MPAA calls anti-piracy OPEN Act ineffective, slow & costly

The Motion Picture Association of America criticized this week the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN), calling it a “distraction” to legitimate anti-piracy legislation.

Introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa and backed by Sen. Ron Wyden, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) was designed as an alternative to PROTECT IP and SOPA, which many fear could lead to online censorship and the unfair targeting of legitimate sites.

MPAA calls anti-piracy OPEN Act ineffective, slow & costly
Image by: KeepTheWebOpen.com

In a statement (.pdf) on Wednesday, the trade group blasted the proposal as “ineffective” against foreign rogue sites.

“[The OPEN Act] creates a time consuming and costly method for copyright holders to adjudicate against foreign thieves,” said Michael O’Leary, senior executive vice president, global policy and external affairs, MPAA. “Instead of using the federal courts that already decide copyright infringement cases, it adds additional hurdles for independent artists and small businesses. The bill does not contain technical means to block foreign websites from the American market and it allows companies profiting from online piracy to advocate for foreign rogue websites against rightful American copyright holders.”

O’Leary explained that the OPEN Act would mistakenly place the onus for anti-piracy actions on the International Trade Commission rather than the U.S. federal court system.

“The ITC cannot address the concerns of all copyright holders for dealing with Internet piracy in a timely manner,” he said. “Our federal courts already enforce current copyright law in an effective and timely manner.”

Rep. Issa and Sen. Wyden disagreed, appearing at CES this week to speak out against SOPA and PROTECT IP. Issa warned that passing the bills would “hurt the Internet,” while Wyden said it would result in “a legal quagmire.”

The pair helped create a website, KeepTheWebOpen, to promote the proposal and ask supporters to chime in with their own suggestions on how to approve it. The full bill can be read here (.pdf).

So far, OPEN is backed by 13 House members and four Senators. Twitter, AOL, Mozilla, Google and other web-based companies have also voiced support.

Rep. Issa has scheduled a January 18 hearing to discuss the ins and outs of SOPA and how it would impact the Internet.