Wednesday, May 18, 2011

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Law

Internet Safety: Hacking and Counterfeiting-

With so much changing in technology- and so quickly, we must be sure our laws are keeping up to date.  Lately, the United States legislature has been working to keep up and keep consumers safe.  It has become unfortunately easy to hack computers, compromise security, and pose merchandise as something it's not.  Government is taking a stand.

Over the last week especially, the federal government has been working on legislation to combat these new trends.  In a summary of about 8 bills detailing the efforts to protect rights of ownership and consumers from fraud, legislators made their intent clear:  “Cyber crime has increased dramatically over the last decade,” according to the summary. “It has become clear that our nation cannot fully defend against these threats unless certain parts of cybersecurity law are updated.

Included in the group of bills is a measure allowing the U.S. Attorney General to serve court orders on internet service providers, search engines, and the like-- forcing them to prevent access and processing of infringing materials.  These orders would protect against the sale of counterfeit goods and help preserve the rights of designers.  “This legislation will protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content, and will protect the jobs associated with those investments,” Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement.  According to a industry heavyweight, jobs have definitely been in jeopardy because of this issue.  Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom said more than 140,000 jobs have been lost in the entertainment industry, as a result of online piracy. “...illegal, parasitic websites that steal the hard work of millions and expose innocent users to a spectrum of significant, real-world dangers”.

Technology and fashion industry stakeholders will benefit greatly from these new laws.  Under the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP Act), fakes would be stopped in their tracks.  The legislation gives law enforcement the tools it needs to not only let counterfeiters know Fakes Are Never in Fashion, but also protect unknowing consumers from deception and losing money --especially when it comes to their computers and smart devices.  The law expands the remedies available to rights holders and sends a message to counterfeiters.  The American apparel & Footwear Association has signed on in support of the legislation.  Groups including Burberry, eBay, the Motion Picture Association of America, and Microsoft have even joined forces signing on to a  Memorandum of Understanding.  The MoU sets up a code of practice for policing rogue websites which push counterfeit goods.  It's definitely a unified front by the industry on their stand against piracy.    
We will definitely be watching this legislation until it is officially signed into law.  Follow us on Twitter for live updates as we get them!

For more on PROTECT IP, check out our friend in Fashion Law, Fashion Cloture!   

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