A markup of major legislation to go after peer-to-peer companies that "induce" the public into copyright infringement was pulled Sept. 29 from the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote agenda.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A markup of major legislation to go after peer-to-peer companies that "induce" the public into copyright infringement was pulled Sept. 29 from the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote agenda.
The change in plans, which yanks S. 2560 from consideration, follows unprecedented opposition lobbying of committee members in recent weeks by technology companies, library associations and consumer groups. Several senators on the committee have now asked to work on language in the bill.
As a result, committee chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, has called for a filled-room negotiation meeting Oct. 1 to try and hammer out a compromise bill.
Among those invited to attend the meeting were the Recording Industry Assn. of America and the Motion Picture Assn. of America, both of which support the legislation, as well as Verizon and the Business Software Alliance and the Consumer Electronics Assn., which oppose it. The latter groups feel the bill is overbroad, and would also ensnare operators of legitimate technology. They prefer "behavior"-oriented language that punishes "overt" acts of infringement.
In a statement at the executive meeting Sept. 30, Hatch said: "Sen. Leahy and I are continuing our efforts to bring the affected parties together as we refine our copyright legislation, S.2560.
"While I do not contemplate action on this bill at today's mark-up," he added, "negotiations will continue this afternoon to perfect language that will help bring an end to the rampant abuse of copyrighted material; for example, by some file-sharing programs that facilitate the theft of music. At the same time, we must protect the rights of legitimate technology firms to develop faster and better products.
"If I have to," Hatch said, "I will lock up all of the key parties in a room until they come out with an acceptable bill that stops the bad actors and preserves technological innovation. I hope we will be able to bring the Committee a new draft at next week's mark-up."
Discussions continued on Oct. 4.