Earlier this week a bill (PL 3336/2012) was proposed by Congressman Walter Feldman from PSDB aiming to curb the widespread violation of copyright on the Internet.
The Bill was clearly inspired by similar legislative efforts in other countries and provides for the blockage of internet sites which are declared to be a “infringer web site” meaning a “website directed to Brazil whose operator or owner is committing or aiding copyright violations under the local legislation”. According to the bill, the entity that will decide whether or not a site infringes upon third parties rights is National authority responsible for the registration of domain names and the allocation of IP addresses in Brazil, “Núcleo de Informações e Coordenação do .br” (NIC.Br).
The authority would be responsible for setting up a system of notices of infringement and each notice has to obey certain requirements to be accepted such as contain the signature (digital or not) of an authorized representative of the owner of the copyright, the identification of the web site which is allegedly violating copyrights, a declaration that the owner is acting in good faith and that the information presented is accurate.
After receiving a notice, the internet registration authority would have the power to include the website in the list of “infringing websites” the same will occur if a court order is obtained by the intellectual property owner.
The arsenal of remedies which will be available for intellectual property owners is powerful:
• Internet providers will be forced to block access to the infringing websites and domain names
• Search engines will be forced to exclude the websites from the search results
• Providers of payment solutions on the Internet will be forced to suspend the services for the infringing websites
• Providers of advertisement on the Internet will be forced to block the placement of advertisements on the infringing websites
Also, the bill provides for fines for the internet service providers which do not take the above measures within 5 days from the decision which has declared the website an infringing website.
Not only local websites are affected by the bill as there is also the possibility of the authority to block and prevent access to the National territory of foreign Internet sites which have been reported by authorities in other countries for intellectual property infringement, where such decision is notified to the Registration Authority in Brazil and there is reciprocal agreement between the entities involved.
Those that have been following our posts here know that we are all for better laws and decisions aiming to curb copyright violation.
This bill can be considered a good effort in this direction and, quite frankly, is the first one we have notice that openly protects content creators and owners. Mr. Walter Feldman is clearly in the right direction and we hope he is prepared to defend his point-of-view before the vast number of people that will certainly be rabidly against his effort. However, again, the bill can certainly be improved.
Something that called our attention was that there is no provision regarding an opportunity for the alleged infringing site to reply to the notice of infringement. We feel this is something important for any such bill to have.
Also, it is questionable whether the authority responsible for the registration of domain names should decide on these disputes with power to declare a site a “infringing website” specially if we consider that the remedies available are very powerful as they should be, by the way. The problem is that we feel that the NIC.br does not have the necessary knowledge and infrastructure to decide on such matters.
In sum, we already anticipate a lot of heated debate and possibly many changes on this bill.
Rodrigo Borges Carneiro