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Sen. Wyden: Online piracy bills would ‘turn websites into web-cops’

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, January 2, 2012 17:36 EDT
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Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), left, speaks to John Heilemann of New York Magazine on Oct. 17, 2011. Photo: Flickr user Kevin Krejci.
 
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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) blasted anti-online piracy bills in the U.S. House and Senate, the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Privacy Act, during an appearance on C-SPAN’s The Communicators on Saturday.

Critics of the bills say they could destroy the fundamental structure of the Internet in the U.S, even while they claim to be aimed at foreign websites hosting infringing content. The legislation takes aim at the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS), which points domain names like www.google.com to numerical Internet protocol (IP) addresses.

“Both of them are essentially using a bunker-buster bomb when what you need is a laser beam,” Wyden said. “Look, there is no question that there are some bad actors out there. There are people who sell tainted Viagra or fake Rolexs or movies they don’t own, and as far as I’m concerned you ought to handcuff them. But these bills go way, way beyond that. And particularly, they do a tremendous amount of damage to the architecture of the Internet.”

“Basically what they do is turn websites into web-cops,” he added. “You’d have websites trying to monitor enormous amounts of data.”

Wyden and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) are working together on the OPEN Act, an alternative to the anti-online piracy bills. The legislation would cut off money sources for copyright infringers.

“This is about whether we are going to have pro-innovation policies so that we will have future Google’s and future Facebooks,” Wyden said. “And when you look at these bills, you can take the fundamental proposition about the American dream, which people call two guys in a garage — you pass these bills and you’re going to have two people in a garage, but you’re going to have a whole upstairs full of lawyers telling them whether or not they can open a website. That is not going to be good for innovation.”

Watch video, courtesy of C-SPAN, below:

Photo credit: Kevin Krejci

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
 
 
 
 
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