Net giants back ‘rogue sites’ Act

A coalition of nine of the largest Internet companies is backing the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, the anti-piracy measure proposed 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 an open letter to the legislators, 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 US 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. As with those bills, the OPEN Act is aimed at targeting ‘rogue’ piracy sites. The Wyden-Issa proposal differs from the other proposals in a number of ways .

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.

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.

Although Internet interests are falling in behind the Wyden-Issa bill, Hollywood is less keen on the proposal, with the Motion Picture Association of America suggesting it “goes easy” on piracy.

The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote today (Thursday December 15) on SOPA.

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