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US House of Reps Introduce New Controversial Copyright Bill

Posted by: , 17:24 AEDT, Fri October 28, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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A new proposed bi-partisan bill was been put forward to the US House of Representatives, which gives the government the power to seize websites allegedly engaged in copyright infringement

Supported by the copyright lobby, the US House of Representatives put forward new legislation that is similar to the controversial PROTECT IP Act that the Senate attempted to introduce earlier in the year.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a bi-partisan efforts fronted by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and flanked by committee members Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the new legislation gives the government broad powers to intervene in what is traditionally a civil matter, to allow domestic websites to be seized, and injunctions filed against foreign websites, at the behest of Hollywood and the music industry, the two major industries supporting the bill.

Gigi B. Sohn, President of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, criticized the bill for being "draconian", saying that there are more balances solutions to tackling the problem of online piracy.

Gary Shapiro, the President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, the industry body for the consumer electronic industry, also attacked the overreaching bill. "The bill is so broadly written that, in theory, it would allow any copyright owner to shut down a legitimate retail website, such as Amazon or Best Buy, " wrote Shapiro in an opinion piece on Forbes.

Both join the chorus of criticism from engineers, tech pioneers, law professors that have come out attacking the recently proposed, and what these groups claim are heavy-handed tactics to deal with the Internet piracy problem. But with bi-partisan support, and support from the copyright lobby friendly White House, the bill is likely to pass without too much opposition by the House of Representatives, who, along with the copyright friendly Senate, now only has an approval rating of 9%. 

The MPAA hailed the new bill, saying it will help protect 160,000 jobs.


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