News / Science & Technology

    Greater Policing of Internet Piracy Urged

    The Pirate Bay (piratebay.org) is one of the most popular BitTorrent file-sharing sites on the Internet
    The Pirate Bay (piratebay.org) is one of the most popular BitTorrent file-sharing sites on the Internet
    Michael Bowman

    American authors and online merchants are urging Congress to boost protection of intellectual property on the Internet, claiming huge losses from theft and fraud - much of it originating outside the United States.  

    American novelist Scott Turow has written numerous best-selling legal thrillers.  He appeared on Capitol Hill last week to testify about the online theft of his latest work, Innocent.

    "Within the first week or two that it was available for sale, I had friends inform me that there were pirated versions of my book available [on the Internet] at a fraction of the price, which legitimate venues were selling," noted Turow.

    Also appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was the chief of Rosetta Stone, a U.S. foreign language instruction company whose courses can be purchased online.  Tom Adams said a Google search of Rosetta Stone will yield dozens of Internet websites mimicking Rosetta Stone and selling pirated or fabricated versions of its materials.

    "None of these are legitimate website home pages of rosettastone.com, although they look very similar," said Adams.  "The entire purpose of these websites is to deceive the U.S. consumer."

    Adams said Rosetta Stone regularly gets calls from angry consumers complaining about faulty products they unwittingly purchased from counterfeiters and Internet pirates.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said intellectual property theft on the Internet is pervasive and costly.

    "Copyright piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods are reported to cost the American economy billions of dollars a year, thousands of lost jobs," said Leahy.  "The Internet needs to be free and open, but not lawless."

    Can the Internet be Policed?

    Policing Internet piracy is difficult because many counterfeit websites are set up abroad, in countries like Russia and China.  But Leahy is attempting to strengthen U.S. enforcement capabilities by supporting a bill that would empower the Department of Justice to take action against Internet service providers, search engines, payment processors and online advertising networks that do business with rogue websites or fail to block them.

    The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee last year, but it failed to reach the Senate floor.  Senator Leahy says he hopes the bill fares better this year, and is eventually signed into law.

    The Role of Online Business

    Backing the effort is Go Daddy.com, a U.S.-based Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company.  General counsel Christine Jones says Go Daddy understands the problem of Internet piracy and wants to be part of a solution.

    "We [i.e., domain registrars] sit at the on-ramp to the Internet," said Jones.  "Every single website operator must have a domain name to function.  We understand how easy it is for the bad guys to put up a website, copy a few books or foreign language CDs, launch their online business, and start collecting money."

    But not everyone is thrilled with the proposed legislation.  A representative from U.S. Internet service provider Verizon warned the Senate panel of the bill's potential to enmesh American companies in extraterritorial disputes with foreign entities. That concern was echoed by Denise Yee, an attorney for Visa, a global payments corporation.

    "We [i.e., Visa] are not well-positioned to identify counterfeit or copyright-infringing content," said Yee.  "IP [i.e., Intellectual Property] owners are best situated to bring instances of infringement to our attention, but they rarely do.  Where legality is not clear, we have no authority to decide what is lawful."

    Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon worries that the proposed bill mandates burdensome and draconian measures that will stifle the Internet as an engine of economic growth and jobs.

    "Keeping the Net open, at home and overseas, is of paramount importance to the American economy because it is increasingly the primary way that the global population will communicate, create and conduct commerce," said Wyden.

    But victims of Internet piracy warn of a future in which books are not published and online businesses cease to be profitable, unless strong action is taken.  Debate on the problem and proposed solutions, will likely intensify in Congress in the months to come.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of the city. They vow a siege will not be over quickly. But their plans are not being helped by squabbles breaking out among insurgent commanders.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Co-Ed Selective Service Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.