Public Knowledge Statement on Leahy ‘Pirate Site’ Legislation
Public Knowledge Statement on Leahy ‘Pirate Site’ Legislation
Public Knowledge Statement on Leahy ‘Pirate Site’ Legislation

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    Earlier today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy introduced legislation to allow action against so-called ‘pirate’ web sites.  More details here.

    The following statement is attributed to Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director for Public Knowledge:

    “We welcome the legislation by Chairman Leahy and his colleagues as a good-faith effort to combat infringement.  However, in doing so, we also must point out some reservations we have about the bill in its current form.

    “The bill has some troubling political and technical implications, particularly as it attempts to extend U.S. control over the worldwide Internet addressing system.

    “Domestically, we are concerned that the bill would establish an Internet black list of sites that the Justice Department thinks are ‘pirate’ sites but against which it hasn’t taken action.  Putting an innocent site on this list could seriously harm the business of legitimate Web site operators.  The remedies in the bill for those guilty until they prove themselves innocent are inadequate.

    “ We are also concerned about some of the vague definitions of what constitutes an infringing site and of the level of proof needed.  It’s quite possible that this bill would have allowed entertainment companies to throttle YouTube at the beginning of its creation by alleging piracy and the young company would have been unable to defend itself.”

    “We look forward to working with Chairman Leahy as this bill moves through the legislative process.  There are still many disputed issues and we hope the Judiciary Committee will take its time to work through them.”