The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Vermont Senator Pat Leahy, today unanimously approved legislation that would provide the U.S. Justice Department with enhanced powers to block domain names and third-party enablers (including internet service providers, payment processors and online ad networks) of web sites that it believes are dedicated to the piracy of intellectual property.
Under the bill, according to Howard Neu, the company that sold the domain name registration to the website could even be forced to revoke the domain name of the site if it is being used for copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Free speech issues aside, the development should force domainers (and perhaps even affiliate marketers) to be very concerned.
According to Broadband Breakfast, the movie industry association and labor groups hailed the Judiciary Committee’s approval of S.3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, while Public Knowledge, the digital public interest group, expressed disappointment.
The Consumer Electronics Association, Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group of library associations and the NetCoalition, representing Google, eBay and other internet companies, worry that the legal approach in the legislation isn’t fair. Let’s hope they are right.