Congress Wants To Up Copyright Infringement Penalties

The usual gang of RIAA-funded suspects have introduced a bill that would boost US intellectual property laws and the penalties that go along with them, and allow the U.S. government to seize computers, says Ars Technica.

In addition to strengthening both civil and criminal penalties for copyright and trademark infringement, the big development here is the proposed creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). This is a new executive branch office tasked with coordinating IP enforcement at the national and international level. To do this work internationally, the bill also authorizes US intellectual property officers to be sent to other countries in order to assist with crackdowns there. In addition, the Department of Justice gets additional funding and a new unit to help prosecute IP crimes.

Congress’ copyright reform: seize computers, boost penalties, spend money [Ars Technica]

RELATED: Contact Information For 50 Politicians Who Take Campaign Money From The RIAA
Congressmen Who Took Money From The RIAA Send Chiding Letters To Universities

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  1. Murph1908 says:

    They are making me want to form my own organization: USURPER

  2. goller321 says:

    Ok, so Sony, and all those other music companies can blackmail and intimidate and bully, AND price fix with no repercussions … but the average joe should do jail time and be financially ruined for some stupid songs and movies???

    Politicians like these are moving us further and further toward a fascist state. The issue SHOULD be a purely civil matter. But now we the taxpayers get to fund a overreaching government agency so they can police specifically for the MPAA and RIAA? Bullshit!

    The guy playing Harry Potter is slated to get $50 million for the next two movies… with money like this flying around, I have no sympathy for a corrupt industry like the entertainment industry.

  3. canerican says:

    I am a strong Republican and normally I am all for strong copyright enforcement. But my tax dollars are going to help the RIAA police the publically owned internet. Start tackling the real issues Congress, then we can get your approval ratings over 5%.

  4. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    You know what happens with every single new government entity? They feel the need to justify their existence. 3 guesses how these guys would try to accomplish that. We already have laws for these things. Enforcement on a digital system *is not possible* with out invading our privacy or crippling our hardware.

  5. Starsmore says:

    Time to just steal the physical media. Shoplifting is cheaper if you get caught.

  6. timmus says:

    The bill we are talking about is H.R.4279. Let’s make no bones about the legislators that are behind this, with their current election cycle payoffs:

    John Conyers (D-MI), sponsor
    Accepted $5000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $2500 from Clear Channel, $4000 from Comcast, $6000 from DirecTV, $2000 from Natl Music Publishers Assn, $1000 from Viacom

    Howard L. Berman (D-CA), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $4600 from National Music Publishers, $1000 from Time Warner, $2000 from UMG, $1000 from Warner, $2500 from Consumer Electronics Assn

    Steve Chabot (R-OH), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $1000 from ASCAP, $2000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $5000 from National Cable & Telecommunications Assn, $1000 from Time Warner

    Steve Cohen (D-TN), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from Sony Pictures Entertainment, $1000 from MPAA, $1000 from UMG

    Tom Feeney (R-FL), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $1000 from ASCAP, $1000 from MPAA, $1000 from RIAA, $1000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $1000 from Sony Pictures, $1000 from Time Warner, $2000 from UMG

    Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), cosponsor
    Accepted $1500 from ASCAP, $1500 from MPAA, $1000 from RIAA, $1000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $1500 from Sony, $1500 from Time Warner

    Darrell E. Issa (R-CA), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $1000 from UMG

    Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters

    Ric Keller (R-FL), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from ASCAP, $1000 from MPAA, $1000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $1000 from RIAA, $1000 from Sony, $2000 from UMG, $1000 from Viacom, $1000 from Warner

    Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $1000 from ASCAP, $1000 from MPAA, $2000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $1000 from National Music Publishers Assn, $1000 from RIAA, $1000 from Sony Pictures, $1000 from Time Warner, $1000 from UMG, $1500 from Viacom, $1000 from Warner

    Lamar Smith (R-TX), cosponsor
    Accepted $1500 from ASCAP, $4000 from Clear Channel, $1000 from MPAA, $2500 from RIAA, $2000 from Sony Pictures, $2000 from Time Warner

    Robert Wexler (D-FL), cosponsor
    Accepted $1000 from American Intellectual Property Law Assn, $1000 from ASCAP, $1000 from MPAA, $1000 from Natl Assn of Broadcasters, $1630 from RIAA, $2000 from Sony Pictures, $2000 from UMG, $1000 from Viacom, $1500 from Warner Music

    I find it disturbing how little these congresspeople can be bought out for!!

  7. timmus says:

    In all thats $134,730 in possible kickback money to this pool of sponsors and cosponsors alone.

  8. chartrule says:

    just think of all the problems solved if they just outlawed lobbying

  9. goller321 says:

    @chartrule: Exactly. Individual citizens should be the only “lobbiests” that are involved in politics. And ALL politicians should be banned from becoming lobbiests after they serve. They should have to sign a waive akin to a non-compete contract.
    Oh yeah, and they shouldn’t be able to accept donations from out of “home” state citizens.

  10. CarlR says:

    So much for smaller government and a “free market” economy. I guess that only applies to ordinary citizens. When bribes (oops, I mean lobbyist dollars) are involved, apparently our tax dollars are best spent providing increased services to corporations.

  11. econobiker says:

    I could agree with this IF they rolled the copyright law back to say 1939 before Disney got the laws changed to the current state….

  12. alstein says:

    Really, the easiest way to solve the problem would be to choke off the RIAA by not buying anything from them.

    Too bad we as Americans don’t have the discipline to do that.

  13. wezelboy says:

    That’s too bad about Wexler. I’ve been a big fan since his Colbert Report appearance. Maybe that’s how he paid for all that cocaine and those prostitutes.

  14. magus_melchior says:

    @goller321: It’d be too easy for a former lobbying firm to pay some guy off the street to do the lobbying as an ordinary citizen for them in that scenario.

    @Murph1908: They come with lawyers. They come with lobbyists. Gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning! Destroyers and usurpers, curse them!

    Yeah, we could use a few Ents about now…

  15. drjayphd says:

    @wezelboy: Well, to be fair, cocaine and prostitutes aren’t exactly falling out of trees.

    Although if they are, please direct me to the nearest such tree.

  16. kingoftheroad40 says:

    Look at how Hitler took over Germany in the 30′s and things like homeland security and the patriot act
    God bless America to hell with the our people running the government

  17. JadedScientist says:

    @timmus:
    Wow, 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans–so this is the only thing that can get bipartisan support these days?

  18. bearymore says:

    What’s next, the thought police?? It’s important that the Feds spend taxpayer dollars to nab nefarious college students who may not have paid a couple of bucks to watch a movie. On the other hand, the ex-CEO of United Health got off with a little slap on the wrist civil penalty yesterday for stealing $486 million from his customers and share holders through fraudulently back dated stock options. No jail time for him though the proceedings “caused [his] family a lot of pain.”

    We sure have our priorities in the right place.

  19. axiomatic says:

    Dear Congress,

    Just stop please. The Recording Industry and the RIAA are so corrupt that I do not buy their product anymore and I hope others do the same until you, them, and everyone else get the point that your monitoring and policing of intellectual property is not wanted in any way, shape, or form.

    I will NEVER support the RIAA in the same way that I will also NEVER give a politician any of my money.

  20. lonelymaytagguy says:

    “THIS IS THE USIPER. We’ve got you surrounded. Come out slowly with your hands in the air.

    Now, drop your MP3 player on the ground.

    Ok, frisk him Joe.”

    “Well, well, will you look at this Sarge. He’s got a radio wired to a cassette recorder in his other pocket. They’re going to throw the book at him now.”