Issa introduces OPEN Act

Having earlier described the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) anti-piracy measures as threats to the openness, freedom, and innovation of the Internet, and supported the actions of websites which went ‘dark’ Wednesday January 18th in protest at the legislation, US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has taken the opportunity officially to introduce H.R. 3782, the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act in the US House of Representatives, describing the bill as “an effective, targeted solution to online copyright infringement”.

Issa claims the bill delivers stronger intellectual property rights for American artists and innovators while protecting the open, accessible Internet Americans deserve. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill protects American artists and innovators through the International Trade Commission (ITC), by applying due process to investigate intellectual property infringement claims against foreign ‘rogue’ websites and cuts off funding to sites found to be wilfully and primarily trafficking infringed material,” read a Press Release from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Senator Ron Wyden, has introduced the OPEN Act in the US Senate.

“OPEN is a targeted, effective solution to the problem of foreign, rogue websites stealing from American artists and innovators,” said Issa. “Today’s Internet blackout has underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA to the real problem of intellectual property infringement. OPEN is a smarter way to protect taxpayers’ rights while protecting the Internet.”

Issa and Wyden released the draft OPEN Act in December 2011, using the Madison platform to open up the legislative process to taxpayers for the first time. Since then, OPEN has received more than 150 substantive comments and crowd-sourced suggested improvements, many of which were included in the formal bill introduction. To date, nearly 300,000 Americans have visited the website.

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