Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) have been among the most vocal opponents of PROTECT-IP and SOPA -- anti-piracy proposals currently pending in the Senate and House.
Today, the lawmakers unveiled a draft of a competing anti-piracy bill -- the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. That measure targets piracy by empowering the International Trade Commission to take action against foreign websites dedicated to copyright infringement.
SOPA and PROTECT-IP provide for court orders banning ad networks and payment processors from doing business with “rogue” piracy sites. The measures also provide for orders forcing search engines to stop returning links to sites dedicated to infringement. And they enable 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.
The Wyden-Issa proposal differs from SOPA and PROTECT-IP in a few key respects. One of the most significant is that the Wyden-Issa proposal doesn't provide for orders requiring search engines to stop indexing sites, or for service providers to stop putting through traffic to certain URLs.
The lawmakers posted the draft online and are soliciting feedback through the Web -- a process that in itself has impressed some observers like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The introduction of a true, targeted alternative to SOPA and PIPA, and the open process with which it's being introduced, is good news for the tech community, for the Internet, and for the democratic process,” the group stated today.
The Motion Picture Association of America, on the other hand, is not impressed. Michael O'Leary, senior executive vice president, said in a statement that the proposal “goes easy on online piracy and counterfeiting.”
O'Leary says that that copyright holders will be at a disadvantage at the International Trade Commission. He also argues that content owners should be able to force search engines to block links to “foreign rogue” sites.