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Judiciary Committee Approves Smith Bill

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Judiciary Committee Approves Smith Bill
By: Congressman Lamar Smith

Congressman Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, today announced that the House Judiciary Committee approved the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, legislation he authored that educates the public about copyright law.

"Piracy of intellectual property over the Internet, especially on peer-to-peer networks, has reached alarming levels. The overhead for pirating copyrighted material relative to other illegal economic activities is minimal, the profits are exceptional, and the relative risk level of attracting the attention of law enforcement officials is low. Low risk and high profit is how criminals view piracy," said Smith.

"This legislation increases cooperation among federal agencies and intellectual property owners, and assists federal law enforcement authorities in their efforts to investigate and prosecute intellectual property crimes," stated Smith.

"In trying to encourage federal prosecutions of online pirates, copyright owners have often found it difficult to persuade law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute these crimes," observed Smith. "Congress has directly and indirectly asked federal law enforcement agencies to increase investigations and prosecutions of intellectual property crimes, on and offline."

Smith commended the Department of Justice for last month's Operation Web Snare, which led to the arrest or conviction of more than 150 individuals and the return of 117 criminal complaints and indictments. Operation Web Snare targeted a variety of online crimes including identity theft, fraud, counterfeit software, computer intrusions, and other intellectual property crimes.

Smith noted that the Justice Department requires additional federal resources contained in his bill to prosecute intellectual property crimes more aggressively.

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