Songwriter and Grammy-award winner Don Henley is speaking out in support of the PROTECT IP Act with an op-ed in USA Today, posted online yesterday. In particular, Henley expresses concern at a push to exempt search engines from the bill:
"Search engines, including Google, already make filtering tools that block references and links to websites featuring pornographic and other content considered unsuitable or offensive. The technology is there, but the will of some companies is not. It seems that their real agenda is to avoid the loss of advertising, 'pay per click' and other revenue if these sites were shut down. After all, Google is reportedly bracing for a $500 million fine for doing just that ?— accepting untold advertising dollars from illegal online pharmacies.
"Proposed solutions aren't radical; they are common-sense extensions of current legal powers. As with other federal crimes, authorities have the ability to seize ill-gotten gains along with the tools used to commit the crimes. But most criminals register their domain names overseas, forcing U.S. law enforcement officials to play a frustrating online cat-and-mouse game. In order to take down these illegal sites, they need cooperation from U.S. Internet service providers and search engines. American firms can and should block these criminal sites, and U.S. ad networks and credit card companies should cut off money going to them. The 'Protect IP Act' would give law enforcement the tools to accomplish this goal."
Read the rest of Henley’s column here.