Obama Administration Renewing SOPA Push?

Earlier this year, conservatives across the country – as well as prominent companies like Google and Wikipedia – protested the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Heritage Action joined the fight by issuing a key vote alert against the bills and building a coalition of lawmakers who opposed the bills. The result was clear: both bills crumbled under pressure and our key vote was declared “the key driving factor in Republicans peeling off the bill…” by a Washington insider.

However, no victory is permanent in Washington. CQ (subs. req’d) brings us the details on a renewed push by the Obama Administration:

The Obama administration issued a report Wednesday highlighting the importance of intellectual property protections to the U.S. economy.

The Commerce Department for the first time reviewed the role that intellectual property plays in private industry. In January, anti-piracy legislation that would have made it more difficult for foreign websites to steal copyrighted content stalled in Congress after an outcry from internet companies worried about the hampering of online innovation and infringement upon free-speech rights.

In the new report, the White House stopped short of directing Congress on legislation. Instead, the administration emphasized the ways that intellectual property drives the economy and creates jobs.

Although the Commerce report did not propose policy recommendations, administration officials and private-sector leaders made the case for strong intellectual property protections at a White House conference Wednesday.

“It’s clear that intellectual property protection is more critical than ever so that Americans know their ideas will be protected, and they have greater incentives to pursue advances that keep us competitive,” Commerce Secretary John Bryson said.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka voiced particular concern about the pirating of U.S. content by Chinese websites. The labor union supported the anti-piracy bills (S 968, HR 3261) that derailed in Congress earlier this year.

SOPA and PIPA must not be passed in any way, shape or form. These bills force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that have been accused of facilitating copyright infringement. This would set a dangerous precedent that would allow the federal government – and others – to filter domains. It would put a tremendous legal burden on the accused websites, as they would have to prove their innocence after being accused and removed from search engines. This will cause these websites to lose necessary traffic and commerce in the meantime.

Heritage Action remains vigilant…

Related Links:
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on SOPA and PIPA
SOPA: Another Government Power Grab
Free Speech: An Unintended Victim of Protect IP and SOPA?
Online Piracy and SOPA: Beware of Unintended Consequences
Online Piracy (SOPA) and Internet Security (PIPA) Bills in Congress

Morning Bell: The Unintended Consequences of Internet Regulation

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