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Cabinet level copyright position created October 15, 2008

Posted by cynhudson in Library Related Legislation, Library Stuff.
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On Monday President Bush signed into law a bill that would effectively create a cabinet level position for the enforcement of copyright.  The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (PRO-IP Act) of 2008, formerly known as the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008, will also increase the penalties relating to copyright infringement.

Organizations such as as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Procter & Gamble, and NBC Universal are championing the bill as beneficial for the economy.

“What the Congress recognized and the president has ratified is the critical importance of innovation, technical invention, and creativity to the U.S. economy,” said Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal. “This law will dramatically move the priority of IP enforcement up the agenda in critical ways.”cnet news

In contrast, the American Library Association, the Special Libraries Association, Public Knowledge and others have been critical of the bill, finding the extent of the bill questionable and unnecessary.

In a letter sent to Senators in September, major library organizations and others stated, “Title III of S. 3325 expands both the civil and criminal forfeiture provisions of several areas of IP and related law. Unlike similar provisions in H.R. 4279, the civil forfeiture provisions here do not require that the seized property be owned or predominantly controlled by the infringer. Given the distributed nature of online content and Internet communications, this provision subjects the property of unaffiliated, noninfringing third parties, such as online service providers, to forfeiture.

This act was not passed with the highly controversial civil enforcement measure that would have allowed the Attorney General to bring a civil suit on behalf of a copyright holder against copyright infringers in lieu of criminal charges.

More info:

Albenese, Albert.  “DoJ Opposes Controversial Copyright Bill, Calling One Provision UnconstitutionalLibrary Journal.  September 25, 2008.

Condon, Stepanie.  “Business, labor urge Bush to sign RIAA-backed copyright bill.”  Cnet. October 8, 2008.

Condon, Stephanie.  “Bush Signs RIAA-backed intellectual-property law.” Cnet. October 13, 2008.

Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act. Library of Congress.

Kravets, David “Bush Signs Law Creating Copyright Czar“. Wired. October 13, 2008.

Public Knowledge.  “Statement on Signing of PRO-IP bill“. October 14, 2008


Senate passes copyright bill September 26, 2008

Posted by cynhudson in Library Related Legislation, Library Stuff.
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While many people were preparing for the debate on Friday, the Senate swiftly passed an intellectual property bill, entitled the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, that would create a new executive level position to oversee the enforcement of copyright.  Among other things, this legislation would allow federal and local law enforcement to receive federal funds to fight copyright violations.  The bill will now be routed to the House for a vote.  See the links below for full story. 

References & More Sources

Kravets, David.  “Senate Passes Bill Creating ‘Copyright Czar’Wired. 09/26/08.

Tessler, Joelle.  “Senate Passes Intellectual Property Bill“.  Business Week.  09/26/08.