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Son of COICA: New Copyright Bill Introduced

From Center for Democracy and Technology:

Son of COICA: New Copyright Bill Introduced

by David Sohn

May 12, 2011

Senator Leahy introduced revised legislation today to target websites aimed at enabling copyright and trademark infringement.  Last year, the bill’s acronym was COICA, and CDT and others raised major concerns about it.  As of today, the bill is officially back in play – albeit with a catchier new acronym (“PROTECT IP”) and a number of more substantive changes.  Those changes narrow the bill’s reach in some respects, reflecting a welcome effort to address concerns about the scope of the bill. At the same time, the new bill adds some new remedies and continues to feature domain-name-blocking provisions that CDT has warned against.In terms of scope, this year’s bill appears to do a much better job of tailoring its definitions to target true bad actors.  As a result, there is less potential for the bill to inadvertently sweep in legitimate websites.  This is an important improvement, since last year’s definition could have applied quite easily to lots of multi-purpose and user-generated-content sites.  In addition, major parts of the new bill no longer apply to sites registered through U.S.-based registrars and registries.  That’s a helpful limitation (though it is mostly a reflection of the fact that ICE is already asserting legal authority to seize domestically registered names – using a process that carries policy questions of its own).  The new bill also includes welcome language to ensure it won’t have the practical effect of watering down the DMCA safe harbor.   CDT appreciates Senator Leahy’s willingness to listen to CDT and other critics and to make these important changes.

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