White House Wants Harder Line On Piracy

    November 11, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The Attorney General told a Chamber of Commerce conference the government needs more laws to better protect intellectual property creators.

Piracy has been a scourge of the major film and music industry firms, and one that the Bush administration wants to crack down on with new laws and harsher enforcement.

Alberto Gonzales said to the conference on intellectual property that money made by pirates finds its way to other criminals, including terrorists, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The report cited Gonzales’ comments on that threat:

“I think legislation is absolutely necessary as we are at a critical point as the technology is changing so quickly,” Gonzales said. “Because of the changes in technology, it’s so much easier (to pirate) now. What that’s doing is encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual property theft, and that involvement is used, quite frankly, to fund terrorist activities. It is a great concern to the Department of Justice and the administration.”

A number of changes and provisions proposed by Gonzales have met with warm approval from organizations like the MPAA, and concern from fair use advocates. One change would see copyright recognized for IP even if it has not been registered with the Register of Copyrights.

The change would let cases move forward without authorities having to prove all copies of a work pirated online are copyrighted. That elicited a statement from the Public Knowledge group, a public-interest organization:

“Current copyright law requires a copyrighted work to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office before an infringement suit can be filed — regardless of whether it is a civil or criminal suit,” Public Knowledge said in its statement. “While this change might increase the department’s ability to apprehend copyright infringers, it would have an overall negative effect by discouraging copyright registration.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.