Public Knowledge's IP3 awards are a special occasion to honor those who have made significant contributions in the three areas of "IP"—intellectual property, information policy, and internet protocol. This year will be the fourteenth year Public Knowledge has held the awards, and now it's time for you to submit nominations.
The White House recently released a response to two petitions protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The statement agreed with the petition signers that anti-piracy laws must not increase censorship or risk security flaws by tampering with the domain name system (DNS), key parts of both SOPA and the Senate's proposed PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). This is a fantastic sign that shows that the objections of ordinary, clued-in Internet users can make a difference in stopping misguided legislation.
The statement, co-authored by Victoria Espinel, the IP Enforcement Coordinator, Aneesh Chopra, the Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, the Cybersecurity Coordinator, affirms the message that legislation tampering with the DNS poses real risks to the security and stability of the Internet.
I keep getting asked if the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is better or worse than the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Even without addressing how misleading relative terms like "better" can be, it's impossible to give an unequivocal answer because of several significant differences between the details of the bills, even if they both do many of the same things (and do them badly).
So while both bills try to curb online infringement by tampering with the domain name system (DNS); allow private actors to de-fund targeted sites, and grant blanket immunity to certain intermediaries for taking copyright law into their own hands, each has its own peculiarities that cause additional problems.
My original plan had been to write up a quick summary of today's markup, but at this writing, the House Judiciary Committee has discussed less than half of over 50 pending proposed amendments to SOPA. However, there's a clear trend in the committee regarding amendments—nearly every one voted on so far has been defeated.
I'd been live-tweeting a blow-by-blow of the proceedings so far, but the main takeaways from the markup are probably best recounted thematically, rather than chronologically, since a lot of themes get repeated with each amendment 's introduction and debate.
There's various levels of debate being engaged in during this markup. First, there's the discussion of the bill text. Then there's the discussion of the bill's effects. Third is the discussion of proponents' and opponents' motives.
Last Wednesday, the Justice Department planted a very large nail in the coffin of the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile when it filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit to block the merger. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole couldn’t have been more unequivocal about how the Department views the proposed merger: