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Free Expression, Open Internet

Dangers of S.3804: Domain Name Seizures and Blocking Pose Threats to Free Expression, Global Internet Freedom, and the Internet’s Open Architecture

Copyright infringement is a serious problem, and CDT harbors no sympathy for websites whose primary purpose is to enable widespread violation of copyright and other intellectual property rights.  But methods embraced by S. 3804, the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” would mark a sea change in U.S. policy towards the Internet.  In particular, U.S. government action to seize domain names and to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block government-blacklisted sites would set dangerous precedents with serious consequences for free expression, global Internet freedom, and the Internet’s open and global architecture.  If enacted, the bill would be a significant step towards the balkanization of the Internet.  These consequences are much too significant to address in a rushed fashion in the waning hours of the 111th Congress.