Wyden Threatens to Block Copyright Infringement Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said late Thursday that he will block the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which was passed by a 19-0 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, unless changes are made to the law. He made the promise during a hearing on international trade and the digital economy.

"Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile," he said. "If you don't think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet."

According to the National Journal, Wyden said that unless changes are made to the bill to ensure it "no longer makes the global online marketplace more hazardous to consumers and American Internet companies, I'm going to do everything I can to take the necessary steps to stop it from passing the U.S. Senate."

Backed by a consortium of entertainment companies and entertainment unions, the bill would allow the Attorney General to file civil actions against a domain name and then seek a court order that would impel internet service providers, registries, financial institutions and ad networks from providing access to the domain or facilitating business on the domain.

According to PCWorld.com, “Wyden's opposition means the bill is likely dead this year. Individual senators can place holds on legislation, and there are only a few working days left in the congressional session this year. Sponsors of the legislation, including fellow Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have to reintroduce the bill if it doesn't pass this year.”