Monday, July 25, 2011


I have been following the developments with respect to the American PROTECT IP Act but I was not sure whether to post on it yet seeing as so much of their legislative attempts never get off the ground. For an excellent outline of the Act you can see the fact sheet released by the Future of Music Coalition here. As you can see from this summary the Bill expands the powers of the content industry to obtain court orders to have websites removed from the internet on the basis that they are facilitating the theft of intellectual property. This would also result in credit card providers being prevented from providing services to these sites as well as search engines being required to remove such sites from their services. Credit card providers are also encouraged to take action themselves with a safe harbour provided preventing them from being liable for damages if they decide not to provide services to certain websites provided they have acted in 'good faith based on credible evidence'.

FMC go on to note that "the proposed legislation’s new enforcement tools may cause more harm than good" referring to potential mistakes as being an impediment to free speech. Website owners only have a right of reply once the site has been taken down. This has led to numerous claims that the Bill is unconstitutional and should not be pursued further. Furthermore it has been asserted that it could harm innovation with a number of venture capitalists speaking out about the unintended consequences of the Act. Google has suggested that it might be willing to take the legislation to court if it is unfair and unreasonable.

The content industry say that it is necessary to protect musicians and record labels but laws are already in place and sites are already being taken down, this is an expansion of what already occurs.

Further Information
Future of Music Coalition, PROTECT-IP Fact Sheet (27 June 2011) < > at 25 July 2011

ArsTechnica, Dozens of law professors: PROTECT IP Act is unconstitutional (6 July 2011) < > at 11 July 2011

ZeroPaid, Law Professors Line Up to Oppose the PROTECT IP Act (5 July 2011) < > at 11 July 2011

TechDirt, Top VCs Tell Congress: PROTECT IP Will Harm Innovation (23 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

ArsTechnica, High tech investors slam Hollywood, blast Internet censorship bill (26 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

ArsTechnica, High tech investors slam Hollywood, blast Internet censorship bill (26 June 2011) < > at 27 June 2011

ZeroPaid, Feds Conduct 4th Round of Domain Seizures (23 May 2011) < > at 26 May 2011

ArsTechnica, Big Content rips into Google, the "corporate imperialist" (19 May 2011) < > at 23 May 2011

TechDirt, Being Concerned With Free Speech Implications Of PROTECT IP Does Not Mean You Think You're Above The Law (20 May 2011) < > at 23 May 2011

ArsTechnica, Senate bill gives feds power to order piracy site blacklisting (12 May 2011) < > at 14 May 2011

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