Another Bad Copyright Law Passes
The new law creates a czar-like position within the executive branch, to be appointed by the president, as well as a new copyright enforcement division in the Justice Department, with more funding to coordinate federal and state antipiracy efforts. And it escalates penalties for copyright infringement, because after all, you can never have too many of those.
Passage of this latest draconian law, on top of the already draconian Digital Millennium Copyright Act and several others, is a victory for the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. But the law's critics say there's no evidence that increasing statutory damages--currently $150,000 for a song that sells for 99 cents on iTunes--would help stem the tide of piracy.
The new law contains other provisions that are just plain scary. For instance, the Justice Department could seize and auction off any computer or network hardware involved in a copyright crime, as it does with the property of drug kingpins--even if the owner is not found guilty of a crime.