We previously wrote about the broad protests over two bills in Congress targeting online copyright infringement – the House’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). We were pleased that the protests and other activities were effective in ending efforts to pass those versions of the legislation.
The protests were led by Internet businesses that argued that the bills would lead to censorship of the Internet and to the cutting off of useful, legal online content. Under these bills, websites such as Facebook and YouTube could have been found liable if they hosted infringing content. As a result of the massive protests, Congressional leaders were forced to table PIPA and SOPA for the time being.
Many critics of SOPA have instead announced their support for legislation sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as a means of preventing online piracy without threatening free speech. The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN Act) would allow people or groups that own content on the Internet to ask the International Trade Commission (ITC) to investigate whether a foreign website is dedicated to piracy. The ITC would be given power to collect fees from complainants and to hire additional personnel for investigations. The website owner would be allowed to offer evidence to rebut the claim. If the ITC ruled in favor of the content owner, it could then direct payment firms and advertising networks to stop doing business with the site and require search engines to delete links.
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Topics: Copyright, DOJ, Internet, OPEN Act, PIPA, Piracy, Proposed Legislation, SOPA
Administrative Law Updates, Intellectual Property Updates, International Law & Trade Updates, Science, Computers & Technology Updates
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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