Public Knowledge Sees Progress In Rolling Back ‘Piracy’ Bills

The following is attributed to Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge:

"It appears that lawmakers are beginning to realize how much damage their anti-'piracy' bills could cause to the Internet and to Internet-related businesses.  Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said he would remove the highly controversial provision in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that would require Internet Service Providers to block access to Web sites.

"In addition, today six Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee told Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that consideration of the Senate version of the legislation, Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) should be postponed.

"While we are pleased that some progress is being made, we are also firm in our opposition to both bills because some very bad provisions remain.   The bills are still over-broad in their reach, for example (as in the Senate bill) allowing court orders against anyone a providing 'directory, index, reference, pointer, or hypertext link.'  Both bills still include a private right of action with few protections from abuse, meaning that sites can be killed without ever being proven to violate copyright.

"The apparent removal of the blocking provision validates the criticisms from opponents of the bills.  It's time for a close, careful look at both bills."

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