Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is doing whatever it takes to defeat Senate and House legislation that expands the governments’ ability to shutter and disrupt websites “dedicated” to infringing activities — including now contemplating a substitute solution.
Wyden originally put a hold on the Protect IP Act, which is similar to the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act. Among other things, they grant rights holders the unfettered power to effectively kill websites they believe are dedicated to infringing activities — all in a bid to combat piracy. Opponents, which include some of the web’s heavy hitters, say the remedy is overkill and requiring ISPs and search engines to prevent users from visiting blacklisted sites is reminiscent of China’s web censorship methods.
Wyden, in addition to a promised filibuster, said Thursday he has gathered a few lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum to initiate what he said was a “discussion” on an alternate method: getting the Congressional-created International Trade Commission more involved in the illegal, digital distribution of counterfeit and copyright goods.
“You can strike a balance here between people who are concerned about copyright infringement and those who are concerned about the architecture of the internet,” Wyden said in a telephone interview.
The “discussion paper” he forwarded to Wired says, “This proposal updates import laws to respond to the challenges posed by the digital economy, so that illegal digital imports and digitally-facilitated imports of counterfeit goods are deterred. This proposal would enable a U.S. rights holder to petition the International Trade Commission (ITC) to launch an investigation into the imports in question.”