Bainwol, RIAA hail IP protection plans.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday (Nov. 10) said the Department of Justice has a proposed legislative package ready for introduction in Congress aimed at cracking down on copyright crimes and criminals.

Gonzales told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Summit that the not-yet-introduced "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005" will strengthen penalties for repeat copyright criminals, expand criminal intellectual property protection and add investigative tools to boost enforcement.

The Act includes provisions to:
-- Implement broad forfeiture reforms to ensure the ability to forfeit property, including illicit proceeds;
-- Criminalize intellectual property theft motivated by any type of commercial advantage or private financial gain; and
-- Strengthen restitution provisions for victim companies and rights holders in order to maximize protection for those who suffer most from such crimes.

"This legislation is a reflection of the sustained commitment on the part of the Bush Administration, including the Department of Justice, to ensure that we are doing everything we can do to combat this problem," he said.

Gonzales's DOJ has become an active advocate for protecting American intellectual property since his appointment in February. He announced June 30 that the FBI cyber and criminal divisions, in teaming up with international law enforcement, had conducted more than 90 searches worldwide to dismantle major online distribution servers.

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, praised the proposed administration package, saying that "given the growing sophistication of today's music piracy trade, taking the profit out of crime is now more important than ever."