Internet Censorship Bill Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee
By Joshua Philipp, The Epoch Times
A heavily controversial Internet censorship bill to combat online piracy was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 18, after it was delayed in September. If passed, the bill will allow the U.S. attorney general to remove websites from the Internet that violate copyright laws.
The bill, known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), Senate bill S.3804, was approved, “despite bipartisan opposition, and countless experts pointing out how it would be ineffective, unconstitutional, bad for innovation and the tech economy, and would break the Internet,” states an analysis by digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The COICA bill is intended to eliminate online piracy, and will target websites that commit copyright infringement either directly or indirectly. The websites it will affect range from P2P file sharing sites to those that contain links to watch pirated movies on external websites.
There is also concern, however, that the bill “will result in serious unintended consequences for freedom of expression and human rights on the Internet, undermining global Internet freedom abroad,” states an open letter from nine organizations including Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch.
The entertainment community has largely supported the bill, as it could put an end to widespread online piracy.
“We believe today’s committee action is the first step in making it much more difficult for rogue site operators to run their sites with impunity,” says an open letter from four organizations, including the Directors Guild of America, representing more than 300,000 individuals in the entertainment industry.