2024-05-22 05:57:42
Senator: Web censorship bill a “bunker-busting cluster bomb” censorship/isps/legislation/Scrapbook

ars technica


The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA, S.3804) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 19-0 this week, but it’s never going to pass the Senate before the end of the current Congress.

That’s due to resistance from people like Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who announced at a separate trade hearing of his own yesterday that he was going to “take the necessary steps to stop [COICA] from passing the United States Senate.”

“It seems to me that online copyright infringement is a legitimate problem,” he said in the midst of his questioning, “but it seems to me that COICA as written is the wrong medicine. Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile.”

“The collateral damage of this statute could be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.”

Ed Black, CEO of computing industry trade group CCIA, was testifying at the hearing, and he agreed that COICA was a “good example of what not to do in an important, complicated digital ecosystem.”

Sweet sanity! And yet—this thing passed out of committee 19-0 with minimal hearings? Presumably there’s a big bipartisan bloc in the Senate which doesn’t think a major new Internet censorship regime—and one that applies only to copyright—needs much in the way of oversight. While the bill looks dead this year, the idea has met with thunderous applause from the movie and music industries, who are sure to back it next year. Hopefully, something more considered will be on the table the second time around.


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