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  (Source: Sodahead)
Tax and expand the federal gov't says Texas Rep. Lamar Smith (R)

"When there's copyright infringement / In your neighborhood / Who you gonna call? / The U.S. federal taxpayer funded IP task-force!"

I. SOPA Returns, Renamed and Pared Down

It sounds like a joke, but that's precisely what the The Intellectual Property Attaché Act [PDF], hopes to implement.  The goal is to fight "global" piracy, but the proposal admittedly acknowledges that the taskforce -- a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce -- could be used in the homeland, as well.

In fact, it seems more than likely that the task-force created by the IP Attaché Act, would operate mostly in the U.S., given difficulties in sending IP "cops" overseas to quasi-hostile infringement-prone regions like China. (What would they do in China, "arrest" street merchants selling knockoff DVDs?)

Overseas complaints are already well-policed -- or about as well policed as is possible -- by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

So the new Commerce Department copyrights cops are essentially redundant, unless their policing happens to primarily focus on the U.S.  And you can bet it does.

The bill is essentially a repackaging of the heart and soul of the fortunately deceased "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and the U.S. Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) (S.968).  In fact, it's authored by the same fellow -- Rep. Lamar Smith (R- Tex.) -- who wrote SOPA.

Rep. Smith surely was sweating a bit under the collar when SOPA went down in flames. After all, big media wrote him a check for $85,000 USD during the last campaign cycle [source] and lawyers, many of whom represent big media clients, chipped in another $58,000 USD. [source

Lamar Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith feels he's above the laws he's looking to subject his lowly proles to.
[Image Source: Lamar Smith]

Together these contributions gave him about 10 percent of the money he needed to crush Lainey Melnick 69-to-28 percent voting margin (Mr. Melnick only raised $34,000 USD lacking sufficient big media sponsors).  To be fair, many of Rep. Smith's colleagues received similar payouts from big media.

That kind of money doesn't come for free or cheap.  It comes with big favors.  In this case the cost of the donations was likely a commitment to tirelessly push "anti-piracy" legislation even if it ignores big media corporations' own flagrant copyright theft, wastes taxpayer money, and likely tramples on civil liberties.

Clearly Rep. Smith doesn't truly take his rhetoric to heart, given the fact that he ripped off an independent artist's work for his homepage art, and reportedly initially refused requests from the artist for acknowledgement.

II. Will it Pass?

So does the IP Attaché Act stand any more of a chance of surviving than Rep. Smith's last monstrosity, SOPA?

Perhaps.  

The largely politically apathetic public burned through a great deal of energy killing the last bill.  And this revised version will likely draw less corporate opposition in that it appears to remove its provisions for sweeping website takedowns in its draft.

Further, the SOPA v. 2.0 (of sorts) has the support of House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) -- who initially supported SOPA as well, but later became a critic who helped sink the measure.  

TechCrunch has obtained a statement from Rep. Issa's office, commenting:

Rep. Issa is set to support the legislation, with small modifications. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act is written to help American individuals and companies that are experiencing intellectual property infringement in certain foreign countries. The legislation will place USPTO trained IP attaches in countries around the world, focusing on areas where American job creators and innovators are experiencing especially high levels of IP-theft. These attaches will work with the foreign governments to help eliminate in-country IP theft that is occurring. This is a net benefit to all Americans both IP holders and consumers. Also, the training and other programs that the attaches may provide can also help local law enforcement to deal with IP-infringement that is occurring. The cost for these attaches will come from collected PTO fees, meaning that the bill is revenue neutral. Additionally, we expect that an amendment will be made to the legislation before it is marked up that will instruct the attaches to promote clear IP exceptions ­ like fair use – already codified in U.S. Law.

The biggest hope for killing the measure perhaps lies in its likely substantial costs and sweeping expansion of the federal government.  Ballooning federal government and burdening taxpayers with the expense of large new federal programs certainly sounds outside the line of traditional fiscal conservative rhetoric that's in vogue these days.

zombie crawling
SOPA v. 2.0 has crawled back onto the scene, but might be killed yet.
[Image Source: DeviantArt;~k1ow3]

Some Republicans may balk at essentially voting for "a tax" in order to scratch the back of big media.  Although, the fact that big media donated generously to a great many members of Congress may allow them to look past their own political beasts and shove this copyright debt on the shoulders of the masses.

At least overseas there are signs of a break in the storm of big media trolling.  Denmark has turned off its warning letters program.  And Canada has implemented strong protections/permissions for user-generated content (e.g. montages) and capped non-commercial infringement at $5,000 USD.

In other words, the U.S. is one of the last places where big media can hope to sue individual citizens for millions of dollars for pirating a few songs.  It also looks to become one of the few nations to install a special redundant "copyright police" agency at the federal level, financed by its citizens' tax burden.

Sources: House of Representatives [PDF], TechCrunch



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RE: Oookay
By tigz1218 on 7/12/2012 5:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Reclaimer,

First I would like to state I agree with you on many things. However, like in Jason's comment, this really isn't a party issue anymore. Both parties are spending our money and taking liberties away, just in different ways.

The reason I believe GOP gets more spotlight from Jason is because GOP spending is generally aimed towards military or technology which is related to this website. Democrat spending is usually social programs which is nt related to technology, the ones that do get reported on here are generally related to the EPA and Global Warming which Tiffany Kaiser and Brandon Hill generally cover.

I hope this clown is voted out, he is a disgrace to Texas and America. And as a side note Ron Paul is my favorite person in Washington.

Cheers,
John


RE: Oookay
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/12/2012 5:08:26 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The reason I believe GOP gets more spotlight from Jason is because GOP spending is generally aimed towards military or technology which is related to this website. Democrat spending is usually social programs which is nt related to technology, the ones that do get reported on here are generally related to the EPA and Global Warming which Tiffany Kaiser and Brandon Hill generally cover.
Yes, exactly.

A couple dem. critical pieces in the past:
http://www.dailytech.com/Impeachable+Offense+Obama...
http://www.dailytech.com/Solyndra+CEO+Resigns+Clip...

Sure I call out faux-conservatives taking practical bribes to push pork barrel projects. But am I supporting the Democrats? I suggested it might be impeachable for President Obama to take similar contributions and push ACTA through, essentially creating an international treaty without Congressional approval, an act that is unconstitutional in not one, but two ways.

I'm equal opportunity, and personally think there's a few good men and women on each side, accompanied by a whole bunch of free loaders who are perfectly happy to sell their souls and our freedoms for special interest dollars. Sadly the independent-minded folks are in the minority these days.
quote:
And as a side note Ron Paul is my favorite person in Washington
True, he would never vote to increase gov't spending like this.

Say what you will about him, but at least has morals and is consistent when it comes to spending, unlike 90+ percent of other folks in Congress on both sides of the aisle.


RE: Oookay
By tigz1218 on 7/12/2012 5:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
Jason can you remove my duplicate posts? I was having a network problem (AT&T surprise).


RE: Oookay
By JasonMick (blog) on 7/12/2012 5:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jason can you remove my duplicate posts? I was having a network problem (AT&T surprise).
Done! :)


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