update: Senate anti-piracy bill provokes battle between Hollywood and Web giants
Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee, in an executive session, voted in favor of the bill. It now moves to the full Senate for a vote at a time to be determined.On Thursday morning, a Senate Judiciary committee will consider legislation to combat Internet counterfeiting that has pitted Hollywood and television networks against Web giants Amazon, Google and Yahoo over how law enforcement authorities should prevent digital theft.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) with the backing of 17 senators, would allow law enforcement to scrap infringing sites by taking down the domain names of the most egregious copyright offenders. If approved by the subcommittee, the measure would proceed to the full Senate for vote.
The controversial legislation has attracted powerful supporters and detractors who have ramped up lobbying campaigns around the bill this week.
On one side, the music, movie and television industries have supported the bill, saying that counterfeiting of their products won't cease unless there are stronger sanctions in place. They say that existing rules have done little to curb counterfeiting and piracy.
"The economic impact of these activities -- millions of lost jobs and dollars -- is profound," Bob Pisano, president of the Motion Picture Association of America wrote in an editorial in The Hill on Tuesday.
On the other side, Internet networking engineers and privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that the takedown of domain names could destabilize the structure of the Web.
They are joined in opposing the measure by companies such as eBay, Amazon.com, Bloomberg, Google and Wikipedia, who wrote Leahy on Monday, cautioning against provisions in the bill that they say would give federal law enforcement too much power to police infringing activity.
NetCoalition, a group that represents those Web firms, expressed concern that the Justice Department could go after infringing Web sites by forcing partners -- the order domain name system servers, financial transaction providers and advertising networks -- to discontinue services to the illegal site.
The practice, "raises a host of questions that necessitate thorough review," the group wrote, urging Leahy to postpone a full Senate vote on the bill until the new Congress comes into power. Instead, the group said that the courts are best suited to oversee the global Internet.
| November 18, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Lawmakers weigh TV fees bill, some call television market broken
Next: Now that broadband grants are out, Commerce seeks money to make sure funds aren't misused
Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | November 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheBabu | November 18, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: davedeltawhiskeybravo | November 18, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Aggytater | November 18, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: vtel57 | November 18, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jcluma | November 18, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: con_byrne | November 18, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: robert17 | November 19, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Skeptic1 | November 19, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dsfgsdhfsd | November 19, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: buddy_cabot | November 21, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse