Entries Matching: SOPA
The IP Attaché Act now has company in the dubious club of former bits of SOPA/PIPA being floated in Congress. This week, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) offered and then withdrew an amendment to add another raft of copyright enforcement proposals to a trade bill.
The amendment she offered was essentially a version of her "Protect American Innovation Act," introduced last November. It contains a lot of the same provisions we keep seeing in one form or another in various bills that continually try and insert new bits of the content lobby's agenda into U.S. law.
In particular, it seeds more IP enforcement officials throughout the government (including creating a new Director of IP Rights Enforcement at the Treasury Department).
The recently maligned IP Attaché Act is just one in a long
line of IP bills that include seemingly innocuous provisions that could later
prove to be harmful to innovation and the free flow of information. In February I gave a talk at the University
of Colorado that showed how over a decade, supporters of increasing copyright
protection dropped little-known and little-understood language in IP bills that
eventually became the basis for SOPA and PIPA, as well as the Department of Homeland
Security’s program for seizing domain names.
According to a former US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) official I
spoke with, the content industries and their friends have been pushing
the changes this bill would make for years. That alone tells you something.
The latest controversy with the Intellectual Property Attaché
Act, formerly a provision within the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is entirely
self-inflicted by its lead sponsors.
A mere 5 months after SOPA and PIPA met their very public demise, a new intellectual property enforcement bill is on the fast track through the House Judiciary Committee. The bill, which was largely secret until a day before it was scheduled to be marked up, is an attempt to revive an idea that was killed as part of SOPA earlier this year. In addition to being a surprising attempt to develop intellectual property (IP) legislation in secret again, it highlights a phenomenal waste of taxpayer resources. After all, what is going to improve our copyright system more: international IP attaches or being able to look up who actually owns a copyright?
Public Knowledge is excited to be part of the 91 organizations
and 38 influencers signing on to the Declaration of Internet Freedom, which launched today.
As Cory Doctorow succinctly put it, “There is no copyright
policy, only Internet policy; there is no Internet policy, only policy.”
Today’s focus on increased IP enforcement will have a dramatic impact on the
way people interact with the most democratic communications platform that has
ever existed: the internet. Disproportionate IP enforcement will stifle
creativity and create gatekeepers that block the free flow of information