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Obama Administration Proposes New Internet Piracy Rules

9 Feb, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

A new federal report on intellectual property enforcement says that the Obama administration has drafted new proposals to fight Internet piracy and soon will submit the proposals to lawmakers.

“… We committed to reviewing existing laws to determine if legislative changes were needed to improve enforcement,” the 2010 Annual Report on Intellectual Property reads. “As a result of this review, in the near future, we expect to submit to Congress a white paper of legislative proposals to improve intellectual property enforcement.”

The report doesn’t offer details about the proposals but does go into great detail about a steep increase in successful intellectual property investigations, arrests and convictions during 2010.

The report notes that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations opened 1,033 intellectual property investigations in 2010, leading to 365 arrests, 216 indictments and 170 convictions. That’s compared to 730 investigations, 266 arrests, 116 indictments and 164 convictions in 2009.

The FBI in 2010 opened 218 intellectual property investigations, leading to 66 arrests, 75 indictments and 83 convictions. That’s compared to 151 investigations, 100 arrests, 133 indictments and 95 convictions in 2009.

Included in the successful investigations are the September seizure of more than $1 million in pirated DVDs in Houston, the June shutdown of nearly 60 websites illegally sharing first-run movies, the November shutdown of sites selling pirated DVDs and the December interception of counterfeit DVDs from China.

“Individuals and entities that view infringement as a money-making venture are a particular focus of our efforts,” the report reads. “We will continue to take steps, both through law enforcement and working with the private sector, to reduce the financial incentives for theft of intellectual property and eliminate infringement as a quick and easy way of making money at the expense of legitimate businesses and trusting consumers.”

The report goes on to encourage “the development of alternatives for consumers that meet their legitimate needs and preferences” as a way content owners can help fight piracy.

“We note some activity in the marketplace to develop new and more flexible methods of distribution and will look for opportunities to support those efforts,” the report reads.

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