House Copyright Bill Would Stiffen Penalties and Create New White House/DOJ Intellectual Property Units

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Howard Berman (D-CA), and nine other House members have introduced the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007" (PRO IP).

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Specifically, the PRO IP bill does the following:

  • Titles I and II strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement.
  • Title III of the legislation establishes the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the Executive Office of the President, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts.
  • Title IV provides for the appointment of intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
  • Title V of the legislation authorizes the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of the new IP Division is to improve law enforcement coordination. This is accomplished, in part, by transferring the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to intellectual property enforcement to the new IP Division. In addition, Title V provides DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement, including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and prosecutorial personnel. It also requires that DOJ prepare an annual report that details its IP enforcement activities.

Read more about it at "Congress' Copyright Reform: Seize Computers, Boost Penalties, Spend Money"; "Major Copyright Bill Boosts Penalties, Creates New Agency"; and "Piracy Law Unveiled in Washington."