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SOPA, The Internet Censorship Bill, Was Lauded By Both Parties In Key House Hearing [View All]

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-11 10:51 PM
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SOPA, The Internet Censorship Bill, Was Lauded By Both Parties In Key House Hearing
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Source: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- At a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans joined together to voice support for legislation that would criminalize much of the activity that occupies the Internet. The bipartisan bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act would establish major new powers for corporations intent on corralling copyrighted materials -- powers that would lead to big legal bills for start-ups and Silicon Valley giants alike. SOPA's Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, was already voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in September.

Both political parties -- flush with campaign contributions from Hollywood studios and trial lawyers -- are eager to pass the legislation. The Senate version, introduced in May, has broad support, but has been held up by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Without Wyden's hold, the legislation looks certain to pass by a landslide. The House version, introduced last month, was written by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and co-sponsored by ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.).

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Under current practice, copyright owners such as TV networks and Hollywood studios reach out to websites to request that pirated videos be taken down. Under the new regime, they could ask banks, Internet service providers and domain name registrars to stop doing business with websites that they believed were devoted to piracy. They could, for instance, go straight to YouTube's domain registration company and demand that the entire YouTube website be taken down. And if the registrar resisted, the copyright owners would have the legal ability to take the registrar to court.

That move might not be very threatening to major players, like YouTube, with expensive legal teams, but life on the Internet could be made very difficult for smaller companies and start-ups. For lawyers who litigate intellectual property issues, the bill is a godsend, guaranteeing a flood of work, no matter which party wins the case.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/sopa-internet-...
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