Fair use fans including Public
Knowledge, the American Library Association, and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation continue to have problems with the Preventing Real Online Threats to
Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011.
That is the reintroduction by
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the legislation targeting
overseas online IP pirates that is scheduled for mark up May 26 in his
A baker's dozen groups signed onto
a letter to Leahy and ranking member Charles Grassley (R-IA) saying the bill
had improved since its version in the last Congress--narrowing some of the
definitions to avoid overbreadth--but still needed work.
Their principal issues are what
they see as the bill's permission for ISPs to "interfere" with Domain
Name look-up services (DNS)--in the effort, which the groups do support, of
preventing intellectual property theft.
"It is critical that the
Committee, before endorsing such a change to U.S. law, explore whether DNS blocking would likely result in a
sufficient decrease in for-profit Internet piracy to justify taking such
risks," they write. Their concern, they say, is that allowing ISPS to
"tamper" with DNS responses would set a precedent for internet
blocking that other countries could use to suppress speech.
They are also concerned about
making "information tools" subject to the bill's jurisdiction, which
they argue ""makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially
subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions
regarding government interference with online activity and speech."
The major studios and unions have
come out solidly behind the bill as a needed tool to combat the piracy of
digital TV shows and movies that threatens jobs, profits, and the ability to
securely program to a growing broadband delivery model.