Rogue Websites Are Stealing American Jobs and Property. Will Congress Act?

Article excerpt

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act goes after rogue websites that target intellectual property and threaten security of information. This isn't Internet censorship. It's a protection of rights and freedoms.

Stores that sell stolen goods are shut down. Why should rogue websites that break the law be treated any differently? Rogue websites steal American jobs, harm our consumers, and hamper innovation and creativity.

Rogue websites are sites dedicated to the theft of intellectual property (IP) - trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. They sell knock-offs of consumer products like shoes and handbags, as well as fake drugs. They also offer illicit copies of America's most creative software, music, movies, and books.

Many of these sites try to pose as legitimate businesses. Consumers are lured to sophisticated and well-designed websites, complete with corporate advertising, credit card acceptance, and similar signs of legitimacy. But the reality is that consumers are getting poor quality or even harmful fakes and putting themselves at risk of identity theft and malicious computer viruses from sites that offer free downloads.

ANOTHER VIEW: Against net neutrality

Criminal activity

This criminal activity comes at a steep price. IP industries are of huge value to the US economy, employing more than 18 million people and accounting for 60 percent of our exports. But it has been estimated that the global impact of online piracy to the US economy is $58 billion in lost income.

We cannot and should not tolerate this theft - and many in Congress agree. Last September, Senators Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont and Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah introduced legislation (S. 3804, called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) that would provide enhanced remedies to cut these rogue sites off from the US market. That bill had an additional 18 cosponsors from across the political spectrum and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a unanimous 19-0 vote. …