“A piece of legislation backed by the MPAA was introduced in the House of Representatives this week and threatens to upend the way we use the Internet,” Nicholas Deleon reports for The Daily. “The E-Parasites Act, a contrived acronym for Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation, seeks to give the attorney general broad power to create a blacklist of websites that ‘induce’ copyright infringement. Service providers would then be legally compelled to block these websites.”
“Let’s say you’re using an online digital locker service like Dropbox to store your Microsoft Word files. Someone else on the site, however, is using it to house illegally downloaded MP3s. The record label finds out, approaches a judge and says, ‘“Dropbox is inducing its users to commit copyright infringement. We request you block it, or we’ll go to MasterCard — which handles Dropbox’s money matters — or the site’s advertisers and legally demand that they stop facilitating the site’s inducement of copyright infringement,'” Deleon reports. “The law can either shutter a website until it removes copyright-violating material or financially ruin it. In either scenario, your Word files are gone.”
“Should the E-Parasites bill become law, virtually every company on the Internet will be expected to constantly patrol their users for copyright infringement. It also effectively neutralizes the “safe harbor” part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, that protects companies from being prosecuted after copyright material has been uploaded to their websites,” Deleon reports. “‘This bill is a disaster,’ said Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Corynne McSherry. ‘It’s a jobs-killer that would hurt legitimate businesses. In this type of economic environment, we should be trying to create jobs, not destroy them.'”
Deleon reports, “In effect, the law would create a separate, ‘America-approved’ Internet, just like the kind found in China with its Great Firewall. The move would “send signals to oppressive regimes around the world that censoring the Internet is OK so long as it’s done in the name of intellectual property,” said McSherry.
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Note: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act (H.R. 3261).
H.R. 3261 is the House version of Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) PROTECT-IP Act.
H.R. 3261 also includes a House version of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) bill to make unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty of up to 5 years in prison. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 16.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]