Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wyden Holds Up Copyright Bill

Thanks to Senator Ron Wyden, a bill that would've given the Department of Justice the power to just shut down copyright-infringing websites isn't going to pass this legislative session. Wyden put a hold on the legislation, delaying consideration of it until after Congress adjourns. I don't know if prospects for blocking the legislation next session are any better -- it got out of committee 19-0 -- but I'm happy with Wyden for doing what he could. According to Sam Gustin, the bill
would give the Attorney General the right to shut down websites with a court order if copyright infringement is deemed “central to the activity” of the site — regardless if the website has actually committed a crime. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) is among the most draconian laws ever considered to combat digital piracy, and contains what some have called the “nuclear option,” which would essentially allow the Attorney General to turn suspected websites “off.”
Now a comment about Senate procedure that gets trumped by a comment about how to be a non-stupid political actor. I don't like the rule that allows one Senator to delay action by doing this hold business. It should be changed! But as long as the rule is there, I want my people to use it, and that's exactly what Wyden is doing. So the intellectual-property-stealing image at right, showing one hero standing up against various forces of evil, is dedicated to him.
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