OVERNIGHT TECH: Piracy battle escalates in Senate

Leahy applauds piracy crackdown, Anonymous retaliates: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyShelby signals GOP can accept Biden's .5T with more for defense Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biden budget expands government's role in economy MORE (D-Vt.) was quick to congratulate the Justice Department for shutting down MegaUpload.com, one of the world's most popular file-sharing websites. The site's seven employees were charged with criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering and other charges. Each faces up to 55 years in prison.

Leahy said the arrests were possible because the site is covered under domestic laws, and questioned why foreign sites shouldn't be given the same treatment via PIPA and SOPA. But the vigilante hacker group Anonymous struck back, claiming credit for attacks on the websites of the Justice Department, the Recording Industry Association of America and Universal Music Group, among others. The group promised more attacks as the night continues, with targets named including the Motion Picture Association of America and the FBI.

Paul de Sa leaving FCC: The Federal Communications Commission announced Paul de Sa, the chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis (OSP), will leave the commission in February. Before joining the commission, de Sa was a partner at McKinsey & Company. He received a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, was a Kennedy Scholar at MIT, and a post-doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard.

Smith slams OPEN Act: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took aim at the rival online piracy legislation offered by opponents of SOPA as an alternative on Thursday. Smith said OPEN would be less effective than his bill as well as bad for small business and ineffective.

Said Smith: “Illegal counterfeiting and intellectual property theft costs the U.S. economy $100 billion and thousands of jobs every year. The Wyden-Issa OPEN Act expands government, does not do enough to combat online piracy, and may make the problem worse. The OPEN Act creates loopholes that make the Internet even more open to foreign thieves that steal America’s technology and IP without protecting U.S. businesses and consumers. It amounts to a safe harbor for foreign criminals who steal American technology, products and intellectual property."