US Chamber Of Commerce Appears To Argue That SOPA & PIPA Apply To NO Websites At All

from the figure-that-one-out dept

Yesterday, I was on a “panel” discussion at the Congressional Internet Caucus’s “State of the Net” event. At some point, I believe we’ll have some video of that, which we can post. However, at one point, moderator Tim Lordan asked panelist Steve Tepp, from the US Chamber of Commerce, about the claims that SOPA/PIPA only impact “foreign” sites, and argued that under the definitions in the bill sites like or would be subject to the bills, and thus they would effect the American companies who run them. Tepp insisted this wasn’t true, because the bill only applies to “US-directed sites” and a site that is a .ca or wouldn’t be considered US-directed. However, First Amendment lawyer Marvin Ammori sensed a pretty obvious problem with that. If what Tepp argues is true, he’s basically saying that SOPA and PIPA apply to no websites at all. Remember, supporters of the bills insist that they don’t apply to .coms or .orgs or any other site using a TLD controlled by a US register. So that wipes out that batch of domains. But, here, Tepp now seems to be claiming that it also doesn’t apply to any site with a country specific TLD… because those aren’t US-directed. So… um… what’s left?

First, the bills define US-directed site to mean almost any site that you can access in the US. PIPA does not have a definitive test, but it lets courts determine which sites are directed to the US based on several indicia, including whether the “Internet site has reasonable measures in place to prevent such goods and services from being accessed from or delivered to the United States.” (PIPA, page 48.) Meaning, if the site hasn’t blocked American users from accessing the site, then it’s US-directed. The whole point of the Internet, though, is that sites are globally available, and not blocked for particular countries. SOPA, on the House side, merely requires “minimum contacts” sufficient for personal jurisdiction, which is a very low standard that would touch most sites–as any law student would learn after reading the International Shoe case in the second week of Civil Procedure. (See SOPA, page 9).

Second, this argument is unconvincing because it suggests that the bills would cover zero sites in the whole world. If and are exempt from the bill, then so are or The point of SOPA and PIPA, in theory, is to target foreign sites, who are defined based on having foreign domain names. So, the Chamber is saying, “Don’t worry won’t be subject to the bills because that’s not a foreign site.” Now it says, “Don’t worry, won’t be subject to the bills because it’s not a US-directed site.” Does that mean neither or is subject to the bill? By my count then, the bills don’t apply to any sites that have a domestic domain name nor do they apply to any sites that have a foreign domain name.

The Chamber is trying to convince us that the bills apply to zero websites and companies? They wouldn’t apply to or, or, or

This doesn’t strike me as highly convincing.Why would studios and labels spend millions trying to pass a bill that affects zero websites and companies?

Indeed. It’s this kind of duplicity that has people so fed up with the lobbyist/politician lies being spread about this bill by supporters. The language was written purposely, so that they could insist it won’t actually do any of the awful things the bill clearly allows… while knowing full well that’s exactly how the bill will be used (regularly) after it passes.

Filed Under: , , , , , , ,
Companies: us chamber of commerce

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “US Chamber Of Commerce Appears To Argue That SOPA & PIPA Apply To NO Websites At All”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
A Monkey with Atitudesays:

Where are all the PRO-SOPA/PIPA people

Seriously, for many many months now we have been treated to vitriol and rhetoric the likes Pol-Pot would be proud of. How if we don’t like the bill we are thieves and gangsters. Over and over they said DON’T FIGHT YOU CANT WIN! we have already kicked your technology loving / thief / pirate ass’s off the interwebs… DON’T TRY AND FIGHT… Now that the USS SOPA/PIPA ship is being torpedoed and cruising head long into the iceberg.. where are they, the ones with the PROOF Mike, and all the rest of us are EVIL Pirates…

It proves they have been scared of us all along and knew if we fought we would win ! Its not over yet, and we all need to keep standing and keep fighting, but i hope we all remember the next time a Copy-tard comes calling… Meaningful debate, no problem… Shilltard propaganda…GTFO



You seem to assume the usage of “some” to mean “some portion of a greater amount of footage.” While its possible this was the intended meaning, it can also mean, “footage of an amount, regardless of whether its edited or not.” Maybe the video that was taken only covered some of the event and there isn’t video available of every moment. Maybe Mike wasn’t the one who captured the video and can’t dictate what amount of the footage he gets from the videographer.

Even if your assumed meaning turns out to be accurate, why would you equate editing with censorship? You don’t know what is being left out, so you just jumped to the conclusion that something important is being left out instead of dead air time that people with ADD aren’t going to want to sit through or meaningless moments that have nothing to do with the topic of the article?


This is how low the standard is in SOPA specifically:

(23) U.S.-DIRECTED SITE- The term `U.S.-directed site’ means an Internet site or portion thereof that is used to conduct business directed to residents of the United States, or that otherwise demonstrates the existence of minimum contacts sufficient for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the owner or operator of the Internet site consistent with the Constitution of the United States, based on relevant evidence that may include whether–


(D) any prices for goods and services are indicated or billed in the currency of the United States.

When pirate sites start simply listing prices in euros or pounds, does that mean we’ll have to blocking currency converters? Will Google be forced to make its currency converter not list dollars any more?

After all, U.S. pirates can’t buy things like the freetards they are if they can’t convert from euros.



I must be reading this all wrong here lets take the section you just posted

(23) U.S.-DIRECTED SITE- The term `U.S.-directed site’ means an Internet site or portion thereof that is used to conduct business directed to residents of the United States, or that otherwise demonstrates the existence of minimum contacts sufficient for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the owner or operator of the Internet site consistent with the Constitution of the United States, based on relevant evidence that may include whether–


(D) any prices for goods and services are indicated or billed in the currency of the United States.

Then follow it up with


(a) Definition- For purposes of this section, a foreign Internet site or portion thereof is a `foreign infringing site’ if–

(1) the Internet site or portion thereof is a U.S.-directed site and is used by users in the United States;

Does that not break down to all sites that conduct business directed to residents of the United States a U.S.-directed site and there for a foreign Internet site. In which case any infringement for on it then becomes a `foreign infringing site’ making any site able to have SOPA applied to it foreign or domestic?

Please someone school me in this that’s my reading but I am not great on following all jargon. And we was told it only would affect Foreign Sites then we are being told it would not apply to any site.


Re: Re:

That’s pretty much one the reasons why this bill is so bad. The definitions aren’t based in any sensible reality, they’re based on:

1) A domain name being registered in a TLD ( for example) that isn’t controlled by a U.S. entity

2) A site being accessible and usable by U.S. Citizens.

This is the point made in the article, and the point several of us made to an AC troll. If you argue it can’t be used against certain “foreign sites” like, then what is it about them that is in any way immunised against SOPA? Because the standards in SOPA do not distinguish between sites hosted and owned in the U.S. that use a “foreign” domain name and sites outside the country that use a foreign domain name, which is also part of the reason the likes of doesn’t come under SOPA.


Re: Re: Re:

Ok so I was reading it right that had been bugging me and I had wanted to make sure I was not mistaken before using as talking points. I am not a lawyer, they use so much double talk its a pain to make out what they are talking about.
I have said from the first time I saw it that it was written so badly and broadly that nothing is immune from it no matter what they try to say. If it is not written clear and concise with no room for misinterpretation then it will be abused.
Scrap them and focus on the counterfeiting with clear and concise language, as that is something that has potential to harm U.S. citizens.
Innovate to cut back on infringement you will never remove it, so make it so easy, reasonably priced, and able to use when and where your customers want it legally that its point less to hunt down the infringing content.


Did they even read the bills?

Based on the comments and statements from pro-sopers I’ve read, and especially from watching the vids of Richard Cotton et al “debating” this subject, it’s obvious that supporters of these bills NEVER expected to engage the public in discussion – all they ever had were talking points tailored for politicians.

Their hostile, whiny reactions to the mildest questions demonstrate a profound lack of thinking.

Nick Dynicesays:

Here is my guess:

They are saying the bill does not target domestic TLDs by domestic owners because they can go after them with dubious, due processes-free ICE Operation In Our Sites-style takedowns.

They are saying it will not affect foreign TLD by domestic owners because they can go after their hosting if it is domestic or their money under some other law using tortured logic and hide it under national security.

Foreign TLD that is US-directed are not targeted so is in the clear according the the US.

They are saying it will not affect domestic TLD or domestic payment processing, and domestic ad networks owned by foreign owners because the FBI can just take down their hosting under some other law using tortured logic and hide it under national security.

Of course, the elephant in the room is that US companies need to comply.

What all of this says to foreigners: investment in going after the US market, using US based payment processing, hosting, and ad networks is risky and at the whim of a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats using SOPA. Don’t try to do business in the US unless you are a member of some international trade org. What a bunch of jingoist crap!

If you want your site to be bulletproof from all possible future US legislation, do everything: domain TLD, hosting, payment, ad network outside the US. Go USA!


Wait, this would be a good law

OK, hear me out.
If anyone can find a bit of a film that even “sort of” infringes, or a song that “kind of” sounds like something not owned by the studio, they could file. Universal, EMI, etc. would have to have all of their web sites offline. Showing their movies, playing their songs would be a violation. As long as the case stays in court, they wouldn’t get a dime. They all have foreign distributors, so they are in play. Death by a thousand paper cuts. Let them have their law and bury them with it.

The Luke Witnessersays:

Here lies the truth about SOPA/PIPA that even TechDirt has yet to report: what MPAA, RIAA, and Hollywood execs do not want you to see.

The truth behind why these big companies responsible for SOPA and PIPA are also responsible for piracy itself is far more insidious than even their outmoded business model.

Hint: can you say, do as I say so I can crush you under heel?

Leave a Reply to ervserver Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it