Other Voices on SOPA and PIPA

Published January 3, 2012

The Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R.3261, and PROTECT IP Act, S.B. 968, go too far in expanding the authority of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders in fighting online trafficking of copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods, two legal experts say.

“The flaws in the legislation are legion,” says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“This legislation offers a draconian tool that could be used to shut down sites that are perfectly legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In this economic environment, it’s frankly shocking that Congress is even contemplating such a job-killing bill.”

Richard Allen Epstein, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, says the current approach by the House and the Senate to strengthening digital copyright laws and fighting online piracy may not be the best one.

“In general, the presumption should be set against new legislation. That presumption should be stronger when the state seeks to enlist one private party to supervise the conduct of a second. It should be stronger still when the technological evolution will make the fixes of today obsolete tomorrow. All these presumptions cut against SOPA.”