A BILL has been introduced in the US Senate Bill to give the entertainment industries more power to combat copyright infringement.
The bill is intended to appease big US media conglomerates. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act is specifically designed to give US federal prosecutors the power to shut down a site's domain registration anywhere in the world.
This means there would be no localised safe-haven like Sweden for Pirate Bay's servers. If the bill is passed, users popping along to the Pirate Bay website will get a domain error message instead.
The US is so keen to get behind the bill that it was introduced by Republican and Democratic Senators Orrin Hatch and Patrick Leahy. French news agency AFP reported that the Senators are acting as the puppets of US media cartels.
"Each year, online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods cost American businesses billions of dollars, and result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs," Leahy told AFP.
"Today's global economy the Internet has become the glue of international commerce -- connecting consumers with a wide-array of products and services worldwide," Hatch told APF.
"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."
The US entertainment media powerhouse Viacom has already responded with a love letter to Hatch and Leahy for proposing the bill.
"The film and television industries are responsible for millions of U.S. jobs and tens of billions in wages to American workers. However, businesses hiding offshore are generating large profits from global theft of intellectual property in digital form, threatening our nation's prosperity and one of its most vital exports."
"The bipartisan legislation introduced today by Senators Leahy, Hatch and eight other original cosponsors provides necessary authority and flexibility for the Department of Justice to keep pace with the complexities of fighting digital theft. This bill is an important step forward to help curb rampant piracy here and abroad, and protect American jobs. We look forward to working with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and Congressional leadership on its passage."
If the bill is passed US federal prosecutors will finally have powers over the Internet that the government has been seeking since the Bush administration pushed for similar laws during its tenure. It also seems that the Obama administration isn't a stranger to supporting laws that suppress online freedom.
Only last week we reported that the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a landmark data privacy ruling that had curtailed the US government's computer search and seizure powers. The ruling was reversed due to pressure from the Obama administration to create a "public safety" loophole so the feds could search the personal data of US citizens without having to show probable cause. µ
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