Senate antipiracy bill shelved--for now

A bill designed to give federal government more power to shut down alleged pirate sites ran out of time.

As expected, a bill that would have given the U.S. Department of Justice increased ability to shut down sites it accused of illegal file sharing, won't be a law any time soon.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act proposes to give the DOJ the power to shut down Web sites "deemed" to be trafficking in pirated films, software, music, and other U.S. intellectual property. Attempts to rush the bill through the Senate before Congress adjourned for November elections were unsuccessful. The legislation simply ran out of time.

Supporters, who now must wait until after election season to take up the bill once again, said they believed they could get the bill passed quickly because it faced little opposition. The bill was supported by members of both major political parties, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and scores of entertainment industry trade groups.

But turns out plenty of people in Silicon Valley were willing to speak out against the bill.

Technology trade groups quick mobilized and launched a public relations attack on the bill. A group of prominent engineers who had a role in the development of the Internet sent a joint letter to Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee declaring their opposition.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which dubbed Leahy's bill, "censorship," called the inability to get it passed, a "victory."

EFF, however, recognizes that supporters of the bill will most likely try again.

"Make no mistake," EFF wrote on its site, "this bill will be back soon enough, and Congress will again need to hear from concerned citizens."

 

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