Zoe Lofgen about The State of the Net, on Sept. 19, 2011

Protect IP Act

Zoe Lofgren discussed the Protect IP Act which has a multi-pronged approach, to systemic piracy:   attack via removing the money, Visa and credit providers must cooperate; ensure no money via advertising; force ISPs to remove them from the Net: force DNS providers to remove pointers; and force search engines and other websites to remove all hyperlinks.  It also includes a private right of action to enforce these prongs.

Lofgen supports all money restriction, but worries about DNS security disruption and private right of action.  Private right of action, like with patent trolls, marking trolls, and copyright trolls, will lead to what is in effect legal extortion.

DNS issue may destroy security infrastructure (as people turn to less secure DNS providers).  A recent paper on this topic was persuasive to her.

By pushing through this legislation it will also destroy the budding cooperation between content providers and web infrastructure companies, which will lead to bad results.

Lofgren’s advice:  Follow the Money. We can develop a scheme to prohibit profit, and we can do this without destroying network security.  This will handle almost all of the issues.

State of the net is challenged.

Lofgren opposes Protect IP Act (because of DNS, search engine/website, and private right of action), but is only one of a handful in the House. Senate would likely also pass it, except for Wyden’s Senate hold.

HR1981: Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act:  

This law would require ISPs to acquire name and credit card info, and retain record of all sites visited by all. ISPs would make this information available to government, without a warrant. Cover for massive expansion of govt power. It should be HR 1984, since it’s about total surveillance.

Lofgren notes that we must speak up, or this will pass. FBI wants this. Congress will give it to them, unless we speak up. Passed out of judiciary committee. Will pass, unless people speak up.


The new PTO offices should include an office in California, and the California delegation has spoken to the Commerce Department about this. They have also discussed with SJSU the possibility of providing a free location of the office, which may tilt the field toward Silicon Valley, instead of someplace cheaper.

Internet taxation:  Republican opposition to taxes in general makes this unlikely.

All Internet companies combined spend less on lobbying than one single phone company. This explains some decisions.  Technology companies need better lobbyists, instead of flying in & flying out.

We should be concerned, because many members of Congress don’t understand how search engines, and other technologies, work. (ad in Hill paper re @Google stealing content, no real source in ad, but probably MS.)

ICE asserts jurisdiction on copyright enforcement. And they don’t know what they are doing.

DOJ owned and operated by Hollywood. Take-downs based on forfeiture rules. IP Tzar has tremendous lobbying and influence by Hollywood and Recording Industry.

ICANN to be taken over by UN?  China may wish this to assert control over the Internet via UN power, e.g. small client state votes. If we can, we should keep ICANN for free Internet.  Keep it independent is key.

She also voted against the America Invents Act, although she was one of the original sponsors of the patent act some years ago.  She has been working on this for 10 years.  But this version, in her view, has become so heavily tilted away from IP creators as to be a negative overall.

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