As expected, the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to approve a bill that targets Internet pirates based overseas.
The Protect IP Act looks to hand the U.S. Department of Justice the ability to seek a court order against allegedly infringing Web sites. The order could be served on search engines, certain Domain Name System providers, and Internet advertising firms--which would in turn be required to "expeditiously" make the target Web sites vanish from the Internet.
The bill was backed by leaders of both major political parties and is supported by a wide range of industries, including the film and music sectors. Backers of the legislation say that online piracy cuts deeply into their profits and kills jobs.
"The small businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, software designers, local journalists and every other segment of the creative community support the (Judiciary committee's decision) today," said Sandra Aistars, director of the Copyright Alliance, a group backed by varying copyright owners.