Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, HobbyDB, Mercari, OfferUp, Poshmark, and Shopify are among the companies lobbying Congress about the SHOP SAFE Act, which stands for “Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-commerce.”
The Computer & Communications Industry Association was among the organizations opposing the bill in a letter to lawmakers sent on Tuesday. It said the bill would “benefit foreign luxury brands, but harm smaller U.S. companies and consumers.”
Another organization, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) said that while the SHOP SAFE Act has the laudable goals of preventing the sale of counterfeits online and promoting consumer welfare, health, and safety, it was concerned the bill would not actually achieve these goals and said it risked harming internet users and small businesses.
Etsy updated sellers on the legislation in a corporate blog post on Tuesday. “Congress will now spend the next couple of months debating if SHOP SAFE should be folded into a larger bill that both the Senate and House can support.”
“Etsy urges policymakers to remove SHOP SAFE from consideration unless it addresses the concerns raised by the millions of creative entrepreneurs we represent. We believe it is possible to protect consumers without harming the millions of small businesses that drive our economy and keep America’s entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.”
Among other things, SHOP SAFE would effectively require digital services to monitor their users’ posts for potential trademark infringement, the organizations purported.
The letter stated: “Due to the overbreadth of the bill, consumers could be negatively impacted because smaller services and smaller sellers may cautiously err on the side of removing legitimate listings or even shut down due to compliance burdens. This runs counter to the bill’s stated goals of enhancing American competitiveness by severely limiting the opportunities for American small businesses to offer their goods and services to consumers.”
A PDF copy of the letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday can be found on the CDT website.