President George W. Bush hates pirates. Our leader signed a historically tough anti-piracy law this morning, so if you download illegal copies of movies, TV shows, music or games, get set for a greater chance of being prosecuted and punished. The law creates an "intellectual property czar" who advises the president on how to protect copyrights, and also imposes federal penalties for pirates. Arrgh!
Rick Cotton, general counsel for NBC Universal, said the bill is not about punishing teenagers, but more aimed at targeting organized crime tongs who have been, apparently, copying a lot of things they shouldn't, including medical devices, automobile parts and media.
"By becoming law, the PRO-IP Act sends the message to IP criminals everywhere that the U.S. will go the extra mile to protect American innovation," said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Critics say the law goes too far. "There's already lots and lots of penalties for copyright violations," said Public Knowledge spokesman Art Brodsky. "They've got all the tools they need."