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MPAA and US Congress' Love Affair Blossoms, As New Legislation Being Considered

Posted by: , 18:02 AEST, Tue April 5, 2011

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A bi-partisan bill aims to give the MPAA and RIAA power to have the DOJ do their bidding in shutting down websites and blacklisting others

The MPAA has been praising the actions of the US government in helping to stop online piracy. Part of "Operation in Our Sites", the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency cracked down on "counterfeiting" last year, which mainly targeted online websites involved in providing unauthorised copyrighted content. Using the full resources of the US Federal government, the MPAA and RIAA managed to get 80 websites closed down in one such action, despite critics later saying that many of the websites closed were not involved in online piracy.

The MPAA recently praised "Operation In Our Sites", saying that these kinds of actions help to stop the $100 billion revenue loss due to copyright infringement and counterfeiting. "Most importantly, these enforcement efforts have resulted in most of these entities ceasing their illegal activity," stated the MPAA, despite the fact that it appears the major players in online piracy was either not targeted as part of the operation, or the ones that were targeted appears to be back online again, under different domain names.

And so the MPAA wants more, and Congress is eager to help. "Congress must act to protect property rights and American jobs by targeting the truly bad actors and their revenue streams, and do so in a way that continues our nation’s commitment to due process and freedom of speech," House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) also talked about the job creation aspect of stopping teenagers from downloading the latest music and movies. "If we can reduce the impact of IP theft on the U.S. economy, we can not only save jobs, we can gain jobs," Smith added.

The legislation, with bi-partisan support, if passed, will give the US Department of Justice broad powers to seize any domain name that the MPAA and RIAA have deemed to be a wrong-doer, and the DOJ will also maintain a blacklist of websites "dedicated to infringing activities". Experts, including many involved in the creation of the Internet, has attacked the government's plans which they say will do irreparable damage to the Internet.

Do you think the government should be doing the bidding of private organisations such as the MPAA and RIAA, and allow them to shut down websites by bypassing the legal system? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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