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Dec/10

COICA Without The Bother


There is a pending bill entitled the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, known as COICA (not to be confused with Cloaca, which is the sex organ of the platypus).  The bill would allow the Attorney General to bring an in rem action against any domain name found ‘dedicated to infringing activities.’

I was struck by COICA as a case study of the IP war of rhetoric.  Pro-IP forces lauded the bill as a necessary tool against, for example, counterfeit drugs and airplace parts.  Anti-IP forces (or more accurately, Anti-Pro-IP forces) immediately framed the bill as a censorship bill. See Patry for more on this.

Then, Senator Wyden of Oregon indicated that he was dead-set against the bill, which appeared to have killed COICA, at least during this session of Congress, and I stopped paying attention.

However, this week brought news reports that DoJ has indeed seized 82 domain names, many apparently located outside the US.  A list of the seized names include BURBERRYOUTLET-US.COM, LOUISVUITONOUTLETSTORES4U.COM, DVDORDERONLINE.COM and TORRENT-FINDER.COM.

I wondered why was there a fuss over COICA, when DoJ believes it can perform such in rem seizures already.  Prof. Post, blogging at Volokh, wondered that as well, and discusses the seizures and the constitutionality thereof.

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