10/25/2011 14:58 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
For a compelling response to the comments made by Google Director of Public Policy Bob Boorstin today on the PROTECT IP act, please see the May 24th analysis written by Cahill Gordon & Reindel intellectual property expert Floyd Abrams, particularly the following passage where he directly addresses Mr. Boorstin’s concerns:
"I would like to directly acknowledge that potential action by Congress in this area has drawn objections from groups and individuals with deeply held beliefs about civil liberties, human rights, and a free Internet."
"Among a range of objections, two core critiques stand out. First, there is a recurring argument that the United States would be less credible in its criticism of nations that egregiously violate the civil liberties of their citizens if Congress cracks down on rogue websites. Second, there is the vaguer notion that stealing is somehow less offensive when carried out online."
"I disagree. Copyright violations are not protected by the First Amendment. Entities “dedicated to infringing activities” are not engaging in speech that any civilized, let alone freedom-oriented nations protects. That these infringing activities occur on the Internet makes them not less, but more harmful. The notion that by combating such acts through legislation, the United States would compromise its role as the world leader in advancing a free and universal Internet seems to me insupportable. As a matter of both constitutional law and public policy, the United States must remain committed to defending both the right to speak and the ability to protect one’s intellectual creations. This legislation does not impair or overcome the constitutional right to engage in speech; it protects creators of speech, as Congress has since this Nation was founded, by combating its theft."