The National Association of Broadcasters has come out in support of legislation aimed specifically at controlling ‘pirate’ and ‘rogue’ websites, especially those registered outside the US, which traffic in unauthorised distribution of licensed content or counterfeit goods.
The legislation from Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy and his committee would allow the Justice Department to file a civil action against those who have registered or own a domain name linked to an infringing website. Justice could seek an order against US-based third parties, such as an Internet Service Provider, search engine, or payment processor, requiring them to block websites engaged in piracy or those that offer counterfeit products.
Gordon Smith, president of NAB, wrote to the committee leaders to endorse the bill. He highlighted how online theft can hurt radio and television stations. “Internet piracy negatively impacts the broadcast industry in a variety of ways. Examples include, but are not limited to, the retransmission of live or recorded broadcasts via the Internet; the commercial sale to the public of unauthorised DVD copies of broadcaster signals and programming obtained off the Internet; and unauthorised retransmission of pre-broadcast satellite signals over the Internet,” he said.
The bill is expected to head into a committee ‘markup’ (the process by which a US congressional committee or state legislative session debates, amends, and rewrites proposed legislation) in the coming week, and has strong support from content outlets, including the recording and movie industries, as well as parts of the business community traditionally concerned with intellectual property theft. The Chamber of Commerce has released an ad campaign aimed at bolstering the legislation.