Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the “Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies (SMART) Copyright Act of 2022.” The bill forces every digital platform or website that allows for user-generated, uploaded content to use content monitoring software designated by the Copyright Office to avoid facing copyright infringement claims. Public Knowledge opposes the bill due to its reliance on government technology mandates; the lack of technical expertise within the Copyright Office; and unconstitutional delegation of authority to a non-expert agency within the legislative branch.
The following can be attributed to Nicholas Garcia, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“This bill is the latest example of legislation that threatens the vibrant, open, and innovative internet in the name of intellectual property protection. This bill will force digital platforms and websites to implement technical measures that monitor all content that users upload, automatically scrutinizing everything we write, create, and upload online for the sake of copyright protection.
“What is worse is that the details of these technical measures don’t even exist yet, and Congress has decided to give authority over these still-unknown and untested monitoring programs to the Copyright Office, which has very little technical expertise and a known history of prioritizing corporate interests over the interests of internet users and individual creators.
“To be clear: This bill opens the door to online censorship on a massive scale. While Public Knowledge steadfastly believes that protecting copyrighted works is essential for promoting creativity and protecting the livelihoods of creators, this bill threatens the very values it claims to protect and would be disastrous for a free, creative, and culturally rich internet. Unfortunately, the SMART Act is anything but.”
Learn more about Public Knowledge’s opposition to this bill in our group letter to Congress.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at email@example.com or 405-249-9435.