As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA). On the plus side, the approved version deletes the provision creating a Department of Justice “blacklist” and adds some useful language to clarify that the bill is not intended to affect secondary liability jurisprudence. But on the minus side, there was little discussion of the serious concerns the bill still poses. Senator Feinstein, however, did point out in her statement that, while she supports the bill, the consequences of going after domain names merit further consideration.
CDT hopes that the Committee, when it returns to this issue next year, will take that suggestion seriously. To be clear, CDT supports the goal of reducing copyright infringement. Unfortunately, we don’t think that seizing and blocking domain names is the right approach to achieve that goal.
Number one, it simply won’t work. The parts of this bill aimed at domain names will be easily evaded by both rogue sites and individual users – to the point where the impact on levels of infringement will ultimately be negligible.
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