A Little Help For Hollywood: Obama Unveils New Anti-Piracy Plan In Annual Report

June 23, 2013  |  

 

President Obama walking to the White House this week. via Facebook

Here’s a move by the Obama administration that has Hollywood pleased. Obama has introduced a new anti-piracy plan and updated its statistics on investigations and arrests in its annual IP (intellectual property) enforcement report. But most important, the government speaks about its priorities including transparency, communication and education.

The administration says there are several issues it wants to tackle this year, such as transparency in IP policymaking and international negotiations, improving law enforcement communication with IP stakeholders and educating authors on “fair use.” In other words, anyone who will be stepping into the media arena — as a filmmaker, blogger, freelancer, and more — should be aware of what they can and can’t use, and the repercussions for breaking the rules.

“The past year was also one in which Hollywood studios and ISPs enacted voluntary initiatives to discourage piracy,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. Obama has said he is looking to generate more cooperation with IP protocol. And he also wants to examine the effectiveness of these voluntary programs.

All of this is included in the report, stressing the need for transparency with the promise of maintaining an “open door policy” and regularly publishing the group’s efforts through Federal Register notices and other bulletins.

But when it comes to enforcing the anti-piracy policy, the administration hasn’t issued clear directives. The report talks about the need for federal law enforcement to continue to regularly engage rights-holders. And it reported to Obama’s successes on this front: customs seizures and criminal actions are up slightly since President Barack Obama took office. Since 2009, the US Attorney’s Offices has filed 178 intellectual property cases against 254 defendants, marking a two percent increase in cases filed and a 14 percent increase in defendants charged compared to the previous year. On top of this, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Homeland Security initiated 1,251 IP investigations and had 691 arrests last year compared to just 730 investigations and 266 arrests in 2009.

According to the administration, “authors (including visual artists, songwriters, filmmakers, and writers) would benefit from more guidance on the fair use doctrine.”

Look for the Copyright Office to soon publish additional “major fair use decisions, including a summary of the holdings and some general questions and observations that may in turn guide those seeking to apply the decisions to their own situations,” reports THR.

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