Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), presidential candidate and chair of the Tea Party Caucus, says she has "serious concerns" about the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP Act), which would give the government and copyright holders more power to pursue off-shore digital content theft.
In a letter to IP Act critic Demand Progress, according to a copy of the letter supplied by the group, she says those concerns center on the government getting involved in regulation of the Internet and what she calls "ambiguities" in the bill that could result in an "explosion of destructive, innovation-stalling lawsuits."
."In June, Congresswoman Bachmann started hearing from constituents who oppose S.968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011," said BAchmann press secretary Becky Rogness. "As is frequently the case when constituents contact their representative about an issue, Congresswoman Bachmann sent a letter in response to her constituents concerned about the PROTECT IP Act of 2011."
The Act (S.968), which takes aim at rogue overseas Web sites pirating content, including TV shows and movies, was motor manned to Senate Judiciary Committee passage last May by author and Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). It has yet to get a vote in the full Senate due to a hold on the bill reportedly placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The bill would empower the Attorney General or a copyright owner to sue content-infringing Web sites registered under a nondomestic domain name.
It is supported by major studios, unions, broadcasters and cable operators, but fair use fans still have issues with what they say are overbroad powers that could send the wrong signal to foreign governments.
There has been renewed attention on the bill in recent weeks. The Consumer Electronics Association last week called on House leaders to convene stakeholder meetings to talk about the concerns of its members and others about the Senate bill -- there is talk that a similar bill will be introduced in the House. The law's critics have called it overbroad, ripe for abuse and bad international precedent.
CEA says the bill "will constrain economic growth and threaten a vital sector of the U.S. economy and a major source of global competitiveness."
The bill is backed by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Motion Picture Association of America, among others.