'Rogue websites' bill runs into more opposition

Oct 31, 2011
Three leading technology industry groups urged members of the US Congress on Monday to oppose a copyright protection bill being proposed in the House of Representatives.

Three leading technology industry groups urged members of the US Congress on Monday to oppose a copyright protection bill being proposed in the House of Representatives.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would give US authorities more tools to crack down on websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.

The legislation has received the backing of Hollywood and the music industry but has come under fire from digital rights and free speech groups.

It also came in for criticism on Monday from the powerful (CEA), the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetCoalition, whose members include and Yahoo!.

In a letter to , they said the legislation "has been framed by its sponsors as a vehicle to protect US trademarks and copyrights from foreign 'rogue' websites.

"While we support this concept, (the bill) puts lawful US Internet and technology companies at risk," the letter said.

"Under this bill, a foreign or domestic Internet site that has broken no US law can nevertheless have its economic lifeblood cut off upon a single notice from a copyright or trademark owner," it said.

"As currently drafted, we believe SOPA is an alarming step backwards" that would create a "litigation and liability nightmare for Internet and technology companies and social media," the letter said.

"Virtually every Internet site that allows user-generated content can be subject to suit under SOPA and the bill could force Internet companies to police their users activities," it said.

"In short, this is not a bill that targets 'rogue foreign sites.' Rather, it allows movie studios, foreign manufacturers, patent and copyright trolls, and any holder of any intellectual property right to target lawful US websites and technology companies," the letter said.

The Stop Online Piracy Act is the House version of a bill introduced in the Senate in May known as the Theft of Intellectual Property Act or Protect IP Act.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, said the bill would help "stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators."

"The bill prevents online thieves from selling counterfeit goods in the US, expands international protections for intellectual property, and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products," Smith said.

The House Judiciary Committee is to hold a hearing on the on November 16.

The Obama administration has come in for some criticism for shutting down dozens of "rogue websites" over the past year as part of a crackdown known as "Operation in Our Sites."

US authorities in November, for example, shut down 82 websites selling mostly Chinese-made , including golf clubs, Walt Disney movies, handbags and other items.

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plasticpower
3 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2011
"and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products"

Dangerous?! Really?
Graeme
not rated yet Oct 31, 2011
It look as as though the government already has sufficient power to deal with trademark fraud.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.3 / 5 (7) Oct 31, 2011
@plasticpower

Dangerous indeed. Those knock off Disney movies and Rolex watches are absolutely lethal.

What if a child were to eat one? What then Mr. Smartie-pants? What then?
Vendicar_Decarian
3.4 / 5 (5) Oct 31, 2011
@Graeme

Ya, But Corrupt American Corporations don't have enough power. And never will.
paulthebassguy
2 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2011
This is typical with much legislation of the technology industry. The intent is good but the devil is in the detail and the practicality hasn't been thought through well.

I guess the reason for that is mainly because the people draughting the legislation don't fully understand the subject matter.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Nov 01, 2011
"and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products"

Dangerous?! Really?

Yep dangerouse i rememer how some popular stuffed toy for babies and toddlers was imatated with one filled with sawdust nails and glass. Just one example. Another would be clothing using cheaper alternatives to the safer lead free dyes.

So yea unregulated knock offs can be lethall like say contanimated milk.
bluehigh
not rated yet Nov 01, 2011
... and American products are flawless and never present any safety issues.
Callippo
not rated yet Nov 01, 2011
..until they're not manufactured in Hong-Kong from Chinese raw materials - as usually..