IP Enforcement Roundup

PROTECT IP Act Clears Senate Judiciary Committee – Sen. Wyden Places a Hold on Bill

The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (S.968) unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 26.  The legislation would allow the Justice Department to seize the domain names of sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” to order search engines to stop directing traffic to them, and to order advertisers and financial intermediaries to cease doing business with them.  The legislation also includes a private right of action for IP owners.  Senator Wyden placed a hold on the legislation, preventing it from moving forward.  In a statement, he explained: “At the expense of legitimate commerce, [the PROTECT IP Act’s] prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.” Click here for more.

White Paper Warns Against DNS Filtering Requirements in PROTECT IP Act

Steve Crocker, David Dagon, Dan Kaminsky, Danny McPherson, and Paul Vixie have authored a white paper warning that the DNS filtering requirements of the PROTECT IP Act would be ineffective in reducing piracy, but would harm the security of the internet.  “DNS filtering will be evaded through trivial and often automated changes through easily accessible and installed software plugins” and the likely circumvention techniques “will expose users to new potential security threats. These security risks will not be limited to individuals. Banks, credit card issuers, health care providers, and others who have particular interests in security protections for data also will be affected. At the same time, a migration away from U.S.-based and ISP-provided DNS will harm U.S. network operators’ ability to investigate and evaluate security threats.” Click here for more.

European Commission Releases “Blueprint” for New IPR Policies

Noting that “in the last few years, technological change and, in particular, the growing importance of online activities, have completely changed the world in which IPR operate,” the EC has announced a “comprehensive strategy to revamp the legal framework in which IPR operate.”  The strategy will include proposals on patent harmonization and streamlined trademark registrations; analysis of the costs and benefits of a system of geographical indications for non-agricultural products; a proposal “to create a legal framework for the efficient multi-territorial collective management of copyright, in particular in the music sector;” a “legislative proposal that will enable the digitisation and online availability of so-called ‘orphan works’;” a proposed revision of the IP Enforcement Directive to “meet the specific challenges of the digital environment;” and a new customs regulation “to tackle the trade in small consignments of counterfeit goods sent by post as the overwhelming majority of these goods results from internet sales.”  Click here for more.

FFII calls upon European Parliament to resolve uncertainties regarding ACTA

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has written the EU Parliament, asking its Members “to seek an opinion of the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of ACTA with the EU Treaties, and to commission independent assessments of the effects ACTA will have on access to medicine, diffusion of green technologies needed to fight climate change, fundamental rights within and outside the Union, innovation, small and medium sized companies and a fair balance of interests.” Click here for the letter.

Report on the Impact of the Internet on the Global Economy

McKinnsey  Global Institute has published “Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity.” The report estimates that internet activity generated 3.8% of total GDP in a sample of 13 countries that together represent 70% of word output.  It accounted for 11% of GDP growth in these countries over the past five years.  The report notes that the internet is still in its infancy, so considerably more growth is possible.  It recommends that “All stakeholders should take part in a fact-based, public-private dialogue to assure optimal conditions for the development of the Internet ecosystem within each country, as well as internationally,” and should address “issues such as standards for digital identities and intellectual property protection.” Click here for more.