Push to stop online piracy gets new boost from bipartisan group of senators


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A bipartisan group of Senate heavyweights, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), on Thursday renewed its effort to stop Internet piracy by introducing a revised version of legislation it was unable to push into law last year.

Richard Verrier details the new bill in Company Town, as well as the strong support from Hollywood. Digital rights groups, however, aren’t as thrilled about the latest offering from Leahy and fellow Judiciary Committee members Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).


The bill is called the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, which has the convenient acronym of the PROTECT IP Act.

‘This bill has a new name, but it’s mostly more of the same,’ Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge, wrote on the group’s blog. ‘At the end of the day, the bill amounts to an acquiescence to the content lobby’s idea that everyone whose systems touch their content has a price to pay — if not in direct dollars, then in deputized vigilance on their behalf.’

The Center for Democracy and Technology said it still has concerns about the revised legislation but praised Leahy for narrowing the definition of rogue websites so that it would reduce the effect on user-generated and multi-purpose sites.

-- Jim Puzzanghera