The revised version of the PROTECT IP Act – designed to combat copyright infringement on the Internet – includes provisions that may affect online services like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Computerworld warns us; it’s about some copyrighted materials that may be posted, shared or uploaded to the respective portals.
Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives are to introduce the new version of the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property ACT (PIPA) during this week. The bill may share similarities with an older version of the PROTECT IP Act approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, said Demand Progress, a liberal civil liberties group who opposes the new legislation. They added that these new legal measures may come into conflict with legal websites.
From the Senate version of the bill (pdf) we understand that the U.S. Department of Justice will be allowed to obtain court orders requiring search engines and ISPs to blacklist all websites affiliated with copyright infringement.
If Demand Progress’ opinion proves to be true, the bill could overturn parts of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), a 13 years old law that, until now, had successfully kept ISPs out of the danger zone due to their users’ file-sharing activities.
“Our allies on [Capitol] Hill say the bill’s so bad that it could effectively destroy Youtube, Twitter, and other sites that rely on user-generated content by making the sites’ owners legally responsible for everything their users post,” the group said in an alert to members.
The group will boycott the new version of the bill, reassured Demand Progress’ executive director David Segal.
“We ask even those lawmakers who are leaning towards supporting it to hold back for now, decline co-sponsorship, and listen to opponents’ concerns,” he said in an email.
“The Senate version of PROTECT IP will stifle free speech and innovation — and all indications are that the House version will be even worse.”
Although comments from legal representatives were expected, no details or opinions were expressed. However, supporters of the act say that the law will finally put an end to those foreign websites that contain infringed materials and will magically increase the overall economy of the United States.
“Rogue sites … flood the U.S. marketplace with dangerously defective products, attract more than 53 billion visits per year, and have total disregard for U.S. laws which are designed to protect consumer safety and intellectual property,” Tepp wrote. “Consumers should be able to rely on trust and good faith in buying legitimate products online. Rogue sites and online criminals abuse this trust for their illicit gain,” reads Steve Tepp’s (chief intellectual property counsel for the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) blog.
Along with the Demand Progress group, other groups addressed concerns with the new act (Consumer Electronics Association, Computer and Communications Industry Association and NetCoalition) by sending a letter to Mr. Smith Goodlatte and other House Judiciary Committee members on Monday. In this letter the groups asked the law representatives to reconsider launching the legislation and wait for feedback from the affected groups.
“The technology industry is leading America out of the recession, and inadvertent damage to the tech sector could not happen at a worse time,” reads the letter.