Washington Watch: Copyright Battle Lines Drawn


Last fall, the entertainment lobby pushed for the passage of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) during the lame duck post election session only to be blocked by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).  COICA sought to allow seizure of “rogue websites” dedicated to the sale of infringing or counterfeit goods, but was quickly dubbed the “Internet Censorship Bill.”  

This year, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a similar bill – the PROTECT IP Act – only to have it labeled the “Internet Censorship Bill” like its predecessor by groups on both the left and right (including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt who labeled it a “disastrous precedent” for destroying global free speech) and to be blocked by Senator Wyden who has put a hold on the bill preventing a vote. The entertainment industry, however, is having more success in Sacramento where a bill authorizing warrantless searches of disc manufacturers as an anti-piracy measure passed the Senate.