The bill entitled: “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) passed a US Senate panel this morning by a 19-0 vote.
Such organizations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation eBay, Amazon.com, Bloomberg, Google and Wikipedia were against the bill and warned that the bill would give federal law enforcement too much power to police infringing activity.
The measure, approved by the Senate panel in a 19-0 vote,
The bill was promoted to protect movies, music and fake goods from being sold on the internet.
The law would give U.S. agencies and officials new powers to go after domains that sell counterfeit goods and pirated music, movies and books has the backing of companies including Disney, Nike, Merck) and Time Warner and groups such as the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Association of America.
The bill allows the Justice Department to seek a court order against the domain name of websites offering illegal music or movie downloads or ones that sell counterfeit goods.
Once the Justice Department has the order, it could shut down the site by requiring the U.S. registrar to suspend the domain name.
If the registry is located outside the United States, the U.S. Attorney General could go after the website by requiring U.S.-based Internet service providers, payment processors and advertising networks to stop doing business with it.
This bill would effectively allow the Justice Deptment to go to the registry if the domain is registered with a non-US registry.
However many fear that domains that simply had links like parked pages to such sites could be sweep into this law and cause such domains to be seized.
The bill would now go to the Senate for a vote but with the Senate on break until after Thanksgiving and other matters such as the Bush tax cuts still to be decided this year, chances for passage this year seem minimal.