Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Blogger Restrictions?

Don't you just love campaign finance reform?

This just in via an post on the West Coast Libertarians Yahoo Group. Looks like there's some provision in a bill currently in the U.S. Senate that may require bloggers with readership of more than "500 readers" to register with, and report to, the federal goverment or face possible fines and/ or jail time.

Not sure what to make of this. Can't help but wonder if it's another internet hoax, but such things certainly aren't unheard of, especially coming from the best and brightest in Washington D.C.

Taking an actual look at the bill and section in question, Section 220 of Senate Bill 1 To provide greater transparency in the legislative process, sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D- Nev) the wording certainly could do something along those lines but I don't have time to really pick it apart, especially in my frustration in being slowed down by the DSL blackout.

It does seem to involve reporting requirements, but whether it applies to bloggers (which is fair to expect) isn't quite clear. It also lists criteria for being a registrant, one of which is being a member or making payments, although payment doesn't seem to be exclusively regarded as paying cash.

It's certainly worth taking a further look into. Perhaps Eric or some of the other legal types around here used to picking apart such stuff could give us their own opinions as to what this bill is supposed to do?

PS: Hope the link to the bill works. The first time I bookmarked it and went back to it, I got a message to resubmit my search. If you get the same message, simply go to Thomas Locator and put S1 in the search field and be sure to select the Bill Number radio button below the search field.

Update 1/21/07: Just received notice the provision for registering bloggers was removed from the bill. Will have to keep an eye out for confirmation.

Second Update: Here's something saying how the anti- blogger provisions were thrown out. Don't have time to look much further right now. Looks like the Senate Republicans saved the day on this one.


At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Section 220 of SB 1 has been removed for now but will probably be back. All Senate Democrats plus Trent Lott are supporting the bill.

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how this will work with Charles Douglas, Nick Bravo and their cute little newspaper they run.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Eric V. Kirk said...

Considering that the Democrats benefitted from the "netroots" campaign this last election, I doubt you'll see much from them.

Besides, how much money is involved in maintaining a blog? They want my blog financials, they can have them. There. I've already submitted them.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The attempt to require political bloggers to register as lobbyists previously reported by Slashdot has been stripped out of the lobbying reform bill. The vote was 55 to 43 to defeat the provision. All 48 Republicans, as well as 7 Democrats, voted against requiring bloggers to register; all 43 votes in favor of keeping the registration provision were by Democrats."

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Ouch, so much for "free" speech.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait'll they pass the new "Fairness Doctrine."


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