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Silicon Valley Companies Fight Piracy Act in Congress

November 25, 2011

November 25, 2011 (Mountain View, CA) – Andrew Bridges, partner in the Intellectual Property Group with Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in the Daily Journal article "Silicon Valley Companies Fight Piracy Act in Congress."

The article focuses on legislation proposed in Congress known as the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA). Critics claim that the House version of this bill could allow copyright and trademark owners to shut down websites that are hosts to infringing material without a court order. Many Silicon Valley technology companies have been vocal in their opposition to this legislation.

Critics of the bill feel that it could damage the effectiveness of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and create a legal uncertainty for almost every website.

The DMCA allows copyright owners to file notices asking websites to remove infringing material; however, Andrew Bridges, partner with Fenwick & West, says that the Stop Internet Piracy Act "would make the DMCA irrelevant."

Mr. Bridges went on to say that under the proposed law, copyright owners would have no motivation to utilize the DMCA because they could go after an entire website by sending takedown notices to payment processors, such as credit card companies, and advertising networks.

He feels that the bill would effectively overturn the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in favor of Visa Inc. and Mastercard International Inc. in a lawsuit filed by the website Perfect 10 Inc. for secondary copyright and trademark infringement. Bridges said that under SOPA, credit card companies would no longer defend websites accused of infringement for fear of prosecution themselves.

Click here to read the full article in the Daily Journal (subscription required).