Commentary

More Lawmakers - Including Pelosi - Come Out Against 'Dangerous' Piracy Bill

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has added her voice to the list of lawmakers who have lined up against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act.

"Need to find a better solution than #SOPA," the Democrat from California tweeted Thursday in response to a question about her position on "Internet censoring" and the bill.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) also predicted that the bill was unlikely to pass. “I think it’s way too extreme, it infringes on too many areas that our leadership will know is simply too dangerous to do in its current form," he told The Hill.

Issa added that his colleagues in Washington are realizing that the measure has "many unintended consequences."

The lawmaker's statements come the same week that a House panel held a hearing on the measure, aimed at targeting "rogue" sites that are supposedly "dedicated" to infringement. The bill provides for court orders banning ad networks and payment processors from doing business with such sites.

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Additionally, the bill provides for court orders forcing search engines to stop returning links to "rogue" sites. And it enables the government to obtain orders banning Internet service providers from putting through traffic to certain URLs -- though Web users could still reach the sites by typing in their numerical addresses.

Hollywood says this type of legislation is needed to curb offshore companies who host pirated clips.

But a broad coalition of tech companies, Internet engineers, law professors and digital rights groups say the bill does more harm than good.

One of the major objections is that the bill's definition of rogue sites is so broad that it could include nearly every social media company that allows users to post content. That's because the bill says that a site can be considered dedicated to infringement if it “fails to confirm” a high probability that it's used for infringing activities.

In other words, if YouTube, Flickr or countless other companies offering users platforms fail to police their posts, those companies could be viewed as dedicated to infringement. That means that if this bill passes in its current form, a large number of Web social media companies could face difficult days ahead.

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