Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

The Electronic Frontier Foundation have drawn to my attention the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act introduced to the US Congress by Senator Patrick Leahy (with a number of co-sponsors). Given the global nature of the Internet, statutes regulating the Internet are likely to have extraterritorial effects, a fact the bill itself recognises. The bill seeks to block certain domain names. It operates by creating two lists: the first is a list of sites which have been identified by court order on the action of the Attorney-General to be engaging in infringing activities and which are to be blocked; the second is a list of sites which the Department of Justice has determined are engaging in such behaviour and which are recommended to be blocked. The DOJ process does not involved review by judicial authorities. The EFF argues strongly against the bill. Supporters include Viacom and the Motion Picture Association of America. We see the usual battle lines drawn. The bill is in the first stage of the legislative process, being referred to a committee for a detailed investigation. Most bills, apparently, do not make it out of the committee stage.


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