yea, thats the problem (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976766)

Excuse me; what?

This is great, but... (3, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976340)

... this won't help cases like Spamhaus being sued by spammers in the US for defamation and tortious interference.

Good on that! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976344)

And yes, congrats for not "importing" silly laws.

Now if you might consider not exporting other silly laws *cough* *cough* DMCA *cough* software and bio patents *cough* ACTA *cough* practically infinite terms on copyright -- I'll start singing your praises loud.

And yes, the congrats in my first sentence are sincere and genuine!

Re:Good on that! (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976678)

Ah, but they're created by the Senate (or at least approved by it) so they're *obviously* not silly laws if they're exported. After all, American senators would never waste their time passing silly laws that weren't in the interest of the people...

Re:Good on that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976826)

Ah, yes. I feel your cynicysm and more often than not I feel that way to. But the thing is that we are paying too much to those types to always tolerate that kind of behaviour. The least we can do is ruckus and again. Let the corrupt among them know that we detest them.

Re:Good on that! (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976796)

Agree about those horrible exports, but methinks their sale abroad is too easy. That's my gentle way of hinting that corrupt institutions abound in various countries.

Good move... (1)

dskoll (99328) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976358)

This is an excellent move. Now, how about if the US stops trying to impose its laws on other countries? ACTA, anyone?

Wow, that actually sounds pretty righteous (2, Interesting)

Noose For A Neck (610324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976438)

So I've got to ask: how many libel suits must be pending overseas against BP America/Monsanto/Dow Chemical/United Healthcare/Disney/et al to get Congress to get off their butts and act?

Re:Wow, that actually sounds pretty righteous (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976570)

Well, considering that BP is incorporated in the UK, it seems unlikely that this law would affect any libel suits brought against them (as the plaintif would just get the courts to require the BP office to pay the judgement).

Re:Wow, that actually sounds pretty righteous (3, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976736)

AFAIK, none of those companies (with the possible fringe example of Disney) are in an industry where libel is a serious issue.

And then they will pass.... (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976498)

The Libel TERRORISM bill that will allow us to kidnap and torture any foreign journalist we don't like.

I kid you not, some of the ugly bags of meat on capitol hill actually think this is a good idea...

Trafigura 2006 Côte d'Ivoire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976522)

So we can talk about this all we want?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_C%C3%B4te_d%27Ivoire_toxic_waste_dump

Where's the authority? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976552)

There's something a lot of folks have missed:

Since when did our courts have either the jurisdiction or authority to enforce foreign judgments that are Constitutionally inconsistent to begin with?

Why did anyone *ever* think that was acceptable or feasible?

That's a serious question, with a *fascinating* answer for anyone with the perseverance to dig until they find it, the honesty to accept it, and the bravery to confront the meaning.

Re:Where's the authority? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976842)

This is just too intriguing a question not to have answered. Can anyone provide some pointers on how this happened?

What happens when other countries join the game? (5, Insightful)

dbkluck (731449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976586)

While I of course applaud the aims of this particular legislation, I think Senator Sessions may not like the consequences of starting an international game of "we won't recognize your court judgments because of your 'abusive legal system.'" The US legal systems for IP and class action recovery are the poster-children for 'abusive', and at a time when so much of the US economy depends on IP lawsuits (to say nothing of some no-doubt imminent class action suits against a certain British oil company), being the first to start ignoring foreign court judgments on principle might prove ill-advised.

Re:What happens when other countries join the game (2, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976644)

to say nothing of some no-doubt imminent class action suits against a certain British oil company

There are potential law suits against a British oil company? I didn't realise we still had any. I know there are former British companies that are now multi-national conglomerates, and I know they're having issues that could lead to legal situations, but I didn't know there was another oil company in a similar situation.

From my American informants, apparently only Fox is still making that mistake and most TV stations have started intentionally correcting themselves ;)

Re:What happens when other countries join the game (1)

dbkluck (731449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976778)

Fair point; but even a multi-national conglomerate by definition has its assets in multiple nations. In order for US plaintiffs to reach those assets, foreign courts will have to recognize the US judgments. The US probably doesn't want those foreign courts deciding that a system based on scumbag lawyers putting up "Have you been injured by the Gulf Oil Spill?! CALL NOW!" ads on cable TV and collecting their 33% is an "abusive legal system" whose judgments can be ignored. On the other hand, it might not be such a bad thing for the rest of the world if they did make such a decision.

Can't legislate changes??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32976594)

While we cannot legislate changes to foreign law that are chilling protected speech in our country...

Why not? The US effectively legislates copyright law in my country (Australia). The only thing that stops them implementing free speech laws or any of the rest of the bill of rights is that they are uninterested in doing so.

Americans, I accept that there is always a dominant world power and right now it's you, that doesn't bother me at all. What bothers me is that in spreading US law, you neglect the best you have and give us the crap (DMCA). Please step up to the plate and address this with your federal representatives.

Re:Can't legislate changes??? (2, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976878)

I have profound sympathy with the citizens of all foreign lands on which these pernicious obscenities such as DMCA have spread. But I must tell the citizens of these foreign lands this: look to your own corruptocracies, and not the US corruptocracy, as the guilty parties in this matter. The US does not have the power to dictate legislation to foreign lands.

Ahh, bask in the inconsistency and hypocrisy (-1, Flamebait)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32976838)

Ahh, bask in the inconsistency and hypocrisy:

US: Excuse us, but this guy broke into our servers and stole stuff. That's against the law, both here and there. Would you be so kind as to send him over so we can try him?
EU_slashbots: WAAAAAA! You stupid doodie meenyheads can't enforce your laws here! We don wanna send him over!

EU_courts: Your person said something in the US that we don't like - we tried him over here and found him guilty, so you grab his money and send it over.
US: Well, he said that IN THE US, and it did not violate our laws - indeed, it is protected under one of our highest laws, so we CANNOT legally do that.
EU_slashbots: WAAAAA! You stupid doodie meenyheads won't enforce our laws in your country! WAAAA! NO FAIR!

(NOTE: I am clearly differentiating between the EU in general (and the EU government and courts specifically), the general EU residents, the EU residents who post on Slashdot, and the subset of EU residents who post on Slashdot who are also inconsistent in their views.

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