Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 will crack down on file-sharing

Legislation proposed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will criminalize “attempts” to infringe copyrights, permit wiretaps for piracy investigations, and allow easier seizure of PCs and other hardware used to commit copyright infringement.

On the very same day that cable modem companies, DSL providers, broadband over powerline, satellite internet companies, and even some universities had to finally meet the FBI’s requirement allowing it to essentially “wiretap” internet users, the Attorney “Generalisimo” himself, Alberto Gonzalez, was submitting a legislative proposal to the Democrat Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to take advantage of this new found law enforcement capability.

The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 wil crack down on file-sharing and enforce intellectual copyright protections in ways the United States has never seen before. Download an MP3 or movie illegally and the Feds would then be able to seize your PC. Yep, you heard me right, SEIZE YOUR PC for illegal file-sharing, and the worst part is that after yesterday’s deadline for CALEA compliance they now have the tools at their disposal to do so.

I hate to say “I told you so” but, this news comes on the heels of yesterdays reporting about yesterday’s deadline for compliance with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act(CALEA). The IPPA of 2007 would criminalize “attempts” to infringe copyrights, permit wiretaps for piracy investigations, and allow easier seizure of PCs and other hardware used to commit copyright infringement.

Gonzalez writes:

Because intellectual property is critical to not only our economy but also to the public’s health and safety, the Attorney General is strongly committed to the protection of intellectual property rights, the safeguarding of our citizens, and the punishment of those who violate the law.

What’s odd though is that the govt can prosecute individuals for copyright infringement even if the copyright for that material has not yet been registered and therefore not lawfully copyrighted.

Gonzalez continues:

Prosecutors cannot control whether or when a copyrighted work is registered. Because prosecutors work for the public good, they should be able to institute an infringement prosecution even if the copyright has not yet been registered.

Pretty startling right? They can bust you even if the content has not yet been properly copyrighted!

As usual, the devil’s in the details, and the details of the IPPA of 2007 are enough to make you shake your head in astonishment.

Highlights of the IPPA of 2007
1. Creates a new Federal offense of “…attempting to commit criminal copyright infringement,” saying that “…those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.”
2. Authorizes the “…forfeiture of property intended to be used in the commission of the offense,” as well as “…restitution to the copyright owner and any other victim.” By bye PC. Bye bye external HDDs. Bye bye blank media.
3. Outlaws the exportation of infringing copies of copyrighted works, presumably meaning that sharing files with individuals outside the US would also be illegal.
4. Allows law enforcement officers the ability to have “…access to the full range of lawful investigative tools when they investigate intellectual property crimes,” meaning that they would be able to “wiretap” an individual’s internet connection for the purpose of investigating criminal copyright infringement cases.
5. Creates a new sentence of life imprisonment for anyone using pirated software “…where the defendant knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury.” An example of this would be a hospital using pirated software which then results in situation where a patient is then injured or harmed.

The 2008 election couldn’t come soon enough but, in the meantime make sure to voice your opinion with your local elected state and federal representatives.