Yesterday lawmakers convened together in a room along with the Department of Justice to propose a new law how to combat piracy. The new law if passed would allow the Department of Justice to take over domain names of websites that promote copyright infringement. A group of US senators proposed legislation to make this a standard procedure. The MPAA and RIAA are jumping with glee.
“We’re very pleased to join a great number of creators and workers from throughout the motion picture and television industry in support today of this important legislation to combat efforts to steal the lifeblood of one of our nation’s most important industries,” said the MPAA’s interim CEO Bob Pisano.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the bill “will protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content and will protect the jobs associated with those investments.” Ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the bill “critical to our continued fight against online piracy and counterfeiting.”
If signed into law, the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (pdf via TL) would allow the Department of Justice to file a civil lawsuit against the domain owners. If the courts decide that a site is indeed promoting copyright infringement, the DOJ can order the domain registrar to take the domain offline.
The “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” would empower the US Department of Justice to shut down, or block access to, websites found to be “dedicated to infringing activities.” Sites that use domain names registered by a US-based company, or a top-level-domain administered by a US-based company, would find their internet addresses frozen.
The bill contains provisions to block sites with domain names and TLDs that are maintained by overseas companies, which are immune to US laws. Under the legislation, US attorneys would be authorized to obtain court orders directing US-based internet service providers to stop resolving the IP addresses that allow customers to access the sites. That would have the effect of making the sites inaccessible to US-based web users who don’t use some sort of proxy service.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act is sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and senior Republican member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and co-sponsored by a number of Senate Democrats, including Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), plus others.