Jeremy over at LIVEDigitally wrote an open letter to Nancy Pelosi in response to the introduction of the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act or PRO IP Act for short. The PRO IP bill does the following:
- Titles I and II strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement.
- Title III of the legislation establishes the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the Executive Office of the President, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts.
- Title IV provides for the appointment of intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
- Title V of the legislation authorizes the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of the new IP Division is to improve law enforcement coordination. This is accomplished, in part, by transferring the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to intellectual property enforcement to the new IP Division. In addition, Title V provides DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement, including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and prosecutorial personnel. It also requires that DOJ prepare an annual report that details its IP enforcement activities.
The PRO IP Act may sound like the government is on the right track trying to deal with the tricky issue of Intellectual Property, but as Jeremy points out the interests lean towards the big media companies and not the people:
Now truth be told, I am no legal expert, nor am I an expert in copyright. But I am pretty good at common sense. Common sense tells me that the maximum penalty for transmitting an MP3 file should not be over 1000-fold the maximum penalty of shoplifting a CD from a store. Common sense tells me that if over 80 MILLION people are transmitting files to each other, there is something wrong with our system that makes such an activity illegal.
To be pointedly clear, I very much believe that record labels, TV studios, networks, producers, actors, writers, and everyone else involved in media production deserves their fair share, or even more than their fair share. I do not believe that these peoplesâ€™ livelihoods should be infringed simply because the American public is doing a lot of free downloading. What I do believe, on the other hand, is that when faced with new business challenges that technology innovation has spurred, these companies should be forced to meet these challenges head-on. They should not be sheltered and coddled by Congress, with their proverbial heads in proverbial ostrich holes.