Monday, May 30, 2011

Protect-IP Act: Powerful In Rem Remedies for Private Plaintiffs Against Offshore Infringers

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Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted the Protect-IP Act out of committee.  Sen. Ron Wyden put a hold on it on Thursday.   I read it and my comment focus on the aspects of interest to the civil litigator.

Section 4 "Eliminating the Financial Incentive to Steal Intellectual Property Online" of the Protect-IP Act would let a private attorney, on behalf of a copyright or trademark owner, commence an in personam action against a registrant or owner of an "Internet site dedicated to infringing activities".   If these folks cannot be found or don't have addresses within the U.S., the private plaintiff could bring an in rem action against the domain name itself.    As part of the remedies authorized, you would be able to get a court to order any company processing financial transactions with the domain to stop, as well as any company advertising on the domain name.

Invoking these provisions would subject a plaintiff to a fairly high standard of proof.   Critics have focused on other aspects of the bill giving the Attorney General sweeping powers (see links below).   For a U.S. IP owner facing an offshore scofflaw who is doing business in the United States, Section 4 of the bill seems to be a fairly sensible and well-balanced remedy.
A copy of the full text of the Protect-IP Act passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week here.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation' criticisms of the bill here.

Last Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon blocked this "internet censorship" bill, story here.

Larry Downes' take at Forbes here.   Techdirt on Larry Downes here.

The 1709 Blog reports Google's defiance of search-engine blocking provisions here.
 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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