updated 05:35 pm EDT, Thu May 26, 2011
Hold keeps bill from reaching Senate floor
The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning unanimously approved the PROTECT IP Act. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden has stepped in and plans to "hold" the the act, effectively keeping it from reaching the Senate floor. A main trust of the legislation is to prevent online infringement and protect intellectual property rights.
The bill, as it stands, gives the government the ability to go to court and then block a specific domain name from American DNS servers. Additionally, credit card companies and advertisers would be prohibited from doing business with the site.
Cable companies and major businesses, as represented by the U.S. Chamber of commerce lauded the bill's intent. "Rogue sites and their operators contribute nothing to the US economy. They do not innovate, they do not pay taxes, they do not follow safety standards, and they do not follow the law," stated the Chamber. "Today's vote serves as a wakeup call to those who illicitly profit at the expense of American businesses and consumers--the US will not tolerate your careless, reckless, malicious behavior."
Senator Wyden saw it differently. He strongly objected to the bill because he saw it as an encroachment on free speech. "I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective," he said, adding "the collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet." [via Ars Technica]