A coalition of nine of the largest Web companies are backing the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act -- an anti-piracy proposal unveiled last week by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif).
“We write today to express our support for the legislation you are developing,” states the letter, signed by Facebook, Google, Mozilla, eBay, AOL, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn and Zynga. The companies add that the approach outlined in the OPEN Act “targets foreign rogue sites without inflicting collateral damage on legitimate, law-abiding U.S. Internet companies.”
The OPEN Act is seen as an alternative to PROTECT-IP and SOPA -- anti-piracy proposals currently pending in the Senate and House. Like those bills, the OPEN Act is aimed at targeting “rogue” piracy sites. But the Wyden-Issa proposal differs in several significant ways from the other proposals.
SOPA and PROTECT-IP provide for court orders banning ad networks and payment processors from doing business with “rogue” piracy sites. The measures also contemplate court orders forcing search engines to stop returning links to sites dedicated to infringement. And the proposals would allow 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 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 bill also would empower the International Trade Commission to take action against foreign websites dedicated to copyright infringement.
While Silicon Valley might be lining up behind the Wyden-Issa bill, Hollywood isn't enthusiastic about the proposal. The Motion Picture Association of America said the proposal “goes easy” on piracy.
The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote tomorrow on SOPA.