May 11 - FEDS can NOW seize Your computer For ILLEGAL Downloads - Pro-IP Act PASSED
p2pnet news MPAA | RIAA News:- In what must be one of their greatest triumphs yet, entertainment industry interests have greased a copyright Top Cop with his/her own copyright police into the White House —- just before the present incumbent is replaced by a new president who might not be so amenable to corporate movie and music industry blandishments as George W’s administration.
The official title will be US Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative
“We are transitioning from a nation whose economy was driven by what we created with our hands to one driven by what we create with our minds,” Billboard has RIAA boss Mitch Bainwol declaring with a straight face.
“This creative and economic genius deserves to reach its full potential, and this bill is an important step toward achieving that goal.”
The RIAA is primarily responsible for representing the Big 4 record labels, Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG, who aim to stifle any and all creativity they don’t control by any means possible.
The MPAA, which does much the same for Hollywood, is reportedly equally enthusiastic about the act.
Last month, California’s Zoe Lofgren, “raised the only concern about the bill, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act, saying the language regarding seizure of property involved in IP theft could ‘inadvertently punish innocent bystanders’,” says Variety, going on >>>
The US House of Representatives has just passed the act under suspension of House rules, states Billboard, saying an official quorum vote is expected on the House floor this evening.
If, for example, a child uses a parent’s computer for illegal downloading without the parent’s knowledge or approval, the parent’s computer could be seized, Lofgren said.
She also worried about “innocent people” possibly being coerced into paying a settlement.
“The recording industry has made a business out of extorting money from students” whose computers are used by others for illegal downloading, Lofgren said. “This could be the same type of situation.”
“Introduced by House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers Jr. last December, the Act (H.R. 4279) would create the office of a U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative in the White House to represent and advise the president on IP issue,” says the story, observing:
“The representative would produce a national joint strategic plan to protect and enforce IP rights, and would be responsible for seeing its implementation by various government agencies.”
According to Conyers, the Act will >>>
* Prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government
* Make changes to IP law to enhance the ability of IP owners to effectively enforce their rights
* Make it easier to criminally prosecute repeat offenders
* Increase penalties for IP violations that endanger public health and safety.
Conyers doesn’t explain how IP infringement could possibly have any effect on public health and safety.
“The Act would also establish a formal IP Enforcement Division within the office of the Deputy Attorney General,” says Billbioard, adding:
“Currently, the DOJ has an IP Task Force. An IP Enforcement Officer, appointed by the attorney general and reporting to the deputy attorney general, would head the division.”
Only one amendment was attached, “to make clear that the White House position would not dictate agencies’ actions or policies on IP protection but would be more for facilitating and coordinating cooperation among agencies,” says the story.
Specifically, federal civil law would be amended to: (1) provide a safe harbor for copyright registrations that contain inaccurate information so such technical errors would not prevent a judgment for infringement; (2) provide that copyright registration requirements, like the necessity of filing a registration before suing an infringer, apply to civil - not criminal - infringement actions; (3) require courts to issue protective orders to prevent disclosure of seized records relating to copyright infringement; (4) revise standards for civil damages in copyright infringement and counterfeiting cases; and (5) prohibit importing and exporting of infringing copies of copyrighted works.
Federal criminal law would be amended to: (1) enhance criminal penalties for infringement of a copyright, for trafficking in counterfeit labels or packaging, and for causing serious bodily harm or death while trafficking in counterfeit goods or services; and (2) enhance civil and criminal forfeiture provisions for copyright infringement and provide for restitution to victims of such infringement.
PRO-IP co-author Hollywood Howard Berman, “assured Lofgren that the bill stipulates a seizure of property could only occur when ‘a substantial connection’ exists between the property and the material stolen,” says Variety, adding:
He also said he disagreed with Lofgren’s characterization of the RIAA’s “legal actions” as ‘extortion’.”
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