Interesting post from PCWorld about an alternative to the tabled (though not defeated) SOPA and PIPA legislation.
SOPA and PIPA may have been put on hold — thanks to possibly the most contentious uproar seen on Capitol Hill and in the tech world ever — but other legislation was introduced this week to combat online piracy.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) introduced H.R. 3782, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, the same day as an Internet protest when a number of high-profile websites such as Wikipedia went dark. Issa says the new billdelivers stronger intellectual property rights for American artists and innovators while protecting the openness of the Internet. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has introduced the OPEN Act in the U.S. Senate.
OPEN would give oversight to the International Trade Commission (ITC) instead of the Justice Department, focuses on foreign-based websites, includes an appeals process, and would apply only to websites that “willfully” promote copyright violation. SOPA and PIPA, in contrast, would enable content owners to take down an entire website, even if just one page on it carried infringing content, and imposed sanctions after accusations — not requiring a conviction.
According to Issa’s site KeepTheWebOpen, which elucidates the bill in its entirety and asks for people to comment on it, “If the ITC investigation finds that a foreign registered website is ‘primarily’ and ‘willfully’ infringing on the IP rights of a U.S. rights holder, the commission would issue a cease and desist order that would compel payment processors (like Visa and Paypal) and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question. This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.”
OPEN has received support from technology giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others, but the Motion Picture Association of America complains in a statement (PDF) that the bill goes easy on Internet piracy.
It seems promising that there is finally talk of more reasonable approaches to stopping piracy. As might be expected (see this post), the media conglomerates do not feel that this does enough and want SOPA, PIPA, or something even worse passed to help prop up their industry. OPEN at least puts the presumption of innocence back into the system, and allows for appeals. This sounds like a much more American approach.
You can read the whole PCWorld piece here.