Content Industry Insists E-PARASITE Won't Rewrite DMCA, But Co-Author Of The Bill Admits That's The Plan
from the rewriting-the-dmca dept
Defenders of E-PARASITE/SOPA have been going out of their way not just to mischaracterize the arguments against the bill, but now they’ve reached the point of outright lying. The American Bar Association has an email list for its “IP Section,” and recently there was a bit of a debate over E-PARASITE/SOPA, in which the myriad problems and dangers of the bill were put forth. Not one to let an opportunity go by to mislead, Viacom’s VP of Intellectual Property and Content Protection, Stanley Pierre-Louis, decided to defend the bill. I’ll have more to say about his various points later, but on one key point, he seems to not only be wrong, but at odds with one of the guys who supposedly “wrote” the bill. That is, Pierre-Louis responded to the charges that E-PARASITE is a backdoor to rewriting the important DMCA safe harbors by stating:
The criticism below views SOPA as a ?back door? means ?with which to bludgeon? innocent site operators by expanding the scope of secondary liability claims and diminishing DMCA protections. Of course, this view largely ignores that SOPA explicitly states that its provisions must not be read to expand or diminish either. And, it doesn?t. The fact that SOPA does not permit sites to take “deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability” of infringement merely restates the law as it stands today. There is no rule that permits ?willful blindness? of obvious wrongdoing under U.S. law, and nothing in the DMCA or any other statute has been deemed to hold otherwise.
Of course, this is one of the more nefarious tricks pulled by the authors of the bill. In a few different places, right before they totally decimate existing and established law, they put in a little thing that says, “nothing in here changes existing law…,” even as the plain text shows that it does.
But, in this case, why don’t we go to the source: Rep. Bob Goodlatte, supposed co-author of the bill, and the chair of the IP subcommittee in the House. When asked about criticism of the bill by Gautham Nagesh at The Hill, Goodlatte flat out admitted that the intention is to take away the DMCA’s safe harbors:
“I think it is unrealistic to think we’re going to continue to rely on the DMCA notice-and-takedown provision,” Goodlatte said.
“Anybody who is involved in providing services on the Internet would be expected to do some things.”
So, who do we trust? A Viacom exec with a history of trying to stretch, twist and break the DMCA (see: YouTube) by pretending that it requires actions it does not, or the supposed co-author of the bill, whose statements will certainly be used in a court of law down the road. And, if Goodlatte is admitting his intention was to change the DMCA with the bill, why did the bill even include that false claim that nothing in it changes the DMCA?