Bar Association Pushes for Change in Online Piracy Legislation

Attorneys with the American Bar Association are advising the government on dealing with online piracy through a 113-page white paper titled “A Call for Action for Online Piracy and Counterfeiting Legislation.” While they suggest many measures similar to SOPA and PIPA, the lawyers also advise against suing the file-sharers because it is usually counterproductive, costing more money than they recover, and it can also be bad PR for the copyright holders. 

streamingThe paper calls for Congress to create new anti-piracy legislation and recommends voluntary agreements between stakeholders.

“While it is technically possible for trademark and copyright owners to proceed with civil litigation against the consuming public who […] engage in illegal file sharing, campaigns like this have been expensive, do not yield significant financial returns, and can cause a public relations problem for the plaintiff in addressing its consuming public,” wrote the ABA lawyers.

Rather than targeting file-sharers, the paper suggests copyright holders should battle facilitating websites, such as The Pirate Bay, instead. However, site-owners are typically hard to pinpoint, so they would instead target hosting companies.

“The lawyers are in favor of a ‘follow the money’ principle where anti-piracy measures are targeted at strangling the finances of pirate sites,” says TorrentFreak. “They call for legislation that makes it easier to cut off advertising, and to seize funds through banks or payment processors.”

The complete white paper is available as a PDF online.