I was reading about this new “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” and getting a bit scared. This bill, sponsored by a group of scallywag scamp-ass senators would evoke a structure that allowed web sites and services to be blocked on major internet service providers if they are deemed to be dedicated to infringement. Salon has an interesting piece on this bill, which I think you should definitely check out.
This legislation would essentially set up a blacklist of thousands of websites to be disallowed to Americans, I daresay in a manner similar to the way in which communist China restricts their users to content deemed appropriate by the government. As with many laws, those considered to be infringing will be generally the ones with the weakest voices and least connections to the pockets of, I imagine, senators. Although some would argue in favor of the need for this legislation, following Hollywood’s lead on copyright issues is a tenuous path at best(click for a list of technologies that would have been banned by this bill over time).
We have included the text of the Bill for you below. Is this perhaps a response to what some people are seeing as a slipping of American intellectual property capital in an increasingly globalized market? I recently read an article about the counterfeit shoe industry in China, from the NYT. The article talks about the widespread practice of counterfeiting American brands and points to many of these Chinese factories hope to use their bootlegging as an eventual springboard to legitimacy. I guess my question is whether this bill is a late reaction to music and movie piracy, or if the fears expressed here are more deep-seated. Take a look: