updated 08:55 pm EST, Wed February 1, 2012
Trade group claims legislation will worsen problem
The Recording Industry Association of America has come out swinging in opposition to an anti-piracy bill that has been proposed in the wake of the much-derided Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. The new proposal, referred to as the Open Act (PDF), relies on the International Trade Commission to investigate copyright infringement claims.
The RIAA argues that an approach using the ITC will require claimants to hire a lawyer and "put justice out of reach for small business American victims of IP theft," according to a statement that was distributed to members of Congress and quoted by Ars Technica.
"[The Open Act] does not establish a workable framework, standards, or remedies," the trade group added. "It is not supported by those it purports to protect."
The legislation would require proof that site owners willfully profited from infringement, however the RIAA claims it is "virtually impossible" to gather such evidence and essentially "escuses willful blindness and outright complicity in illegal activity."
Under the Open Act, sites that are determined to be guilty of participating in willful infringement would be barred from doing business with American advertising networks and payment processors. The legislation aims to ensure that legitimate businesses are protected by safe harbor provisions, while intellectual property disputes are handled by IP experts and follow due process.
The recent Megaupload shutdown and subsequent arrest of the file sharing service's founder, which required collaboration between US and foreign law enforcement officials, has been viewed as evidence that the government already has power to pursue copyright violation on the web, though the case outcome has yet to be decided in court.
Interestingly enough, the RIAA statement did not include any references to the SOPA and PIPA legislation that was met with strong opposition and protests from a wide range of tech companies. The RIAA and MPAA are nonetheless believed to be working on a modified version of the same legislation, though it is not expected to reemerge under the same names or during an election year.