Could new draft proposal squash the Stop Online Piracy Act?

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) submitted a draft today of legislation that could be used instead of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Their draft is entitled the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN).

SOPA created a lot of controversy and outcry from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). SOPA and its sister bill the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were drafted to stop online copyright infringement and prevent the use of IP addresses and web content that counterfeits or mimics IPs and web content of legitimate websites.

SOPA-PIPA is backed by the movie, music, and book industries and would give the State Department, Dept. of Justice, and copyright holders broad powers to go after websites they think may have even a hint of infringing copyright. All the DOJ or copyright holder would have to do is file for a court order and the website being accused would have to automatically be shut down even if the court did not yet make a decision. SOPA-PIPA would then call for all ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to stop allowing access to the accused website and possibly order search engines like Google to keep suspected violators’ websites out of search results. If ISPs and search engines refuse to comply, they could possibly be held liable also.

It’s broad scenarios such as this that have given many in various online industries grave concern about such a bill. The sponsors of OPEN acknowledge that piracy is definitely an issue, but they drafted the proposal to supposedly narrow down and restrict the powers in SOPA-PIPA to prevent the DOJ and copyright holders from abusing their powers to stifle competition and to inadvertently promote monopolies. There are also constitutional concerns such as freedom of speech that may be threatened.

Issa and Holden are asking for feedback and suggested changes to OPEN, which can be found at SOPA-PIPA can be found at the following links:




Grant Gross. Lawmakers release draft alternative to Stop Online Piracy Act. Thursday, December 8, 2011.

George H. Pike. Controversy Surrounds Stop Online Piracy Act As Mark-Up Approaches. November 28, 2011.

posted by Harry A. Gaylord

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