According to entertainment sector trade groups, MasterCard lobbyists told them that the company is supporting the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, an antipiracy bill introduced in September that gives the Justice Department power to go after foreign websites that sell counterfeit goods and pirated content.
The government would have the power to order Internet service providers, payment processors, and online ad networks in the U.S. to cease doing business with overseas pirate sites.
Opponents of the legislation say it amounts to nothing more than censorship and gives the government too much power. They say even websites with infringing materials have content that's protected.
The goal of leading media companies is to encourage people not to do business with pirate sites. Their objective is not about filing lawsuits, but more about cutting off sources of income for illegal file-sharing and streaming sites.
The Recording Industry Association of America issued a statement applauding MasterCard’s decision.
"MasterCard in particular deserves credit for its proactive approach to addressing rogue Web sites that dupe consumers," said Mitch Glazier, executive vice president of government and industry relations.
"They have reached out to us and others in the entertainment community to forge what we think will be a productive and effective partnership."