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Public Statements

Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PIRACY DETERRENCE AND EDUCATION ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - September 28, 2004)

Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4077) to enhance criminal enforcement of the copyright laws, to educate the public about the application of copyright law to the Internet, and for other purposes, as amended.

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the gentleman from Wisconsin, the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, for yielding me time.

Also at the outset I want to acknowledge that this legislation represents a genuine bipartisan and cooperative effort. The gentleman from California (Mr. Berman), who I understand is on his way to the House floor from the airport, was a partner in the effort to write this legislation and has contributed many good ideas to the final product. So I want to acknowledge his good work as well as his input and say that I appreciate his support.

Mr. Speaker, piracy of intellectual property over the Internet, especially on peer-to-peer networks, has reached alarming levels. Millions of pirated movies, music, software, game and other copyrighted files are now available for free download from suspect peer-to-peer networks. This piracy harms everyone, from those looking for legitimate sources of content, to those who create it.

I have heard from songwriters, video store owners, software publishers, and game developers who feel the impact of such piracy every day. They have urged Congress to help them educate the public about the harms of piracy while also warning and penalizing those who continue to steal from others.

Peer-to-peer technology is an essential development of our Nation's high-tech economy. However, like all new technologies, peer-to-peer technologies have been abused by those who want to commit crimes. Our Nation's laws need to be updated to reflect the harms that can be caused by this new technology, without penalizing the technology itself.

This legislation addresses P2P piracy by better educating the public about copyright law, authorizing the creation of a system to warn online users of potential infringement, penalizing those who bring camcorders into movie theaters for the purpose of making pirated DVDs, assisting Federal law enforcement authorities in their efforts to investigate and prosecute intellectual property crimes, and designating designated intellectual crime agents within DOJ Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Sections to prosecute cybercrimes. The Internet has revolutionized how Americans locate information, shop and communicate. We must not let new Internet technologies become a haven for criminals.

Mr. Speaker, also included in H.R. 4077 is an updated version of H.R. 4586, the Family Movie Act of 2004, which the committee reported out in July. Parents should have the right to watch any movie they want and to skip over or mute any content they find objectionable. This legislation ensures that parents have the final say in what their children watch in the privacy of their own home and that parents can act in the best interests of their children. Parents need all the help they can get in protecting their children from the sex, violence, and profanity found in many movies; and parents should be able to determine what their children see on the screen. Technology that helps parents accomplish this should be applauded, and H.R. 4077 ensures that this technology will not face continued legal challenges.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to pass this important piece of legislation.

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