By Paulius Jurcys – Edited by Anton Ziajka
True Origin of Digital Goods Act, H.R., CS/HB 271, 2015 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Fla. 2015).
The bill is available at the Florida House of Representatives.
Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit certain anonymous websites and online services. Under the so-called “True Origin of Digital Goods Act,” owners and operators of websites that disseminate “commercial” recordings or audiovisual works must prominently disclose their true names, physical addresses, and telephone numbers or email addresses on the websites. The bill extends to all websites that deal “in substantial part” in disseminating such works, “directly or indirectly,” to Florida consumers.
One of the rationales provided for the proposal is the protection intellectual property rights. According to staff analysis by the Florida House of Representatives, “bad actors” who run websites that infringe upon the rights of copyright owners are “unlikely to disclose the personal information required by this bill.” Thus, the bill would “allow owners of copyrighted works to indirectly protect their intellectual property.”
Opponents of the bill criticize it on a number of grounds. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the bill’s definition of “commercial recording or audiovisual work” — that is, any work that the work’s “owner, . . . agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate” — is too abstract and vague. Indeed, a work may be “commercial” under the bill “regardless of whether a person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from the dissemination.” As a result of such a broad terminology, virtually anyone could potentially seek a court order to disclose the name and physical address of a covered website’s owner. ArsTechnica provides additional analysis of the proposed bill. (more…)