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Latest Developments in the War on Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Websites

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement used civil forfeiture to seize approximately 80 websites accused of violating copyright and trademark law over the long Thanksgiving Day weekend. The seizure was perpetrated in an attempt to shut down the websites, many of which dealt with allegedly counterfeit merchandise, although some were peer-to-peer file-sharing, or "torrent", websites. However, as Digital Trends reports, most of the websites simply shifted to a different URL, some switching to top-level domain names that are beyond the government's jurisdiction.

Currently in the US Senate, a bill is being considered that would make such seizures even easier. The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, S. 3804, was recently reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although it seems to have bi-partisan support, it appears there is just not enough time left in the current session to get it through both houses. Perhaps that will give opponents of the bill the time they need to launch an effective lobbying campaign against it.

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