In a move which clearly bolsters the protections and enforcement of violations of intellectual property rights, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino announced today that the President will now have an Intellectual Property Czar, who's responsibility will be to be a single point of authority amidst multiple executive branch agencies and departments.
This bill was seen as a pairing with Orphan Works legislation, with added protections being put in place at the same time as the flood gates were to be problematically opened on potential wide-scale infringements through legislative language that, while well meaning, casts a net of protection that is too broad and will allow for widescale infringements on current-day works that should not be eligible for orphan works protection.
On Monday, October 13, 2008, the President signed the following bills into law:
S. 3325, the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act of 2008," which amends civil and criminal intellectual property laws; establishes the position of an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator appointed by the President in the Executive Office of the President; and authorizes Justice Department grants to assist in addressing intellectual property theft and infringement crimes;
Here are the nitty-gritty details of the bill, which will give those lobbying against the eventual Orphan Works legislation either happening during a lame duck session of Congress or next session a point person to encourage a veto of bad bills. The passage of this bill into law portends poorly for a last-ditch effort to get the Senate version of Orphan Works passed, to appease the copy-left, since both were seen by some to be complimentary, and each necessary for the other.
Whomever is appointed to this position should be immediately contacted by the ASMP, APA, PPA, NPPA, and every other trade organization representing creatives. Building that relationship early, and explaining how detrimental to the situation the current variations of Orphan Works legislation will be to intellectual property-rights holders (not just photographers, but corporations too) will be crucial to a fair and equitable OW bill moving forward.
Clearly, those who argue for less restrictive protections on copyright are not happy. When the bill passed the Senate, the group "Public Knowledge" wrote "...only adds more imbalance to a copyright law that favors large media companies. At a time when the entire digital world is going to less restrictive distribution models, and when the courts are aghast at the outlandish damages being inflicted on consumers in copyright cases, this bill goes entirely in the wrong direction."
Gizmodo - President Bush Signs Bill To Create Cabinet-Level Intellectual Property Czar
CNET - Bush signs RIAA-backed intellectual-property law
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