Senate Judiciary Approves PROTECT IP Act

Broadcasting & Cable
The Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t waste any time passing the PROTECT IP Act in a markup Thursday. The bill takes aim at rogue overseas web sites pirating content, including TV shows and movies.

It is supported by the 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.

“We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for its quick approval of the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 and we urge the Senate to pass this important legislation this year,” said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. “By cracking down on rogue websites that have for too long encouraged the theft of valuable content and intellectual property, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 sends a strong message that this illicit practice will no longer be tolerated.  We’ll continue to work closely with Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and Sen. Hatch to move this important legislation forward.”

“We congratulate Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley for their dedication and leadership in support of the PROTECT IP Act…” said the American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and others in a joint statement.

“Today’s decisive action by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the PROTECT IP Act sends a clear message that rogue sites-those devoted to the sale of counterfeit goods or distribution of pirated content-have no place in the legitimate marketplace,:” said the U.S. chamber of Commerce.

Public Knowledge, one of the groups that has issues with the bill, called it overbroad, ripe for abuse and bad international precedent. Though it supports combating online piracy, PK thinks this is not the way to go about it. “So the question is, is an ineffective bill worth the risk of damaging free speech and the functioning of the Internet? We say no.”

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