Alberto Gonzales' Biggest Priority... Is Stricter Copyright Laws?
from the you-have-to-be-kidding dept
You would think with a war going on, the threat of terrorism and, well, a scandal at his office that many think will eventually force him to resign, that the Attorney General of the US would be pretty busy dealing with any of those things. Apparently not. AG Alberto Gonzales decided that now is the best time to ask Congress (who you might say isn't particularly happy with him right now) to pass stricter intellectual property laws. He's sent over the "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007," saying that he wants the Justice Department to spend more time and money cracking down on this apparent blight on the economy. Of course, he seems to be ignoring the recent studies both from the GAO and the OECD suggesting the "harm" is greatly exaggerated, mainly by industry lobbyists. Perhaps it's not such a surprise that Gonzales would want to focus on something that appears unrelated to the various problems he's been facing in his job. Of course, this isn't the first time that Gonzales has been spotted giving out Hollywood's talking points as if they were factual -- so perhaps he's just angling for a new job, once he eventually is forced to move on. In the meantime, you would think that, as the nation's top lawyer, Gonzales would know that the Supreme Court has clearly explained the difference between stealing and infringement, but unfortunately in his latest talk he seems to ignore the Supreme Court and insist that "IP theft is not a technicality... it is stealing." Update: Declan McCullough has more details on how ridiculous the bill is. It would make it a crime to "attempt" to infringe copyright. You can now be put in jail for life in some cases for using pirated software. Computers can be more easily seized in piracy investigations. My personal favorite, though, is that Homeland Security would be required to alert the RIAA when certain CDs are caught at the border (oddly, this only applies to the RIAA -- not the MPAA or BSA).