Over the weekend, Congress in a shameful act of service to the campaign contributions of the entertainment industry passed "PRO-IP" legislation that requires our government to work directly on the industry's behalf against the public interest. Under the deceptive banner of "intellectual property", the bill as passed has several unacceptable provisions.
Besides over $23 million in congressional campaign contributions, the industry used scare tactics to get it passed, trying to draw a connection between copyright infringement and...terrorism. The bill expresses the "Sense of Congress" as agreeing that "terrorists and organized crime utilize piracy, counterfeiting, and infringement to fund some of their activities;" and that stopping copyright infringement should be among the highest priorities of government. This attitude sets us up for a future world of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and large-scale seizure of computer equipment the industry accuses of being involved in filesharing.
We have one more chance to stop this bill from becoming law. Bush has yet to sign it. Given the fact that his Department of Justice publicly objected to it earlier, Bush may veto it. But we can't count on that -- your calls and e-mails to the White House could make the difference.
Help get the word out so more people know that now is a critical time. Pass this around to your friends and family, and:
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Call the White House at +1 202-456-1111 to leave your comment; then follow up with an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please CC us at email@example.com.
When you call, you might say something like:
I'm very disappointed that Congress has put the PRO-IP / Enforcement of Intellectual Property bill on the President's desk. It's clearly a gift to the entertainment industry special interest groups in return for their massive congressional campaign contributions. The bill unconstitutionally attempts to specify how the executive branch should enforce copyright and trademark laws, and attempts to dictate the overall priorities of the Department of Justice. You should reject this and any other bill that describes itself as addressing "intellectual property" -- that term is always an indication that someone is trying to confuse the issue toward a particular agenda, since legal areas like patents, trademarks and copyright are all very distinct. I urge you to veto this bill, sending a clear signal to Congress that the MPAA and the RIAA will not dictate the behavior of our law enforcement agencies, and that you do not support this kind of attack on the public interest. Copyright in particular exists to promote the public interest in advancing science and the arts -- not hoarding and prosecution. The property seizure and other provisions in this bill just go too far.