The Washington Post published a thoughtful editorial this morning on the PROTECT IP Act and the need for “a legal tool that stops those who persistently leech off of the innovations of others.”
The Post acknowledges criticism of the bill by some who “point to the effectiveness of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),” but asks: “But what if the Web site is a consistent scofflaw?”
Noting that online theft “costs the copyright- or trademark-holders billions of dollars each year and thwarts the ability of writers, producers, songwriters and others in the creative arts to earn the royalties they are due,” the Post highlights PROTECT IP’s balanced approach:
Defendant Web sites would have the right to contest the allegation. An otherwise legitimate site that may have sold a product that turned out to be a fake or unknowingly linked to or posted an item to which it did not have the rights to would be spared from legal action.
…The Protect IP Act takes pains to protect Internet service providers, search engines and others that may have done business with a rogue site. They are not required to scour the Internet for offenders nor are they held liable if they happen to host or provide services to a site that is eventually deemed unlawful. They are only required to take “reasonable” and “technically feasible” measures to obey a court order.
The outpouring of support for this bipartisan bill from around the country – from businesses, local law enforcement, first responders, elected officials, and workers alike – gives it real momentum heading into the fall. We encourage the Senate to take it up and pass it quickly once they return from their work in their states, and look forward to the introduction of a House counterpart.