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SOPA – what’s it all about?

James Nurton, London


Stumped by SOPA? Perplexed by PIPA? In light of Wikipedia’s blackout this week, Managing IP provides a simple guide to legislation pending in the US Congress and the debates surrounding it

SOPA, PIPA, the blackout ... I’m confused?

It’s not surprising: US legislators seem to have an unhealthy addiction to acronyms.

SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Lamar Smith in October last year. The original version is available here and an amended version here.

The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act or PIPA, S 968) is a parallel bill in the Senate, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy in May last year. It is available here.

There is a third bill being discussed called OPEN, which stands for Online Protection and Digital Enforcement Act (S 2029). It was introduced in December. OPEN is different in several respects to the other two bills, notably in that it envisages that the International Trade Commission (ITC) would have an enforcement role. It can...


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