Here is a list of companies in support of SOPA legislation.
12/08/2011 @ 9:22PM |2,303 views
The Case For Supporting SOPA And PROTECT IP
Guest post written by Steve Tepp
Steve Tepp: Protect our IP.
Last month, 150 online illegal enterprises were shut down by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of its ongoing “Operation in Our Sites” campaign against theft of intellectual property. While the operators of these websites may be saying “Bah Humbug!,” consumers and businesses alike are all the better for it, especially during this season of giving (and therefore, shopping).
Though the narrative around the issue of rogue sites and the pending legislation in the House and Senate to rid the U.S. market of these has somehow zeroed in on the content industry, a quick glance at the domain names seized in this latest haul tells quite a compelling – and contrary – story.
Of the 150 websites in question, less than five infringed on the IP belonging to the entertainment industry. The vast majority of these rogue sites sold consumer goods that you or I could encounter any given day with any given click of the mouse. For instance, many of these sites sold counterfeit sports clothing, designer shoes and handbags and even pirated exercise programs.
Since the program’s inception in June 2010, “Operation in Our Sites” has removed well over 300 of the worst-of-the-worst rogue sites from the e-marketplace. These domain seizures are a great boost to businesses because they are able to protect their investments that they put into their creative and innovative products; a great boost to workers in these innovative industries who will continue to be employed because these innovations are adequately protected; and a great boost to consumer confidence in shopping online, knowing they have to worry a little less about malicious computer viruses or health and safety risks associated with these deceitful rogue products.
It is worth noting that since the program began a year and a half ago, the Internet hasn’t broken, Web entrepreneurship is humming along, and free speech is alive and well in America. All of which proves what should be obvious to all; the Internet is a better place when criminals can’t abuse it to steal jobs and harm consumers.
But Operation in Our Sites cannot solve the entire problem of online IP theft. While we have the ability to enforce our existing IP laws against rogue sites operating within our borders, our enforcement agencies currently lack the legal tools to enforce these very same laws on rogue sites operating outside of the U.S. And indeed, many of these rogue sites are entirely foreign.
This is precisely the loophole that PROTECT IP and SOPA are intended to plug: apply existing laws to the operators of foreign rogue websites that blatantly and intentionally skirt these laws for their own profit and give our courts and enforcement agencies a tool to cut these sites off from the U.S. market.
We would not tolerate for a moment a store that was dedicated to selling illegal and stolen products, so why would we ever give criminals a free pass to deceive American consumers and harm our most innovative and productive industries in the Internet marketplace?
Unsurprisingly, there is a huge and diverse backing for rogue sites legislation.Businesses, labor organizations, third parties, Constitutional experts,attorneys general, Republicans, Democrats, consumer advocates, and even consumers themselves have all said enough with this pilfering of American (intellectual) property.
As the legislative process moves forward, we look forward to legitimate concerns being addressed with the goal of an effective, commercially reasonable law. But the one thing that ought to be rejected out of hand is doing nothing to stop this ongoing flood of theft.