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New Bill Would Force ISPs to Block Piracy Websites

New Bill Would Force ISPs to Block Piracy Websites

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act would give the Department of Justice an “expedited process” for cracking down on websites that illegally make copyrighted material available, including the ability to “prevent the importation into the United States of goods and services offered by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities.”

A group of Senators have announced the introduction of a bill they believe will “address the growing problem of online piracy and counterfeiting.”

The legislation, “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” is cosponsored by Committee members Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) are also cosponsors of the legislation.

They believe the Bill would give the Dept of Justice the tools it needs to track and shut down “websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods.”

It’s the latter part that should have many worried because it goes to the heart of noncommercial online copyright infringement. Unlike sites that traffic in physical counterfeit goods, illegal P2P and streaming sites aren’t concerned with making a profit. It’s a very real distinction that seems to be ignored in this Bill.

The worst part is that the tools the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” would give the Dept of Justice to fight the problem are fairly heavy handed. Now it’s always been able to lock and suspend domestic websites, but now it would be able to go after foreign websites in order to “prevent the importation into the United States of goods and services offered by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities if…(it) harms intellectual property rights holders that are residents of the United States.”

The Bill would give courts the power to order ISPs to prevent access to infringing websites by US citizens if the site is found to illegally offer copyrighted material.

According to the Bill, an ISP “shall take reasonable steps that will prevent a domain name from resolving to that domain name’s Internet protocol address.”

For copyright holders like the MPAA the Bill would be a serious legislative windfall, and it’s already made clear it’s happiness with the proposal.

“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,” it says in a press release. “We commend and thank Chairman Leahy for his leadership on this important matter.”

Yet, the problem is that many, the Bill’s sponsors included, sadly seem to think that commercial and noncommercial copyright infringement are one in the same. They are not. There is a very big difference between trying to unfairly profit from the hard work of others and sharing content for others to enjoy for FREE.

““In today’s global economy the Internet has become the glue of international commerce ” connecting consumers with a wide-array of products and services worldwide. But it’s also become a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property,” says Hatch. “This legislation is critical to our continued fight against online piracy and counterfeiting. By coordinating our efforts with industry stakeholders and law enforcement officials, we’ll be better able to target those who are profiting from illegal activity.”

But, nobody’s profiting from file-SHARING, and it’s unfair to link the two.

Sadly, the RIAA doesn’t seem to care, and is surely trying to confuse the two in the minds of the Bill’s sponsors and the public at large.

RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol claims that “trafficking of pirated American movies and music from rogue websites outside our borders is a big business,” and calls the Bill a “welcome first step toward cutting off the financial lifeline that sustains these illegal operations and threatens the livelihoods of countless members of the American music community.”

Yet, I’d love to see exactly what sites he’s referring to and how trying to block access to them by US citizens will any way help the “livelihoods” of the American music community, especially when a recent study found that the income of musicians is up some 66% since the advent of digital music.

Moreover, if the Bill is passed there’s no way of telling just how many websites would eventually be blocked, placing the US at risk of having almost as highly a filtered version of the Internet as countries like China.

Let’s hope the Bill dies a quick death.

Stay tuned.

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Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus
John
John

Some one start assassinating these politicians.

Robert
Robert

You Know I ve always wonder what would happen if american people were to go on a strike and refuse to buy any music , movies etc what so ever untill compamys like riaa and mpaa were shut down.

Dave
Dave

Typical bullies who will not face up against their opposition, but can easily write legislation against the people who have no real power to fight back.

Dave
Dave

The majority that we elected in congress are absolute PUSSIES when it comes to passing legislation that really matters, but they won't think twice about putting stuff like this on the table. This is the only time when it seems that congress can get it together. Neither Dems or Republicans will get my vote this year because they are all in the pockets of big entertainment industries.

Haad
Haad

So what? People will deal multimedia contest on CD's and DVD's on the street, schools, parking lots, at work, etc. It will be just a little bit slower then sitting at home and download movies, software, music. At least people will get some exercise by getting outside of the house to pick up stuff from local dealer or neighbor. So, do us a favor and forbid whatever you want, greedy politicians and nasty corporations. We will just get healthier. Thank you!

JamesEduard
JamesEduard

Piracy, as we all know is stealing. Stealing other people right to ownership of their products and all. I like what you posted and thanks you so much for sharing your thoughts. It is well appreciated.

X
X

@JamesEduardYou are making an ass of yourself, because you are obviously completely ignorant of factual and lawful definitions. See: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/PiracyRe: File sharing of asserted copyright protected material:* it is not Piracy, because no war-like violence and robbery, was or is involved, certainly not at sea or in the air; thus it is ridiculous to state this, and probably defamation, so you could get sued, if you persist with this nonsense!* no stealing was or is involved, because no humans were deprived of their physical goods.* no money was or is derived from the sale of the asserted copyrighted virtual media.* it maybe, copyright infringement, but only in areas where this can be lawfully asserted to apply; this would be quite difficult to prove, given copyright 'rights' come from statutes!* statues are NOT real laws, so are a con, and the politicians who vote for these Bills (for sale) are effectively professional fraudsters and extortioners! Most people appear ignorant of this deception!Lawfully no wrong was done, because no one was hurt, harmed or deprived of their property.It doesn't matter how many fraudulent laws (statutes) were declared, file sharing of asserted copyright protected material is not a crime; it maybe a civil matter, but only where a contract was entered into, with informed consent; in most cases, no contract was entered into, with informed consent!Irony is: 1. the court probably didn't even have jurisdiction to try the case, give the nature of the dispute, until the humans were tricked to represent their fictional persons and enter into contracts, without their informed consent! 2. the persecution of these humans, by proxy, could be view as a genuine act of Piracy, given the police probably used some form of war-life violence and theft!

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Yes, let's not kid ourselves into thinking this is a partisan issue (meaning Dem's vs. Repubs) because both parties have a track record for putting in bad laws with regards to copyright. I recall people saying to vote Democrat when Republicans were in power and pulling the same kind of stunts and when I read those comments, I thought to myself, "Doesn't Hollywood sit in a state that votes that way too?"

Sargon
Sargon

The answer is "let it happen". It seems they never heard of OPENDNS. Its easier to set up an opendns server than it is to set up a web server. All the alternative domains like ".web", ".warez" and ".porn" exist and resolve on private DNS servers that can easily be used by anyone instead of their ISP supplied DNS server. There is no way to easily block pirate sites. The bill would have the same effects as Net Nanny did blocking porn - just pissing off people when legitimate sites get blocked in the name of software, RIAA and MPAA profits. It would be like Red China blocking non-pirate citizens while the pirates simply use a new DNS server.BTW the republicans are much worse and are responsible for the DCMA and its gigantic unconstitutional fines.

Ivory towers.
Ivory towers.

I hope this isn't deemed off topic. May I remind people that for every 1000 dollars made by a standard contracted recording artist, the artist actually sees $ 26.40. So please, all this regulation goes sternly against the truth. Major recording, and no doubt movie companies are thieves. Stop trying to protect your cash cow with crappy legislation. It no longer matters how many new acronyms, quangos or legal precedents you try and set. The reason people share, yes, share, is because for years you have set fraudulently high prices for access to art, and conned both creatives and consumers. Maybe you could try and build some faith in your industry if you stopped trying to make criminals out of your consumers.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

Definitely agree. This represents one of the biggest assaults on artists rights in recent memory in America. The only thing I know of in recent memory that comes close to this is ASCAP declaring war on Creative Commons.All this under the guise of protecting creators rights. Pah! Everything about this is anti-creator, anti-competitive and anti-consumer. Creators will be hurt as much as the consumer by this legislation and both would hurt a lot as a result. This bill can't die fast enough.

Me (cause thats who I am)
Me (cause thats who I am)

This is going against everything we stand for in this country. Censoring our decisions once again. It is bull, and I'm completely fed up with big business controlling what he can and can't do, compared to want we WANT to do, because someone else other then us feel its in OUR best interest.

BombsAway00
BombsAway00

This bill would represent a clear infringement of the First Ammendment. The sites referred to are not "devoted" or "dedicated" to hosting copyrighted material. First off, they do not host any material of their own. They simply provide tracking details for a file transfer system. Second, they are not devoted to one kind of material or another. They simply do not regulate the material that is tracked through their sites. This means that plenty of legitimate material, such as web-only television shows, open source software, or royalty-free music, will be blocked by taking down a whole site. In addition, taking down the site will not remove any material, or prevent its transfer. It will just create a situation where tracking info must be transmitted in another fashion, ie. traded on a forum, or in some sort of P2P chat.This is another clear example of out-of-touch politicians (mainly old, white men) who think that the internet is a series of tubes.

lilars
lilars

We need lobbyists in Washington to grease the proper wheels like big oil does.First someone would have to set up a way for filesharers to donate.Money is the only thing that Washington understands.

PK
PK

Definitely, and that's exactly why the laws are made in their favor. The problem is that most file sharers are broke (otherwise we'd be buying instead of trading). The RIAA, MPAA, big oil, big pharm (hell even the textile industry - go read about the debate on Hemp) already have more of your money than they know what to do with, so they're in a much better position to lobby for their own best interests and against yours. They're also more organized to a certain extent, which helps them as much as it works against everyone else.



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