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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Must Read: Don't Let Hollywood Break the Internet With the PROTECT IP Act! - Forbes #infdist


Gary Shapiro, Contributor

President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association

Oct 26, 2011

"Using forceful arguments about the ongoing threat of Internet piracy, Hollywood and its allies are pushing legislation through Congress that would ensnare and criminalize legitimate Internet sites on unproven allegations of content theft. The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act” [PROTECT IP Act, S. 968] was rushed out of the Judiciary Committee by voice vote last May and may soon be voted on in the Senate. A House bill may be dropped any day.

Supporters of the bill, including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), led by former Senator Chris Dodd, argue that film studios are losing money on rogue, mainly offshore, websites that steal and sell their movies. According to one umbrella group, Creative America, which represents proponents of the bill, more than 500,000 movies are stolen every year worldwide. This is a compelling argument.

It’s the cure that is the problem. The PROTECT IP Act would allow copyright owners – movie studios and other content providers – simply to accuse a website of infringement, which could lead to that site being shut down by court order and entire links to the site being wiped clean from the Internet.  Any website with a hyperlink, such as Twitter, Facebook or a blog, would be subject to liability. More, non-infringing sites could be inadvertently shut down under the proposal. Indeed, the law is so far-reaching that it would force Internet providers like Comcast to block all access to the allegedly illegal site.

The potential for abuse by the notoriously litigious content industry is clear. Last year, when the government sought to shut down one child pornography site, it ended up affecting some 70,000 legitimate sites for several days, even notifying visitors that the sites – many of which were business sites – were purveyors of child pornography.

For instance, the bill is so broadly written that, in theory, it would allow any copyright owner to shut down a legitimate retail website, such as Amazon or Best Buy, by alleging that one product being sold on the site could “enable or facilitate” an infringement. It could even allow any content owner to block access to the Patent Office website if it receives and posts a patent application for a product that is believed to use content without permission...."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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