Online Piracy: Controversial House Bill Proposed to Block Pirate Sites

  • The Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.
  • “While sites that host and distribute pirated content continue to operate around the world, members of the House of Representatives are seeking a new legal method to shutting down access to copyrighted content,” reports Digital Trends.
  • The proposed bill would provide the U.S. Attorney General with the power to order search engines and ISPs to block sites that feature pirated content.
  • The Act is the House’s version of the PROTECT-IP Act introduced in the Senate that if passed, would enable the government or courts to monitor users and remove infringing websites from the global network, even without hearings.
  • Critics have used labels such as the “Internet Death Penalty” and “Great Firewall of America” to describe the proposal.
  • “The bottom line is that if it passes and becomes law, the new act would give the government and copyright holders a giant stick — if not an automatic weapon — with which to pursue websites and services they believe are infringing on their content,” suggests GigaOM. “That might make for the kind of Internet that media and entertainment conglomerates would prefer, but it would clearly be a much diminished version of the Internet we take for granted.”