White House seeks to clamp down on piracy, copyright infringement
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration unveiled a blueprint Monday to beef up digital copyright laws, as part of an effort to adjust intellectual property regulations in the age of the Internet.
“Our efforts focus on combating significant acts of infringement, protecting legitimate uses of the Internet and respecting principles of free speech and fair process,” the 92-page report (pdf) reads.
However, it doesn’t clarify what fair usage of digital copyrighted material would entail.
CNET’s Declan McCullagh reported that the proposals would “curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement” and will boost laws that “aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement.”
He added that the White House plans to send the proposals, authored by President Barack Obama’s intellectual property enforcer Victoria Espinel, to Congress “in the very near future.”
The effort could have implications for online news and media venues, many of which share content on the understanding that original work is to be property attributed and linked back to the source.
The enhanced copyright protections may be welcome news to other digital media organizations that are disdainful of the sharing of content online.
McCullagh argued that the document “reads a lot like a report that could have been prepared by lobbyists for the recording or movie industry,” as it invokes the recent rise in copyright infringement investigations.
The proposals build on legislation enacted by President George W. Bush in 2008 called the “Pro IP ACT,” which also included ideas by Obama’s current intellectual property enforcer. CNET reported at the time that the measure, championed by the Recording Industry Association of America, “steepen[ed] penalties for intellectual-property infringement.”
Congress has generally supported efforts to beef up copyright laws pertinent to the Internet, including unanimous Senate authorization of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
US industry groups have also played a key role in helping reorganize online infringement laws in other countries, according to documents released by anti-secrecy outlet WikiLeaks.