Public Knowledge Disappointed With House Intellectual Property Hearing
Public Knowledge Disappointed With House Intellectual Property Hearing
Public Knowledge Disappointed With House Intellectual Property Hearing

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    The House Judiciary Committee today held a
    hearing on HR 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). 

    The following is attributed to Gigi B.
    Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

    “This hearing was a great disappointment
    to those of us who work to achieve a balanced copyright policy.  The comments of the vast majority members of
    the Judiciary Committee clearly reflected the views of only one industry – the
    big media companies which are pushing this bill, yet another piece of
    legislation to impose Draconian measures on the technology sector – the fastest-growing
    and most productive part of our economy.

    “By focusing solely on those concerns, the
    Committee overlooked real and substantive objections from interests ranging
    across the spectrum from human-rights groups to entrepreneurs to Internet
    engineers to civil libertarians.  No one
    from these communities was invited to testify today.

    “As a result, members of the committee did
    not have the benefit of the wisdom of those groups.  They overlooked or brushed aside issues
    embodied in the small print of the bill which invest enormous power in big
    media and telecommunications companies. 

    “It was particularly egregious that none
    of the distinguished Internet engineers who warned of the dangers contained in
    the bill about the destabilization of the Internet were a part of the panel of
    witnesses.  The cybersecurity concerns
    should not be dismissed lightly.  We
    commend Rep. Zoe Lofgren for pointing out those shortcomings.

    “Perhaps most disappointing was the
    testimony of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante.  She reversed many of the positions on the
    issue that she took in March when she testified before the House Intellectual
    Property Subcommittee.  The SOPA
    legislation is in no way ‘measured,’ as she said today. 

    “In March, she raised concerns about that
    legislation should not “unnecessarily jeopardize the efficient
    operation of the Internet” while endorsing
    a ‘follow-the-money’ approach to shutting down rogue sites. Today, she supported
    SOPA without qualification and failed to address the harms to cybersecurity and
    the Domain Name System she feared not a few months ago, while minimizing the
    value of the ‘follow-the-money’ approach.

     “We hope the Committee will take the time to
    hear the objections of other communities of interest to remedy the serious
    situations this bill would create before moving it to the House floor.”