Summary

A bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes. Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on May 26, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Bill Text

A BILL

To prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011'' or the ``PROTECT IP Act of 2011''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

For purposes of this Act-- (1) the term ``domain name'' has the same meaning as in section 45 of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1127); (2) the term ``domain name system server'' means a server or other mechanism used to provide the Internet protocol address associated with a domain name; (3) the term ``financial transaction provider'' has the same meaning as in section 5362(4) of title 31, United States Code; (4) the term ``information location tool'' has the same meaning as described in subsection (d) of section 512 of title 17, United States Code; (5) the term ``Internet advertising service'' means a service that for compensation sells, purchases, brokers, serves, inserts, verifies, or clears the placement of an advertisement, including a paid or sponsored search result, link, or placement that is rendered in viewable form for any period of time on an Internet site; (6) the term ``Internet site'' means the collection of digital assets, including links, indexes, or pointers to digital assets, accessible through the Internet that are addressed relative to a common domain name; (7) the...

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Organizations Supporting

This legislation will give Federal law enforcement more tools to go after rogue websites internationally that facilitate copyright infringement, sell unauthorized/infringing copyrighted works, and traffic in counterfeit consumer goods including pharmaceuticals and knock-offs. The Graphic Artists Guild supports this bipartisan legislation and applauds Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judiciary Ranking Member Senator Charles Grassley, and all of the co-sponsors.

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Graphic Artists Guild 3 years ago

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) have united in support of efforts to address today's gravest threat to the American film industry workforce: the illegal distribution of content online. And they are working closely with an even wider coalition of entertainment union workers, and organizations, businesses and labor groups involved in the production, sale and distribution of creative content. Under the PROTECT IP Act, foreign websites, formerly operating outside the realm of U.S. law, would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. registrars, registries, Internet service providers, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services to sustain their illicit online businesses. Attacking the financial underpinnings of these illegal sites and the criminals that operate them will help take profit out of their illicit operations. The anonymity of the Internet would no longer provide the lucrative safe-haven for thieves that it does today. Jean Prewitt, IFTA President & CEO commented, "This legislation will be a substantial step forward in the effort to drain profits away from rogue websites that benefit from unauthorized sales of counterfeit or illegitimately distributed goods and, in doing so, to protect consumers, creators and others in the legitimate chain of commerce. Reaching sites originating outside the U.S. is critical to fighting a worldwide epidemic that is destroying the ability of the independent film industry to obtain the financing needed to produce future films, and we are appreciative of the bipartisan Congressional leadership engaged to craft sorely needed remedies." “Movie theater operators are acutely aware of the increasingly harmful effects that IP theft has on our nation’s economy. Few issues are as bipartisan as fighting online theft, and NATO applauds our leaders on Capitol Hill for reaching across the aisle to craft balanced IP enforcement legislation that targets the rogue websites threatening the livelihoods of 160,000 movie theater employees and undermining the nation’s economic growth,” said John Fithian, NATO President and CEO. "To the camera crew, the makeup artists, the truck drivers and all the other hard-working middleclass Americans involved in the making of a motion picture or television show, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits for them and their families," said Michael O'Leary, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs of the MPAA. "We want to thank Chairman Leahy, Senator Hatch and the other cosponsors for recognizing the true cost of online content theft and for seeking new tools to effectively enforce U.S. laws on the online marketplace." "We look forward to working with the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in the House, Chairman Lamar Smith and other leaders who are drafting their own bill to target rogue websites to ensure that the final legislation passed by both chambers and presented to the President provides adequate online protection of the American film and television community, an industry that supports 2.4 million American jobs," O'Leary said. Internet sites that steal and distribute American intellectual property are often foreign-owned and operated, or reside at domain names that are not registered through a U.S.-based registry or registrar, setting them outside the scope of U.S. law enforcement. The Justice Department and rights holders are currently limited in their options for legal recourse, even when the website is directed at American consumers and steals American-owned intellectual property. This legislation authorizes the Justice Department to seek a court order directing intermediaries and other U.S.-based third parties to cease providing transactions and support services to infringing sites. These third parties would then be required to take appropriate action to either prevent access to the Internet site (in the case of an Internet service provider or search engine), or cease doing business with the Internet site (in the case of a payment processor or advertising network). The bill would also authorize rights holders a limited "right of action" to seek a court order against the domain name registrant, owner, or the domain name that is infringing their copyrights. To prevent the same site from simply reappearing online, this legislation would also authorize the Justice Department or rights holders to bring action against previously seized sites that have been reconstituted under a different domain name, site owner, or registrant, in the same Federal court, streamlining the infringing site's elimination from the online marketplace. http://www.mpaa.org/resources/e62fa607-8234-4120-97f2-aa4082cd691a.pdf

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The Independent Film & Television Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) have united in support of efforts to address today's gravest threat to the American film industry workforce: the illegal distribution of content online. And they are working closely with an even wider coalition of entertainment union workers, and organizations, businesses and labor groups involved in the production, sale and distribution of creative content. Under the PROTECT IP Act, foreign websites, formerly operating outside the realm of U.S. law, would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. registrars, registries, Internet service providers, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services to sustain their illicit online businesses. Attacking the financial underpinnings of these illegal sites and the criminals that operate them will help take profit out of their illicit operations. The anonymity of the Internet would no longer provide the lucrative safe-haven for thieves that it does today. http://www.mpaa.org/Resources/e62fa607-8234-4120-97f2-aa4082cd691a.pdf

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IPO ENDORSES BILL TO COMBAT ROGUE WEBSITES -- Last Friday the IPO Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting, in principle, S. 968, the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” (the “PROTECT IP Act”). The proposed legislation is intended to crack down on rogue websites selling infringing or counterfeit goods. It was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and has been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. http://www.ipo.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Search&template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=30094

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Organizations Opposing

The PROTECT IP Act (formerly known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)) is an Internet censorship bill that tampers with one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet, the domain name system, or DNS. With the support of big entertainment companies, this bill may even require DNS providers to block certain websites. Who decides what’s infringing, and which sites you can and can’t visit? The Federal Government. If passed, this bill would represent unprecedented U.S. government tampering with and censorship of the Internet.

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Don't Censor the Net! 3 years ago

We believe that the government shouldn't be in the business of censoring the Internet.

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Demand Progress 3 years ago

Fractured Atlas respects and defends the rights of copyright holders, but the Protect IP Act is far too blunt an instrument and will do more harm than good. Giving a US government agency censorship powers over US citizens is a very serious matter, and there must be safeguards to ensure sufficient due process and to minimize false positives.

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Fractured Atlas 3 years ago

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley: Although the undersigned entities harbor no sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to sell illegal products online, we cannot support S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, in its current form. The legislation has been improved over its predecessor with the removal of provisions targeting domain name registries and registrars, and with the narrowing of certain definitions to avoid some of the overbreadth issues inherent in the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. We appreciate your work on these matters. Nonetheless, certain provisions within S. 968 continue to threaten the stability, freedom, and economic potential of the Internet. The new legislation maintains the provision to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others to interfere with Domain Name System (DNS) lookup services by tampering with their DNS responses. We continue to believe that such a provision would be ineffective and runs contrary to the US government’s commitment to advancing a single, global Internet. Its inclusion risks setting a precedent for other countries, even democratic ones, to use DNS mechanisms to enforce a range of domestic policies, erecting barriers on the global medium of the Internet. Non-democratic regimes could seize on the precedent to justify measures that would hinder online freedom of expression and association. In addition, circumventing DNS blocking risks substantial collateral damage by making domestic networks and users more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, and would increase opportunities for identity theft as users migrate to offshore DNS providers not subject to S. 968. It is critical that the Committee, before endorsing such a change to U.S. law, explore whether DNS blocking would likely result in a sufficient decrease in for-profit Internet piracy to justify taking such risks. Furthermore, the new inclusion of “information location tools” (also referred to as the “search engine” portion of the bill) has expanded the legislation’s reach. The term "information location tools" appears to encompass "director[ies], index[es], reference[s], pointer[s], or hypertext link[s].” With this provision in place, S. 968 makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions regarding government interference with online activity and speech. http://www.publicknowledge.org/Public-Interest-Letter-PROTECT-IP-Act

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Public Knowledge 3 years ago

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley: Although the undersigned entities harbor no sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to sell illegal products online, we cannot support S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, in its current form. The legislation has been improved over its predecessor with the removal of provisions targeting domain name registries and registrars, and with the narrowing of certain definitions to avoid some of the overbreadth issues inherent in the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. We appreciate your work on these matters. Nonetheless, certain provisions within S. 968 continue to threaten the stability, freedom, and economic potential of the Internet. The new legislation maintains the provision to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others to interfere with Domain Name System (DNS) lookup services by tampering with their DNS responses. We continue to believe that such a provision would be ineffective and runs contrary to the US government’s commitment to advancing a single, global Internet. Its inclusion risks setting a precedent for other countries, even democratic ones, to use DNS mechanisms to enforce a range of domestic policies, erecting barriers on the global medium of the Internet. Non-democratic regimes could seize on the precedent to justify measures that would hinder online freedom of expression and association. In addition, circumventing DNS blocking risks substantial collateral damage by making domestic networks and users more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, and would increase opportunities for identity theft as users migrate to offshore DNS providers not subject to S. 968. It is critical that the Committee, before endorsing such a change to U.S. law, explore whether DNS blocking would likely result in a sufficient decrease in for-profit Internet piracy to justify taking such risks. Furthermore, the new inclusion of “information location tools” (also referred to as the “search engine” portion of the bill) has expanded the legislation’s reach. The term "information location tools" appears to encompass "director[ies], index[es], reference[s], pointer[s], or hypertext link[s].” With this provision in place, S. 968 makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions regarding government interference with online activity and speech. http://www.publicknowledge.org/Public-Interest-Letter-PROTECT-IP-Act

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Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley: Although the undersigned entities harbor no sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to sell illegal products online, we cannot support S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, in its current form. The legislation has been improved over its predecessor with the removal of provisions targeting domain name registries and registrars, and with the narrowing of certain definitions to avoid some of the overbreadth issues inherent in the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. We appreciate your work on these matters. Nonetheless, certain provisions within S. 968 continue to threaten the stability, freedom, and economic potential of the Internet. The new legislation maintains the provision to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and others to interfere with Domain Name System (DNS) lookup services by tampering with their DNS responses. We continue to believe that such a provision would be ineffective and runs contrary to the US government’s commitment to advancing a single, global Internet. Its inclusion risks setting a precedent for other countries, even democratic ones, to use DNS mechanisms to enforce a range of domestic policies, erecting barriers on the global medium of the Internet. Non-democratic regimes could seize on the precedent to justify measures that would hinder online freedom of expression and association. In addition, circumventing DNS blocking risks substantial collateral damage by making domestic networks and users more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks, and would increase opportunities for identity theft as users migrate to offshore DNS providers not subject to S. 968. It is critical that the Committee, before endorsing such a change to U.S. law, explore whether DNS blocking would likely result in a sufficient decrease in for-profit Internet piracy to justify taking such risks. Furthermore, the new inclusion of “information location tools” (also referred to as the “search engine” portion of the bill) has expanded the legislation’s reach. The term "information location tools" appears to encompass "director[ies], index[es], reference[s], pointer[s], or hypertext link[s].” With this provision in place, S. 968 makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions regarding government interference with online activity and speech. http://www.publicknowledge.org/Public-Interest-Letter-PROTECT-IP-Act

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Bill Summary

A bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.

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