Saturday, September 27, 2008

Senate Passes Controversial 'Copyright Czar' Bill

Via -

On Friday, the U.S. Senate passed the controversial Pro-IP Bill, which would effectively create a "copyright czar" answering to the President.

On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden asked and was granted a request to remove a provision that would have required the Department of Justice to enforce copyright provisions, after the DOJ had objected. However, the bill, as passed, does create an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator that will serve within the Office of the President.

The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed its own version of the bill in May. After differences in the two bills are worked out, the compromise bill will be passed to President Bush for his signature before the end of the congressional session.

According to the Senate bill, the IPEC will chair a committee made up of representatives from the Office of Management and Budget, the DOJ, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Patent and Trademark Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the FDA, and others.

As written, the IPEC "may not control or direct any law enforcement agency in the exercise of its investigative or prosecutorial authority". But its primary function is to develop a "joint strategic plan" to wage war on those who infringe copyrights, which include facilitating the sharing of information across law-enforcement agencies and between other countries.

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