November 19, 2010

ED MORRISSEY: COICA: Giving the government the power to shut down dissent. “Thanks to a bill that has received bipartisan support in the Senate, the Department of Justice may soon have the power to suspend domain names if the Attorney General deems a site as having copyright infringement “central to the activity” conducted by the site owners. Hollywood and the recording industry has pushed the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) to get the government in position to seize Internet sites that damage the property rights of intellectual property producers, bypassing the existing remedies of lawsuits and damage recoveries. However, the ambiguous nature of the definition and the wide latitude it gives the executive branch in imposing remedies without due process should have everyone in the First Amendment space nervous — especially the blogosphere. . . . As Wired reports, the Obama administration and Congress are engaged in a little hypocrisy here. Hillary Clinton just got done warning China not to censor the internet in almost exactly the way this bill would allow Eric Holder to do. It’s not the first time in recent weeks that we’ve barked at China for actions that the US has either proposed taking or actually has taken, like devaluing currency to boost exports.”