The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) tries to balance the rights of copyright owners and Internet businesses. But this balance might be washed away by COICA.

The DMCA currently provides a safe harbor for Internet businesses: Such a business isn’t liable for copyright infringements committed by its users provided the business undertakes anti-infringement measures mandated by the DMCA (such as removing infringing material upon request of the copyright owner).

COICA, however, makes no mention of the DMCA. So experts disagree on whether the DMCA safe harbor would protect a website from being targeted under COICA.

“I would hope and expect law enforcement would not shut down a site that is protected by the DMCA safe harbor,” says David Given, a partner at Phillips, Erlewine & Given. But he adds, “It is a risk.”