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Groups still oppose SOPA after proposed amendment

Grant Gross | Dec. 14, 2011
A proposed amendment to the controversial copyright enforcement bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act, has not swayed many opponents to the legislation.

Among the counterfeit products displayed were cigarettes, watches, athletic shoes, handbags, erectile disfunction drugs, DVDs and golf balls. Many copyright infringers are getting smart, instead of charging US$100 for a $700 handbag, they're now charging $500, said Rob Holmes, CEO of IPCybercrime, an investigations firm that helps copyright holders track down fakes. The higher price makes the fake product look more legitimate, he said.

SOPA would "make our jobs so much easier," Holmes said.

Counterfeit erectile dysfunction drugs are common, said Jack Stohlman, a product protection representative for Eli Lilly. Many fakes contain some active ingredients, but the amount of ingredient isn't regulated. The fake pharmacies "want to make sure you come back and buy from them again," he said.

But the fake pharmacies don't screen buyers for heart problems and other health issues that doctors and legitimate pharmacists would, he added. Men with heart problems risk having heart attacks by taking counterfeit erectile dysfunction drugs, he said.

SOPA would save tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, supporters said. "Isn't this a great day for jobs creation in America?" Representative Bob Goodlate, a Virginia Republican and SOPA cosponsor, said at the Chamber event.

Under the current language in SOPA, DOJ-requested court orders could bar search engines from linking to the allegedly infringing sites, and require domain name registrars to take down the websites and Internet service providers to block subscriber access to sites accused of infringing.

SOPA would also allow copyright holders to seek court orders requiring online advertising networks and payment processors to stop supporting the alleged infringers if those businesses do not comply with requests from copyright holders. Under the current language, the court orders requested by copyright holders could target U.S. websites and services that enable or facilitate copyright, in addition to foreign websites.

Smith's proposed amendment would clarify that the bill applies only to foreign websites, not U.S. sites, accused of aiding copyright infringement. The amendment takes away language requiring Internet service providers, search engines and other services to redirect Web users who try to access a foreign site accused of infringing copyright, according to a Smith spokeswoman.

 

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