The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (PRO-IP; H.R. 4279) by a vote of 410-11 on Thursday. If enacted the bill would increase the governmental resources needed to penalize individuals deemed in violation of copyright infringement.
Current copyright infringement laws set the maximum penalty for infringement of one compilation at a fine of $30,000. However, if the PRO-IP Act is passed, courts could “make multiple awards of statutory damages” in individual cases. This would be similar to the legislation which led to the Recording Industry Association of America’s $222,000 suit against Jammie Thomas for sharing 24 songs on the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network.
Under the PRO-IP Act, anyone who willfully distributes over $1,000 worth of material (including maerial shared over a peer-to-peer network) could be subject to property seizure and prison terms, which range in length. The PRO-IP Act would also create an entirely new government agency called the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative, or WHIPER.
While the PRO-IP Act has the bipartisan support of both Republicans and Democrats, there are a select group of politicians who introduced it in December of 2007. If you are in opposition to the PRO-IP Act, you can contact one of the founding representatives.
John Conyers Jr. (D-MI, 14th District) (202) 225-5126 / (734) 675-4084
Lamar Smith (R-TX, 21st District) (202) 225-4236 / (512) 306-0439
Howard L. Berman (D-CA, 28th District) (202) 225-4695 / (818) 994-7200
Adam Schiff (D-CA, 29th District) (202) 225-4176 / (626) 304-2727
Tom Feeney (R-FL, 24th District) (202) 225-2706 / (407) 208-1106
Darrell Issa (R-CA, 49th District) (202) 225-3906 / (760) 599-5000
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