Another week, another controversial intellectual property enforcement bill hits Capitol Hill. This time, it’s called the IP Attaché Act, and while a draft bill has been released so far, it hasn’t officially be introduced in Congress.
The bill, its proponents say, “streamlines” the process of intellectual property enforcement abroad. Meanwhile, opponents charge that this is wholly unnecessary, given the myriad of federal agencies that already do this, in addition to the fact that this bill has been drafted in secret.
Some media outlets have charged that this new bill is a way to re-introduce SOPA, the controversial bill that died in Congress earlier this year. Indeed, this bill is sponsored chiefly by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who also was one of the primary architects of SOPA.
Strong copyright for all
According to the draft, the law would “establish an intellectual property attaché program by appointing and placing intellectual property attachés in United States embassies or diplomatic missions in countries where the activities of such an attaché are likely,” and that this person would direct enforcement mechanisms as dictated by the United States Trade Representatives.
Those officers would then report ultimately to a new Commerce position, called the “Assistant Secretary for Intellectual Property,” which would be appointed by the President. This person would be tasked with “[advancing] the intellectual property policy of the United States, consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad.”
The bill appears to further endorse a strong copyright point-of-view that the American government has become notorious for pushing around the world.
Read the rest at Ars Technica