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"Attempted Infringement" Copyright Bill Draws Criticism

July 30, 2007

What is being called "attempted (copyright) infringement is being targeted in new bill introduced int he U.S. Congress by introduced in Congress by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH),.

The bill is H.R. 3155, and is entitled the  Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007. There are provisions against  unauthorized recording of films in theaters, circumventing copy protection, as well as trafficking in counterfeit goods. The measure directs the U.S. Attorney General's office to station FBI prosecutors in foreign capitals where counterfeit production and sales of copyrighted materials are believed to take place.

As to the "attempted infringement" clause, "Any person who attempts to commit an offense under paragraph (1) shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the attempt," the bill says.

Although most of the acts named in the bill are already illegal, the measure redefines what acts are infringing, and doubles the jail terms for several.

No surprise: this type of talk doesn't please the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Derek Slater.

The bill allows "a judge to dole out damages for each separate piece of a derivative work or compilation, rather than treating it as one work," Slater writes. "For example, copying an entire album could translate into damages for each individual track, even if the copyrights in those tracks aren't separately registered."

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