Copyright infringement bill could bring the FBI to your intranet

by Kevin Fogarty
IT World
November 22nd, 2010

A senator from Oregon has threatened to block a copyright enforcement bill that would give U.S. law enforcement the right to shut down Web sites without trial or defense if it finds the central reason for the site is to distribute copyrighted information illegally.

Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.) calls the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, or COICA bill the "wrong medicine" for copyright infringement, partially because it includes enforcement measures like a sledge hammer, when ice tongs are more appropriate.

A similar bill would have killed Pandora, YouTube, and Amazon Music and a range of other sites that broke new ground in content distribution when they launched — ground slow-changing copyright laws and the distributors whose financial interest is in existing business models could not or would not respond to quickly enough.

This is another of those issues you might care about (or not) in your personal life, but that has no effect on your job.

Its only potential impact is on content creators, music or movie distributors and publishers.

Guess what? You’re a publisher.

Static or dynamic, brochureware or etailer, your Web site is every bit as much a publishing mechanism as the Web site for the New York Times or PirateBay.

And you already know you don’t always control who puts what up online. Worst case is the guy who was fired and escorted from the building because of images on a hard drive that had to be imaged and sealed as evidence if it ever went to court.

But even office workers sharing songs on iTunes could get you in trouble if the files are exposed outside the firewall, or if some of your PowerPoint Rangers are a little too free with the quotes or movie clips they use to liven up the presentations, especially if the .PPTs are distributed across the WAN or Internet to branch offices and other divisions.

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