SOPA Alternative OPEN Act Is Introduced

WASHINGTON — So far, you've heard about antipiracy bills SOPA and PIPA.

Now get ready for the OPEN Act.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and two dozen co-sponsors introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act Wednesday evening to the House of Representatives as an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act.   

The OPEN Act would allow copyright holders to file claims of  infringement against foreign websites with the U.S. International Trade Commission and appears to be a compromise to SOPA, which would allow the U.S. government and copyright holders to "filter the Internet

The International Trade Commission would investigate complaints and decide whether U.S. payment processors and online advertising networks should be required to close off funds.

"OPEN is a targeted, effective solution to the problem of foreign, rogue websites stealing from American artists and innovators," Issa said in a statement. "Today's Internet blackout has underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA to the real problem of intellectual property infringement."

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oreg., introduced a Senate version of the OPEN Act in December.

SOPA and PIPA opponents claim the antipiracy bills don't give owners of foreign websites enough due process and could curb free speech on sites that have a mix of content.

With SOPA, the Justice Department and copyright holders to seek court orders requiring payment processors and ad networks to stop doing business with foreign websites accused by the plaintiffs of copyright infringement.

SOPA also would allow court orders requiring search engines and sites defined as ISPs to stop linking to sites it accuses of infringing copyright. But SOPA also would give registrars and ISPs immunity from lawsuits if they cut off service to accused infringing websites.