11.16.2011 1

Guilty until proven innocent

By Rick Manning — What would you say about a piece of legislation that allows a competitor to cut off the revenue stream to its competition based upon an unproven allegation?

What would you call a piece of legislation that destroys an alleged offender’s business without allowing it to first confront its accuser in a court of law?

What would you call a piece of legislation that allows major corporations with teams of lawyers to intimidate and drive their small competitors out of business due to a baseless claim or even an honest mistake?

Unfortunately, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) calls this legislation H.R. 3261.

Smith’s bill presumes that a website operator who is accused of using someone else’s intellectual property is guilty by immediately cutting off the advertising revenue stream for the site. The legislation coerces Internet advertising companies by holding them harmless in an intellectual property dispute if they cut off the accused’s ad revenues within five days of an allegation.

The allegation doesn’t have to be true, and it doesn’t have to have merit.

It just has to be made, and the ad revenue stream gets cut off out of a sense of preservation by the ad placement company. (Click here to continue reading)

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