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More Copyright Woes

Just as I’m lamenting the current state of Copyright Law, I hear from News.com that Congress, in it’s infinite wisdom, is drafting a revision to current law that would make things much, much worse. If the new draft becomes law, it will become a crime to intend to violate copyright protections. That just smells of Big Brother…

Here’s what the news article says about other changes in the law:

The proposed law scheduled to be introduced by Rep. Smith also does the following:

  • Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage. It would establish a new copyright unit inside the FBI and budgets $20 million on topics including creating “advanced tools of forensic science to investigate” copyright crimes.
  • Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • • Boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The NET Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.
  • • Creates civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized must be “destroyed” or otherwise disposed of, for instance at a government auction. Criminal asset forfeiture will be done following the rules established by federal drug laws.
  • Says copyright holders can impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in” infringements.

Just when I think it can’t get worse…