Last updated: September 29, 2008 - 9:00pm
Congress has passed a major intellectual property rights bill strongly supported by showbiz after one of two controversial provisions was removed. The full Senate passed on Friday the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, which increases federal resources for enforcing existing copyright laws and attempts to better facilitate US IP policy. The House had already passed its version of the bill and voted late Sunday to essentially approve the Senate's version, which was very similar to its own. President Bush is expected to sign it.
Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said, "It is unfortunate that the Senate felt it necessary to pass this legislation. The bill only adds more imbalance to a copyright law that favors large media companies. At a time when the entire digital world is going to less restrictive distribution models, and when the courts are aghast at the outlandish damages being inflicted on consumers in copyright cases, this bill goes entirely in the wrong direction. Instead of being focused on giving large media companies what they want, Congress instead should take a comprehensive look at the current state of the law, and of technology and write legislation that recognizes the reality of the situation and the reality that consumers have rights also. At a minimum, we are pleased that the Senate bill as passed does not include the egregious provision allowing the Justice Department to file civil suits against alleged copyright violators on behalf of copyright holders. This provision was a total waste of the taxpayers' money. We are grateful to Senator Wyden for his leadership in getting that provision removed. We still would have preferred that the bill not pass."
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