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Bush Signs Bill for Increased Antipiracy Enforcement

14 Oct, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Hollywood studios and other content distributors scored a victory this week after President Bush signed a bill that beefs up enforcement on pirated movies.

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act, backed by both the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), increases the monetary fines that can be awarded in civil counterfeiting judgments and provides more oversight for piracy prosecutions, creating a federal coordinator to oversee national intellectual property issues.

“At a time of financial and economic turmoil, streamlining the government's efforts to protect one of our most important assets — intellectual property — makes good economic sense,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement.

“By becoming law, the PRO-IP Act sends the message to [intellectual property] criminals everywhere that the U.S. will go the extra mile to protect American innovation,” said Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Several public information groups have spoken out against the bill, claiming it allows for too much abuse by the government against those with questionable ties to piracy.

“Let’s suppose that there’s one computer in the house, and one person uses it for downloads and one for homework. The whole computer goes,” Public Knowledge spokesman Art Brodsky told Reuters.

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