Congressman James Langevin has signed on to an alternative to the controversial Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation in the House of Representatives.
Langevin is now a co-sponsor of the OPEN Act, introduced by California Republican Darrell Issa, which aims to move piracy disputes to the International Trade Commission (ITC) and address some of the Internet companies' concerns about SOPA and its Senate corollary, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has introduced a version of the OPEN Act in his chamber.
I spoke with Langevin on Monday, as he was weighing a co-sponsorship of OPEN, and he made a couple of interesting arguments that didn't make it into my cover story in today's Phoenix on the Internet piracy fight.
Among them: there may be market solutions to piracy that should be pursued. The success of iTunes, after all, has demonstrated that some sizable group of consumers are willing to pay for convenient, digital access to songs that might be swiped for free on the Internet.
Jonathan Stark, a Providence software consultant who works on web and mobile applications, raised a similar point when I spoke with him for the story. Hollywood, for now, insists on putting its films in theaters first, delaying DVD and digital distribution to maximize profit. That approach, Stark argues, is simply untenable these days. Why not make it easy for consumers to legally download the new Mission: Impossible film as soon as it comes out, he argues, if that's what they want to do?