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Controversial PROTECT IP Bill Approved By Senate Judiciary committee

Posted by: , 16:24 AEST, Fri May 27, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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PROTECT IP has passed through committee, but one senator has placed a hold on it for fear that the bill will "muzzle free speech"

The controversial PROTECT IP act has been unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary committee.

The proposed bill, if made into law, will allow the government to censor any website that it deems "endangers the public health", including seizing domain names, forcing web hosts to remove accounts, and even force search engines like Google and Bing to filter their search results to remove all references to the censored website.

The MPAA welcomed the result, executive vice president of government relations Michael O’Leary says this legislation will protect "wages and benefits for the millions of middle-class workers". O’Leary served as counsel to Vice President Biden when he was still a senator.

PROTECT IP will also grant the entertainment industry broad powers to take matters into their own hands without having to go through the court system, including the ability to force financial services providers to cease business activities with websites merely suspected of providing, linking to or mentioning infringing content.

And it's these controversial matters that has forced Senator Wyden of Oregon to place a hold on the bill, preventing a vote on it on the senate floor. Senator Wyden also placed a hold on an earlier, similar bill, COICA. Wyden praised the need to combat online piracy, but was not "willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective", calling the measure an "overreaching approach to policing the Internet".

A hold can be defeated through what is called a "cloture", but it would require 60 votes in the senate.

Do your agree with Senator Wyden that PROTECT IP has the potential to "muzzle free speech"? Post your opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread:


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