December 12, 2011
SOPA/PIPA vs a Crowdsourced Alternative, the OPEN Act
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) recently released a public draft of the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act as a bi-partisan alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect-IP Act (PIPA). You can view the Issa-Wyden public draft at www.keepthewebopen.com. The site also provides a Section-by-Section Explanation for the OPEN Act and a FAQ regarding the ITC and OPEN. Much more interesting is the opportunity to use a new crowdsourcing platform called "Madison" that allows everyone to comment and collaborate to craft an even better draft of the OPEN Act before it is formally introduced.
About the OPEN Act, see Techdirt's Alternative To PIPA/SOPA Proposed; Points Out That This Is An International Trade Issue. The Techdirt post includes what is called a draft framework for discussion by the OPEN Act's sponsors titled "Fighting the Unauthorized Trade of Digital Goods While Protecting Internet Security, Commerce and Speech" which closes with the following statement:
We intend to make public a draft of the legislative text of this proposal in order to enable the public to provide us with feedback and counsel before the proposal is formally introduced in the House and Senate.
A key provision of the public draft of the OPEN Act would provide the International Trade Commission with the authority to issue cease and desist orders against websites found to be dedicated to infringement. The public draft is now available via Madison here. What do you think? See, for example, Jonathan Zittrain's A SOPA compromise is floated.
End Note. Wouldn't it be interesting if someday all formally introduced federal legislation was crowdsourced and all contributions became part of the legislative history? Wouldn't need groundbreaking technology to do that... . Well until then, we still have Stephen Colbert. [JH]