News: Bush Passes Strict Anti-Piracy Law

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008 2:31PM

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George W. Bush

U.S. President George W. Bush signed a bill on Monday (October 13) to inflict harsher penalties for movie and music piracy.

According to Reuters, the Pro-Intellectual Property Act passed yesterday will appoint a position for an intellectual property czar, making them responsible for directly informing the President on various methods to help increase copyright security worldwide. Previously monitored by the Justice Department, the position will now gain authority to make these decisions.

In addition to the newly formed advisor spot, the bill also tightens criminal laws against piracy and counterfeiting at the federal level.

"By becoming law, [it] sends the message to intellectual property criminals everywhere that the U.S. will go the extra mile to protect American innovation," U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Tom Donohue told Reuters

Along with U.S. Chamber of Commerce- who reports that the U.S. shells out $250 billion to fight piracy and counterfeiting annually - both the Recording Industry Association of America  (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) support the bill.

Mega-corporations claim it will help capture the major criminal players rather than the youth.

"That is at the core of what this discussion is about," NBC Universal rep Rick Cotton said. "It is not about teenagers." 

Yet advocacy group Public Knowledge said the law was too extreme especially with the required forfeiture of suspected devices used for piracy.

"Let's suppose that there's one computer in the house, and one person uses it for downloads and one for homework. The whole computer goes," PK spokesman Art Brodsky said. "There's already lots and lots of penalties for copyright violations. They've got all the tools they need."

As of now, the intellectual property czar has not been named and is not expected to be appointed under Bush's presidency.

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