11/14/2011 12:07 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Today, fifteen leading groups from across the criminal justice system joined together in writing a letter to members of Congress that urged them to support rogue sites legislation, the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. They joined a broad and growing coalition that backs rogue sites legislation, which will be the subject of a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
The PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House have bipartisan support and will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.
The letter states:
“We the undersigned associations representing the state and local criminal justice community write to urge your support for legislation that would strengthen U.S. law enforcement’s capacity to take action against foreign ‘rogue’ websites that traffic in stolen and counterfeit American-made products which pose a severe risk to health and public safety and which help to finance criminal activity within our borders.”
“While counterfeiting and content theft are not new, the proliferation and extent of these activities are unprecedented today. Criminals have turned to the Internet, abusing its virtually unlimited distribution opportunities to expand their illegal activities and increase their profits. Many of these sites are based overseas yet rely on U.S. Internet service providers, search engines, payment processors, and advertising services to reach U.S. consumers. Many of these sites deceive Internet users into thinking they are legitimate by accepting major credit cards as forms of payment and featuring advertising from well-known U.S. companies. And they are succeeding; a recent study found that just a small sample of 43 rogue sites generate over 53 billion visits a year.”
The letter was addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Charles Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers.
The letter was organized by the National Criminal Justice Association and signed by the National Sheriffs Association, Major County Sheriffs, Major City Chiefs, National Center for Victims of Crime, National Fusion Center, National District Attorneys Association, Council of State Governments, International Union of Police Associations, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, National Troopers Coalition, National Domestic Preparedness Coalition, National Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, and National Association of State Chief Information Officers.
This letter adds to the support already expressed by other public safety and emergency responder groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, Congressional Fire Services Institute, state attorneys general, EMS and emergency management associations, campus law enforcement administrators, and private sector security.