US Lawmakers Seek Powers To Shut Illegal Websites

In a bid to curb online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods, a group of key US lawmakers are introduced legislation on Monday that would give the Justice Department the power to “file an in rem civil action against a domain name on Internet sites dedicated to infringing activities,” reports Tech Daily Dose.

“The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue Web sites regardless of whether the Web site’s owner is located inside or outside of the United States,” according to a statement from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and committee member Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah).

“Each year, online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods cost American businesses billions of dollars, and result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs,” Leahy, a co-sponsor of the bill, said. “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will protect the investment American companies make in developing brands and creating content and will protect the jobs associated with those investments.”

According to a staffer from Leahy’s office, if the site resides outside the United States, the bill would authorise “the attorney general to serve the court order on other specified third parties, such as Internet service providers, payment processors, and online ad network providers,” according to a further report from CNET.

CNET believes that the legislation would attempt to stop the websites from being accessible from the US “or cut them off from credit card transactions or receiving ad revenue from U.S. companies.”

The legislation has bipartisan support and was applauded by representatives from the film, television and music industries in the US.