As GamePolitics reported yesterday, President Bush has signed into law a bill that, among other things, calls for the appointment of a cabinet-level IP czar.
Michael Gallagher, the former Bush administration official who heads video game industry lobbying efforts as CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), praised the move. In a press release issued by the ESA today, Gallagher said:
...The ESA applauds Congress and the Bush Administration for taking critical steps that support job growth and investment in the video game industry... More legitimate game sales mean more game-related jobs up and down the value chain.
Piracy is an enormously profitable undertaking for criminal organizations. Disabling those organizations requires a coordinated and cross-border approach to enforcement, which this legislation clearly promotes. Ultimately, this law provides for greater responsibility and accountability within the White House and in the multiple agencies responsible for advancing IP protection.
Support for PRO-IP is far from unanimous, however. As we mentioned yesterday. Law of the Game blogger Mark Methenitis called the new law a load of bad news for consumers, while watchdog group the Electronic Frontier Foundation was even more critical:
...the PRO IP Act is just another in a long line of "one-way ratchet" proposals that amplifies copyright without protecting innovators or technology users. One provision... seems aimed at allowing the music industry to threaten even higher statutory damages in its campaign to sue filesharers. Copyright law currently allows the RIAA to seek statutory damages per album, while the new law would allow them to seek damages per song. Under the new limits... someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N' Roses' 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000; as opposed to the current limit of $30,000 for the album.
Beyond its effects on file sharing litigation, the bill would create a new, taxpayer-funded federal bureaucracy focused on policing intellectual property domestically and overseas...