Friday, December 16, 2011

Conyers: Stopping Online Piracy Act Urged by Unions, Businesses, and Scholars

For Immediate Release
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2011
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers: Stopping Online Piracy Act Urged by Unions, Businesses, and Scholars 

(WASHINGTON) – Today, the House Judiciary Committee is considering H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), a bill to combat online intellectual property theft and protect American jobs and consumers.  House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement.

“Prior to the bill’s passage, I am urging the Committee to adopt Mr. Smith’s manager’s amendment.  The amendment contains a number of significant changes, including language that ensures domestic websites cannot be construed as ‘rogue sites’ for the purposes of the rights-holder initiated remedy.  Additionally, the manager’s amendment addresses any due process and free speech concerns by removing the statutory notification provision from the rights-holders’ process and ensuring that a federal court is involved at every juncture in that process. 

“Passing this bill is vital to preserving American creativity and artistry in the digital age.  Online property theft costs our economy billions of dollars, and millions of American jobs depend on strong intellectual property enforcement.  Today’s markup is a victory for American artists and our economy.

“As the markup moves forward, it is clear that a great deal of misinformation has been disseminated about what is actually in the original bill and manager’s amendment.  To say that Domain Name Server Security Protocols, or DNSSEC, will be wholly gutted by the bill is false.  The manager’s amendment makes it abundantly clear through the additional savings clauses and clarification language in Section 102 that no action by the federal bench and Attorney General can undermine the architecture and security of the Internet.  The notion that the U.S. government, in protecting American jobs and property, is censoring its citizenry like China and Iran is preposterous. 

Free Speech and Due Process are core pillars of our Democracy that I would never allow to be trampled – in this bill or any other. “I would like to thank my colleagues Howard Berman, Mel Watt, Lamar Smith, and Bob Goodlatte for their commitment and leadership on intellectual property issues.”
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