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Government to Crackdown on Content Thieves

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So, do you need anymore incentive not to steal content from other websites? Well, how about risking having your website pulled down? White House intellectual property czar Victoria Espinel (yes, there is officially a czar for everything now) says that there will be more domain seizures for online copyright infringement.

“We are going after the piraters and counterfeiters,” said Espinel at a Brookings Institution conference on Internet policy. Espinel addressed the direct dire consequences of copyright infringement, saying that it costs jobs.

While there is the inevitable fear of government overreach, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is not only perfectly reasonable to act against websites that steal content, it’s morally the right thing to do.

And remember, this isn’t just about words. Just last week, Homeland Security seized about 80 websites that were selling counterfeit products and providing access to pirated movies.

“The innovative use of the tools currently available to law enforcement to seize these domain names is similar to the remedy that would be specifically authorized under the bipartisan Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act for websites that are registered in the United States,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

But the sole opposition in the senate came from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

“Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,” Wyden said.

The prevailing opinions online seem to be overwhelmingly against this legislation. While I can understand worrying about overreach, I can’t see how it should be okay for websites to steal or sell and profit from someone else’s intellectual property. If you oppose the legislation, please elaborate.

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