The Senate Judiciary Committee recently introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act to fight piracy of intellectual property. That is an appropriate goal for Congress to pursue, but the means by which it would happen in the proposed legislation raised concerns amongst several commercial, library and public interest groups. As currently written, the bill would shut down piracy sites by having a court order the Domain Name System to not resolve the URL for the website. Additionally the Justice Department can then act to have companies that provide services to websites stop providing for the pirate site. There are serious questions of how these actions would be implemented, whether or not there are sufficient due process provisions, and the challenges of acting internationally via domestic law.
As a result of these questions and others, USACM sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing its concerns, and associating itself with a letter signed by several public-interest, commercial and library groups. A previously scheduled markup session for this bill was postponed until after the November elections, so perhaps some of these concerns will be addressed by the committee at that time.