Leahy and Hatch Drop Online Infringement Bill

The National Journal
Key Senate lawmakers will introduce legislation Monday afternoon aiming to curb the growth of online piracy and counterfeiting.

“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,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a co-sponsor of the bill. “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.”

The bill gives teeth to the Justice Department for enforcement by expediting the process for cracking down on websites that are dedicated to making infringing goods and services available. Under the bill, the Justice Department can file an in rem civil action against a domain name on Internet sites dedicated to infringing activities.

The in rem authority is modeled after provisions of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. In rem specifies an action against a thing, property, or right, rather than a person.

“This legislation is critical to our continued fight against online piracy and counterfeiting,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a member of the Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The entertainment industry and the Chamber of Commerce, who have been fighting for stronger intellectual property laws, applauded the introduction of the bill.

“Senator Leahy and the bill’s cosponsors should be commended for introducing this important legislation to address the growing scourge of counterfeiting and piracy over the Internet,” said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the Chamber’s unit on IP protection.

President of the Motion Pictures Association of America Bob Pisano thanked lawmakers for combating “efforts to steal the lifeblood of one of our nation’s most important industries.”

Members of the Judiciary Committee cosponsoring the measure include Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Arlen Specter, D-Pa., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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