Arlington, VA – 01/18/2012 – Arlington, Va., January 18, 2012 –The following statement is attributable to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® in light of activities surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the proposed bicameral Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act:
“During the course of the last month we have seen a remarkable phenomenon, as millions of Internet-using Americans have risen up against extreme copyright bills proposed by a group of large content companies. We are pleased that their message is beginning to be heard in Washington. In the last few days, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) finally acknowledged widespread concerns about the cybersecurity implications of domain name system (DNS) blocking.
“In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) assured House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that SOPA will not go to the House floor without consensus.
“Meanwhile, Senators Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions, Mike Lee, Tom Coburn and John Cornyn urged halting consideration of PIPA until outstanding issues are resolved. PIPA sponsor Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) cited the concerns of his constituents and stated he will not vote for the bill in its present form.
“The White House also issued a statement noting that “any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small.”
“We thank these policymakers for standing up for innovation, and responding to the substantive concerns raised by the wide range of stakeholders opposing SOPA and PIPA. Unfortunately, despite growing recognition that the bill is not yet ready for consideration, the Majority Leader has continued to insist that PIPA be brought to the Senate floor on January 24. CEA joins many tech-related entities in having its websites, CE.org and declareinnovation.com, go dark today and asks that the bill not be brought to the Senate floor until there has been a hearing, and until serious concerns about private rights of action, search, overly inclusive definitions, third-party liability and other issues have been resolved.
“It is increasingly clear that bills causing collateral damage to innovation in the guise of fighting piracy are not politically viable. Now that unreasonable solutions to piracy have been shown not to work, it is time to explore reasonable ones. We urge policymakers to join CEA in support of the OPEN Act – a bicameral, bipartisan and narrowly targeted approach to fighting foreign ‘rogue websites.’”