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Antipiracy DNS blacklist bill passes the Senate Judiciary Committee

Posted at 19 November 2010 00:00 CEST by wconeybeer

A bill that will allow the US government to force internet service providers to block websites accused of illegal file sharing was passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning by a unanimous vote.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) will permit government officials to set up a system banning the Domain Name System of any website they believe is engaging in activities related to piracy. It will also ban credit card companies from processing any domestic payments to the websites and forbid online marketing agencies from doing business with them.

Predictably, the RIAA was pleased with the results of the vote.

“With this first vote, Congress has begun to strike at the lifeline of foreign scam sites, while protecting free speech and boosting the legal online marketplace,” said RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol. “Those seeking to thwart this bipartisan bill are protecting online thieves and those who gain pleasure and profit from de-valuing American property.”

But while the bill passed with unanimous support by politicians, some citizens are not so thrilled with the outcome and plan to try to change the measure.

“We are disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning chose to disregard the concerns of public-interest groups, Internet engineers, Internet companies, human-rights groups and law professors in approving a bill that could do great harm to the public and to the Internet,” said Gigi Sohn, president of Washington DC based public interest group Public Knowledge. Sohn told Ars Technica that he vows to push for a “more narrowly tailored bill” next year.

Additionally, a group of law professors, who have been rallying against COICA since it originated, drafted another letter in opposition of the bill this week. Signed by over 50 professors from some of the most prominent law schools in the United States and around the world, the letter outlines why the bill would be unconstitutional if passed into law:

The Act, if enacted into law, will not survive judicial scrutiny, and will, therefore, never be used to address the problem (online copyright and trademark infringement) that it is designed to address.  Its significance, therefore, is entirely symbolic – and the symbolism it presents is ugly and insidious… Even more significant and more troubling, the Act represents a retreat from the United States’ historical position as a bulwark and beacon against censorship and other threats to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and the free exchange of information and ideas around the globe.

The bill still has to pass before Congress, the House of Representatives, and be signed into law by the president before it would take effect. Unfortunately, with the overwhelming support it has been receiving from both Democrats and Republicans, there will likely be no roadblocks ahead.

If you’re a US citizen and you don’t like this bill, you can call/write/fax your representative and your senators asking them to oppose it.

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There are 11 comments

debro
Blown to smitherines
Posted on: 19 Nov 10 03:06
    So ... how many civil liberties violations are required before a corporation is declared an enemy of the state?
    signals
    MyCE Resident
    Posted on: 19 Nov 10 04:10
      This bill is another nail in the coffin of Fair Use. It has the potential to block far more than file-sharing sites. The measure is in my opinion the first step down a slippery slope towards censorship of internet content and has only weak due process provisions. US citizens concerned with issues of prior restraint and individual liberty should contact their Senators and Representatives and ask them to help stop S.3804.
      signals
      MyCE Resident
      Posted on: 19 Nov 10 04:12
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by debro
        So ... how many civil liberties violations are required before a corporation is declared an enemy of the state?
        And how many before the State is the enemy of the people?
        paulw2
        MyCE Senior Member
        Posted on: 19 Nov 10 07:03
          Welcome to the United fascist States of Amerika. First the Dept of Homeland Security and their lackeys the TSA legally aloud to sexually molest you and now gov ruled by the MPAA, RIAA and now big business..
          Seán
          Senior Administrator & Reviewer
          Posted on: 19 Nov 10 09:36
            I wonder how this DNS blacklist will be enforced, as there are two main problems I see with this:

            1. If only the DNS is blocked, there is little stopping the end user from changing to an alternative DNS provider such as OpenDNS or another freely available public DNS provider.

            2. If the associated IP address is also blocked to prevent users using a 3rd party DNS provider, this would have a major impact on shared hosting providers, where a very large number of websites have the same IP address, e.g. SiteGround. For example, if a blacklisted DNS results in the IP of a shared host being blocked, that could knock the websites of businesses offline who also use that same hosting provider.
            iamrocket
            Dedicated DoMi groupie
            Posted on: 19 Nov 10 13:41
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by debro
              So ... how many civil liberties violations are required before a corporation is declared an enemy of the state?
              Corporations run the state, that would be like becoming an enemy of yourself.
              Mr. Belvedere
              MyCE Resident
              Posted on: 19 Nov 10 16:36
                This is gonna be fun with ipv6
                changbang
                New Member
                Posted on: 19 Nov 10 21:43
                  Actually it was crushed last minute! so Victory!

                  Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send the Internet blacklist bill to the full Senate, but it was quickly stopped by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) who denounced it as "a bunker-buster cluster bomb" aimed at the Internet and pledged to "do everything I can to take the necessary steps to stop it from passing the U.S. Senate."

                  Wyden's opposition practically guarantees the bill is dead this year -- and next year the new Congress will have to reintroduce the bill and start all over again. But even that might not happen: Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Hollywood's own senator, told the committee that even she was uncomfortable with the Internet censorship portion of the bill and hoped it could be removed when they took it up again next year!
                  Chimera1970
                  MyCE Rookie
                  Posted on: 19 Nov 10 23:08
                    Sorry, but how exactly does this proposal protect free speech? If anything, it squashes it!

                    Censorship of ANY kind is bad--first IP addresses, then what? People's computers being spied upon? Government agencies taking a peek into your online activities? Where does it stop?

                    And who exactly is going to select which sites are actively participating? Are they going to remove all content or just certain one? I can name 50 sites right off hand that let you download material that the artists themselves put out there--who's going to ensure that something like this doesn't get caught up in this mess?
                    rla
                    Banned
                    Posted on: 20 Nov 10 17:27
                      Welcome to the U.S.S.R circa 2010
                      Mr. Belvedere
                      MyCE Resident
                      Posted on: 22 Nov 10 08:57
                        Quote:
                        Originally Posted by Chimera1970
                        Sorry, but how exactly does this proposal protect free speech? If anything, it squashes it!
                        Nothing new compared to earliers laws and bills.

                        Quote:
                        Censorship of ANY kind is bad--first IP addresses, then what? People's computers being spied upon? Government agencies taking a peek into your online activities? Where does it stop?
                        It does not stop. May i recommend reading this book?

                        Quote:
                        And who exactly is going to select which sites are actively participating?
                        A club of wise men.

                        Quote:
                        who's going to ensure that something like this doesn't get caught up in this mess?
                        The greater good for humanity is far more important than a few of earth's inhabitants.

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