In a report released Tuesday, Justice Department officials endorsed a pair of controversial bills favored by the entertainment industry that would criminalize passive sharing of copyrighted material through file-swapping programs and create tort liability for companies that induce copyright infringement by marketing products that facilitate the violations. The DOJ officials called file-sharing a "widespread" issue and have requested more agents, funding, and prosecutorial power to combat the problem. Following is an excerpt from the statement of Attorney General John Ashcroft announcing the recommendations:
Intellectual property theft is a clear danger to our economy and the health, safety, and security of the American people... The enforcement of our intellectual property laws is among the highest priorities of the Justice Department, and I created the Intellectual Property Task Force to explore ways for us to strengthen our protection of the nations valuable intellectual resources. With the recommendations put forward by the Task Force, the Department is prepared to build the strongest, most aggressive legal assault against intellectual property crime in our nations history.CNETnews.com has more. See the report [PDF] of the Task Force on Intellectual Property. The Piracy Deterrence and Education Act [PDF] and the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 are also available.