Oct 272011

On October 26, Rep. Lamar Smith introduced the Stopping Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261), also called the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act (E-PARASTE Act.)  H.R. 3261 is the House version of the Senatory Leahy’s PROTECT-IP Act, which goes after sites that host infringing content by taking down domain names and requiring service providers, including search engines, advertisers, and online payment processors, to stop doing business with them.

The scope of websites that could be affected by H.R. 3621 bill is larger than that of the Senate bill.  While the Senate bill applies to sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” the house bill applies to sites that “facilitate” infringement.”  A site may be considered to facilitate infringement if (among other reasons) it takes actions to “avoid confirming a high probability of infringement,” – a provision which civil society groups warned may force service providers to monitor websites that contain user generated content.

H.R. 3261 also includes a House version of Sen. Klobuchar’s bill to make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

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


Comments from Civil Society

Excerpt: SOPA is significantly worse than its Senate cousin. This isn’t just because it uses more expansive definitions or broader language; it makes fundamental changes to who faces liability for copyright infringement.

Excerpt: The bill seems mainly aimed at creating an end-run around the DMCA safe harbors.  Instead of complying with the DMCA, a copyright owner may now be able to use these new provisions to effectively shut down a site by cutting off access to its domain name, its search engine hits, its ads, and its other financing, even if the safe harbors would apply.”

Excerpt: Narrowly targeting the true bad actors is one thing.  Imposing new costs and risks on anyone providing online communications tools would seriously undermine online innovation and free expression.

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  7 Responses to “Stop Online Piracy Act Introduced in the House”

  1. […] Knowledge.org Infojustice.org LA Times Movie City News Open […]

  2. My colleague Larry Downes had this to say:
    Last summer, House leaders assured Silicon Valley they would correct serious defects in the Senate’s Protect IP bill, defects that would have caused long-term unintended damage to innovation. SOPA does just the opposite. SOPA would give media companies unwarranted and unprecedented new powers to shape the structure and content of the Internet. It creates vague, sweeping standards for secondary liability, drafted to ensure maximum litigation. It treats all U.S. consumers as guilty until proven innocent. SOPA is an early Christmas present for Hollywood, and a jobs bill for trial lawyers.
    SOPA, regrettably, represents a big step backward in Washington’s efforts to support the digital revolution, one of the only sectors of the economy that continues to grow. A bill that was supposed to target the “worst of the worst” foreign websites committing blatant and systemic copyright and trademark infringement has morphed inexplicably into an unrestricted hunting license for media companies to harass anyone—foreign or domestic–who questions their timetable for digital transformation.
    Only by carefully crafting narrow remedies against truly rogue websites can Congress achieve copyright’s goal of promoting creativity without undermining basic freedoms and distorting the healthy development of the Internet itself.


  3. This is seriously messed up. The industry has money for lobbyists but who is going to stand up for the American People? We should be sponsoring bills tearing down intellectual copyright if we want to nourish innovation, not supporting corporate empires’ executive salaries by locking up the American people. For shame!

  4. This is a ridiculous idea! When you look at this, it’s quite possible that the majority of the internet-using public would be getting prosecuted and incarcerated for one thing or another! I’m not a fan of piracy either, but for crying out loud! This CANNOT pass! If it does, Youtube will be no more, along with many other sites.

  5. This law would benefit very few at the expense of the many. It will greatly tie up the court system and will cause a huge loss of jobs. Obviously it will destroy freedom of speech / expression as well. At a time when government distrust is at an all time high, I am surprised they would even dare to introduce this kind of corrupt and draconian legislation.

  6. […] this is actually the second major tweak Smith has made to SOPA on his own volition since he introduced it into the House in late October 2011. Smith also introduced a manager’s amendement in December attempting to narrow the definitions of […]