Harsh Digital Copyright Bill Stopped -- for Now

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A single senator on Friday stalled a bill that would give the federal government the ability to shut down websites allegedly participating in copyright infringement.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden announced his opposition to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act at a committee hearing on Friday. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee one day earlier.

The bill has drawn a lot of opposition. Many critics say it will trample free-speech rights (PDF) and could give the government the ability to censor controversial websites such as WikiLeaks.

"Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile," Wyden said in an article on Raw Story.

The co-sponsor of the bill, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, said, "Few things are more important to the future of the American economy and job creation than protecting our intellectual property. That is why the legislation is supported by both labor and industry, and Democrats and Republicans are standing together."

Apparently Leahy wasn't planning on Wyden voicing his opposition which will put the bill on "hold" until the next Congress convenes.

Hopefully the new Congress will give this some more thought.

I get that copyright infringement is a problem, but this bill sounds like giving the government the ability to take out certain streets because shady business deals happen on them.

Maybe it's time to target the problem instead of taking a broad swipe. After all, wouldn't it be easier to take down the entire Internet instead of just regulating a few shady sites?

Just another case of a bunch of "old guys" trying to regulate the series of tubes.

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