U.S. Congress Introduces ‘The Stop Online Piracy Act’

On Wednesday Lawmakers in the United States introduced "The Stop Online Piracy Act," a bill that would give the government the ability to block web sites in the United States and abroad who traffic in counterfeit goods, illegal software, and other copyrighted goods.

The bill has managed to garner bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is a tweaked version of a bill introduced in the Senate in May called the "Theft of Intellectual Property Act" or "Protect IP Act." Naturally the bill has the support of movie studios, the music industry, the Business Software Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and many other lobbyists groups.

It does not have the support of digital rights and free speech advocacy groups because it allows law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to unilaterally shut down access to website here and abroad, without due process.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) thinks the bill is important. He claims that it "helps stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators.

"Rogue websites that steal and sell American innovations have operated with impunity," Smith said in a statement. "The online thieves who run these foreign websites are out of the reach of US law enforcement agencies and profit from selling pirated goods without any legal consequences. The bill prevents online thieves from selling counterfeit goods in the US, expands international protections for intellectual property, and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products.

Bill co-sponsor Howard Berman (D-California) says it is "an important next step in the fight against digital theft and sends a strong message that the United States will not waiver in our battle to protect America's creators and innovators."

The Center for Democracy and Technology said the House bill "raises serious red flags" because it contains "the most controversial parts of the Senate's Protect IP Act, but radically expands the scope. They claim that "any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs."

"Internet Service Providers would face new and open-ended obligations to monitor and police user behavior," the CDT said in a statement. "Payment processors and ad networks would be required to cut off business with any website that rightsholders allege hasn't done enough to police infringement. The bill represents a serious threat to online innovation and to legitimate online communications tools."

The House Judiciary Committee is to hold a hearing on the bill November 16.

Source: Breitbart

Image provided by Shutterstock.com. All rights reserved.


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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I could see someone taking these transcripts to a judge when the law is challenged by pointing to block of non-commercial sites and saying 'see, lawmakers intended this to be used against people SELLING counterfit goods, so use on free sites is not intended!'

    Grr… the spell check in this box is rapidly making it annoying to post on GP….

  2. 0
    DorthLous says:

    America, police of the world!

    America, everything is ours (and our lobbyist!)

    What I want to know is why when they made three branches of government, they never took under consideration that they could all be bought at the same time…

  3. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    They already have that power. It is called civil forfeiture and it is abused regularly. Just ask this motel owner:


    The government is attempting to seize his motel because some people decided to hold a drug deal there. He was not a party to it, but because it happened there, he is on the hook.

    The government is not above taking the property of people who do no crime.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    My Patreon

  4. 0
    Sporge says:

    Yes so where is the bill that lets them shut down the entire shopping mall because one guy decides to sell burned CDs out back? 

    This gives plenty of ways to just destroy online businesses in general.  I mean find one person out of thousands selling the wrong thing, or posting the wrong thing, and there goes the site.  You know larger companies would hire someone just to scan competitors sites for things like that.

  5. 0
    GrimCW says:

    so basically they'd need to shut down the entire web, especially art, social, and news sites that repeatedly post and repost copyrighted materials..

    this would also make amazon and ebay illegal wouldn't it?

  6. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    …allows law enforcement agencies in the U.S. unilaterally shut down access to website here and abroad, without due process.

    Not that they have not been doing this already, of course, what with arbitrarily shutting down websites with .com, .net, and .org domains – regardless of whether or not they infringed or were deemed legal in their host countries such as España. We'll also ignore the broad-reach that it employs. No, sir, I cannot support this bill. Strike it down hard.

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