The US Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved the ‘Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act’, which will give US agencies powers to try to shut down overseas websites engaged in piracy. The act, which targets “rogue websites”, will allow the US Justice Department to seek court orders to seize the domain names of websites making music and movies available illegally, or selling counterfeit (physical) goods. For sites whose domains are registered outside the US, the Act could see US ISPs, payment processors and advertising networks forced to stop doing business with them. Big media companies and trade bodies are firmly behind the legislation, although it has been criticised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as “internet censorship”.

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