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The E-PARASITE Act

The E-PARASITE Act

Just a few ways the E-PARASITE Act could disfigure the Internet – Yahoo! News.

Over the last few months, the federal government has started to combat online piracy by trying to add additional regulation to the DMCA.  In the Senate, a bill called the Protect-IP Act has been introduced.  The problems with this bill have been extensively reported on.

Now, the House has submitted their version of this bill, which has come to be called, E-PARASITE.

The House of Representatives introduces it as an act that will “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” Basically, it’s an attempt to stop online piracy and give a stronger voice to content that’s been infringed upon via the Internet.

This bill uses broad sweeping definitions of copyright infringement in an attempt to bring as many sites as possible under its umbrella.

A site that is] “…Primarily designed or operated for the purpose of, has only limited purpose or use other than, or is marketed by its operator or another acting in concert with that operator for use in, offering goods or services in a manner that engages in, enables, or facilitates” violations of the Copyright Act, Title I of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or anti-counterfeiting laws; or,[The site] “…Is taking, or has taken, deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of the U.S.-directed site to carry out the acts that constitute a violation” of those laws; or, [The site’s owner] “…Operates the U.S.-directed site with the object of promoting, or has promoted, its use to carry out acts that constitute a violation” of those laws.

 

This just opens the door for Internet censorship, and if something like this passes you can expect new Web content to suffer and plenty of lawsuits to fight that. We can think of a number of recent innovations that are likely anxious about the potential passing of the bill (Singboard and Turntable.fm come to mind). And wouldn’t any site that hosts a great deal of user-generated content be in trouble? Tumblr, Twitter, and the entire sharing, re-posting, re-tweeting platform would be put on notice.

Another problem with E-PARASITE is that it treats allegedly infringing websites as innocent until proven guilty.

If an Internet domain is suspected of infringing on another’s intellectual property, that Website is more or less ostracized from the Internet. Search engines are required to hide the accused sites.

 

Copyright holders would merely have to allege a site is infringing on their property to shut down business. Hosts and payment services would be required to, more or less, blacklist a site once receiving a notice accusing it of stealing “U.S. property.” And then that site and its ad partners would be wiped out until it goes through the court system to establish its legitimacy.

BryanF: To achieve this “site takedown,” E-PARASITE requires internet service providers to block access to the website except through DNS entries.  This is essentially a nationwide firewall and is similar to what China does to restrict internet access.  The question is, why are our legislators so willing to impose such draconian measures on our internet access?  I understand that the MPAA and the RIAA want control over their media, but I am uncomfortable with ceding our internet freedom in the name of copyright protection.  These organizations should innovate new business models (think VHS or cassettes) instead of clinging on to old now unprofitable ones through legislation.  One of the most popular site on the internet, Youtube, seems to be in violation of the wording of this bill.  Are you comfortable with the possibility that it is removed from our internet?

 

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