THE US SENATOR that proposed the Protect IP Act (PIPA) has admitted that it needs more study, however the same cannot be said of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Commenting in a release on his web site, Senator Leahy, who introduced PIPA back in 2010 as a way of protecting intellectual property, said that he will suggest further study and, along with other sponsors, write an amendment to it.
At issue is the part of PIPA that lets law enforcement obtain a court order that makes internet service providers (ISPs) use the Domain Name System (DNS) to block access to "foreign rogue websites".
"This provision was drafted in response to concerns that law enforcement has remedies it can take against domestic websites, but does not currently have the power to stop foreign rogue websites," said Leahy. "I worked closely with the ISPs in drafting this provision to ensure they were comfortable with how it would work, and I appreciate their support."
During this process problems with blocking web sites using DNS popped up, and Leahy warned that should these issues and criticisms not be resolved, then PIPA could lose support.
"It is also through this process that I and the bill's cosponsors have continued to hear concerns about the Domain Name provision from engineers, human rights groups, and others. I have also heard from a number of Vermonters on this important issue," he added.
"I remain confident that the ISPs - including the cable industry, which is the largest association of ISPs - would not support the legislation if its enactment created the problems that opponents of this provision suggest. Nonetheless, this is in fact a highly technical issue, and I am prepared to recommend we give it more study before implementing it."
The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the legislation, which is sponsored by more than 40 Senators, on 24 January.
Although there is only the promise of some discussion, this is at least progress. The same cannot be said of noises coming out of the SOPA camp.
There, backers are vehement that the Stop Online Piracy Act is just fine, and that anyone that opposes it is wrong. "It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don't want to protect American consumers and businesses," said Republican Representative Lamar Smith in an interview with Reuters.
"Are they somehow benefiting by directing customers to these foreign websites? Do they profit from selling advertising to these foreign websites? And if they do, they need to be stopped. And I don't mind taking that on." µ
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