Berman wants to tighten intellectual property laws

December 17, 2007

Rep. Howard Berman, D-CA, a member of the House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would revisit the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA ) — but not to loosen it, because he doesn’t think it goes far enough.

Called the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007 (PRO IP Act), Berman said it would “enhance civil and criminal intellectual property laws, strengthen federal intellectual property enforcement agencies and increase international enforcement efforts.” These changes, he argued, “will give intellectual property owners and law enforcement the tools they need to more effectively combat the intellectual property theft that threatens our jobs, our economy and our safety.”

Industry analysis said Berman’s bill could boost statutory damages for copyright infringement and create a special IP enforcement office in the executive branch as well as a new IP division at the Department of Justice.

Berman wants to look again at the issue of “safe harbor” provisions currently extended to ISPs for infringing content flowing across their networks, and wants to examine the “effectiveness of takedown notices” under the DMCA.

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