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New bill would target websites enabling copyright infringement

Grant Gross | Oct. 27, 2011
A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would allow law enforcement officials to shut down websites that enable or facilitate copyright infringement, leading some digital rights groups to suggest that YouTube, Twitter and online news sites could be targeted.

Several groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America and Comcast, applauded the lawmakers for sponsoring the legislation.

"Our broadband customers will continue to access and enjoy all legal content," Kyle McSlarrow, president of Comcast/NBCUniversal, said in a statement. "The Stop Online Piracy Act is narrowly targeted to only illegal streaming activities or rogue websites found by a court to be engaged in trademark counterfeiting or illegally reproducing or distributing material protected by copyright. Thus, this legislation, if enacted, would protect the Internet as an engine of innovation and economic growth, rather than as an environment that allows digital theft and counterfeiting to thrive."

Other groups voiced opposition. The legislation would regulate the Internet, said Markham Erickson, executive director of NetCoalition, a trade group with Google and Yahoo as members. The bill "unfortunately does very little to address its purported goal to combat offshore 'rogue' websites and commercial piracy," Erickson said in a statement. "It will reverse decades of federal policies that have made the U.S. Internet industry so successful, innovative and a cornerstone of U.S. competitiveness."

 

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