May 26, 2011

Wyden Places Hold on Protect IP Act

Overreaching Legislation Still Poses a Significant Threat to Internet Commerce, Innovation and Free Speech

Washington, D.C. – Continuing his opposition to legislation that aims to protect intellectual property at the expense of free speech, technological innovation and the very foundations of the Internet, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has issued the following statement announcing a hold on the motion to proceed to the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP):

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.”

The PROTECT IP Act was unanimously reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. Senator Wyden placed a hold last Congress on the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) that was the basis for PROTECT IP for similar reasons.