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658 comments

We just want to see zee papers (5, Insightful)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653260)

Huh. I thought it was only the Republicans who were after our 1st Amendment rights. But here are the Democrats [loc.gov] assaulting our freedoms again [slashdot.org] by trying to control who says what [cbn.com].

<sarcasm>Oh, never mind, they just want to make sure we have "our papers in order" before we can criticize them.</sarcasm> And we thought that they would be for our rights. But it looks like they are just interested in using the power to stay in power.

It's time to lose the naivte and realize that politicians (whether Republicans or Democrats) are only interested in one thing--getting re-elected.


Re:We just want to see zee papers (0, Offtopic)

foursky (1052628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653392)

Why not, I have to register my guns, with a 4473...

Re:We just want to see zee papers (3, Insightful)

shawngarringer (906569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653730)

Why don't you get back to me when the main use of a blog is to kill something?

Re:We just want to see zee papers (0, Offtopic)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653890)

Well thats quite a bit of rhetoric. My guns have never killed anyone; most guns in America have never been used to break the law in any way. Kind of hard to say that their main use is to kill.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (3, Insightful)

siride (974284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654010)

No, it's really not. They are designed to kill or injure other people or other living things. No question about that. Although the vast majority of nuclear bombs have not been used, wouldn't you still say that the primary intent of a nuclear bomb is to kill a lot of people really fast?

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653436)

Well basically the problem with any ethics or campaign finance reform is that there is no "clean" way to control the influence of the American Enterprise Institute and other various well-financed corporate think tanks without also regulating mymothersbasement.blogspot.com. Otherwise it wouldn't be "fair" and has no hope of passing.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654058)

Well basically the problem with any ethics or campaign finance reform is that there is no "clean" way to control the influence of the American Enterprise Institute and other various well-financed corporate think tanks without also regulating mymothersbasement.blogspot.com. Otherwise it wouldn't be "fair" and has no hope of passing.

We really went wrong when we (or the SCOTUS, really) decided that corporations had "rights" just as if they were real people. Really big, rich, immortal people. Most of our campaign finance problems could be curbed if we overturned that finding. Make the government accountable to natural persons only. Sure, the rich would still have an advantage over the poor, but at least we'd control the inhuman sociopaths that we call corporations.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (5, Informative)

heroofhyr (777687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653476)

The key here is "Paid attempts." Bloggers who don't receive an income in exchange for their work aren't affected. By the way, take a look at the person TFA cites as the source. It's bullshit FUD from Richard A. Viguerie [wikipedia.org], whose bread and butter is fundraising conservative causes and blogging about right-wing lobbying interests. The only people who will be affected by this legislation are BS-peddlers like him and all the fake think tanks and policy-pushing "advocacy groups" he raises money for.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (4, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653746)

Bloggers who don't receive an income in exchange for their work aren't affected.

So if I use ads and merchandise to support my site and try to make something of a living off of my writing I have to register as a lobbyist? Then why shouldn't news anchors/columnists have to do the same? One of the things that (supposedly) led to the American Revolution was the stamp tax. Any attempt to restrict the free press is bad, no matter the consequences. And nothing is more "free press" than a private citizen deciding to write down their thoughts and distribute them to people, for profit or otherwise.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653956)

So just pass yourself off as a news site with editorial content, and enjoy all the benefits of being part of the 5th estate.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

Poppler (822173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653858)

Bloggers who don't receive an income in exchange for their work aren't affected.
Perhaps TFA was misleading, but it gave me the impression that this is not the case. From the article:

"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653866)

How many blogs don't have ads of some type? The few that don't are usually linked with some business which is playing for the site sometimes the authors or a company they work for or are affiliated with.
If they have ads they are getting paid to run the site.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (4, Insightful)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654000)

Unopposed distribution of political speech, including the distribution of political pamphlets, has always been legal. At the very least, this law will cause a "chilling effect" on political bloggers, paid or otherwise. At its worst, it could rob our generation of our Johnathan Swifts, our Thomas Paines, and our James Madisons, all of whom published political pamphlets anonymously or under a pseudonym. Certainly this law would not prevent anonymous contributions to political thought, but my point is that political speech should not be infringed, regardless of its motivation. Stopping FUD is not worth sacrificing unopposed free speech.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (2, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654034)

Speaking of paid attempts, this could make Microsoft astroturfing more visible. Which is a good thing. I wonder how many fake blogs they have sponsored to achieve their (non) regulatory needs?

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654088)

"but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers" - That doesn't say what you seem to insinuate it does in your post.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653552)

It's time to lose the naivte and realize that politicians (whether Republicans or Democrats) are only interested in one thing--getting re-elected.

Quoted for truth. One of the purposes of SB 1 is to help the Democrats consolidate power. There aren't any restrictions on groups like MoveOn.org or Unions. Yes, this will impact both liberals and conservatives, but the Democrats are banking on the fact that it will affect conservatives disproportionately.

I'll ignore the Republican remark. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653596)

I use to be Republican. It isn't about sides. It's about freedom (ours) and power (theirs).

If we are to remain free, we should be able to criticize the government WITHOUT revealing our identity.

The idea is that we, the people, can overthrow our government IF it goes too far. It is our duty to do so.

Re:I'll ignore the Republican remark. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653856)

I use to be Republican.

Oh my God! Drug use turns people into Republicans!

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

bcmbyte (996126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653716)

I second your your nomination that all politicians are only interested in getting re-elected. Any speech that goes against their view points is vulgar and needs to be monitored (=silenced?)

Re:We just want to see zee papers (2, Informative)

shofutex (986330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653726)

Well, according to the text of the actual bill this only applies to bloggers who are paid by lobbying firms. So, no. In this particular case, you need your papers in order if someone pays you to criticize them.

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653772)

>Huh. I thought it was only the Republicans who were
> after our 1st Amendment rights. But here are the
> Democrats assaulting our freedoms again by trying
> to control who says what.

    Like virtually all liberal talking points, that is ridiculous. But I think you can count on a veto, assuming it passes in the next 2 years.

        Brett

Re:We just want to see zee papers (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653902)

Does anybody really think that any politicians are motivated by anything other than self-interest?

Everyone with me now:

Both Democrats and Republicans only pay lip service to caring about your rights. They only even pretend to care about your rights when it suits their agenda.

There's not much difference between them. Really. There's an old Washington saying that goes something like 'Nothing much ever changes in Washington.'

As for TFA, I'm with you that this is entirely unconstitutional and it completely violates our rights under the First Amendment. What I want to know is this: Exactly how do they intend to enforce this? Who's going to keep track of how many readers a blogger gets?

Re:We just want to see zee papers (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653984)

But here are the Democrats [loc.gov]

...he says, as he lists both Democrats AND Republicans.

It's time to lose the naivte and realize that politicians (whether Republicans or Democrats) are only interested in one thing--getting re-elected.

Generalizations are rarely a good approach to take. There are a lot of shady, unscrupulous politicians. There are also good ones who try and do the best they can in what are usually difficult jobs.

By dismissing every elected official in the country you basically make it harder to get good ones in office.

Alliteration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653284)

"Political Bloggers Bay Be Forced to Register"

Alliteration is cute, but this is stretching it.

I, for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653288)

I, for one, welcome our new Democrat overlords.

Re:I, for one (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653396)

Thanks for making me snort DCRMD (Diet Code Red Mountain Dew) all over my keyboard and monitor.

Regarding the railgun story, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653944)

Screw Democrats

I, for one, welcome our new Patriot overlords.

Arsenal Gear? It has the proper weapon now, we just need to write GW.

This is just temporary.

typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653292)

baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

ooops

Free speech anyone? (2, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653304)

Even if this passes, I can't imagine a judge would uphold it in court.

Re:Free speech anyone? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653458)

Even if this passes, I can't imagine a judge would uphold it in court.

I can imagine PLENTY of judges that would uphold this in court. Judges are statists too. Even if they wouldn't, why should you go through the financial & emotional hardship of trying to fight for your freedom of speech?

Re:Free speech anyone? (2, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653618)

Good luck enforcing it.

Web hosts aren't going to do it.
ISP's aren't going to do it.

If the heat gets turn up for the above to police it, this registration will die.

Re:Free speech anyone? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653678)

Good luck enforcing it.

It will be enforced selectively, just like most "crimes" of conscience are.

Re:Free speech anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653586)

Don't count on that. With the last campaign reform law, the Supreme Court ignored free speech and allowed congress to regulate who and when someone who was critizing a congressional canidate could speak.
The funniest part of it all was it was the liberal justices (you know those whose who are so interested in protectiong the little guy) Breyer, Ginsberg, Oconnor, Stevens and Kenedy who sait this was OK.

Maybe with Alito replacing O'Connor, this stuff will be finally stopped.

Re:Free speech anyone? (3, Insightful)

lotus_anima (862243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653648)

I don't really want to leave my future up to your imagination.

Anyway, this is the attitude that's letting these things pass...

Re:Free speech anyone? (2, Informative)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654110)

Even if this passes, I can't imagine a judge would uphold it in court.

Much like McCain - Fiengold...right?

Re:Free speech anyone? (1, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654138)

Even if this passes, I can't imagine a judge would uphold it in court.

What, that paid political hacks must register their paid attempts to influence elections? Those laws have already been tested and are considered valid. I guess you think that fraud should be legalized too, since that's just free speech to separate someone from their money by concealing the truth.

spelling... (1)

foldingstock (945985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653320)

Your Rights Online: Political Bloggers ***May Be Forced to Register

Political Bloggers Bay Be Forced to Register (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653406)

i hear there be dragons in Bloggers Bay

...On the topic of enforcement: (1)

topical_surfactant (906185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653328)

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

*cough* *choke*

If this isn't just an internet rumor, let it stand as further proof that no one in DC understands the "intertubes." As if we needed further proof. Gah.

Re:...On the topic of enforcement: (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653412)

Mirth aside, it's a fair call. How would the average blogger even know if he or she had a readership of any size? Presumably tools exist for counting hits, but you can hardly tell the diference between unique page hits and individual 'readers'. -Kell

Excellent! (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653332)

This would be a good thing. Just think of how 99% of all blogs would then disappear, freeing up HUGE amounts of wasted bandwidth and reducing the Google Index by 1 good 2/3rds!

Wasted Bandwidth (was:Excellent!) (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653898)

This would be a good thing. Just think of how 99% of all blogs would then disappear, freeing up HUGE amounts of wasted bandwidth and reducing the Google Index by 1 good 2/3rds!
And I thought most of the bandwidth today are being wasted by Spammers?

"Bay Be" (1)

PS3Penguin (1048518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653336)

Is there a Freudian slip there? ... or just bad typing?

Re:"Bay Be" (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653408)

Maybe the submitter had a cold?

(For those who are arriving late: The headline has already changed, but in the original post was "Political Bloggers Bay Be Forced to Register")

and other industries? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653394)

I mean, it's not like lobbyists don't exist elsewhere...tobacco? Oil? Gun ownership? Various unions? Alcohol?

What about all the "bloggers" (holy vaginal discharge I hate that word) who would be considered a lobbyist under this new rule? Do they have to register as well?

After McCain-Feingold, what could you expect...... (3, Insightful)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653422)

Our civil servants are committed to being our uncivil masters.

The one upside to the US is that the process is documented and public *as* *it* *happens*.

I would encourage all /. members who can to vote "NO" to *anything* regarding McCain, and hope that this poor little non-accomplisher can exit to the well-deserved status of non-entity.

Readership of 500? (3, Interesting)

Turken (139591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653470)

So how exactly are you supposed to accurately count the readership of a blog? By the number of web hits? Comments? "Friends"? Death threats? What if the two people who do read your blog print off your rants and distribute them to thousands of people that you have no idea are reading your blog?

Maybe it's just a common sense judgement because the 500 people figure falls in the valley between having a blog that anyone cares about, and having a blog that you really, really, wished anyone would care about.

Re:Readership of 500? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653766)

500 is about the ideal number they can bump the 'readership' up to by changing the homepage of everyone in the FBI to a given blog. Then you can get any extremist nutter on this law and if they claim "ha! I've only got about 50 readers" they can say "na-aah, everyone at the FBI who started their web browser read your blog this morning, now you've got 534 readers, minimum". 500 means that you don't get slammed for not chasing everyone but can easily catch people who you want to be able to catch. It's a giant conspiracy I tell ya!

Re:Readership of 500? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654094)

If there is any doubt, just post the blog to slashdot. You can crash a server, and send someone to federal prison!

Unless they read the google cache... Then it doesn't count.

Unbelieveably unconstitutional! (3, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653484)

Just what are the "Federalist Papers" but a pre-electronic version of what we currently call a 'blog? Anonymous free political speech has a long and revered tradition in the US. One which concerns about campaign finance "reform" cannot override.

FUD (2, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653550)

This has nothing to do with free journalism.
Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists.
Translation: If you want to be a lobbyist, you must follow the rules for being a lobbyist. If you're lobbying 500 or more people, you fit the description of a lobbyist no matter how you're do it. Internet grassroots lobby movements are not just as susceptible to oversight as the DC Congressional dinner party lobbyists.

The bill just redefines what it means to be a lobbyist, and seeing as this comes from a grassroots lobbyist, I would argue that this exact article is exactly the type of lybbying the Senate wishes to be kept informed of.

Re:FUD (5, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653682)

"Lobbyists" are the guys who attempt to persuade politicians directly. This is about persuading voters. Shouldn't there be a difference?

Re:FUD (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653728)

If you want to be a lobbyist, you must follow the rules for being a lobbyist. If you're lobbying 500 or more people, you fit the description of a lobbyist no matter how you're do it.

A lobbyist is "a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest; a member of a lobby." Guess what? Any person who tries to bring anyone around to their political viewpoint is a lobbyist. Does that mean that if I want to stand in front of Wal-Mart and suggest to people that Bush should be impeached, I should have to register as a lobbyist?

The only distinction that makes sense is whether you're getting paid to lobby. Yes, advertising counts in my book, because there is the possibility that you will lobby on behalf of your advertisers.

Re:FUD (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653794)

This bill is about paid lobbyists. The only bloggers that will need to register are those that are being paid for their posts and have a readership of 500+. The article author didn't read the bill itself or at the very least misread it.

Re:FUD (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653832)

Translation: If you want to be a lobbyist, you must follow the rules for being a lobbyist. If you're lobbying 500 or more people, you fit the description of a lobbyist no matter how you're do it.

A lobbyist "lobbies" an official -- someone elected or appointed to a government position. It's not lobbying to talk politics with friends and neighbors or fellow web readers ("members of the public"). Not the same by a long shot. If it is, then you're "lobbying" us right now. Good luck with that -- I'm a nobody and I can't steer any Federal, State, or Local pork your way.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17654036)

EXACTLY!! If you're a blogger and you want to be taken seriously by Congress, you have to follow the rules. THis is only to comb out the majority of idiots that do political blogging and to enable those who are capable of making a difference by lobbying. This bill is only to hold people responsible and prevent any 'fooling around'.

i'd like to make a comment (3, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653562)

but before i begin, i'd like to ask the 501st of you who are reading this comment to stop right now. thanks

i think that the us government...

wait, what?! why are you still reading!?

OH NOES I'M DOOMED

Oh... no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653574)

Now what will happen to the blogosphere :(

What if you blog anonymously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653588)

Or will it become illegal to do so?

Just like campaign finance "reform" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653604)

These laws always seem to get written in a way that merely protects the status quo of the two-party duoply and create barriers of entry to any new forces that might upset the apple cart. This is a bipartisan problem that seems to affect all who get power.

The term paid is key (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653616)

If the blog is supposedly a bunch of game fans saying certain games are great, but it's really Sony paying people to pose as gamers to promote a product, I can see the usefulness of this. If an editor of slashdot starts posting alot of fluffy MS is awesome articles :), and is being paid by MS to do so, that should be disclosed. Just trying to prevent the funneling of money through fake grassroots organization. Where they really messed up is in their definition of paid. Paid should mean they are given money by a third party to promote an agenda. I will agree that the clause is horrible, but I would say that ruins what is otherwise a descent peice of legislation.

Do editorial columnists in Newspapers... (4, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653620)

...or news commentators have to do this? This is, pardon the crassness, total and unmitigated bullshit.

Readership over 500?? (2, Interesting)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653652)

500 is such a low number that it's clear all the government wants to do is keep tabs on bloggers. Lobbyists are required to file reports of their activities quarterly. Other laws regarding lobbying are mostly to do with spending money on a politician (not really relevant here, since bloggers *aren't actually lobbyists* and so they probably don't do that anyway). Also, politicians are banned from becoming lobbyists for 2 years. That means that politicians wouldn't be able to keep political blogs (since I assume their readership would be > 500) for two years after leaving office. How is that a good thing? While lobbying reform from earlier in 2006 was mostly a good thing, it also emphasized that being a lobbyist was worse than not being one from a number of perspectives. What the proposition aims to do is effectively restrict the freedom of political bloggers. Some might indeed be in need of some restricting, especially if their viewpoints clash with mine :cough: but really it's just too sweeping of a suggestion.

Terminology is important here (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653684)

The good folks at M-W.com http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/lobbyist [m-w.com] have this to say about lobbyists:

intransitive verb : to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation
transitive verb
1 : to promote (as a project) or secure the passage of (as legislation) by influencing public officials
2 : to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action

Shouldn't this then mean that when a blogger has 500 or more public officials as readers?

If a blogger is being paid by a lobby group, it simply makes them a shill, and has no more influence on lawmakers than actual public opinion might. This is, after all, how public opinion is formed, by listening to our peers, the news, and other sources and making up our own minds.

Should political magazines be required to register as lobbyists? Would a preacher/priest/etc. be required to register as a lobbyist if he mentions politics from the pulpit and the church has more than 500 members? This would cause tons of problems for certain demographic groups in the US.

Re:Terminology is important here (1)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654124)

The answer to these questions is no, and I do agree with you on those points. The 500 readers is incredibly bad. However, lets say that same preacher was being paid by a campaign or PAC to make those statements. Would mandatory disclosure be such a bad thing? Should he/she be able to go up and make those advertisements under false pretenses at will? That seems to be the intent of the bill, and lawmakers seriously botched a section of it.

Read the bill, not the article (4, Informative)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653700)

For those who would like the full text of this bill see here [loc.gov]. The article is just a bunch of FUD. The actual text that has the author so concerned, about a readership of greater than 500 counting as paid, is actually being misread. The actual text is "The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500 members of the general public." (from here [loc.gov]). This means that you can be paid for grass roots lobbying and not have to register if you have less than 500 readers, which actually protects your rights.

Quick - don't read my blog! (3, Informative)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654130)

So, my grassroots lobbying is ok as long as nobody is paying attention? And if I do post something which gathers a political following, suddenly I've got papers to fill out?

Why would anyone bother in the first place? The point of grassroots lobbying is to influence a large number of people. Paid lobbyists, OTOH, are paid instead to influence only a handful of very important people. IOW, this bill would effectively stifle citizens groups fighting for their rights in favor of corporate lobbyists.

So, by all means pass this bill! Then act surprised when DRM becomes a mandatory component of computers. Act outraged when Corporate America(TM) patents everything short of tying your own shoes. Protest the tax breaks given to Big Oil. But don't dare blog about it unless you can be certain that nobody cares about your stupid opinion (they probably don't anyway, but one can hope).

Nothing like stifling democracy by restricting fourth amendment freedoms.

The article is misleading (4, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653704)

The article is rather misleading. The section in question [cbn.com] applies to astroturf operations, not bloggers:

Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.

(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same.

(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.

(B) PAID ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR SEGMENTS THEREOF- The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500 members of the general public.

...so it explicitly does not apply to what we normally think of as bloggers.

--MarkusQ

Re:Google/banner ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653920)

You do realize that many blogs have some kind of advertising to help pay for the costs of running the website, right?

can I register as anonymous coward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653706)

defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

this ideas been tossed around before (1)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653762)

Questions for the federal government-


What's the penalty for not registering? Fines?
Are you actually going to go out into cyberspace and make sure people do it?
How are you going to make sure we have 500 readers? Are the hosts going to be subpoenaed for page views?
Is 500 readers mean per day? Per post? Per month?

Traitors (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653764)

It is my personal belief that your government has been subverted by traitors to the American way. One hopes they will step down as required by law in two years, but this regime's callous disregard in that matter is certainly cause for alarm.

Re:Traitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653916)

Go 'land of the free'! This just convinces me further that the USA is turning into what the USSR was.

With half a million readership (2, Interesting)

superwiz (655733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653768)

Suffice it to say that anyone who wants to post to slashdot would definately have to register. Aaah... sweet civil disobedience of posting as AC. Won't that just ruin the moderator system?

Re:With half a million readership (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654076)

Suffice it to say that anyone who wants to post to slashdot would definately have to register.

Listen just because we're posting from work, doesn't mean we're being paid to post political commentary on Slashdot. Unless you're an astroturfer getting paid to post here, this legislation does not apply to you.

500 what? (3, Insightful)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653814)

500 hits per day? 500 unique readers in a ten year span? 500 "friends" linked on your myspace page? 500 links from incestuous follow-backs or google bombs?

Free speech is one of the most important rights we have; why is the government so keen on regulating it? You can't regulate a right, it is a right. I can understand regulating the lobbyists for organizations, corporations, and interest groups--groups are not citizens. But individuals who ARE citizens have inalienable rights. A hearty "Fuck Off!" to those who seek to "regulate" individual rights.

Re:500 what? (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654096)

Replying to my own post, crass though it is I know, but every /.er who has posted a political opinion may qualify as a lobbyist under this proposal. Slashdot certainly has more than 500 readers. What's on your journal page? (OK, mine is empty, I just rant in the comments)

Crap (2, Informative)

smallferret (946526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653940)

This is crap. The bill refers only to PAID lobbyists, not to unpaid lobbyists. To quote from the bill itself:

(1) in paragraph (7), by adding at the end of the following: `Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.'; and (2) by adding at the end of the following: `(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same. `(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- `(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.
So if you are retained by a client to blog with the intent of stimulating a particular viewpoint or stimulating grassroots lobbying efforts, then yes, you must register as a lobbyist. If you are sitting in your PJ's, blogging on your off-hours, then you don't need to register. Please, learn to read the bill.

lobbyists for who? (1)

dkarma (985926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653946)

How does an online diary or web log qualify anyone as a lobbyist?
So if I don't register my blog who will come and arrest me?

can you spell go fuck yourself?

What the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17653948)

So after this bill passes, in order to freely exercise one's constitutional freedom of speech, an American must either register with the government or move abroad?

Sometimes you people make no sense.

Who wrote Section 220 of the legislation? (1)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653950)

TFA points out that Senator David Vitter (R-LA) proposed Amendment 7, which criminalized blogosphere non-filing, which could be seen as a ploy to kill Section 220 altogether by making it more 'newsworthy'.

Vitter simultaneously supports Amendment 20 which would k-line Section 220 entirely, thus supporting above theory...

So WHO (or whom) originally wrote the offensive Section 220??? The donkeys or the elephants?

Talk about shoddy/biased reporting by Richard Viguerie of Chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com

My new custom error page (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653952)

The page cannot be found

The page you are looking for might have been removed for being too popular, had its name changed, or the author is temporarily unavailable (being flogged).

Please try the following:

  • Make sure that the Web site address displayed in the address bar of your browser is spelled and formatted correctly.
  • If you reached this page by clicking a link, contact the FEC to alert them that the link is not working.
  • Click the Back button to try another link.
HTTP Error 499 - File or directory not found.
Internet Information Services (IIS)

Technical Information (for support personnel)

  • Go to Microsoft Product Support Services [microsoft.com] and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 499.
  • Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled Web Site Setup, Common Administrative Tasks, and About Custom Error Messages.

Wait a second (1)

manifoldronin (827401) | more than 7 years ago | (#17653960)

Reading Sec. 220, in particular:
The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials...
So it seems to me that a blogger (or any lobbyist for that matter) would have to actually be paid and act "on behalf of a client" to fall under this term?

Lobbyist vs. Journalist (1)

Pork-Chopper (701450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654030)

How do they differentiate between Lobbyists and Journalists? I mean a blogger is much closer to a journalist, and I assume they would not make journalists register. Sure they are biased journalists and their rants are closer to editorials, but this is not lobbying even in the loosest sense of the word. Under one definition: "A person who communicates with the Legislature and to support or oppose legislation" If the blogger does not communicate directly with the legislature than there should be no problem. If your audience is primarily the public then you are not a lobbyist. If you are communicating primarily with members of the legislature then you are likely a lobbyist. I assume common sense would prevail.

Hey they're lobbying for free! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654032)

In Capitalist USA you must register online political activity.
In Soviet Union all political activity registered for you!

Don't you see (1)

blowdog (993153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17654052)

They are taking away our rights bit by bit, the US and UK are becoming fascist states, oh how I wish I was exaggerating. Please we cannot let this happen. collect your star of david arm band on the way out.
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