For Immediate Release, October 26, 2011
Bipartisan Bill Combats Online Piracy
Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan group in the House today introduced legislation that expands protections for America’s intellectual property (IP) and combats the illegal distribution of counterfeit goods via rogue websites.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) allows the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products. The bill increases criminal penalties for individuals who traffic in counterfeit medicine and military goods, which put innocent civilians and American soldiers at risk. And it improves coordination between IP enforcement agencies in the U.S.
Eight members joined House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), IP Subcommittee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) in sponsoring the bill.
Chairman Smith: « Rogue websites that steal and sell American innovations have operated with impunity. The online thieves who run these foreign websites are out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement agencies and profit from selling pirated goods without any legal consequences. According to estimates, IP theft costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs.
The Stop Online Piracy Act helps stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators. The bill prevents online thieves from selling counterfeit goods in the U.S., expands international protections for intellectual property, and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products.
American IP industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs to the U.S. economy and account for more than 60% of U.S. exports. It’s time to stop online piracy and start protecting American jobs and innovations. »
Ranking Member Conyers: « Today marks an important step in furthering Congress’ constitutional prerogative to protect the rights of artists and innovators. The Stop Online Piracy Act builds on the work of Members like Howard Berman who have championed these issues for years, and I look forward to working with all of the entities in the online ecosystem to effectively choke off the funding for rogue websites and eliminate their safe-havens as the bill becomes law. Millions of American jobs hang in the balance, and our efforts to protect America’s intellectual property are critical to our economy’s long-term success. »
IP Subcommittee Chairman Goodlatte: « Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws. This legislation will update the laws to ensure that the economic incentives our Framers enshrined in the Constitution over 220 years ago - to encourage new writings, research, products and services - remain effective in the 21st Century’s global marketplace, which will create more American jobs. The bill will also protect consumers from dangerous counterfeit products, such as fake drugs, automobile parts and infant formula. I look forward to continuing to work with all parties on this important legislation as it moves forward. »
Rep. Berman: « Rogue websites that are designed to provide counterfeit goods and pirated materials impact every region of the country, most sectors of the economy, and cost the US thousands of jobs every year. It is especially egregious when the harm comes from foreign websites or from rampant piracy and counterfeiting abroad. The Stop Online Piracy Act is an important next step in the fight against digital theft and sends a strong message that the United States will not waiver in our battle to protect America's creators and innovators. »
Additional cosponsors include: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rep. Mary Bono-Mack (R-Calif.), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), and Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.).
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act on November 16, 2011.
Contact: Kim Hicks (Smith), 202-225-3951
Matt Morgan (Conyers), 202-225-6906
Kathryn Rexrode (Goodlatte), 202-225-5431
Gabby Adler (Berman), 202-225-4695
PDF Bill Text: Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261)