US takes aim at offshore torrent sites

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US takes aim at offshore torrent sites

Includes domain registrars.

Legislation tabled Tuesday in the US will provide a legal mechanism to shut down - at least for US consumers - streaming or torrent search engines based anywhere in the world.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act legislation would stifle US registered domains by preventing both internet service providers and domain name registrars from supporting the service.

The proposed law also offered the US Department of Justice an expedited process to shut down foreign-based services by enabling it to request a US-based domain name registrar to block a service.

For services registered with non-US registrars, the law would provide a mechanism to force a network service provider to "take reasonable steps that will prevent a domain name from resolving to that domain name's Internet protocol address."

It also targeted the revenue streams of torrent search sites, by preventing contextual ad services from serving ads on a site that faced such an order

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, who introduced the legislation, said the internet "has become a tool for online thieves to sell counterfeit and pirated goods, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of stolen American intellectual property."

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) welcomed the legislation.

"This bill is a welcome first step toward cutting off the financial lifeline that sustains these illegal operations," said RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol.

The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) also released a statement [pdf] noting how sophisticated some sites had become.

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