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Senate to Try Again on Controversial Antipiracy Bill

By CNet

January 13, 2011

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The U.S. Senate judiciary committee will renew its effort to give the government broad antipiracy powers this spring, says Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act unanimously passed the committee after Leahy introduced the legislation in September, but it failed to clear the full Senate.

The proposed legislation would allow the Justice Department to file a civil action against accused pirate domain names, and allow the attorney general to request seizure of those that reside in the United States. The attorney general also would be able to order other specified third parties, such as Internet service providers (ISPs), payment processors, and online ad network providers, to take action against pirate sites. For example, the attorney general could order an ISP to block access in the United States to file-sharing sites based overseas, or order Visa to stop processing transactions from a site.

Leahy, who believes the bill could have bipartisan support, says online infringement is costing the economy billions of dollars each year by obtaining the U.S.'s intellectual property without paying for it. "Our intellectual property-based businesses are among the most productive in our economy and among its best employers," he says. "We cannot stand by and see them ravaged, and American consumers subjected to counterfeits."

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