WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — President Bush has signed into law a new bill that would provide for stiffer federal penalties for movie and music piracy. The law also creates an intellectual property "Czar" to oversee the development of policy to protect IP both domestically and internationally.
According to Reuters, the law also toughens criminal laws against piracy and counterfeiting which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates costs the United States nearly $250 billion annually.
"By becoming law, the PRO-IP Act sends the message to IP criminals everywhere that the U.S. will go the extra mile to protect American innovation," said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The bill had the support of both the RIAA and the MPAA but had some surprising critics, including the Justice Department, who expressed concerns that the bill would undermine their authority. Other criticism came from the usual quarters such as advocacy group Public Knowledge. Public Knowledge argued that the law went too far, particularly in light of the narrowing window of what is considered as acceptable use and noted that under current laws, IP owners can take violators to court. They also opposed a measure that would allow for the confiscation of all devices used in piracy.
"There's already lots and lots of penalties for copyright violations," he said. "They've got all the tools they need." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers