The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) joined a coalition of civil society organizations, trade organizations, and companies in a letter opposing the SHOP SAFE Act. While the SHOP SAFE Act has the laudable goals of preventing the sale of counterfeits online and promoting consumer welfare, health, and safety, we are concerned that the bill will not actually achieve these goals and risks harming internet users and small businesses.
Because the Act would effectively require digital services to monitor their users’ posts for potential trademark infringement, smaller services and smaller sellers may err on the side of removing legitimate listings, and some sellers may turn to automated tools to screen for trademark infringement, which can also result in over-removals of non-infringing posts.
Some services may even shut down due to the burden of monitoring and other obligations created by the law. As a result, users will have fewer choices of services and goods when shopping online, and users who sell goods online may have their posts taken down even if they have not infringed any trademark.
For these reasons, CDT and the other organizations who joined this letter urge Congress to remove SHOP SAFE from consideration in the final version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act and to keep it from being added to future, unrelated legislation.