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U.S. Government Plans to Expand Internet Piracy Crackdown

| 9 Dec 2010 19:49
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According to the U.S. government, its recent shutdown of dozens of copyright infringing websites is only the beginning.

The Department of Homeland Security shutdown dozens of websites at the end of November 2010 due to copyright infringement, and the Obama administration's intellectual property "czar," i.e enforcement coordinator, has no plans to stop there. Victoria Espinel has reaffirmed that the U.S. government now has a very active interest in ending internet piracy.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution Conference on internet policy, Espinel told listeners that people should "expect more" strikes like the recent DHS operation in the near future. "We are going after the piraters and counterfeiters," she said, adding that the digital piracy of music, movies, and videogames is a "direct threat" to the consumer and eliminates jobs.

In addition, she talked about her plans to broaden the crackdown to internet outfits that sell counterfeit drugs and other goods. Her department has been in meetings with various corporations such as American Express, Google, and Microsoft to see what can be done about online pharmacies, and presumably other infringing websites as well. These meetings may or may not be the catalyst that brought about Google's recent piracy initiative.

In a related issue, the Senate still has to vote on the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which would give the government the power to blacklist certain websites stationed anywhere in the world that are dedicated to infringing activities. The days of the government and corporations not understanding the technicalities of file-sharing are certainly over, but the question remains whether these new measures will be for the good of the honest Joe, or become a detriment to internet freedom.

Source: Politico, via GamePolitics

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