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The Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA) would allow the Department of Justice (DOJ) to force internet service providers (ISPs) to block web sites that the DOJ thinks infringe on copyrighted material. As the EFF states:

The bill creates two blacklists of censored domains. The first is longer, and includes any sites where the DOJ decides that infringement is “central” to the purpose of the site. The bill gives ISPs and registrars strong legal incentives to censor the domains on that list. The Attorney General can also ask a court to put sites on a second, shorter blacklist; ISPs and registrars are required by law to censor those sites.

It avoids due process and has no judicial review. COICA is a censorship bill, plain and simple, and is counter to our 1st Amendment rights.

As TechDirt points out, had this bill been law over the last hundred years, many of the technologies and industries we take for granted would have been considered illegal such as: Hollywood, the recording industry, radio, cable tv and mp3 players.

This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but was thankfully held up due to the efforts of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden in the previous congress. Senator Leahy refiled a new bill, the PROTECT IP Act, in May 2011.

In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security has started seizing domain names without due process.

The Massachusetts Pirate Party opposes these bills.