Another Voice in Support of Rogue Sites Legislation

by TJ Ducklo and Alex Swartsel 10/13/2011 15:24 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Tom Giovanetti of the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that taking action against rogue websites will be crucial to promoting innovation and creativity worldwide. Giovanetti’s findings were released yesterday in an IPI position paper and make several fundamental arguments in support of targeting such sites.

The Texas-based think tank’s approach is measured and well organized, fleshing out the underlying principles that make enacting the PROTECT IP Act and its soon-to-be-introduced House companion a major step forward for the over 2 million men and women in America’s creative community. Here are a few highlights from Giovanetti’s piece:

PROTECT IP Does Not Permit the Government to Arbitrarily Shut Down Websites Without Due Process. One “concern is that somehow powers granted through the Protect IP Act would be extended such that the federal government would shut down websites because of political speech or content that the federal government found objectionable. … It’s important to remember that the federal government already has the legal tools to shut down websites hosted within the United States that have been proven to exist for the purpose of distributing illegal content. These legal tools are narrowly tailored to focus on websites solely or primarily existing to distribute pirated or counterfeit goods, and preserve the due process protections afforded American citizens. We are not aware of any instance where websites have been shut down by federal action because of political speech under the existing legal framework.”

“Not Unreasonable to Expect [Intermediaries] Who Facilitate Access to and Commerce with [Rogue] Sites to Play a Role in Limiting their Reach.” “Content owners and rights holders must work with rather than against ISPs, payment processors, advertising networks, and search providers to ensure that Internet users are not victimized by those who would take online advantage of them, including purveyors of pirated and counterfeit goods.  But specifically, in the case of websites demonstrated to exist for the purpose of profiting from the distribution of illegal content, it is also not unreasonable to expect those who facilitate access to and commerce with these sites to play a role in limiting their reach.”

PROTECT IP Promises to Accomplish Goals “While Not Burdening Third Parties with Unnecessarily Liability and Compliance Costs.” “Because the final text of the legislation is not yet available, or indeed has yet to be introduced in the House, we can only say that we think the Protect IP Act is on its way to becoming an agreement that accomplishes the important goals outlined earlier while not burdening third parties with unnecessary liability and compliance costs, and we urge all stakeholders to work toward that end.”

The businesses, labor unions, trade associations and others backing this bill come from across the country, across industries, and across the political spectrum. It’s time to enact rogue sites legislation to stand up for American creativity. 


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