A group of senators want to hand the U.S. Department of Justice the power to shut down Web sites dedicated to the illegal sharing online of film, music, software, and other intellectual property.
The Combating Online Infringement and
Counterfeits Act will give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue Web sites regardless of whether the Web site's owner is located inside or outside of the United States, according to a statement from Senator
Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and committee member Senator Orin Hatch.
Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in
the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities. The Justice Department would have the authority to serve the accused site's U.S.-based
registrar with an order to shut down the site.
According to a staffer from Leahy's office, if the site resides outside the United States, the bill would authorize the attorney general to serve the court order on other specified third parties,
such as Internet service providers, payment processors, and online ad network providers.
The way it sounds, the Justice Department would try to block these sites from being accessed by people in the United States or cut them off from credit
card transactions or receiving ad revenue from U.S. companies.