August 5, 2011

The Current Status of the Protect IP Act

2 min

The Protect IP Act is a proposed bill making its way through the Senate as S. 968 that aims to curb online counterfeiting, among other things. Congress is attempting again to pass legislation after COICA failed to pass during the previous session. The Protect IP Act was introduced into the Senate on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for debate and the Committee unanimously approved the bill on May 26, 2011. The Protect IP Act is currently waiting to be considered by the full Senate. However, one of the Protect IP Act’s key opponents, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR.) has placed a hold on the bill, preventing it from being voted on by the full Senate. Senator Wyden stated that the Protect IP Act takes an “overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective.” While the hold remains on the Act at this time, the Senate could remove the hold with a cloture vote. Whether such a vote will take place, or whether Congress will re-examine the Act in response to the existing criticisms, remains to be seen. However, now that the debt ceiling debate has been resolved, Congress should have more time to examine this issue.