Have you heard about S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)? No? Well, if you’re a fan of the great firewall of China and censorship in general you’ll love this one. It comes in the guise of preventing infringing activities but what it will really do is make it possible for sites to be blocked from US access. What kind of sites could be blocked if it passes? How about YouTube? Yes, the Google owned site that has given many of us lols would be fair game if this passes. Under current law because they follow the DMCA takedown procedure YouTube is not liable for any infringing content that its visitors may provide. If COICA passes all that has to happen is that interested parties convince a court that the site is being used for infringing activity (despite the fact that it would likely be taken down by YouTube under DMCA) and block the entire site in the US.

But that’s through a court system where sites at least have a fighting chance to protect themselves you may say, but wait. All it takes is an order from the attorney general to get a site added to the blacklist. ISPs will be required to block all sites on the list made by court order and be given immunity for blocking all sites on the list made by the attorney general. Given the immunity I would expect the number of ISPs blocking those on the second list to be hovering somewhere around 99.99%-100%.

But won’t there be ways that users could still get to these sites? Of course there will always be ways around things like this, but at what cost to the US? Currently the US is the hub for most of the internet. A lot of traffic flows through our tubes and many domain names are registered in the US. If this passes it won’t be long till the traffic slows down and people and companies begin hosting their sites outside of the US costing thousands of jobs in the process.

If you’re interested in learning more check out the EFF, Demand Progress, Tech Dirt, and sign the Demand Progress petition as well.