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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell: ‘Keep the Internet Open for Free Speech and Innovation’

Friday, January 20,2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement after Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Tuesday’s scheduled vote on the Protect IP Act will be postponed.

“It is important that Senator Reid decided to postpone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act. America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy.

“This week, the American people clearly spoke – and their voices were heard. Thank you to the thousands of Washingtonians who raised your voices this week to support an open and free Internet.

“As we move forward, I’ll continue to advocate for a policy that protects both creative content and online freedom of speech. I was proud to be part of the original bipartisan coalition offering an alternative to PROTECT IP. Now, I encourage Congress to consider the OPEN Act, which addresses illegal piracy and security while keeping the Internet open for free speech and innovation.”

Cantwell is an original cosponsor of The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN), an alternative to the Protect IP Act. The OPEN Act’s full bill text is available here: link

The OPEN Act would build on the existing legal framework for resolving unfair acts in the importation of articles, including those that infringe a valid and enforceable U.S. patent, copyright, or trademark. Through the International Trade Commission, violations of digital trade can be investigated and websites found to be “willfully” and “primarily” infringing on copyright material can be shut down. The ITC will create a transparent and adversarial process where all parties would receive due process and IP rules can be consistently applied. Neither the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House nor the Protect IP Act in the Senate allow for similar due process.