US moves on online piracy

The US government will propose a set of Internet piracy rules as the government seeks to “improve intellectual property enforcement,” says Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.

A number of Federal agencies including the US Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice, as well as the Office of the US Trade Representative, have developed a Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, Espinel explained in the 92-page report.

This strategy includes 33 “action items,” each with the goal of improving intellectual property enforcement, such as making sure the US government doesn’t buy or use infringing products and effectively working with foreign governments on the issues.

She also said the government is working to limit the number of infringing products that enter the country. “That includes working with Internet service providers, credit card companies, domain name registrars and registries, advertising services, search engines and others to help combat the damage done by websites that distribute or provide access to infringing products,” the report said.

These efforts are ultimately focused on “combating significant acts of infringement, protecting legitimate uses of the Internet and respecting principles of free speech and fair process.”

“Criminal laws and intellectual property laws that apply in the physical world are based on a tradition of rules, checks and balances that must be applied to and tailored to the digital world,” Espinel said. “We believe the necessary approach combines increased and coordinated law enforcement efforts, increased and coordinated efforts by the private sector and increased education to the public about legal values and the harm caused by infringement. It is appropriate for law enforcement to act against significant acts of infringement; and we will.”

Meanwhile in Congress the Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing next week on cracking down on online piracy. The hearing is entitled “Targeting Websites Dedicated to Stealing American Intellectual Property.”

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