US Censorship Bill Gets Even Worse – Son of COICA Arrives: The PROTECT IP Act

I wish there were a few “lawmakers” out there who were more concerned about the freedoms of their constituents, instead of the copyright problems of their donors …


Lawmakers loyal to the entertainment industry have twice now tried (and failed) to pass COICA (or the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act), a new bill that would create a website blacklist and give the Department of Justice the ability to censor or shut down certain websites loosely deemed “dedicated to infringing activities.” After repeated failures, lawmakers have been cooking up a replacement for the bill dubbed the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act” or the…. PROTECT IP Act, which Techdirt notes is even worse than the original bill, broadening the ability to censor websites:

…rather than actually taking into account the concerns many had with COICA, this new bill is even more draconian, in that it has a private right of action. That is, beyond just letting the Justice Department declare that a site is “rogue” and then getting a court order that would require all sorts of third parties censor that site, this new law will also let rights holders take action. . .The bill claims it includes “safeguards,” but those “safeguards” are that after the court order has been issued and all the third party service providers (payment process, ad networks, ISPs, search engines) have been required to block service to the site, the site can “petition the court to suspend or vacate the order.”

In short, with all the discussion by numerous legal scholars on how bad the original COICA was — efforts to revise the bill seem to have been based solely on the input of the entertainment industry. While the definition of what an “infringing site” seems to have loosened slightly, the companies targeted to help bring targeted websites down has broadened to include search engines — in the hopes of targeting replacement pop up domains. This is, in part, an effort to stop things like the recent Firefox extension that redirected users to the new domains of sites seized by DHS.
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