H.R.4279 - PRO-IP Act of 2007

To enhance remedies for violations of intellectual property laws, and for other purposes. view all titles (6)

All Bill Titles

  • Popular: Pro-IP Act as introduced.
  • Popular: PRO-IP Act of 2007 as introduced.
  • Official: To enhance remedies for violations of intellectual property laws, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Short: Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 as reported to house.
  • Short: Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007 as introduced.
  • Short: Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 as passed house.

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  • wseltzer 01/16/2008 6:54am

    This bill would burden the federal government with a new “Intellectual Property Enforcement Division,” diverting the Justice Department’s attention from more pressing enforcement matters.

    Federal enforcement further externalizes the cost of intellectual property from its rights-holders onto the general public. If IP protection costs too much for the rights-holders to bear themselves, perhaps it isn’t worth its cost to society.

  • textdog 01/16/2008 7:55am

    Creating a division that is funded and run by the federal government to deal with issues of intellectual property enforcement does make everyone (the public) feel like the government and Hollywood is taking this issue even more seriously. The funds and manpower to back up the division is the innovation here. Hollywood is winning over some of those in office and winning some public dollars at the same time. On a really basic level, Hollywood is waging a war of paradigms — they want people to understand their point of view, though it seems the internet is shifting the business model and millions of people just don’t see their point.

  • renbucholz 01/16/2008 10:46am

    One might also ask why IP-related punishments need to be increased at all. Civil remedies are already grossly disproportionate and criminal remedies include jail time… is there a reason to divert resources toward this project? In response to wseltzer, I agree and worry further that IP “enforcement” can be too low. See, for example, the U.S. recording industry’s actions against alleged infringers on P2P networks. Tens of thousands of “pre-litigation” letters later, the RIAA has grossed tens of millions of dollars. And none of it goes to the artists they represent. To me, this does not look like an industry in need of extra enforcement powers.

  • Anonymous 01/17/2008 2:46pm

    For additional information, see this post from Bill Patry, copyright lawyer for Google: What Does it Mean to Be Pro IP?

  • Anonymous 01/17/2008 2:48pm

    From EFF’s coverage of this bill:

    “Unfortunately, the PRO IP Act is just another in a long line of “one-way ratchet” proposals that amplifies copyright without protecting innovators or technology users. One provision, entitled “Computation of Statutory Damages in Copyright Cases,” seems aimed at allowing the music industry to threaten even higher statutory damages in its campaign to sue filesharers. Copyright law currently allows the RIAA to seek statutory damages per album, while the new law would allow them to seek damages per song. Under the new limits proposed by the PRO IP Act, someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N’ Roses’ 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000; as opposed to the current limit of $30,000 for the album.

    Beyond its effects on file sharing litigation, the bill would create a new, taxpayer-funded federal bureaucracy focused on policing intellectual property domestically and overseas, including:

    a United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative, appointed by the President,
    an Intellectual Property Enforcement Division in the Department of Justice, and
    additional intellectual property attach├ęs to staff U.S. embassies.
    These new federal bureaucrats would essentially have one responsibility — protecting the business interests of the biggest names in movies, music, and software. All of these industries are profitable, many of the corporations are foreign, and yet they want the American taxpayer to pick up the tab. Surely, Americans would rather see their tax dollars spent helping businesses and individuals who don’t have ample means to help themselves."

  • EFFred 01/17/2008 2:57pm

    One more online resource for this bill, this one by Public Knowledge:

  • susanpcrawford 01/17/2008 5:13pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    EFF’s coverage is very helpful. It’s hard to imagine this one-way ratchet being turned the other direction, however. We’ve got a strong alliance in this country between law enforcement, content owners, and network providers – all of whom, for different reasons, want to support strong/stronger IP protection.

  • egregious 05/08/2008 11:39pm

    One more move by people in power to persecute those without power. If there is any real crime being committed, it would be by those who explicitly profit off the use of copywritten materials. There probably should be a more rational set of rules to regulate the fair distriubtion of money generated by the use of said materials, but this is not what is being proposed in this legislation. It is more lawsuits aimed at the unwitting parents of teenaged and college downloaders. The strategy is to go after the little guy. Is it right to penalize someone with no money, who in downloading media for personal use profited in no direct financial way with fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    How is downloading a file any different than making a copy of a tape for a friend, taping a movie or tv show off the television, photocopying a book or magazine in the library, or recording a song off the radio? With increased technology, there is increased quality in the copies, but fundamentally making a copy for personal use has always been a fundamental part of media exchange in our society.

    Downloading is already widespread and ubiquitous. It is too late to turn back the clock with draconian threats that can only be enforced like a lottery. To rachet enforcement directly implies the corrosion of privacy. Downloaded files will have to be traced to your computer by increasingly invasive tactics of hacking your files and tracking your every move in cyberspace. Is this the internet’s promise of freedom? i hope not.

    410 to 10? No dissent by our representatives? No mention of this critical vote in the mainstream media? What is going on here? What do you think a public opinion poll of this would be? Do we really want our children, friends and relatives to continue to be subjected to crippling fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars?

    We need more than 10 rational heads in congress. Is that too much to ask for?

  • Comm_reply
    CongressCritter 10/14/2008 5:40am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The only egregious crime is the death of the record business by a bunch of excusing theft thieves.

    Record Business…what part of business don’t you understand?

    Go book some studio time, market the record, front all the costs and then have your CD ripped and spun to the World for free. Then when you’re holding YOUR ASS in YOUR HANDS come crying to me about how bad the “mean business people suck.”

    Ripping CD’s, DVD’s is theft. Hey maybe I should still your bike, car etc. after all I don’t have enough of them !

    Don’t support the Artists and Artisans that create the product…Steal It !


  • WinstonSmith 05/12/2008 10:17pm

    I’ve seen the following in Washington Post, May 1st:
    1. The Justice Dept. warns that the new IP czar would “undermine” its independence. JD also blasted the bill after it was introduced, calling it unnecessary and worrying that an enforcement position at the Cabinet level could become easily politicized.

    2. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, “The White House has very serious concerns with the legislation.”
    3. The tech community doesn’t like it either. William Patry, senior copyright lawyer for Google, who called [the initial draft] the most “outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the U.S.” in a posting on his blog in December. (Patry seems to be somewhat calmer about the present form, but maybe just numb)

    4. The people in this article who like it were NBC, MPAA and RIAA. My experience has been that they are a precise reverse barometer of my interests; everything they ever wanted seems to poison what I want (and I say that as a performing artist myself).

    5. Even the NBC Universal general counsel Rick Cotton, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, said the U.S.-based campaigns of the MPAA and RIAA don’t reach every potential pirate, particularly those overseas. The real piracy (other than sleazy contracts and creative accounting the music industry pulls on its artists while claiming to “protect” them) is done mainly in Russia and China, with some other countries being added to the list. H.R.4279 is just a tethered dog annoyingly barking out at the unconcerned world outside its yard.

    Looking to another source I trust much more, the EFF, I see that they are using words like “outrageous”, “unnecessary” and “ridiculous” to describe this piece of… err, legislation.

    I mentioned that I’m a performing (and recording) artist. The last thing I want is for some kid to have his doors busted in, and his parents’ property (is it true they could even lose their home?!?) for illegally obtaining or using one of my songs. I want nothing to do with that threat or the kind of people who would make it. Entertainment is, sick though this may be, one of the few things we’re allowed to make each other feel good legally. Finding more ways to make it illegal is just retarded; spending tax money to do it, even more so.

    Look at our national debt. Go ahead, look.
    http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ :: pretty accurate
    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np ::officially accurate to the penny
    Now, is this really the time to spend more taxpayer money, run up more debt, create additional government, just to make the entertainment industry happy, even over the objections of the Dept. of Justice? Don’t we have more important things to do? I can think of plenty of real life-threatening situations here and now that need our immediate attention; repairing bridges and fixing the runaway costs of greedy healthcare, just to name a couple. Whoever voted for this bill is an idiot, but there’s always hope that there are fewer idiots in the Senate. Please.

  • Anonymous 05/13/2008 4:56am

    This is a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ law. They take your equipment and / or house until they figure out whether or not you’ve stolen mp3s, software, etc?

    It’s another example of having one special interest group, the RIAA, not getting enough out of it’s court settlements so now it needs a law to take your house away… private property rights have been dying off for a while now. This is nothing new.

    I expect nothing less from the socialist environment that permeates our current government. Just wait until January 2008… it WILL get worse.

    Wait until the next administration announces the new “WAR ON IP THEFT”

  • johnatmls 05/13/2008 9:33pm

    Sony Bono was responsible for creating the Mickey Mouse Bill and passing it, if memory serves me correctly. It extends copyright to 75 years past an authors death, or 100 years when granted to a corporation. It was passed just before Mickey was do to go off copyright, a right that Disney acquired or stole from someone without compensation. Thanks to Disney we do not have access to the books, movies and creative works which copyright was originally enacted. Originally it was 20 years before becoming the property of the public not 75 years past an authors death. Just think of all the knowledge being withheld from the public because of these special interests.

  • Anonymous 05/15/2008 12:34pm

    If this bill passes Senate, The RIAA, The MPAA, and the celebrities will now take your and either keep them or sell them to illegal immigrants. The RIAA, The MPAA and the celebrities are the supporters of the New World Order and the North American Union. They can put a support vote in order for the NAU to be implemented with no opposition allowed because we’ll all be put in Labor Camps for crimes we haven’t not committed even if we’re innocent of copyright infringement.

  • CongressCritter 10/14/2008 5:47am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The litany of excuses for stealing private property is appalling.

    The Music and Film/TV businesses can’t survive without making money, neither can any businesses.

    Free Mercedes for everyone !

    There is no argument. Ripping CD’s DVD’s is theft and steals money from everyone who works in “The Business.”

    I applaud the President’s signing this bill into law maybe it will make the thieves think twice before stealing private property.

    Oh and please spare me from the arguments about “fair pricing” “artists royalties” “the music should be free” should coulda woulda you’re thieves nothing more nothing less.

  • Anonymous 10/15/2008 5:35pm

    @ CongressCritter: please be a troll.

    I don’t see how the duplication of copyrighted material is equivalent to stealing, but whatever. Money doesn’t make talent, so I don’t see why musicians complain about this crap.

    Last time I checked, ripping CDs for private and archival use isn’t illegal. If it was, I don’t think Microsoft would put a feature to rip CDs inside one of their own programs.

    “Hey maybe I should still your bike, car etc. after all I don’t have enough of them !”, “Free Mercedes for everyone !”. First of all, you’re comparing almost 2 completely different things, and secondly, you’re clearly using the word “stealing” in a completely irrelevant way.

    “Go book some studio time, market the record, front all the costs and then have your CD ripped and spun to the World for free. Then when you’re holding YOUR ASS in YOUR HANDS come crying to me about how bad the “mean business people suck.”, if I was a professional artist, I wouldn’t give two god damn shits about one of my songs appearing on LimeWire or something.

    “Don’t support the Artists and Artisans that create the product…Steal It !”, haha, still using “stealing” in a completely irrelevant way.

    I hope you die in a fire. Feel free to respond, too.

  • Anonymous 10/22/2008 7:44am

    CongressCritter, I believe you are missing the point.

    I don’t think anyone is saying it is okay to steal music or sell music.
    The problem is many people don’t consider their activities to be ‘stealing’ while the industry does.

    If I buy a CD and rip it to my computer so I can put it on my ipod, or a DVD I bought to watch on my nice LCD monitor, I see nothing wrong. Most people won’t. But I have read papers saying that ripping the information is illegal as it bypasses copyright protection. Even if I don’t plan to distribute and the files simply sit on the hard drive, its illegal.

    While no one wants to admit it, this concept of ‘stealing’ by making copies of something has existed for quite a long time. The RIAA and MPAA never went after people who made mix tapes or used VCRs to record their favorite shows to the best of my knowledge. The only difference now is that this copying is very easy to do. Before someone could make a few copies of a tape or CD at a time before it got too expensive and time consuming. Now only one person needs to have the file to make 1000s of copies almost instantly.

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