Anti-Piracy Legislation Closer to Passage
Ponder, Hal, International Musician
Congress is moving forward on the two "rogue sites" bills, the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House, which both target foreign websites dedicated to copyright infringement. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has announced that the PROTECT IP Act, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, will be the first item on the agenda when Congress returns in 2012. A vote is currently scheduled for January 24.
Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee has been holding extensive hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which has a broader scope and, thus, is more controversial than the Senate version. On December 12, Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced a Manager's Amendment that addresses many critics' concerns and brings the bill more in-line with PROTECT IP. The Manager's Amendment, along with more than 50 other amendments, is being considered during a committee meeting that began December 15, and could extend into the new year.
On December 19, PROTECT IP opponent Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced competing legislation entitled the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act (S. 2029). The OPEN Act would give authority to the International Trade Commission-rather than the Department of Justice, as in the rogue sites legislation-to adjudicate copyright violations, but places a much heavier financial and administrative burden on copyright holders in pursuing action. …