PIPA/SOPA: Understanding Anti-Piracy Acts
You may have recently heard about the two bills, PIPA and SOPA, or possibly even experienced the Internet “black out” associated with these bills on January 18, 2012. But, perhaps you do not know much about them except for what the acronym stands for and why they were introduced. This feature will help give a little background information on these two bills - along with some others that you may not have heard about, and provide you with some great resources to explore including videos, articles, webinars, and websites.
So, what are PIPA and SOPA?
PIPA: The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” or also known as the Protect IP Act was introduced on May 12, 2011, by the U.S. Senate and is chiefly sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy. This bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and copyright holders to file the court case which would result in “blocking access to and cutting revenue sources for websites, give copyright holders additional power to sue ‘rogue’ or infringing websites, encourage ad networks (e.g. Google, AdSense) and payment processors (e.g. MasterCard) to cut off service to websites (Section 5)” (American Library Association’s “PIPA, SOPA, and the OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide”)
SOPA: The Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced on October 26, 2011, by the U.S. House of Representatives and is chiefly sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith. This bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and copyright holders to file the court case which would result in “blocking access to and cutting revenue sources for websites, give copyright holders additional power to sue ‘rogue’ or infringing websites, encourage ad networks, payment providers, search engines, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), domain name registrars, etc., to cut off service to websites (Section 105), and Title II of the bill includes provisions related to streaming and other activities” (American Library Association’s “PIPA, SOPA, and the OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide”)
Another agreement which was recently signed by eight negotiating partners (United States, Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Morocco, and Singapore) on October 1, 2011, is said to be the “highest-standard plurilateral agreement ever achieved concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights.” (http://www.ustr.gov/acta)
ACTA: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was introduced in October 2007 as an intellectual property enforcement treaty. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, “the agreement also includes innovative provisions to deepen international cooperation and to promote strong intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement practices. Together, these provisions will help to support American jobs in innovative and creative industries against intellectual property theft.
One of the most recent bills that you may not have heard about is the OPEN Act. This bill was written to support two rights of Americans: 1) the right to access the open internet and 2) the right to benefit from what we have created.
OPEN Act: The Online Protection and ENforcement of Digital Trade Act was recently introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on January 18, 2012, and is largely supported by Sen. Ron Wyden. This bill would allow the International Trade Commission to control the foreign piracy websites, rather than the U.S. Department of Justice.
Now that you have reviewed the brief description of these acts, feel free to explore some of these informative resources that will explain the bills in more depth and give you a better understanding of how they could eventually affect you.
SOPA: http://www.pcworld.com/article/248298/sopa_and_pipa_just_the_facts.html, http://sopastrike.com/timeline, http://sopablackout.org/learnmore/
OPEN Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/3782?q=H.R.3782
ACTA: http://www.ustr.gov/acta, https://www.eff.org/issues/acta
Others: http://www.districtdispatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ALA_pipasopaopen_ref_guide.pdf, http://americancensorship.net/
Nebraska Library Commission’s NCompass Live Webinar: “SOPA and PIPA: What Libraries Need to Know” http://youtu.be/hd0-iCcgLJY