Protect IP Act

From SI410
Jump to: navigation, search
Image of Protect IP Act bill
The Protect IP Act, or PIPA is the US Senate's version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US House. According to the bill, the purpose of the Protect IP Act is to "To prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes [1]. The bill would expand both public and private enforcement of online copyright and trademark infringement [2].


The Protect IP Act is a bill of legislation passed by the United States Senate that grants the US attorney general greater accessibility to regulate web sites featuring pirated content and counterfeit goods. [3] By restricting access to websites with counterfeit products or illegal content, the government hopes to promote integrity and ethical business practices by websites on the internet. This bill also allows the United States Department of Justice greater legal access to consider the ramifications of such illicit activities and punish websites participating in them. The legislation was meant to protect content creators, but ultimately, posed more conflicts than benefits. [4]


In Congress

As of Tuesday December 11th, 2012 the Protect IP Act has support in the Senate from 31 Senators, on both sides of the aisle. In total, 10 Senators have withdrawn their support of this bill in 2012. Here is a complete list. [5]

Companies and Businesses

The Protect IP Act is largely supported by companies and businesses involved with copyrighted and trademarked products. Main supporters include the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America(MPAA), the Screen Actors Guild, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the National Football League, and Nike, Inc. among many others.[6]


In Congress

Many Senators have voiced concerns over the Protect IP Act, Especially Senator Ron Wyden(D-Oregon) who referenced issues that could possibly come up over basic rights like freedom of speech, innovation and Internet Integrity. [7]

Companies and Businesses

Companies and organizations that are opposed to the Protect IP Act are mainly Internet entrepreneurs. Websites like Facebook, Yahoo!, eBay, reddit, Google and Wikipedia all oppose the legislation. Other corporations like Mozilla, American Express, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation oppose the bill too. LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and Dennis Crowley from Foursquare signed a letter sent to Congress detailing their displeasure with the legislation, and urging them to abandon it. [8] Other letters, signed by many other technology upstarts, were sent to Congress concerned that the law would decidedly affect economic growth and expansion in it's current form. They claimed that the Protect IP Act would "chill innovation in legitimate services".[9] On January 18th, 2012 several websites, including Wikipedia, reddit, and CNet, staged an Internet blackout in protest of the bill. Some websites totally blocked access to their websites in protest. [10]

Controversy and Issues with the Protect IP Act

Demonstrators in New York protest PIPA on January 18 2012, the day Wikipedia instated a 24-hour blackout of its English-language articles. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Internet Rights groups have been advocating against the Protect IP Act because they believe it is a violation of our rights to free speech and restricts internet creativity. [4] They even went as far as comparing the act to censoring and filtering policies of the Chinese government. Another issue brought up by domain name scholars appears to be the ease with which users and counterfeiters could circumnavigate and avoid the enforcement policies brought about by the Protect IP Act. In addition, the bill is receiving criticism from popular newspapers such as The New York Times and Los Angeles Times for the vagueness and lack of specificity in the definitions of illicit activities and sale of counterfeit goods in the Protect IP Act. Another significant issue is the damage and restrictions caused by DNS filtering. Overall, there seem to be many issues that need to be addressed by the United States Senate in future modifications of the Protect IP Act. [4]

Filibuster Plan

While Internet Rights groups rally against the Protect IP Act, the Act also faces opposition from within the Senate. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has discussed a plan for a filibuster when the bill comes up in the Senate, likely in early December, 2011[11]. Senator Wyden is working with a iberal activist group called Demand Progress to gather signatures in opposition to the bill[11]. Wyden plans to read each for the names of those who signed during the filibuster, with over 50,000 names in the first 24 hours coming in after Wyden's request[11]. As of December 8 2011, over 985,000 signatures have been collected on the internet site Avaaz [12].

Difference between SOPA and PIPA

SOPA and PIPA are, essentially, two versions of the same anti-piracy bill. Both are intended to curb online piracy but with different provisions and specific wording in the bill.

To differentiate from SOPA, PIPA does not have a provision that requires search engines to remove “foreign infringing sites” from their indexes. But it does require more court intervention to take down a site. The only downside is that it penalizes a copyright holder for making a false claim of infringement. In other words, a content creator can be proved wrong regarding an infringing site and the site can do nothing about its costs incurred in the litigation process.[13] The key difference is that PIPA does not threaten a large number of legal and innovative online services, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. PIPA also has a greater chance of passing because it has not been in the spotlight and has progressed farther. PIPA has already passed out of committee and is primed for consideration by the full Senate, making it much farther along in the legislative process than the House’s SOPA.[14]

See Also


  1. Portion of SOPA Bill
  2. CNET. "PIPA changes"
  3. McDermott, E. "Managing Intellectual Property." London: 1 May 2011. Web. 30 November 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ballard, M. "The Protect IP Act: A Powerful Tool, A Powerful Controversy." Mondaq Business Briefing. 22 June 2011. Web. 30 November 2011.
  5. List of Co-Sponsors
  6. Letter supplied with a list of company supporters
  7. Ron Wyden official site - places hold on IP Act
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2
  12. Avaaz. "Save the Internet" Save The Internet
  14. SocialMediaCollective. "SOPA/PIPA Difference"

(back to index)