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Editorial Voices Weigh in Against Protect IP Act

As we noted in a blog post a couple weeks ago, the Protect IP Act has been drawing plenty of criticism. This week, two influential voices—the Los Angeles Times and New York Times—have weighed in via their editorial pages voicing concerns with the legislation. Both editorials are right on point and echo many of the arguments that CDT and others have been making for some time.
It is good to see these mainstream media sources joining the discussion and taking a careful approach.  Neither the newspapers nor CDT harbor any sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to sell illegal products online.  But as CDT and a number of public interest groups noted in a recent letter to the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, significant elements of the bill “run[] contrary to the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing a single, global Internet” and “risk[] substantial collateral damage.”  Those warnings are backed up by a prominent group of Internet technicians in a paper that lays out the technical challenges of implementing some of the remedies contained in the bill.  For example, requiring ISPs to re-route traffic from suspected infringing sites “would threaten the DNS’s ability to provide universal naming, a primary source of the Internet’s value as a single, unified, global communications network,” the paper says.
We hope the new voices will attract others; we hope that Congress takes note.  The goal of fighting websites that exist for the sole purpose of enabling infringement is a valid one.  However, that doesn’t mean that any and every anti-infringement enforcement tool is worth adopting.  The costs to other important interests have to be weighed carefully.