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U.S Bill To Crack Down On "Pirate" Domains

Published September 21, 2010

A group of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to crack down on online piracy that is designed to cut off cash flow to the perpetrators; whether they are located in the USA or overseas.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act  will give the Department of Justice additional tools to trace and shutter web sites that provide access to downloads of copyrighted content and counterfeit products.  

The Act would give  the U.S Department of Justice to file an "in rem" civil action against a domain name, and seek a preliminary order from the court that the domain name is being used to traffic infringing material.  An "in rem" action is one directed towards a specific piece of property, such as a domain name.

While these sites are often foreign-owned and operated, if the is site hosted outside the United States, the legislation would give the U.S attorney general power to serve the court order on other accessible third parties providing services for the site, such as domain name registrars, web hosts, payment processors, and online ad network providers - in effect "starving out" the operators of such a site.

Sponsors of the Bill says it will also include safeguards against abuse by permitting only the Justice Department to start an action, and by providing a federal court the final word as to whether a particular site would be cut off from supportive services.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will be added to the Judiciary Committee's agenda for a business meeting scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 23.

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