By Jon Newton 11/13/05
Microsoft, Apple and other owners of the BSA (Business Software Alliance), together with the entertainment cartels, are demanding that America's Cheney/Bush administration adds new commercial 'crimes' to US law.
What's their excuse?
New laws, mooted by purely commercial intersts, would, "bump up criminal penalties for pirates, expand criminal prosecutors' powers and punish anyone who attempts' to infringe a copyright," says CNET News.
Speaking at a Washington "antipiracy summit" hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, USA attorney general Alberto Gonzales said the Department of Justice, "recently submitted to Congress a 'legislative package' aimed at toughening up intellectual-property enforcement amid evolving technology," says the story.
"According to the proposal being circulated by the department, the measure would create a new crime called 'attempting to infringe a copyright' and subject it to the same penalties as more serious infringement offenses."
It would also allow "authorities" to "seize and destroy pirated and counterfeit goods - with a special nod to music, movies and digitally obtained materials. Also on that list are any goods used to produce pirated or counterfeit material, as well as property obtained with proceeds from the sale of pirated or counterfeit material."
Anyone found guilty of the new 'crimes' wouldn't only face jail, says CNET. He or she would also, "have to pay the copyright holder" and any other "victim of the offense" out-of-pocket losses "resulting from the crime".
At the moment, "it's only possible to enforce against copyrights that are registered with the government" but, "The new proposal would make that true only in civil cases, allowing prosecutors to go after pirates regardless of whether the copyright is registered."
New technology is "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft," Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities".
The BSA, "whose president lamented at Thursday's event the $33 billion annual toll from piracy on the software industry," applauded the move, saying the group looked forward to reviewing the proposed legislation, states the story.
BSA statistics used to support claims that its owners are losing vast amounts of potential income to counterfeits and duplicates have been shown to be false.
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) also issued a statement of support but, "That sentiment was not shared by the digital rights group Public Knowledge, which said in a statement that it wished the department 'had devoted some analysis as well to protecting the fair use rights of consumers'," says CNET.
Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.
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