The Internet has won the fight. SOPA and ACTA are both dead after having been eviscerated by the combined powers of the world coming together to fight for what they believe in – basic digital human rights. We can now rest easy knowing that the war has come to an end. Politicians would never think to bring them back, even under the guise of innocuous trade agreements and IP bills, right? Right?
Unfortunately, the war is not won and it's looking like the war will never end. SOPA and ACTA are both back in new forms that are even harder to kill than before. I can understand SOPA being back as it's been dead for a while, but are they really trying to push through ACTA right after it was defeated in the European Parliament? The answer is an astounding yes and the tactics that politicians are employing to regulate the Internet are pretty terrifying.
Does the return of SOPA and ACTA surprise you in the least? Will we ever end the war against Internet legislation? Let us know in the comments.
Let's start with the return of SOPA. It's important to point out now that SOPA is not returning in full just yet. I don't think that Rep. Lamar Smith would be foolish enough to propose SOPA again after such a big defeat in January. So what part of the bill is he trying to push through? The IP attaches part that expands the power of the U.S. copyright diplomats. These people, according to techdirt, go around the world forcing other countries to make their IP laws just as ruthless and unforgiving as they are in the West.
Well, that doesn't sound so bad. I mean, at least it doesn't affect the Internet in any major way. You forget that IP protection now affects the Internet in a very big way. The U.S. is pushing for some of the strongest regulations against online piracy with a six-strike rule to be implemented this month by major ISPs. By forcing foreign countries to follow these same draconian laws, it prevents us from being able to work together on a compromise that protects artists and the freedom that the Internet provides. The current plan only protects rights holders and the big wigs running the show.
As we reported on yesterday, the worst part about the new Intellectual Property Attache Act is that it expands the role of the IP attaches into their own agency. They are currently housed under the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Being let loose on their own with no oversight could have damaging implications in the fight for fair IP laws.
Another worrying factor is that Rep. Darrell Issa, opponent of SOPA, has signed on as a co-sponsor of the IP Attache Act. His spokesman told TechCrunch that he supports the bill because it protects American interests in foreign countries. He does, however, say that he will work to amend the bill before it goes before the committee to include protections like fair use. Whether he accomplishes that remains to be seen, but don't get too optimistic.Does the IP Attaches Act sound like SOPA to you? Are people getting worried for no reason?