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US seeks powers to shut down domains

Kevin Murphy, September 20, 2010, 21:27:41 (UTC), Domain Policy

COICA is the new acronym we’ll all soon be talking about — it’s the law that could give the US its very own Great Firewall of China.

A bipartisan group of US senators today introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, legislation that would enable the government to quickly turn off domain names involved in piracy.

The bill would enable the Department of Justice to seek a court order against a domain name it believes is involved in piracy or selling counterfeit goods.

If the sponsoring registrar or registry is located in the US, the order would force it to stop the domain from resolving and lock it down.

The likely effect of this would be to force piracy sites out of .com and into offshore registrars. But the bill has thought about that too.

If it’s a non-US registrar and registry, injunctions could be sought to block the domain at the ISP level.

That’s right folks – if this bill passes, the US would get its very own Chinese-style national firewall.

The bill would allow the domain registrant to petition the court to lift the order.

“By cracking down on online piracy of television shows and movies, we hope this bill will encourage copyright owners to develop innovative and competitive new choices for consumers to watch video over the internet,” said Sen. Herb Kohl.

Which is about as disingenuous a statement as it gets, when you think about it, given that it essentially eliminates a major incentive for business model innovation.

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Comments (4)

  1. Deke says:

    Nice catch.

    Don’t you know this would be used for EVERYTHING under the sun.

    Oh….late on your child support? New law shuts down your domain until payment is made.

    Late on taxes? You get the picture.

  2. Soud says:

    If they won’t be able to do anything concerning non-US registrant then it is useless. A simple domain transfer will solve the pirates problems.

  3. […] Murphy spotted a new bill that, if passed in its current form, would give the U.S. government more powers to shut down domain […]

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