Most technologists, bloggers, journalists, and in general, those who support the First Amendment of the US Constitution, were adamantly against the CIOCA Act - or the "Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act". The bill would have given the Department of Justice, and indeed copyright holders, the arbitrary right to infringe on free speech by shutting down website deemed to be infringing - all without the benefit of due process.
The internet celebrated when CIOCA was died when the last year's Congress went out of session. But hey, there's a new class in town, and this year's Congress has reintroduced CIOCA. This time, it's virtually the same game with a different name - the Protect IP Act, or PIPA for short.
Much like the CIOCA act, PIPA is being near-universally derided by just about everyone who believes in the US Constitution and the Amendments that grant us the freedoms to participate in a democratic society. One slight different between PIPA from CIOCA is that PIPA concentrates its efforts on foreign websites. As recent domain seizures in the US have already proven, the authorities already have enough power to drop US websites. But PIPA goes much further than this.
What PIPA would create is the Great Firewall of America. US authorities, on the behest of a copyright complaint or other legal action, or even their own behest, can file an action to force DNS (Directory Name Service) providers to block certain websites deemed infringing. You see, when you enter a domain name in your browser, it needs to know the IP address of the website - a domain name (say, Slyck.com), means nothing to FireFox. It needs to talk to the DNS provider first, reference the domain name to the IP address, and bam - you're connected. One of the provisions of PIPA would prevent this from happening (but you can still connect via the sites IP address...)
Also being targeted are credit card processors and "search interactive services". That means sites like Google could also be forced to remove or block content - something Google flipped out about yesterday. From Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt:
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