On November 24, 2010, I asked the readers of the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog this poll question:
The poll question was really about a bill winding its way through the U.S. federal legislative process called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). If it were to become law, the Federal Department of Justice of the United States could effectively take down an entire website by blocking access via the DNS servers. ISPs would remove the offending website from the DNS or be liable for fines and other legal actions.
I am squarely against the bill because I think it gives too much power to corporations and the government. As the bill is currently written, it effectively cuts out the cherished U.S. Constitutional principle of due process and it would undoubtedly be challenged on those grounds. I am also dubious at its effectiveness at reducing copyright infringement, because the technology savvy can work around its enforcement.
Judging by the respondents to the poll, I am not alone in my thinking. The bill is still pending in the U.S Congress, what should be done about it?
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Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.