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The PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA, stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the act to the senate on May 12, 2011. The goal of PIPA is to discontinue access to websites that allow for the distribution of illegal copies of media and the sale of counterfeit goods. It is similar to other acts such as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act (COICA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). It is expected that the bill will cost the government $47 million when put into operation to cover the cost of hiring and training new agents and staff. The bill was passed, but has been put on hold for the time being to resolve issues pertaining to it.

Ultimate Goal of PIPAEdit

PIPA would not completely get rid of the sites who grant access to these files, but rather would order search engines and other sites (such as Google) to remove the link to the website from the search results. Users would still be able to access it by using the direct IP address, but would not be able to locate it by using a search engine.

Many companies, namely those in industries related to film and music, are in favor of the bill and want it to be passed. The illegal distribution I’ve talked about harms these kinds of companies because they are not receiving any sort of compensation for those downloads of their property. Many other companies, however, are against the act and don’t want it to pass. These companies are mainly social media sites, online shopping sites, and search engines. These sites may not directly benefit from the kinds of sites PIPA is trying to shut down, but they do draw in users who come searching for those files.

On January 18, 2012, it was decided that the bill would be postponed while issues related to it were worked out. Senator Leahy released a press statement saying he understood the reasoning behind postponing the bill, "But the day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back and realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem. Somewhere in China today, in Russia today, and in many other countries that do not respect American intellectual property, criminals who do nothing but peddle in counterfeit products and stolen American content are smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy."

PIPA as Related to Internet LawEdit

I think it is fairly self-explanatory how PIPA pertains to Internet law. PIPA, as we know, is an act that aims to stop the illegal distribution of files online. Internet law has to do with Internet access and usage, privacy, freedom of expression, and jurisdiction. This kind of law has been used in places such as China to monitor what is happening on the Internet. Basically its goal is to regulate what is going on online. PIPA is a federal act that is controlled by the government in an effort to regulate the distribution of illegal goods online.