by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
congress, copyright, pro ip

House Panel Deletes Higher Copyright Fines From Pro IP Bill, Leaves Plenty Of Other Bad Stuff

from the this-is-not-a-good-idea dept

Last year, the House of Representatives introduced a bi-partisan "Pro IP" bill that had a ton of horrible parts to it that many realized was actually very anti-IP. One of the problems with the bill was that it attempted to raise the fines for copyright infringement even higher than the already ridiculous fines. However, with the RIAA unable to give a good reason why fines should be higher, it looks like Congress has agreed to remove that one section of the bill to get it approved by the IP subcommittee.

This makes an absolutely awful and dangerous bill marginally better, but still extremely problematic. It still involves the creation of a new federal bureaucracy designed to focus solely on trying to track down and stop "pirates." Even the Justice Department is against this part of the bill -- though, perhaps only because it wants to retain the job of going after copyright infringers. Also, just because the higher fines have been removed, supporters of the bill make it clear they may not be gone for good, and could very well be added back in later in the process. What isn't explained is why Congress needs to get involved at all. The industry has long been exposed as exaggerating the extent of this problem, and as we see day after day after day, new business models keep showing up that suggest this issue is merely a business model problem, not a legal issue -- and certainly not a legal issue that requires a brand new federal bureaucracy charged with protecting a single industry's business model.

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