The Stop Online Piracy Act is a controversial U.S. bill now working its way through Congress. The proposed law is designed (in part) to knock-out foreign websites that are suspected of infringing intellectual property rights. By targetting foreign “rogue” websites and establishing new causes of action against website operators for copyright or trademark infringement, the legislation has raised concerns about ISP liability, and about how it impacts the operation of the domain name system. SOPA permits the U.S. Attorney General to take action against a “foreign infringing site” such as a Canadian site, and obtain a court injunction against the site. Once an injunction is issued, the A.G. can serve a copy on a number of intermediaries, who must then take action within 5 days.
- ISPs can be ordered to block access to the site by preventing DNS resolution.
- Search engines can be ordered to block the site from search results.
- Payment networks such as PayPal can be ordered to suspend transactions between the site and U.S. customers.
- Even ad networks can be ordered to stop serving ads on the site.
We will be monitoring the progress of this proposed IP law in the US.
Related Reading: Summary of SOPA, Concerns and Implications (PDF)
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