Microsoft Offers its Support for the Protect IP Act


Posted by Brad Smith
General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 – the PROTECT IP Act. We support the goals and approach of this important legislation, and urge the committee to report it.

The PROTECT IP Act is aimed at providing new tools to challenge the proliferation of “rogue sites” — Internet sites that are dedicated to infringing content or counterfeit goods. It would establish both governmental and private rights of action in an effort to address what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates to be a multi-billion dollar a year problem that threatens U.S. creators and innovators, places U.S. consumers at risk, harms our economy and costs American jobs.

Senators Leahy, Grassley, Hatch and other bill sponsors have adopted an innovative response to this problem that empowers the U.S. courts to deal with intractable levels of infringement occurring outside the U.S. and encourages responsible behavior by companies participating in the Internet ecosystem and value chain. This is a welcome development. Worldwide, nations with the highest rates of piracy are consistently those with the weakest rule of law. U.S. innovators and creators can do little to combat piracy where enforcement authorities and the courts are overburdened or lack training or resources. And because piracy harms not only the rights owner, but our economy more broadly, it is reasonable to expect responsible companies to step up. As prior laws have demonstrated, a balanced approach that limits burdens while assigning reasonable responsibility to legitimate businesses positioned to aid in enforcement efforts has an important role to play in curbing infringement.

As the PROTECT IP Act moves to the Senate floor, some aspects naturally warrant further consideration to promote fairness and balance. For example, safeguards should be included to ensure that rogue sites are identified clearly and appropriately, and that the responsibilities of companies required to take action to ensure compliance are well defined and their liability appropriately limited. In addition, steps should be taken to ensure that the private right of action is not subject to abuse, and that the new actions and resulting orders do not stifle free speech or the free flow of information.

Microsoft is a company built on innovation and its protection through intellectual property rights, and we are committed to helping ensure that copyright is respected in the online environment. We look forward to working with others as this bill advances toward enactment.

Comments (14)

  1. Anon says:

    Surprised Microsoft is so blunt about its support about such a bad bill.

  2. jeremy says:

    Good for Microsoft to stand up for the people working hard to produce software, technology and content and against pirates, frauds and scammers.  You've also got an important role to play as a search engine, and it's very cool that Microsoft is proving to be the player that's most committed to do no evil.

  3. Kyle says:

    Excellent news.  Microsoft knows the issues from both sides.  Too bad Google doesn't take a cue from them.  FYI, Microsoft has been working hard to cut pirates out of its ad networks in contrast to Google's AdSense which continues to rake in the dough from websites featuring links/streams to stolen movies (and not just Hollywood studio productions).  

  4. PinB says:

    Bing is now my search engine of choice.  Independent artists, filmmakers and musicians applaud Microsoft for taking a stand on the Protect IP legislation.  Piracy is a big money-making online industry now and it's time the thieves (who profit from it) be held accountable.  This has nothing to do with "free speech" and everything to do with protecting the rights those who create content to earn a living.  The big companies get most of the attention, but it's really the little people who lose the most.

  5. Beijing Voice says:

    Important step to enhance IPR protection and fair trade online…

  6. anon says:

    Horruble bill. It gives the government the right to shutdown websites at its will. All this will do is decrease American privacy but do nothing to help stop it anywhere else in the world.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So funny…

    Remember?

    http://www.chinatechnews.com/…/11052-microsoft-found-guilty-of-character-input-copyright-infringement-in-china

    Well, governement of United States, go ahead, vote for the IP ACT, take the Internet Censorship to the next level!

    But! Remember that we'll be there to fight against!

    To stand up and say "no"!

    To fight the power of corporations!

    We are the people.

    We have the power.

  8. Anonymous says:

    microsoft deciding to kick the hornets nest eh?

  9. Moi says:

    To the trolls who followed a link onto this webpage from some anti-copyright blog/twitter page and didn't read the article, at least read the second to last paragraph.

    "As the PROTECT IP Act moves to the Senate floor, some aspects naturally warrant further consideration to promote fairness and balance. For example, safeguards should be included to ensure that rogue sites are identified clearly and appropriately, and that the responsibilities of companies required to take action to ensure compliance are well defined and their liability appropriately limited. In addition, steps should be taken to ensure that the private right of action is not subject to abuse, and that the new actions and resulting orders do not stifle free speech or the free flow of information."

  10. FrankBlank says:

    Having had the structure of a book stolen, right down to slightly modified chapter titles, I am for copyright protection.

    However, I am absolutely against allowing corporations to restrict access to anything on the internet without extensive involvement of the courts.  The history of corporate dishonesty, irresponsibility and incompetence makes even the government appear to be a reasonable organization.  

  11. Anon says:

    Microsoft's interest in this bill is purely self-serving. The fact that many comments here are clearly posted by the company itself is even more disturbing. I have argued long and hard for years about the good that Microsoft has done, but I have officially lost faith in this company. Good thing I have access to Linux.

  12. Dave says:

    Why are so many Microsoft employees trying to comment on this?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Pingback from Why Is Microsoft Missing From Good Causes? | Muktware