Web Censorship Bill Sails Through Senate Committee
By Sam Gustin
November 18, 2010
Who says Congress never gets anything done?
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that 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.”
COICA is the latest effort by Hollywood, the recording industry and the big media companies to stem the tidal wave of internet file sharing that has upended those industries and, they claim, cost them tens of billions of dollars over the last decade.
The content companies have tried suing college students. They’ve tried suing internet startups. Now they want the federal government to act as their private security agents, policing the internet for suspected pirates before making them walk the digital plank.