And it comes equipped with a website called Madison that houses the bill for all to see and discuss.
A bi-partisan group of congressman have offered up an alternative to the controversial House and Senate bills SOPA and Protect IP Act. The new bill is called OPEN: Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The bill can be seen at KeepTheWebOpen.com, which states “The OPEN Act is built to protect creative ownership in America while securing the open, accessible Internet you deserve. We’re going further by actually opening up the legislative process with a new tool named Madison.”
This, quite simply, has to be one of the most encouraging moves by the Congress since… hell, I can’t remember.
Interested individuals can login into Madison and become part of the discussion of the bill in an open-source way. Now, if only individuals could tinker with the language, it would truly be open-source, democratic government.
The bill’s opening language states the OPEN Act is “A BILL to amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to address unfair trade practices relating to infringement of copyrights and trademarks by certain Internet sites, and for other purposes.”
It would empower the International Trade Commission, and independent agency, to investigate complaints alleging copyright infringement without demanding that ISPs blacklist websites such as Tor, which is used by activists and dissidents but also by individuals engaging in music or motion picture piracy.
To help defray investigation costs, the Commission has the right to charge a fee to a complainant.
This is certainly a much more promising bill than SOPA or PROTECT IP, but it could certainly use some commentary from interested individuals to further shape a bill that makes both copyright holders, websites and internet users happy.
To read the full text of the bill, head over to KeepTheWebOpen.com and join the discussion.