by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 6th 2007 4:12am
Every time you think that the tide is turning and people are beginning to realize the ridiculousness of overly burdensome IP laws, some politicians start doing the dirty work of Hollywood's worst lobbyists. The latest may be the most ridiculous yet -- though, it certainly wasn't unexpected. Remember how NBC Universal execs started whining about how law enforcement's priorities were all screwed up, since they were focused on pointless things like burglary and bankrobbing rather than copyright violations? That was merely the starting point in a lobbying campaign for the new PRO IP (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act) bill that has been introduced with backing of both top Republicans and Democrats. As the bill's not particularly subtle name makes clear, this law is all about giving Hollywood much of what it has been asking for. Rather than decreasing the ridiculous fines that can be handed out for copyright infringement, this law would increase them. But, more importantly, it sets up a brand new gov't agency within the executive branch to help crack down on "piracy." This despite increasing evidence that "piracy" isn't a problem for the economy at all -- but rather a problem for a few big companies with obsolete business models (who just happen to have tremendous lobbying clout) who are too lazy to even bother trying to adapt to a changing market place. This bill isn't just corporate welfare. It would be creating an entire government agency whose sole job it would be to protect the unnecessary and obsolete business model of a few dying companies while stifling innovative tools and services at every turn. It would help to kill off our creative industries by falsely assuming that creativity needs to be funneled through a few big companies. It's a disgusting travesty of the political process.
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