Digital Policy Roundup: Swirl of Activity Around Online Copyright Infringement Legislation as Congress Returns

As Congress heads back into session this week, substantial activity continues to swirl around legislation to curb online copyright infringement. The Administration announced a position on legislation, indicating that it had reservations on provisions that would impose DNS blocking, but committing to passage of legislation this year. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), lead sponsors of the legislation, last week announced that they would be dropping DNS blocking from the House and Senate versions of the bill, but indicated that they wanted to press forward with the modified legislation.

Lamar Smith said that the markup on the legislation would resume in his House Judiciary Committee in early February. Meanwhile, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Internet Caucus co-chair and a key supporter of the legislation, indicated yesterday in his remarks at the State of the Net Conference that any successful legislation would have to have buy-in from both content and tech companies and suggested bringing the sides together to negotiate their differences. Also last week, a group of Republican Senators wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that the legislation not be brought up for a procedural vote when the Senate returns next week, citing the need to examine the effect of the bill on cybersecurity. As of January 18, however, the bill remained on the Senate schedule for a procedural vote on January 24.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

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