Senate Committee Expands Justice Department Copyright Enforcement Powers

Senate Committee Expands Justice Department Copyright Enforcement Powers

By David Kravets EmailSeptember 11, 2008 | 4:42:55 PMCategories: Intellectual Property

Sweeping legislation granting the U.S. Justice Department the ability to prosecute civil cases of copyright infringement sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee 14-4 on Thursday, and is expected to hit the Senate floor for a vote soon.


The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, (.pdf) as we reported Tuesday, also creates a Cabinet-level copyright-patent czar charged with creating a worldwide plan to combat piracy. The czar would "report directly to the president and Congress regarding domestic and international intellectual property enforcement programs."

The bill, a nearly identical version the House passed last year, encourages federal-state anti-piracy task forces, the training of other countries about IP enforcement and, among other things, institutes an FBI piracy unit.


The measure, SB 3325, was floated by Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont; Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania; Dianne Feinstein, D-California and John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Voting For: Cornyn (by proxy); Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina (by proxy); Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Orin Hatch, R-Utah; Specter; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland; Richard Durbin, D-Ilinois; Charles Schumer, D-New York (by proxy); Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin; Feinstein; Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin; Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts (by proxy); Leahy (by proxy).

Voting Against: Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama; Jon Kyl, R-Arizona; Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma.

Here is a link to all of the members.

Equal Justice » News » Senate Committee Expands Justice Department Copyright Enforcement Powers