Legislation designed to crack down on rogue websites dedicated to the sale of infringing or counterfeit goods was introduced today (5/12) to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A bipartisan group of Senators including Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) , Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed the legislation.
According to an official press release, The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or PROTECT IP Act, follows bipartisan legislation introduced in 2010, which won the unanimous support of Senate Judiciary Committee members. The PROTECT IP Act narrows the definition of a rogue website, while ensuring that law enforcement can get at the “worst-of-the-worst” websites dedicated to selling infringing goods. Copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods reportedly cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as billions of dollars in lost tax revenue for federal, state and local governments.
Senator Leahy said “This legislation will protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content and will protect the jobs associated with those investments. It will also protect American consumers, who should feel confident that the goods they purchase are of the type and quality they expect. The PROTECT IP Act targets the most egregious actors, and is an important first step to putting a stop to online piracy and sale of counterfeit goods.”
Steve Bogard, President of NSAI commented on the new bill saying, “We applaud the introduction of the bi-partisan IP Protection Act by our friends Senators Leahy, Hatch and Grassley, and thank them their co-sponsors and all the members of Senate Judiciary. This law is an important first step in showing the world that America is serious about protecting one of our most valuable resources, American Music. As an industry, songwriters are committed to leading the way toward a new era of music industry cooperation that will help enable our government to protect and promote one of our most precious assets around the world American music.”
Key updates to the PROTECT IP Act include:
- A narrower definition of an Internet site “dedicated to infringing activities”
- Authorization for the Attorney General to serve an issued court order on a search engine, in addition to payment processors, advertising networks and Internet service providers;
- Authorization for both the Attorney General and rights holders to bring actions against online infringers operating an internet site or domain where the site is “dedicated to infringing activities,” but with remedies limited to eliminating the financial viability of the site, not blocking access
- Requirement of plaintiffs to attempt to bring an action against the owner or registrant of the domain name used to access an Internet site “dedicated to infringing activities” before bringing an action against the domain name itself
- Protection for domain name registries, registrars, search engines, payment processors, and advertising networks from damages resulting from their voluntary action against an Internet site “dedicated to infringing activities,” where that site also “endangers the public health,” by offering controlled or non-controlled prescription medication.
Leahy and Hatch introduced legislation to counter online infringement in September 2010, and in November 2010, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the legislation by a vote of 19-0. In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing examining the impact of online infringement and counterfeit sales. The PROTECT IP Act builds on the consensus legislation approved by the Committee last year, while incorporating provisions in response to concerns raised by stakeholders. The PROTECT IP Act is cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-.R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
For varied opinions about the proposed Protect IP Act try the following links
LA Times–Senate leaders renew push to crack down on Internet piracy
TechDirt-The Good, The Bad And The Horribly Ugly
Copyright Alliance Executive Director Sandra Aistars- RE: Introduction of Legislation to Crack Down on Illegal Streaming