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Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Update

On Wednesday, November 16th at 10 am (EST), the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (See blog post of October 28th for background information).  The hearing will be streamed live via the House Judiciary Committee’s website.  Witnesses will include:

  • Maria Pallante - Register of Copyrights
  • John Clark - Chief Security Officer and VP of Global Security for Pfizer
  • Michael O'Leary - Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs for MPAA
  • Linda Kirkpatrick - Group Head, Customer Performance Integrity for MasterCard
  • Katherine Oyama - Policy Counsel for Google
  • Paul Almeida - President, Dept. of Professional Employees for AFL-CIO

EDUCAUSE has been working actively with members of the EDUCAUSE Government Relations for Information Technology (GRIT) forum to develop a document that details the four main concerns that the higher education has with this bill.  This document will be available in the EDUCAUSE Resource Library shortly and a link will be available here [UPDATE 11/15/11: This document is now available: Higher Education Concerns About the Stop Online Piracy Act ("SOPA"), with Initial Suggestions for Addressing Them].  These concerns include:

  • Broad Definitions Create Uncertainty for Colleges, Universities, and Their ISPs
  • New Monitoring Mandates Contravene the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions
  • Felony Streaming Provision Creates New Liability for Good Faith, Non-Profit Users
  • Domain Name System (DNS) Filtering and Redirection Undercut U.S. Competitiveness, Threaten Cybersecurity, Silence Free Speech, and Will Not Work

GRIT members met with Rep. Conyers’s staff (one of the bill’s co-sponsors) from the House Judiciary Committee to discuss these concerns in advance of tomorrow’s hearing.  The group will be meeting with Rep. Smith’s staff (primary co-sponsor) next week to continue these talks.

The legislation has provoked a great deal of discussion in the media, within the policy community, and on Internet blogs and social networking sites.  On November 10th, the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee held a panel discussion with both proponents and opponents of the legislation, who debated some of the bill's key provisions.  The audio podcast can be heard at: http://www.netcaucus.org/audio/2011/20111110sopa.mp3.

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on this legislation.