President Bush Signs New IP Enforcement Bill Into Law 14/10/2008 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By Catherine Saez President Bush on Monday signed into law a bill strengthening civil and criminal laws against counterfeiting and piracy, boosting resources for enforcement and prosecution, and changing coordination of IP enforcement issues within the Executive Branch. Under the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008, copyright registration would not be a prerequisite to criminal action, and a civil infringement action could be brought regardless of errors in registration unless those errors were made knowingly. The bill, S 3325, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter, passed the Senate on 26 September and the House on 28 September. Industry Hails Victory Industry reacted to the enactment of the bill with statements highlighting the economic contribution of greater enforcement. “By signing into law this important legislation, President Bush has sent a resounding message not only to businesses, workers and consumers, but also to those who would harm Americans through piracy of pharmaceuticals, auto parts and health and safety products,” said John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. Motion Picture Association of America CEO Dan Glickman also applauded the bill. “At this critical time for our economy, it’s important to send a message that the jobs created and maintained by the protection of intellectual property is a national priority,” he said. “As intellectual property rights are enforced, US artists and creators can maintain their leading role in the world of producing creative works that enrich our culture and drive our economy,” said Copyright Alliance Director Patrick Ross. S 3325 creates an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), within the Executive Office of the President to replace the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council, an interagency group responsible for coordinating US domestic and international intellectual property enforcement activities, co-chaired by the US Patent and Trademark Office director (IPW, Enforcement, 1 October 2008). Consumer groups such as Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation opposed S 3325 out of concern over the treatment of non-infringing third parties and the federal government assuming a private enforcement role. The Justice and Commerce departments sent the Senate Judiciary Committee a letter opposing several parts of the bill, amongst which the claim that public resource be used to protect private interests. “Department of Justice prosecutors serving as pro bono lawyers for private copyright holders regardless of their resources,” the letter states. The committee later removed provisions that would have involved federal prosecutors in civil copyright cases. [Note: this paragraph was added on 15 October:] But groups remain sceptical about the new law. “The Pro-IP bill was not necessary,” Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said in a release. “It simply adds penalties to a copyright regime that already is out of balance. We wish an orphan works bill could have passed along with this one. We will continue to work for a balance in copyright law.” Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "President Bush Signs New IP Enforcement Bill Into Law" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.