Every time a lawmaker gets ready to put forth legislation that effects the Internet I wince. This is because I know it was written in large part for large for-profit companies that wish to thwart the inevitable disruption of their business models at the expense of true innovation. Case in point:
The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. This morning, COICA unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
If the Federal Gov’t believes that a site is “dedicated to infringing activities” this bill gives it the power to :
- order DNSs in the US to not resolve the sites domain
- prevent companies that process monetary transactions to the site
- prevent ad networks (like adwords) from display ads on those domains
These measures would be extremely Draconian, if they weren’t so friggin useless. While the first measure effect every ISP’s DNS in America, it doesn’t effect personal DNS’s like the one I have in my house. Secondly it is my experience that MOST of pirate networks don’t ask for payment from its members so I don’t know how may fish you are foing to catch with that net. And Lastly, There are SOOOOO many ad networks outside of the US, I doubt they will see a dent in there revenues.
To the RIAA and MPAA:
You are not just fighting pirates. You are fighting a business model, which you only strengthen when you send governments to squash your competition instead of doing what you apparently haven’t the imagination to do, find a model that works in an environment where your content will be heavily pirated.