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Issa Introduces OPEN Act

Rep. Darrell Issa Wednesday officially introduced H.R. 3782, the OPEN (Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade) Act, which is being shopped by critics of the Stop Online Protection Act (SOPA) as a more 'net-friendly alternative to combat online piracy.

The bill gives the International Trade Commission the charge of investigating the importation of digital content by foreign rogue Websites, just as it does for the importation of illegally imported hard goods. It also targets the funding of proved infringers.

Issa said the bill "delivers stronger intellectual property rights for American artists and innovators while protecting the open, accessible Internet Americans deserve."

The bill has also been introduced in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The pair of legislators circulated a draft of the bill last month.

The studios and major publishers and unions backing SOPA and PROTECT IP have dismissed the bill.

The Copyright Alliance, for example, has said that the bill offers no relief to independent content creators battling online piracy from foreign Web sites. The alliance, which includes NBCUniversal, the National Association of Broadcasters, Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, Sony, News Corp., various guilds and a host of other publishers and artist associations, was blunt in its critique. It said the bill was impractical for artists, had ineffective penalties, provided an insurmountable burden of proof of infringement, gave the ITC inefficient resources, and had no Justice Department enforcement.