Congress Adjourns Without Passing Piracy Laws
December 9, 2004

Despite all the discussion and potential legislation this year involving illegal downloading, Congress has adjourned for the year without passing any new laws increasing penalties for piracy. Due to the inability to agree on the legislation, no laws were officially signed off on, just preliminary approval to some proposals, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mitch Bainwol of the RIAA told the Times that the lobbying surrounding the legislation raised awareness of the "enormous theft out there that is compromising the vitality of important American industries." Bainwol added, "There is a consensus that there is a problem. We broke down on how you define an answer." On the other hand, Gigi B. Sohn of the advocacy group Public Knowledge claimed that the entertainment industry "basically did not get any of the legislative things they really wanted…. They're batting zero."

The next move in the piracy wars could come from the Supreme Court, who will decide as early as this week whether to hear a case on P2P file sharing. The entertainment industry is appealing an earlier decision that the makers of P2P systems Morpheus and Grokster were not responsible for the illegal sharing of music and movies on those networks.

The Times reports that before adjourning, Congress did create three new high-level government positions to coordinate the enforcement of copyright laws and combating piracy overseas. "What the federal government is saying," Bainwol said to the Times, "is that intellectual property is an important national priority, and we're going to step up our enforcement, and we're going to step up our coordination."

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Mark Adams
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