As staunch supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act, it comes as no surprise that the RIAA would scoff at the OPEN Act, a measure proposed by Congressman Darrell Issa and Senator Ron Wyden.
It's just the argument that is unbelievable, although nothing at this point should really be unbelievable.
The OPEN Act is a sort of alternative to SOPA that is similar in many ways and vastly different in others. The main difference that RIAA Executive Vice President Mitch Glazier touches on in a recent blog post has to do with what arm of the federal government aids in the enforcement of copyright infringement claims, and how they go about it.
Basically with SOPA, we all know that sites deemed "rogue" and perpetrators of illegal activity will face annihilation with the simple accusation of wrongdoing. With SOPA, the Department of Justice would be responsible in enforcing the "infringements." We've extensively discussed the potential damage that SOPA could do the the free web, and fully oppose it in every way possible.
With OPEN, rights-holders that feel infringed upon would file a petition with the International Trade Commission, an independent agency that, among other things, deals with patent disputes. They would investigate, and actions would only be taken once the accused sites were deemed "rogue sites."
That's too slow of a process for Mitch Glazier, who writes that we can't sit around waiting while filesharing threatens our safety and security. As Jamie Keene at The Verge points out, Glazier's blatant fearmongering basically amounts to calling online piracy a threat to national security.
Check out the blog post in its entirety:
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recently reported that it will delay ruling on an important patent infringement claim brought by well-known camera company Kodak against smartphone makers Apple and Research In Motion (RIM). The case, originally filed in January 2010, now anticipates a ruling in September 2012. The delay now means that the ITC will have taken 33 months to decide on a high-stakes and time-sensitive issue. So this is the “expedited” process SOPA opponents are embracing as an alternative in the proposed OPEN bill?
SOPA was introduced to address the devastating and immediate impact of foreign rogue sites dealing in infringing and counterfeiting works and products. Every day that these sites operate without recourse can mean millions of dollars lost to American companies, employees, and economy, and an ongoing threat to the security and safety of our citizens. Why in the world would we shift enforcement against these sites from the Department of Justice and others who are well-versed in these issues to the ITC, which focuses on patents and clearly does not operate on the short time frame necessary to be effective? In addition, the remedy traditionally offered by the ITC – an exclusion order to prevent foreign criminals from accessing the US market – is precluded under the OPEN Act.
More proof why the OPEN Act is not a meaningful solution to a serious problem.
Ars Technica has a good overview of what's good and bad about OPEN, and the act definitely has its flaws. But according to Mitch Glazier, one of those flaws is basically the "letting the terrorists win" argument, in sharper language.
No, screw the OPEN ACT. Let's roll with SOPA, because given the track record of the DOJ when it comes to censoring sites as of late, it only makes sense to give them a hair trigger.