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Hollywood rallies behind Senate bill to combat online piracy

September 20, 2010 |  1:19 pm

Hollywood studios gave two thumbs up Monday for a new federal bill that aims to crack down on the widespread problem of Internet piracy.

The bill, introduced Monday by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and senior Republican member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), would give the Justice Department more tools to track and shut down websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming or sale of copyright content. The Justice Department, for example, would have authority to seek a court order to block credit card payments and advertising on illegal websites.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America said the legislation, called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, would "combat efforts to steal the lifeblood of one of our nation's most important industries."

Such sites are "increasingly sophisticated and take on many of the attributes of legitimate content delivery sites, often deceiving consumers into believing they are legitimate," the MPAA said.

Still, as anyone who has ever watched "Schoolhouse Rock!" knows,  it's a long way before a bill introduced in committee becomes the law of the land.

-- Richard Verrier

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