Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) promised Monday to filibuster a controversial Senate proposal that greatly expands the government’s ability to shutter and disrupt websites “dedicated to infringing activities.”
The Protect IP Act, similar to the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, largely grant rights holders the unfettered power to effectively kill websites they believe are dedicated to infringing activities — all in a bid to combat piracy.
Wyden tried to kill the bill six months ago by putting a hold on it, a rarely used Senate rule (.pdf) allowing one senator to block a measure from a floor vote.
But Wyden’s office reports Monday that there’s movement afoot to undo that hold, 60 Senate votes are needed. And the vote could come following the Thanksgiving holiday.
If PIPA reaches the floor, Wyden promises he will exercise another Senate rule: the filibuster.
Instead of reading the telephone book, he would read the names of Americans opposed to the measure lodged at stopcensorship.org, Jennifer Hoelzer, Wyden’s spokeswoman said in a telephone interview.
“Right now our focus is trying to get this from coming to the floor,” Hoelzer said.
When Wyden blocked the bill, he said: “By ceding control of the internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives.”
The measures also boost the government’s authority to disrupt and shutter websites that hawk or host trademark- and copyright-infringing products, including allowing the government to order sites removed from search engines. They allow the Justice Department to obtain court orders demanding American ISPs to blacklist websites via DNS. That’s a feature even the bill’s main House backer conceded Wednesday was problematic for a host of reasons, including it being a threat to a secure and uniform internet.
The Senate measure was voted out of the Senate Judiciary committee in May, and Wyden placed a hold on it.
The House version had its first hearing last week. No vote was taken to send it to the full House.
Click to stopcenshorship.org to oppose the legislation.