Monday, September 29, 2008

U.S. Senate Passes PRO-IP Act; Civil Prosecutions Omitted

The U.S. Senate on Friday approved the PRO-IP Act, which will beef up penalties and enforcement of intellectual property laws -- but the bill as passed did not include a controversial provision that would have granted the Justice Dept. new authority to prosecute civil copyright infringement cases. The provision about civil copyright enforcement was dropped from the bill after the Bush administration weighed in to complain that it would turn the Justice Dept. into "pro bono lawyers for private copyright holders regardless of their resources." The bill, which was heavily backed by the entertainment industry, will also create a Cabinet-level "piracy czar" to coordinate U.S. intellectual property enforcement activities worldwide. The House passed a similar bill last year, which did not include the civil copyright prosecutorial provision; a new version is expected to pass on Saturday, when it is scheduled to come up for a vote.;-civil-prosecutions-omitted

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