Wyden pledges to delay Internet anti-piracy bill
A legal debate over how to stop online piracy appears far from over.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) promises to stop a controversial Internet anti-counterfeiting and piracy bill from moving forward during the lame-duck Congress.
He recently called the bill, which has a provision that would allow the Justice Department to take down domain names of infringing sites and hold liable credit card companies and other partners, a "bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile."
Wyden's move to hold the bill, hailed by anti-censorship groups, will likely delay passage until the next Congress, experts say.
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), passed the Judiciary committee unanimously 19-0.
"When a domain is taken offline, everything on that domain is taken offline, including non-infringing speech and valuable innovation," said the Electronic Freedom Foundation, a free speech group.
The EFF said that tools are already in place to fight piracy and that new rules won't give Web sites due process.
"Under current law, Hollywood already has powerful tools to police online infringement, such as the DMCA takedown process, that were the result of years of negotiation and include protections against abuse."
But Hollywood, television networks, book publishers and some independent film producers disagree. NBC General Counsel Rick Cotton, MacMillan President Brian Napack, independent filmmaker Ellen Seidler and Scott Harbinson, of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union stopped by The Post to talk about their support for the bill.
Cotton dismissed complaints that the bill doesn't give due process to Web sites.
"The bill we are talking about sets a very high standards," Cotton said. "Rights holder have to go to Justice and have to go before a federal judge and have formal a finding that a site meets the standard we are talking about. There is no better process than going before a federal judge, in front of the press."
Napack said that third-parties should be included in the bill because they are part of an "ecosystem" that support online theft.
"Along the value chain between supplier and consumer, there are a number of people that the system relies on," Napack said. "There is an Internet service provider, an advertiser that put ads on pirate Web sites, a credit card company that facilitates the transaction. And without their participation there is no way to stop ecosystem working."
| November 23, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
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