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American Bar Association urges action on online piracy

The American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law has released A Section White Paper: A Call for Action for Online Piracy and Counterfeiting Legislation. The White Paper calls on Congress to continue its investigation and discussion of potential remedies to reduce the ongoing injuries suffered by US businesses and consumers as a result of massive online piracy and counterfeiting undertaken by “Predatory Foreign Websites.” In particular, this White Paper calls for Congress:

  • To provide effective means for rights holders to enforcetheir rights in the online market.
  • To encourage widespread adoption and expansion of voluntary measures by Internet businesses that would discourage or eliminate online piracy and counterfeiting.
  • To create both civil and criminal penalties for enabling infringement by these Predatory Foreign Websites – thus further dis-incentivizing the illegal conduct.

The White Paper also urges US lawmakers to seek input from relevant stakeholders and to balance the respective interests and responsibilities of rights holders, Internet businesses, and Internet users.  It recommends that any legislative solution should be careful not to:

  • Expand or contract existing IP rights.
  • Impede free speech and expression.
  • Restrict the future growth of the Internet.
  • Stifle legitimate innovations in the structure and/or functionality of the Internet.

The White Paper stresses that new law in this area should permit US rights holders to enforce existing rights — and prevent the illegal use of their copyrighted works and trademarked brands in the US — regardless of whether the  illegal conduct originates in the US or abroad.

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