Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave the green light to S. 3325, the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Act of 2008. We need you to show them the red light, NOW! This intellectual property enforcement bill lets the DOJ enforce civil copyright claims and lets the government do the MPAA and RIAA’s intellectual property rights enforcement work for them–at tax payers’ expense.
(We're using the awesome Cause Caller for this alert, so be ready to speak to a number of different Senate offices, rapid-fire style! We've picked Senators who may be like-minded in opposing this bill. Of course, feel free to call your own Senators.)
By allowing the federal government to sue infringers in civil court, the DOJ would be asking a court for monetary damages on behalf of content owners. In a civil suit brought by the government, the defendant loses many of the protections he possesses in a criminal action–including his right to free legal representation. What's more, the government’s legal burden of proof is lower: the government only needs to prove infringement with a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it’s more likely than not that infringement occurred, as opposed to the usual criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Does the content industry need this help from the Department of Justice? Absolutely not! In the last five years, the RIAA filed or threatened more than 30,000 suits against alleged infringers. If the Enforcement bill passes, not only will the number of such suits increase–they'll also be paid for with your tax dollars.
Now, the bill's backers are pushing to have it pass the Senate as early as today via a streamlined procedure, without the full Senate voting on the measure. Tell members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that you don’t want your tax dollars spent on DOJ’s civil enforcement of copyright, and to put a hold on the bill.
To learn more about the Enforcement bill:
- See this blog post
- Read the letter from 12 concerned public advocacy groups
- And learn more about the bill at OpenCongress
BTW: big thanks to Mehan, Sherwin and Scott for putting this all together at warp speed. Also thanks to Fred at Cause Caller.