US lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday that would give US authorities more tools to crack down on websites accused of piracy of movies, television shows and music and the sale of counterfeit goods.
The Stop Online Piracy Act has received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is the House version of a bill introduced in the Senate in May known as the Theft of Intellectual Property Act or Protect IP Act.
The legislation has received the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, theBusiness Software Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and other groups.
But it has come under fire from digital rights and free speech organizations for allegedly paving the way for US law enforcement to unilaterally shut down websites, including foreign sites, without due process.
The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said the House bill “raises serious red flags.
“It includes the most controversial parts of the Senate’s Protect IP Act, but radically expands the scope,” the CDT said in a statement. “Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs.