Lone senator blocks Protect IP Act
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has (thankfully) blocked a rather draconian bill targeted at so-called "rogue" websites suspected of copyright infringement.
Wyden managed to put the controversial Protect IP Act on hold just hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed the measure - effectively preventing it from reaching a vote in the full Senate.
The senator, who thwarted a similar anti-piracy bill in December, stated the controversial legislation adopted an "overreaching approach to policing the Internet."
Indeed, Protect IP (S.968) would empower the US attorney general to seek court orders requiring US-based search engines to stop providing links to sites accused of infringement.
In addition, Internet providers would be ordered to block access to "rogue" sites, while payment processors and online advertising networks would be required to halt all dealings with the alleged offenders.
Unsurprisingly, a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg the Internet search giant had a number of serious reservations about the pending legislation.
"We support the goal of the bill but we have real concerns about some provisions," Google rep Mistique Cano confirmed.
"[Still], we look forward to working with Congress to make sure the Protect IP Act can target sites dedicated to piracy while protecting free expression and legitimate sites."
But David Hirschmann, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's intellectual property center, loudly trumpeted the passing of the Protect IP Act by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Today's vote serves as a wakeup call to those who illicitly profit at the expense of American businesses and consumers," said Hirschmann.
"The US will not tolerate your careless, reckless, malicious behavior."