• On October 26, 2011, a bipartisan group of Congressmen led by Lamar Smith, R-Tex., Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced HR 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which tightens the prohibition in the Copyright Act against the unlicensed streaming of copyrighted works, such as motion pictures, music, and software applications. One of the bill’s notable provisions would make the law enforceable against foreign websites that are “U.S.-directed”, meaning they seek to do business in the United States. It would also make third-party entities, such as search engines and Internet advertising services, immune from suit “for any act reasonably designed to comply with” a court order requiring take-down of infringing content and for taking voluntary action to take down content that the entity reasonably believes is infringing a copyright. The House Judiciary Committee has released as statement about HR 3261, available here. The text of HR 3261 is available here.

The full Committee will hold a hearing on HR 3261 on November 16, 2011.

  • Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has sent inquiry letters to Visa and Mastercard about their proposed plan to use information about cardholders’ buying habits in targeted behavioral advertising campaigns. The Senator previously has introduced legislation – S.1207, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011, and S. 913, the Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 – aimed toward protecting information that businesses obtain from consumers. The letters ask Visa and Mastercard to provide the Department of Commerce with five types of information, including the companies’ policies for allowing consumers to opt out as required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. To read more about Sen. Rockefeller’s inquiry, and to find copies of the letters, click here.