Criminal Infringement

On paper it appears the government is doing a fabulous job cracking down on copyright and trademark infringement. Between 2005 and 2006 the number of defendants convicted of criminal copyright and trademark infringement rose 57 percent. The number of those sentenced to more than two years in prison skyrocketed 130 percent.

But the Department of Justice believes it is losing the battle against infringement.

"A new crime of attempted copyright infringement would allow the government to go after people who have peer-to-peer software on their computers and files in their shared folders," Schultz says. "?? 1/2 The entertainment industry will pressure the DOJ and FBI to get on the P2P networks, get massive amounts of data on those who use the networks and then charge them with crimes."

Slippery Slope

Over the long term, the Act's chances remain unclear. Some observers say the Act eventually could sail through Congress. "It is an easy one for Congress to pass," Oman says.

Others, however, assert that if the proposal starts moving through Congress, it will generate a lot of opposition from privacy, civil liberty and consumer groups. "If this starts to get traction, there will be more organized opposition," Schultz says.


Steven Seidenberg

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