. . . Happy Fourth to you all! Along with 90 (and still counting) other Internet law and IP law professors, I have signed a letter (drafted by Dave Levine, Mark Lemley, and me) in opposition to Sen. Leahy’s “PROTECT IP Act.” [The letter is posted below - the text of the bill, if you're into that sort of thing, is posted here.]
PROTECT-IP Letter, Final
The bill, which will allow the government to obtain injunctions against domain names hosting allegedly copyright-infringing or trademark-infringing material, and to have those domain names deleted from the Internet’s databases, represents a serious assault on the fundamental principles that have built the Net — the design principles at the heart of its technical infrastructure, and the free speech principles it has done so much to foster and cultivate around the globe, all at the behest of your friends in the recording and motion picture industries. [If you want to see why it's a dreadful piece of legislation purely from the technical side, take a look at this white paper prepared by some of the most respected members of the Internet technical community]. We’ve seen this before — in last term’s COICA legislation, which thankfully died in Committee (thanks to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who has continued his opposition to the Protect IP Act, and whom we should all thank for his efforts). It’s always hard to gauge how likely a bill is to become law, but I’m told there’s some momentum around the Protect IP Act, and hopefully those who actually care about the Net and its potential will rally in opposition.
And speaking of our old friend Thomas Jefferson ... Larry Lessig, a friend and colleague, has contributed a very interesting short Foreword to what will become (soon?) the paperback edition of my book — you might find it of interest as you contemplate Jefferson’s contributions on this day ...