Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sen. Wyden places hold on Protect-IP (or PIPA); passes Judiciary committee with questionable revisions

Senator Ron Wyden or Oregon (D) has, effective May 26, placed a hold on the Protect IP act, S968 (PIPA), even though it passed the Senate Judiciary with some changes.

Senator Wyden’s press release is here

Some of his language is:

" I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective.  At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet."

Abigail Phillips has an analysis of the minimal changes to Protect IP so far, on EFF, here, with a link to the text of the revised bill. 

One concern is that private litigants (maybe even like Righthaven) could sue “en rem” without sufficient due process notification of defendants (the DMCA safe harbor would be only a small piece of this discussion).

The revisions did remove a provision requiring registrars to block access to domain names “dedicated to infringing activities”, but still contains dangerous overbreadth in this definition.

“The term ‘domain name system server’ means a server or other mechanism used to provide the Internet protocol address associated with a domain name”

This bill needs to be watched closely, to say the very least.

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