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US senators propose new anti-piracy law

Website crackdown motion put forward; Viacom quick to back it

A collection of US senators – Republicans and Democrats alike – have drawn up a new bill known as the 'Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.'

The Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss the proposed law, which was co-drafted by its chairman, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, this Thursday.

The Act's primary intention is to take down websites "dedicated to making infringing activities."

While exactly what defines a site of this will likely become the subject of debate and appeals, the bill cites it as sites "primarily designed, has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than...to offer goods or services in violation of title 17, United States Code."

Following the commencement of action, the court may quickly apply for a temporary injunction against accused sites.

For sites based outside of America, cease and desist orders would be employed to "prevent the importation into the United States of goods and services offering by an internet site dedicated to infringing activities."

Accused domain owners would have the right of appeal against injunctions, but federal courts would be granted the final word.

Viacom, owner of MTV, Harmonix, Shockwave, Gametrailers and Nickolodeon, has leapt to support the bill.

"Businesses hiding offshore are generating large profits from global theft of intellectual property in digital form," claimed CEO Phillippe Dauman, "threatening our nation's prosperity and one of its most vital exports.

"This bill is an important step forward to help curb rampant piracy here and abroad, and protect American jobs. We look forward to working with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and Congressional leadership on its passage."

Also sponsoring the bill are Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio).

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Alec Meer


A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.