Copyright Coup: Anti-Piracy Czar Coming to Washington

An anti-piracy czar will soon march onto Washington, thanks to a bill approved this week by President Bush.

The czar is part of the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008 (S3325), one that recently gained nods in both chambers of Congress. “Increased copyright enforcement, combined with better coordination of intellectual property policy across the federal government, will be a boon to all of us who love creative works,” said Copyright Alliance executive director Patrick Ross.

The Alliance includes a broad range of major media organizations and conglomerates, including the RIAA. That group has predictably backed the measure, though the US Department of Justice successfully eliminated aspects that involved governmental prosecution of civil infringement cases. The White House was also reportedly uninterested in accepting a new cabinet-level, anti-piracy czar, though broader political considerations ultimately allowed passage.

Outside of that discussion, the approved Act has drawn criticism from various digital liberties groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge. Among the issues, Public Knowledge noted that film, recording, and other content creators already have enforcement options at their disposal, raising the question of whether additional executive muscle is required. That is certainly a worthwhile debate, especially considering effective anti-piracy remedies created by industries spanning fashion, software, and even film.