US Senate

The end of September saw technology trade groups focusing on a fight against U.S legislation that would ultimately see the government with the power to shut down Web sites that are believed to be breaking piracy laws.

However the Senate committee shocked the technology sector by stating that it would attempt to hasten the bill to give the U.S Department of Justice the authority to fight back against illegal file sharing and counterfeiting.

Critics claim that the planned legislation which is known as the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act is primarily a censorship that puts the problem of copyright-protection on the shoulders of companies that it should not be put upon.

Backers of the bill retaliate by claiming that the majority of the entertainment industry’s trade groups stress that online piracy is further shrinking the U.S economy.

Moreover copyright owners claim that some U.S intellectual property is now merchandise because pirates are making it available for free all over the world.

Others in favour of the bill claim that the government needs to be more prepared in order to stop such sites, with a specific problem being the overseas markets.

Under the suggested legislation, the Justice Department could file civil action against domains that are under suspicion of piracy. If the domain is hosted in the U.S the attorney general can seek permission from a court to find out whether or not that specific domain name is infringing copyright laws and participating in illegal activities.

If the site was proven to be guilty of the charges held against it, then the next step would be to order the U.S based registrar of the site to shut it down.

Following this the Department of Justice would also hold the power to restrict U.S citizens from using accused sites that are based overseas by commanding Internet service providers to block those sites, which would be the important factor for copyright owners.

Despite the support for the bill the tech sector is putting up a fight, 89 engineers who each played a part in the development of the Internet wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee stating that the legislation threatens the Web, improvements and domain-name structure.