Ron Wyden: Puts Hold On PROTECT IP, Temporarily Withdraws Amendment On The PATRIOT Act

from the busy-day dept

Well, here's an update to two separate stories from this morning. First, Senator Ron Wyden, who has been speaking out against the secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act, which allowed the feds to do much more than the law seemed to allow, has apparently agreed to withdraw his amendment, after the Senate leadership promised that Wyden can hold hearings on the secret interpretation. If he is not satisfied with the results of those hearings, he can (and, I assume, will) reintroduce his amendment (with Senator Mark Udall) to require that the federal government make public its interpretation of the PATRIOT Act. This is not ideal, but it's better than nothing.

Separately, in response to the news that the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved PROTECT IP, Senator Wyden has done what he did with COICA and put a hold on the bill, effectively blocking it for the time being. This is good news, as hopefully it will force those pushing the law to address the massive problems with the law. Here is Senator Wyden's statement:
Consistent with Senate Standing Orders and my policy of publishing in the Congressional Record a statement whenever I place a hold on legislation, I am announcing my intention to object to any unanimous consent request to proceed to S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act.

In December of last year I placed a hold on similar legislation, commonly called COICA, because I felt the costs of the legislation far outweighed the benefits. After careful analysis of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, I am compelled to draw the same conclusion. I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective. At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA's prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.

The Internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century. It is increasingly in America's economic interest to ensure that the Internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the Internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the Internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives. Until the many issues that I and others have raised with this legislation are addressed, I will object to a unanimous consent request to proceed to the legislation.

Filed Under: patriot act, protect ip, ron wyden


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  1. icon
    another mike (profile), 26 May 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Didn't know it passed yet

    Floyd, we've already blown apart the strawmen in your letter but let's go over it one more time.

    "Copyright violations are not protected by the First Amendment." No shit, Sherlock. And no one is saying that illegal activities are protected speech except the stakeholders pushing for expansive copyright. Every time this lie is repeated like it was ever part of the debate is an attempt to obscure the issue.

    "...stealing is somehow less offensive when carried out online." No, stealing is always stealing. Moving any crime, even stealing, online does not suddenly make it legal or more glamorous.

    "[I]t protects creators of speech... by combating its theft. Repeat after us: "Infringement is not theft." Rights' holders, unlike victims of grand theft auto, are not deprived of tangible property. They may be deprived of potential revenue but, while that issue is faced by everyone making bad business decisions, that is not a crime.

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