Rep. Howard L. Berman said he may abandon his controversial proposal to help Hollywood battle Internet piracy, in part because of complaints from an unexpected source: Hollywood.
Berman (D-Van Nuys) introduced a bill in July to give movie studios, record companies and other copyright holders limited immunity from lawsuits if they used technology to block piracy on file-sharing networks such as Kazaa or Gnutella. The immunity would not have applied to tactics that damaged users' computers or legitimate file-sharing activities.
The measure, which died when Congress adjourned last year, drew heavy flak from consumer advocates who said it would encourage copyright owners to become network-snarling vigilantes. Nevertheless, Berman was widely expected to try again this year with a revised version of the bill.
This week, however, Berman said he may not revive the measure. For one thing, copyright holders may not need extra protection to combat file-sharing piracy, he said. And though Berman wasn't deterred by complaints from consumer advocates, the concerns voiced by Hollywood studios -- among the biggest beneficiaries of the bill, given their active anti-piracy efforts online -- suggested that Berman was climbing out on a limb by himself.