Senate halts piracy bill

In News

A Senate bill, that would combat online piracy by allowing the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down domain names accused of illegal file sharing, has been pushed back.

After an unsuccessful attempt to rush the bill to Congress before the upcoming elections, the bill, proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator Orrin Hatch, must now wait until after elections to face Congress.

Several network engineers, consumer and interest groups, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have come out in opposition of the bill saying that it violates freedom of speech and censors the Internet.

“I think going after these guys may be a slippery slope. While I agree it is illegal in the U.S., to other cultures these platforms are a way to share ideas,” said art major Marcus Sung.

U.S. Senate Bill S.B. 3804, also known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, would propose amendments to Chapter 113 of title 18 of the United States Code. It would permit cutting off Internet service of an infringing domain name with a history of online piracy or counterfeiting regardless of whether the website’s owner is located inside or outside of the U.S.

The Motion Picture Association of America, US Chamber of Commerce, Screen Actors Guild and Viacom have all backed the bill.

Hollywood labor unions have already rallied against the “illegal profiteers” or file sharing websites which they say are “solely dedicated to using the Internet to create money-making websites that steal from our members and put the American public at risk.”

“I agree with the legislation and think these sites are preventing artists from making any profit off their work,” said liberal studies major Sergio Pelayo. “Sooner or later, these sites are going to be taken down.”

The proposed bill looks to also target pirate websites based overseas, which the U.S. has yet to succeed in taking down with previous attempts. The attorney general would serve the court order on other specified third parties, such an Internet service providers, payment processors and online ad network providers.

Popular BitTorrent search engine, Pirate Bay, is widely used across the country with its founders from Scandinavia.

“They’ll just make a new website,” said sociology major Olga Altamirano. “There’s no way of stopping every website from bringing up another one.”

AT&T Inc. and other Internet service providers have openly said they refuse to remove any alleged illegal file sharing sites without a court order.

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