A bill that would block websites selling counterfeit goods, such as discount golf clubs and tax-free cigarettes, is getting an extra push from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
A chamber-led coalition will run ads in major Capitol Hill publications and on the Washington, D.C., radio station WTOP for two weeks starting Monday supporting legislation that would expand the tools American companies can use to combat foreign counterfeiters. The ads will coincide with visits to every Senate office, said Steve Tepp, who is managing the effort.
“This is the theft of American jobs,” said Tepp, a chamber counsel who handles intellectual property issues. “They are literally stealing our intellectual property and selling it back to us in dangerous form.”
Introduced in May by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill authorizes the Justice Department to file a civil action against foreign websites “dedicated to infringing activities.”
The order would require search engines such as Google to bar these suspect sites from showing up in search results and would bar Internet service providers from connecting users to the flagged sites.
Coalition members include Walmart, Eli Lilly & Co. and Netflix, but one big chamber member — Google — has spoken out against the idea.
Opponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has put a hold on the bill, argue that it will restrain online commerce and that it is the first step to censoring the Web. Others say the language defines infringing too broadly.
Heidi Biggs Brock takes over shortly as the new president of the Aluminum Association, which has been testing out some innovative new PR and advocacy tools to promote its industry.
In addition to announcing Brock’s arrival, the association recently touted its successful bid to break a Guinness World Record for helping put together the world’s longest chain of aluminum cans.
The trade group teamed up with the self-proclaimed Commissioner of Tailgating, Joe Cahn, to lay out the five-miles long chain of cans end-to-end at a fair ground in Green Bay, Wis., at the start of the football season. The event kicked off a 17-city “Can Crusade” tour to encourage NFL tailgaters to drink from recyclable aluminum cans.
“There’s a terrific sustainability message about aluminum,” said Brock. “If people can recycle one can, they can power a TV for three hours.”
Brock takes over from Steve Larkin, who is retiring at the end of this year after 13 years with the association. Brock was vice president of federal and international affairs at the Weyerhaeuser Co., which deals in wood products and real estate.
The association also will release its first industry-wide sustainability report at its annual meeting in Chicago this week.
On the Run
The quickly-growing government relations firm of Thorn Run Partners is adding a senior Republican lobbyist to its Washington, D.C., team, tapping Jessie Howe Brairton to be a senior vice president.
Brairton, who starts later this month, leaves a post as director of federal government affairs at Eli Lilly & Co., where she focused on health care reform, Medicare and Medicaid issues. She previously was a senior legislative assistant to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Brairton’s 15-year career also included stints on the staff of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and at the National Federation of Independent Business.
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