Circling the wagons: online privacy act proposal brings web-based rivals together

Boomer Google?
Boomer Google?

The bill is designed to fight piracy of online content, but critics, such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, say it is too restrictive.

According to the committee, the bill allows the US Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell US innovations and products. The bill increases criminal penalties for individuals who traffic in counterfeit medicine and military goods and improves coordination between IP enforcement agencies.

The bill is backed by 21 members of the House, as well as industries that depend on copyright protection for their livelihood, such as software, motion pictures, and pharmaceuticals.

Sounds good, right? But hold on.

In a rare show of unity, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo, and Zynga sent a joint letter to the committee arguing that SOPA would “expose law-abiding US Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites. We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.”

The group is particularly concerned that the bill would eliminate the safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for internet companies that act in good faith by removing copyright infringing content from their sites.

“We...ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign 'rogue' websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that has made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation”, the companies said.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?