Bill gives DoJ power to close sites accused of piracy anywhere in the world

David Kravetz, in Wired News today: "Lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would let the Justice Department seek U.S. court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world, and shut them down through the sites' domain registration. The bipartisan legislation, dubbed the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (.pdf) amounts to the Holy Grail of intellectual-property enforcement."


  1. …Further driving pirates underground or resorting to older-fashioned piracy techniques such as CDs. Holy Grail, my ass!

  2. Ok.
    Am I the only person who, upon reading this, could only think, “WTF? How does this make sense?”?

    I mean, come on. US Legislation is only valid/applicable in one country: THE US. Thus, it almost seems like even issuing a court order to pirate sites and their hosts, both of which are most likely based out-side of American borders, is the great snipe hunt of the P2P era. What will they do? Send the Norwegian American State Police (please note the immense sarcasm) to the homes of these people and issue them bench warrants and subpoenas? It seriously is just a lost effort to promote the globalization of US laws and US law enforcement. You’ll notice that people in the UK aren’t getting thrown in jail for “underage drinking” just because the legal age isn’t what the US considers “appropriate”. Borders are borders, and ANY government needs permission to cross into another country’s borders for legal reason or otherwise. Crossing it without the local permission is, you know, kind of a “war” thing.
    I can only be reminded of the great Pirate Bay: “Norway is not part of the US, retard. Learn geography.” (paraphrase)

    Someone convince the UN to slap a lawsuit on the face of the US government for infringement of individualization of local world laws.

    … or, you know, something.

    1. Are they not seeking to enforce via ICANN?

      I mean, I would think that the Bill seeks to hammer ICANN for ignoring any “will of Congress” directives to “take down” a number in the IP space…so perhaps they are trying to “brute-force” their “concerns” into ICANN’s existing functions, right?

      And ICANN is in the USA, right?

    2. happytweak, the problem is not hosts, it’s domains. Guess where domain names are controlled from? Take a look at the table at the bottom of:

      The source of many domain names is Verisign: “Headquarters 21355 Ridgetop Circle, Dulles, Virginia, USA (2011)” and ICANN “Location Marina del Rey, California”.

      So, they kinda have to comply with US law. I’m not sure if the US has 100% control over the root DNS servers, but we might.

      1. Yes, the US has control of the root nameservers, but that only gives them the ability to control the Top Level Domain. That means, they can’t shut down, say, They can shut down all of .fr, or leave it all up.

        Now, on the other hand, they might be able to take down individually, since they also control individual subdomains under .org.

        So, internationally, this gives them only the biggest and bluntest of sticks – they’d have to be willing to take an entire country’s Internet sites out of commisssion, just over the content of one or a few websites under that TLD.

        1. So it seems we’ll be seeing a lot more .fr, .hu, .ru, etc. pirate domains popping up soon, eh?

          Thanks for pointing out the obvious that I’d missed guys. Either way, like you’ve said: there are some simple ways around it.

        2. So…this Bill is a sop to the Mediacorps: drafted either by “internet illiterates” who are clueless as to the technical difficulty of what they are attempting; or, they know this will be useless and are using this legislative “action” as a ploy to keep donations flowing from the said Mediacorps?

  3. I don’t really think this is going to slow piracy down, and it could actually kill DNS.

    So what, I can’t hit ``? Fine, then we’ll just all start using Revoking an IP address would take a lot more than some hamfisted US legislation. It will take the cooperation of the country doing the hosting. The very extradition type process that this legislation is trying to circumvent.

    Even though the internet is decentralized and supposed to survive a nuclear attack, everyone has long known that DNS is a weak point, controlled by one group with limited server resources. Perhaps it is time for DNS to die.

  4. Kill the URL and you can still get to via IP. Pointless. Blocking IPs would be harder to get by with, and since most domain registration is done in the good ol’ USA, this is just convenient pandering.

  5. It seems like blocking dns resolution is a really weak way to “block these sites” since IP addresses would still work. I don’t think anything short of a national firewall would really give the results that are being sought. And even then, we’d just see a transition to encrypted peer-to-peer services that didn’t rely so much on a tracker. Or, these sites could just stop using .com, .net, or .org domains.

    I wish these company’s losses were so great that they would no longer be able to afford massive lobbyist pressure to do stupid things to the internet.

  6. I’m sure those pesky pirates are totally incapable of typing in their IP addresses.

    It’s stuff like this that starts wars. Until U.S. government officials accept that the world does not bow before our American global empire, it will just be one Iraq war after another.

    Discretion is the better part of valor.

  7. And thanks to the Democrat-controlled Congress for showing that it’s not Republicans who can be corporate special-interest lapdogs.

  8. I don’t think it’s quite so simple as to switch to IP addresses. I tested a number of torrent sites by using the IP I get through lookup and discovered some of those sites won’t load. You just get a blank screen. Perhaps site operators should do a lookup on their site and see if their IP addresses will work.

    A second problem is that old links will stop working (even many internal links within affected sites). You can copy paste everything after the domain name and append to the IP, but a) lots of people will find that just onerous enough that they won’t bother, so b) uploaded stuff won’t be around as long and c) sometimes it simply won’t work anyway.

    I’d rate this a somewhat effective proposal, temporarily anyway, and permanently for a lot of old stuff. Admins who operate sites that might be affected should do anything they can to make a transition as painless as possible for visitors.

    1. The problems you describe Lelond can easily be fixed by an entry in your local hosts file. All modern OSes have one.

      Put this:

      in hosts, and hey presto it’s back.

      The thing is though, the site operators are either going to have to find some way around it or go out of business. One temporary fix is IP addresses and possibly host files. Another might be to use a service like Yet another is to kill DNS entirely as another poster suggested and replace it with something new.

      This legislation is like trying to store water in a leaking bucket. It might stop the flow for a minute but eventually you have an empty bucket.

  9. Unless they redirect the DNS, rather than just removing the record, my DNS cache probably wouldn’t even notice.

  10. If the US start messing with DNS via ICANN I forsee Iceland setting up an duplicate top level DNS server real quick. ICANN had only as much authority as the rest of the world is willing to give it.

  11. Is it just me or does this seem like a massive due process violation? Also, is it proper for the DOJ be empowered to pursue matters in civil court? Is not the proper remedy for copyright holders to pursue these matters?

    I think it is inappropriate for the federal government to intervene in cases of civil copyright dispute. As it is true that US cooperation have a vested interest in protecting and expanding Intellectual property rights, some of the “rights” these cooperation’s are asserting are not factually based in case law or statute. There is also a vested interest for the people of the United States in limiting intellectual property rights so as to promote education and additional creativity based on the cultural impact of pervious works. Ergo because there is clearly ligament and diverging interests between IP producers and IP consumers, for the Federal Government to take one side seems to give undo credibility to the claims of copyright holders.

  12. COICA?

    Nobody’s gonna take a scary new law seriously without an appropriately serious sounding backronym to tell them how they should think about the law. Sheesh, what a bunch of amateurs!

  13. Nice preliminaries for this US Bill: I am one who also believes the Internet needs government regulation in America (very serious government action in France with new anti-piracy law called HADOPI starting to be officially applied for example). Eric F. Vermote illegally used P2P in Maryland during 2003-2004 (bootlegs & audio files for his car). This man with a IT degree works for NASA & the University of Maryland but went to jail for automobile theft in Florida… he is definitely not at all scrupulous with music too obviously and filed a defamation legal suit in France against me in July 2009 stipulating he never got involved in on-line piracy because he is a manipulative liar & because the case involved never got officially substantiated or couldn’t ever be substantiated; my point is that if the Internet had been better regulated by the US government Eric F. Vermote would not have had the opportunity to lie against me and pretend what I accused him of (on-line piracy) is frivolous. On-line piracy cases almost absolutely never get substantiated unfortunately! Damien Bizeau – Classical Music, France.

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