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Statements on Release of Bipartisan, Bicameral SOPA Alternative


Location: Washington, DC

Today Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-14), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16) and Jared Polis (CO-02) released the following statements regarding the legislative framework they developed with House and Senate colleagues to address the problem of copyright and trademark infringement perpetrated by websites operating outside the United States. The bipartisan group authored the draft as an alternative to H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). SOPA has been widely criticized for the harm it could do to legitimate online commerce and innovation, free speech, cybersecurity, and the technical infrastructure of the Internet.

The draft framework -- "Fighting the Unauthorized Trade of Digital Goods While Protecting Internet Security, Commerce and Speech" -- is authored by U.S. Senators Cantwell, Moran, Warner and Wyden and U.S. Representatives Chaffetz, Campbell, Doggett, Eshoo, Issa, Lofgren and Polis. To read the draft, please click here.

Rep. Anna Eshoo: "Rogue websites and the pirates behind them represent the hijacking of American genius, and must be stopped. But the Stop Online Piracy Act's overly broad language will seriously hinder the growth of new businesses, new investments, and new jobs. The economic opportunities and innovation created by the Internet and start-ups could be crushed under the weight of SOPA. That's why I hope that the discussion draft released yesterday serves as a good starting point for future discussions on how to best protect U.S. intellectual property rights."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren: "This bipartisan alternative is offered as a serious step toward building meaningful consensus to curb online piracy, which is a real and legitimate concern for me and my colleagues. The strength of this alternative is that it focuses on remedies that are proven to work without doing unnecessary collateral damage."

Rep. Jared Polis: "The most effective way to combat online piracy is by treating piracy as the foreign trade issue it is. Governments controlling the Internet, as China has done, whether it is done under the pretense of restricting speech or rights infringement, is not a direction that the United States should encourage. We can and must protect the Internet, promote job creation and continue fostering the most entrepreneurial sector of the U.S. economy by going after the money that supports these illicit activities without harming legitimate websites and the breathtaking architecture of the Internet itself."

Reps. Eshoo, Lofgren and Polis previously sent a letter along with a group of bipartisan Members to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers, expressing their opposition to H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). They expressed concern that the legislation would give the government broad new authority to order Internet Service Providers to implement various filtering technologies on their networks and create new forms of private legal action against websites.

In that letter, the Members wrote: "At a time of continued economic uncertainty, this legislation will result in fewer new businesses, fewer new investments, and fewer new jobs. 'Rogue websites' are no doubt a serious problem and we fully support targeted measures to shut them down. Like you, we understand the importance of combating piracy to protect the intellectual property of the American entertainment industry from copyright infringement in other parts of the world. We believe this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. The SOPA as written, however, is overly broad and would cause serious and long term damage to the technology industry, one of the few bright spots in our economy. We hope you will work with the technology community to find narrow and targeted remedies against online infringers. We also stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to find a solution that protects innovation, while combating against truly 'rogue' websites." The full letter by the bipartisan group of Members can be found here.

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