Oh Congress. Yes, you know on which side your bread is buttered. But you can’t seem to figure out how that whole Internet thing works.
I mean, that must be the case. Otherwise you wouldn’t continually propose bills like COICA. But you do. And that’s why I’m glad there’s a Senator from Oregon named Ron Wyden who works to stop your silliness.
I’ve already written about Wyden’s COICA blocking in the past. This time around, he’s taking on the latest release from the Department of Disgustingly Cutesy Acronyms for Inane Bills, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PROTECT IP.
Yeah. I kid you not. I wish I were. I could fund 10 startups on the cost of the work hours it took to come up with that one.
So what’s it do? Well, as Ars Technica puts it:
The bill builds on last year’s proposed COICA legislation, which would have given the government power to go to court and get a website’s domain name blocked from American DNS servers. Credit card companies and advertising networks would be forbidden to do business with such sites.…
The new version tightens up its definition of infringing sites, but adds things like a “private right of action” for companies who want to cripple sites without waiting for the government to get involved. Search engines are also prohibited from linking to blocked sites.
But right now, it’s not doing anything. Because Wyden has placed a hold on PROTECT IP.
From Wyden’s office:
“In December of last year I placed a hold on similar legislation, commonly called COICA, because I felt the costs of the legislation far outweighed the benefits. After careful analysis of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, I am compelled to draw the same conclusion. I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective. At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.
“The Internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century. It is increasingly in America’s economic interest to ensure that the Internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the Internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the Internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives. Until the many issues that I and others have raised with this legislation are addressed, I will object to a unanimous consent request to proceed to the legislation.”
Stay tuned. I’m sure there’s more fun to come.
(Image courtesy Cheryl Biren. Used under Creative Commons.)