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March 31, 2004

HR 2517 — Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 [10:02 pm]

Feds Crank Up Heat on P2P; House panel approves copyright bill [IPNewsBlog has the DoJ press release]

The Justice Department said on Wednesday it has formed an intellectual-property task force to analyze how the department addresses issues like piracy of software, music and movies.

Led by David Israelite, deputy chief of staff and counselor to the attorney general, the task force will also recommend what the Justice Department should do in the future to combat unauthorized use of copyright material.

“I have asked the task force to look at ways the department can strengthen and improve our efforts to combat theft of intellectual piracy,” said Attorney General John Ashcroft.

[...] The task force was created in the wake of criticism by some members of Congress that the Justice Department has not done enough to crack down on digital piracy. The announcement took place on the same day that a House judiciary subcommittee unanimously approved a bill that would punish file swappers with up to three years in jail for first offenses, and up to six for repeat offenses.

[...] If signed into law, the “Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004” [H.R.2517] would be the first to punish file sharing with jail time. The bill also takes aim at camcorder copiers who sneak into film screenings. Anyone who “knowingly uses or attempts to use an audiovisual recording device in a motion picture theater” to copy a movie could face up to six years in jail.

Here’s the text of the bill. The CRS bill summary includes this provision, whose implications are a little difficult to track:

Amends Federal copyright law to make importation into the United States without the copyright owner’s authorization of copies and phonorecords of a work that have been acquired outside the United State an infringement of the exclusive right to distribute such copies or phonorecords, regardless of whether that work has been registered with the Copyright Office or recorded with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) of the Department of Homeland Security.

CNet’s article: Ashcroft creates task force for copyright violations

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