Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bill S.3084 - Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (COICA)

COICA (S.3804) is a bill designed to tackle the issue of online copyright and trademark infringement.  In a nutshell, an "Internet Blacklist" will be created listing sites that are dedicated to infringement. 

Sounds great on the surface but the definition of "dedicated to infringing activities" seems a little vague in the bill and and creates a large gray area. Demand Progress started a petition to fight this bill and was successful in delaying it's passage.  The concern is that websites that are not dedicated to the purpose of infringing on copyrights will also be blacklisted because users may utilize their platform for piracy and activities that do infringe on copyrights and trademarks.  The problem is some of those activities are actually protected by existing laws.  But this bill will create a way for just about anyone to file a complaint with the Department of Justice via public website and therefore bypass the existing procedures and immediately shut a site down.

Here's a breakdown of sites that may be affected and why. 

This Bill seems to be a small part of the big scheme to censor the internet which I believe to be part of eliminating net neutrality which could result in the internet functioning more like cable/satellite or radio where all of the content is censored and controlled by big corporations and we'll end up paying more to receive such content. 

What do you think about COICA?  Is it legit or a back door to censoring all of the internet?
The fight isn't over and it's up to us to make our voices heard!

Visit and Electronic Frontier Foundation to stay updated on this and other issues.