DoJ to Congress: We've got better things to do than act as pro-bono lawyers for Hollywood, scrap the IP Enforcement proposal

Fred sez, "Yesterday, the DoJ sent a letter to Senators Specter and Leahy blasting the new civil enforcement provisions in the latest "IP enforcement" legislation, S.3325, pending in the Senate. The letter is a hum-dinger, pointing out that the bill would turn taxpayer-supported DoJ civil servants into pro bono lawyers for Hollywood."

We strongly oppose Title I of the bill, which not only authorizes the Attorney General to pursue civil remedies for copyright infringement, but to secure "restitution" damages and remit them to the private owners of infringed copyrights. First, civil copyright enforcement has always been the responsibility and prerogative of private copyright holders, and U.S. law already provides them with effective legal tools to protect their rights….

Second, Title 1's departure from the settled framework above could result in Department of Justice prosecutors serving as pro bono lawyers for private copyright holders regardless of their resources. In effect, taxpayer-supported Department lawyers would pursue lawsuits for copyright holders, with monetary recovery going to industry.

Third, the Department of Justice has limited resources to dedicate to particular issues, and civil enforcement actions would occur at the expense of criminal actions, which only the Department of Justice may bring. In an era of fiscal responsibility, the resources of the Department of Justice should be used for the public benefit, not on behalf of particular industries that can avail themselves of the existing civil enforcement provisions.

DoJ Agrees: IP Enforcement Bill is a Bad Idea

(Thanks, Fred!)