While some in the U.S. House and Senate would love to jam SOPA and Protect IP through the legislative process, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have drafted an alternative proposal that would make use of existing trade laws and the International Trade Commission to deal with counterfeit goods, piracy and the "rogue web sites" that deal in those things explicitly. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating a proposal that would use trade laws to battle online piracy as an alternative to the controversial bills currently pending in both chambers of Congress.
The draft was co-authored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as well as Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and John Campbell (R-Calif.). The alternate plan would authorize the International Trade Commission to investigate and issue cease-and-desist orders against foreign websites that provide copyrighted software illegally or sell counterfeit products. The distinction being that the ITC would have to find that the site being complained about is "primarily" and "willfully" engaged in infringement in order to issue the order.
Once a court order is issued payment providers and online advertising services would be compelled to halt providing services to the offending web site. The approach, say its authors, conforms to current copyright law and uses the "follow the money" approach put forward by Google and other tech companies who opposed OSPA and Protect IP's approach.
The draft also has provisions to give companies that comply with court orders immunity from any possible legal actions. The lawmakers say they plan to make a draft of their legislation public to solicit feedback before formally introducing it in the House and Senate.
The MPAA and other big media trade groups can no longer claim that there is no alternative to SOPA or Protect IP anymore.
Source: The Hill