[LINK] Beyond SOPA .. OPEN
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Jan 29 22:54:01 EST 2012
The New York Times Editorial, Jan 28, 2012.
We welcomed the collapse this month of two flawed bills to prevent online
piracy, bills that could have stifled speech and undermined Internet
But piracy by Web sites in countries like Russia and China, which offer
high-quality bootleg copies of movies and music, is a real problem for
the nations creative industries.
And there is legislation that could curb the operation of rogue Web sites
without threatening legitimate expression.
The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act,
sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Darrell Issa, offers a
straightforward and transparent approach to the problem.
Content owners could ask the International Trade Commission to
investigate whether a foreign Web site was dedicated to piracy. The Web
site would be able to rebut the claim.
If the commission ruled for the copyright holder, it could direct payment
firms like Visa and PayPal and advertising networks like Googles to stop
doing business with the Web site.
The bill addresses concerns of copyright holders that the process would
be too slow to match the pirates speed. It would allow them to request
temporary restraining orders when there is urgency to, say, stop a
Russian Web site from illegally streaming the Super Bowl. That Web site
would still have a chance to respond, but it would have to move more
quickly to make its case.
The OPEN Act also avoids some of the pitfalls of the previous bills. The
legislation backed by movie studios and record labels would have
penalized Web sites accused of the vague crimes of enabling or assisting
OPEN would penalize only Web sites dedicated willfully and primarily to
the infringement of copyrights or trademarks, a well-established standard
used in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to prevent domestic piracy.
OPEN would not give copyright holders the authority to direct payment
processors and ad networks to stop doing business with a given Web site:
that would have opened a door for abuse.
And the Justice Department would not be able to disappear rogue Web
sites by tinkering with their addresses a provision too much like
hacking, which worried safety experts.
By giving the International Trade Commission sole authority to determine
infringement, OPEN would also prevent copyright holders from shopping
around for sympathetic courts, making the process more consistent and
less likely to spark trade conflicts and retaliatory moves.
The new bill may not be perfect; some Web sites that aid or abet pirates
may avoid punishment. But it gives copyright holders powerful new tools
to protect themselves. And it goes a long way toward addressing the
concerns of Internet companies, protecting legitimate expression on the
Web from overzealous content owners.
The two sides need to move beyond their resentments and push for its
More information about the Link