Rep. Darrell Issa has posted the text of the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (the OPEN Act) on an interactive webpage – http://keepthewebopen.com/ – that allows people to comment on the text. The legislation is meant to offer an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act, which has generated alarm among computer users and tech companies. The OPEN Act would allow IP owners to petition the International Trade Commission to issue cease-and-desist orders against foreign websites that are “primarily” and “willfully” engaged in copyright infringement. A cease and desist order would compel financial intermediaries and advertisers to cease providing services to the foreign websites.
Meanwhile, criticism of SOPA continues:
The Hill published a story quoting Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt warning that SOPA and PIPA would “criminalize linking and the fundamental structure of the Internet itself.” Schmidt said, “I understand the goal of what SOPA and [its Senate counterpart] PIPA are trying to do. Their goal is reasonable, their mechanism is terrible. They should not criminalize the intermediaries. They should go after the people that are violating the law.”
The Internet Commerce Association sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman (and sponsor of SOPA) Lamar Smith, warning that “SOPA may have an unintended but nonetheless devastating impact upon domain name registrars and other intermediary companies that participate in the domain name industry, and may also impose excessively burdensome and intrusive registrant monitoring responsibilities that will result in substantial cost increases in the pricing of domain name registrations and renewals as well as many other domain-related services. In addition, the collateral impact upon the domain registrants that our industry serves may be severe in many cases, resulting in extreme disruption of the Internet-based economy.”
Leslie Harris, President of the Center for Democracy and Technology published an op-ed for ABC News describing how SOPA and PIPA could lead to “major collateral damage to Internet innovation, online free expression, the inner workings of Internet security, and user privacy.”
Rebecca McKinnon from the New America Foundation published a piece in the New York Times predicting the legislation, if passed, “would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.”
Jim Fructerman, President of Benetech, has posted on Benethech’s blog that his company is “very worried that our organization and the people we serve: people with print disabilities (i.e., people who are blind or severely dyslexic), and human rights groups will be collateral damage in Hollywood’s attempt to break the Internet in their latest effort to squash ‘piracy’.”