CES 2012: Issa, Wyden Blasting SOPA, Promoting OPEN


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Two congressmen are at CES proclaiming the good news of OPEN and the evils of SOPA.

PCMag is reporting that Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden, co-sponsors of the OPEN Act, are at CES talking about SOPA and how OPEN is a much better alternative.

Sen. Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said, “This is a going to be a legal quagmire,” in regards to SOPA and its Senate buddy, PIPA.

Rep. Issa, a California Republican, said that SOPA would be expensive and hurt the Internet.

For those who still don’t know what SOPA is, check out previous coverage. In short though, it’s a bill that would go after foreign Web sites dealing in counterfeit goods or copyright infringing content. The wording of the bill, however, is vague enough to cause problems for legitimate Web sites that operate in the U.S. and abroad.

This where the OPEN Act comes in. It would give the task of handling foreign infringing Web sites to the International Trade Commission. That task would fall to the Department of Justice under SOPA.

Issa argued that since the ITC has handled unreasonable trade practices and foreign import since the 30s, they should be the ones who handle this new era of illegal online trade. He also said that the ITC usually addresses things in a faster and cheaper manner than the federal courts.

Issa said that under the OPEN Act, the ITC would follow money trails, issue injunctions and shut down Web sites by cutting off their payment options.

Issa acknowledged that while OPEN is not perfect, it's a much better alternative to SOPA or PIPA.

Wyden chimed in by saying that both bills agree that copyright infringment should be stopped. The only difference is that Wyden and Issa “don't believe that you ought to go out and do all this damage to the architecture of the Internet [and] the DNS in the name of stopping copyright infringement."

Issa is planning on introducing the OPEN Act to the floor on January 17, a day before he holds a hearing on security problems surrounding DNS.

Issa also spoke about Rep. Paul Ryan, the congressman who became a staunch opponent of SOPA after a successful campaign from Reddit. He said that Ryan now backed the OPEN Act. A spokesperson speaking to PCMag confirmed that Ryan had spoken to Issa about online piracy issues, but that he had not signed on as an official co-sponsor of the OPEN Act.