Issa touts crowdsourced provisions in anti-piracy bill

Editor's note: This story was updated Feb. 7, 2012, to correct Sen. Ron Wyden's party affiliation.

Claiming a milestone in the use of crowdsourcing for legislation, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said six sections of the bill he introduced for online copyright protection include contributions made online by members of the public.

Crowdsourcing is defined as inviting Web users to participate in open public forums to share, rank and vote on ideas and comments about a topic. The White House and General Services Administration have spearheaded several crowdsourcing initiatives on the IdeaScale platform.

Issa invited public input into a draft version of legislation he authored, the Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act. The lawmaker established a website, KeepTheWebOpen.com, in December which had collected 93 comments and 67 comments on the draft proposal, as of Feb. 6.


Related story:

Internet piracy bills stall as outcry builds


Issa, in a statement issued Feb. 6, said he included improvements to six sections of the legislation from the users’ comments.

“Internet users generated improvements to six sections of the OPEN Act, representing the first-ever legislative markup truly open to the American public,” Issa said in the statement.

While both the draft and final versions of the OPEN Act appeared to be available at KeeptheWebOpen.com, an FCW staff writer was not able to access the draft version to compare the two, due to an apparent malfunctioning Web link on Feb. 6. A call to Issa's office was not returned by press time.

Issa’s proposal was developed with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as a possible alternative to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), both of which stalled recently due to a groundswell of opposition, with numerous website blacked out for a day in protest. SOPA and PIPA won support from the film, publishing and recording industries, but was opposed by technology companies and civil libertarians as being too restrictive of freedom of speech and innovation online.

Issa said his crowdsourcing experience was intended “to empower those shut out from the process that produced SOPA and PIPA. It is an ongoing experiment in direct digital democracy, but the introduced version of the OPEN Act is proof that crowdsourcing can deliver better bills and a more accountable government."

Under the OPEN Act, a process would be established through the International Trade Commission to cut off the flow of funds from online advertising and payment processors to websites that sell stolen intellectual property.

While the alternative bill has been endorsed by more than two dozen lawmakers, content makers are said to view it as too narrow in how it defines copyright-infringing websites.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Sun, Mar 4, 2012

It seems to me that "importance" is in the eye of the beholder and correct me if I am wrong but keeping the freedom of the internet is a pretty important thing to many Americans - many more Americans than those which are contained in Hollywood.

Tue, Feb 7, 2012

We have far more important issues to deal with than protecting the interests of Hollywood. No doubt the sponsors of this bill will get a hefty boost to their reelection coffers. Corporate lobbying and campaign contributions need to be eliminated. Our government is owned and operated by big business.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group