Two out of the blue announcements from key police officer and firefighter organizations have lent support to the controversial Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property act.
The Fraternal Order of Police deemed PROTECT IP a necessity (.pdf), arguing that current online piracy and counterfeiting activities have reached “unprecedented levels.” The group believes there’s more at risk than lost profits when it comes to foreign “rogue” sites:
Counterfeit products are often of inferior quality or outright harmful design, posing a serious threat to the health, safety, and well-being of our members and the citizens we are sworn to protect. The preparedness and safety of our members depend on sound, reliable equipment. Counterfeit batteries, gloves, brake pads, and other equipment put us and the public at risk. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals, tooth paste, and footwear put our seniors and out children at risk. Organized gangs use these profits from counterfeit DVDs to fund other criminal enterprises and fuel violent crime in our communities here at home.
The FOP added that law enforcement authorities and “other players in the Internet ecosystem” (i.e. ISPs) need to work together to stop illegal sites.
The International Association of Fire Fighters echoed its public service brethren in a similar letter (.pdf) to PROTECT IP architect Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
“Legislation targeting these foreign rogue websites will encourage Internet users to find legitimate sources for goods and content, will ensure that counterfeiters and pirates can no longer profit from this clearly illegal activity, and will stem the flow of dangerous counterfeit goods into the supply chains on which our members depend,” said the IAFF.
The PROTECT IP act was approved by the Senate Judiciary committee in May, but has yet to see a full vote. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) quickly placed the bill on hold, criticizing its “overarching approach” to combating copyright theft. And there it remains. (via MPAA Blog)