Fix Anti-Piracy Legislation ; Intellectual Property Must Be Protected, but These Bills Create Too Many Burdens

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), January 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Fix Anti-Piracy Legislation ; Intellectual Property Must Be Protected, but These Bills Create Too Many Burdens


Two bills moving through Congress have the admirable goal of fighting Internet piracy, but for a variety of reasons deserve to be shelved.

The Stop Online Piracy Act is in the House; its companion bill, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, is likely to move through the Senate later this month.

Despite the names, these bills would restrict free speech, hurt some American companies and simply not do the intended job. And there is better legislation out there.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., should work to delay the full Senate vote until these bills have been thoroughly discussed to ensure that First Amendment rights and the openness of the Internet are protected.

Proponents of SOPA and PIPA contend that these bills protect American ideas from being stolen by online thieves, while maintaining the Internet's pipeline to the marketplace. Supporters of the legislation include the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. Those industries lose huge amounts of money when overseas pirates steal their work and resell it without paying royalties.

And the problem goes far beyond the entertainment industry. Research, patents and formulas for drugs are among intellectual property being stolen.

Technology companies Google, Facebook and Twitter oppose the legislation. So does the American Society of News Editors, which emphasizes how the bills would violate constitutional rights of free speech and due process.

Supporters contend that SOPA and PIPA are narrowlyfocused to target websites whose sole purpose is to "provide or point to stolen content from industries that are vitally important to New York and the U. …

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