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Mon, Sep 22, 2014

BURRISS: Stop Online Piracy Act could stop some sites

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Ever since the early days of broadcasting, nearly 100 years ago, the law has had an almost impossible time trying to keep up with technology.

Every time legislators think they have the technology figured out, a new wrinkle comes along that changes all of the rules.

Now Congress is trying to figure out how to prevent cyber-theft of movies, songs and consumer goods, which is a good thing, but in the process may end up shutting down innumerable legitimate websites, particularly social media and user-generated content.

What the proposals do is allow almost any court in the United States to issue an order forcing Internet Service Providers to block access to any site that might be infringing the law.

And advertising networks would not be allowed to present ads either on or about the allegedly infringing site.

The law also requires the ISP to prevent access to infringing sites.

But in order to do this the provider will have to screen every bit of traffic in its entire user base.

But this in turn has serious implications for invasion of privacy concerns.

But notice what the proposed law does.

Your site doesn’t have to actually be doing anything wrong.

So long as there is an accusation, you could be shut down.

So ultimately the law will result in lawful sites being blocked, not just those engaged in stealing other peoples’ intellectual property.

Even innocent social media sites could be charged with “facilitating” infringement simply because they providing the platforms for other users’ content.

And all it would take is some over-zealous individual, or government, to file a complaint to put innumerable providers and users at risk.

It’s been estimated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that companies lose $135 billion a year to counterfeiting and piracy.

But a guiding principle in American law is innocent until proven guilty.

This new attempt at Internet regulation promises to stand the long-cherished tradition on its head.
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Media Matters
Tags: 
Chamber of Commerce, Governement, Internet, Larry Burriss, Media, Piracy, Technology, Voices
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Members Opinions:
November 27, 2011 at 8:00am
"What the proposals do is allow almost any court in the United States to issue an order forcing Internet Service Providers to block access to any site that might be infringing the law."
The hypothetical cases Burriss gives would be sorted out in a court as to which have merit and thus determine who is "innocent" and who isn't.

November 27, 2011 at 1:13pm
I understand why Congress is trying to figure out how to prevent cyber-theft of movies and songs. It is astonishing that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that $135 billion a year has been lost due to counterfeiting and piracy. On the other had they have to be careful to not shut-down the legitimate websites. This could potently be a problem of right to privacy as well as over- bredth of a law. And I would even categorize it as a time place and manner issue as well. The internet is unquestionably a pubic area. Public places are a place where the common person can communicate with the public in general. By creating the online Piracy Act it will defiantly effect even the innocent social media sites. If you are connected with any social media site chances are you are connected to other places as well, the web is an intermingled system. I think it might just be worth it to try to stop the sites that are allowing the thief of online material. I had Dr. Burriss as a teacher, so I know he understands in great deal about this subject matter. I am just stating my opinion that attempting to shut-down unlawful sites and losing a few lawful ones just might be worth it.
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