The proposal is an offshoot to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act introduced last year. It was scrapped by its authors in exchange for the Protect IP Act in a bid to win Senate passage.And therein lies the problem. Who decides what the infringement is? And what happens to the Internet when they do?
Under the old COICA draft, the government was authorized to obtain court orders to seize so-called generic top-level domains ending in .com, .org and .net. The new legislation (.pdf), with the same sponsors, narrows that somewhat.
Instead of allowing for the seizure of domains, it allows the Justice Department to obtain court orders demanding American ISPs stop rendering the DNS for a particular website — meaning the sites would still be accessible outside the United States.
Despite the new bill watering down the United States’ reach, the government has been invoking an asset-forfeiture law to seize generic top-level domains of infringing websites under a program called Operation in Our Sites.” It began last year, and the Department of Homeland Security has targeted 120 sites.
Abigail Phillips, a copyright attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said because of Operation in Our Sites, the DNS changeover “doesn’t seem all that meaningful.”
Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director at Public Knowledge, noted that the measure does not narrowly define the websites that could be targeted.
“The bill still defines a site as ‘dedicated to infringing activities,’ if it is designed or marketed as ‘enabling or facilitating’ actions that are found to be infringing,” he said. “In other words, even if the site isn’t itself infringing copyright, if its actions ‘enable or facilitate’ someone else’s infringement, the government can tell ISPs to blacklist your site, and copyright holders can sue to cut your funding.”
Friday, May 13, 2011
First, They Came For The Domain Names...
...Thanks to a new bill aimed at "Piracy":