Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006

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The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 is a proposed bill, backed by Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R) of Texas, that would greatly increase the scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as adding an assorted number of laws and penalties relating to intellectual property.


The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 [1] is a legislation that, when proposed to congress, was supported by the Justice Department. Its main goal is to bolster, and increase the government's ability to fight against IP violations as well as to help reduce terror-related and criminal enterprises that are proposed as being supposedly funded by piracy. However, the government has not been able to show a verifiable connection between IP crimes and injustices and the accused terror groups. The legislation was introduced to Congress and supported by Republican Lamar Smith, who serves as the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. All aspects of his subcommittee have jurisdiction over copyright law and information technology.[2] When the legislation was first signed into law, there was controversy over its original purpose. Thinking that the conservative government was simply supporting friends in CEO positions in major companies, many small businesses thought that the Bush Administration enabled the law to specifically aid the attempts of big business that were trying to rid any unauthorized use of their copyrighted products. However, the act proved to be useful for practically all copyrighted media and material. Overall, the purpose of the instated legislation is to protect any form of intellectual property and original innovation in order to sustain a sense of copyright for original works and creation.

The legislation should not be confused with HR 2391, or the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2004, which was an earlier collection of intellectual property related legislation. Although the 2006 legislation does involve a very similar representation of the 2004 legislation, it is more of an expansion and addition rather than a refurbished copy.

Other information on this legislation provided and operated by government officials can be found on the Public Knowledge Organization Site, which is a "Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture." [3]

Intellectual property[edit]

Intellectual property (IP) refers to original creations and innovations of the mind. Examples of IP are as follows:

Common intellectual property can be observed as discoveries or inventions; names of original, created characters or objects; original, created words or phrases; original images, designs, or symbols; and original musical, literary, and artistic works.

Major provisions[edit]

  • Allows criminal penalties even for work not registered in the US Copyright Office.
  • Increases jail time for attempted copyright infringement from 5 years to 10 or 10 to 20 years for further offenses - even if the attempt is unsuccessful.
  • Permits the use of wiretaps in copyright investigations and create a new FBI unit dedicated to copyright infringement
  • Allows organizations holding copyrights to seize any documentation related to copyright infringement.
  • Forces infringers to forfeit property used in the offense.
  • Expands DMCA language prohibiting the distribution of technology capable of circumventing copy protection to more restrictive language, which prevents possession or creation of such technology if there is a possibility of redistribution.


Wiretapping refers to listening in on electronic communication whether it is telephone calls, Internet based communication, or other electronic devices used to communicate. It commonly goes against privacy rights and is portrayed as illegal unless cleared for use by the government. An example of recent news on wire tapping can be observed when reading about the Bush Administration's pact with AT&T that allows the government to legally, for justified reason, wiretap civilian calls, texts, and emails via home landline phone, cellular device, and provided Internet.[4]

Related legislation[edit]

The two most common legislation that are referenced when discussing the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 are the Digital Millennium Copyright Act[5] and the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2004 that both provided protection for intellectual property and a course of action to those who disregard the provisions of each legislation.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act[edit]

The act was passed by congress on October 12, 1998, and was signed into law on October 28 by President Bill Clinton. The legislation was created to instate and carry out the treaties that were signed at the World Intellectual Property Organization Geneva conference in December 1996. The main goal of the DMCA is to lawfully penalize those who use software that infringes on copyrighted material of any kind in order to relieve the stress that copyright infringement brought to companies trying to profit from product sales over the Internet. It also penalized those who illegally distributed copyrighted material such as DVDs, copyrighted CDs and music files, and computer software.

Stop Online Piracy Act[edit]

SOPA is an anti-piracy bill which is attempting combat online internet piracy.

World Intellectual Property Organization[edit]

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the WIPO is a specialized agency that is funded by the United Nations in order to provide a more efficient, worldwide intellectual property system.[6] The organization was established in 1967 with a strive to protect Intellectual property and "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world."[7]

Digital rights management[edit]

Digital rights management (DRM) is "a term for access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices. The term is used to describe any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that is not desired or intended by the content provider."[8] Technologies and administrations incorporated with DRM try to manage, control, and limit what one can and can't do with purchased, copyrighted material (i.e. DVDs, CDs, and computer software).[9] DRM also helps to keep consumers safe from copyright infringement and helps the support of businesses innovation through efforts to get rid of unauthorized use of media and technology.

The Bush administration in relation to the legislation[edit]

When the Bush administration announced the legislation of intellectual property protection, innovative businesses supported the act and its provisions. Major supporters of the Bush Administration's choice to implement such an act were the Recording Industry Association of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and NBC Universal. At the time when the legislation was proposed, most of its support came from big businesses and major copyright holders. United States intellectual property is estimated at a worth of between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion. A direct quote from Alex Burgos, representative for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“There are estimates that intellectual property in the United States is worth between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion and accounts for approximately half of U.S. exports with roughly 40 percent driving U.S. economic growth...the impact of intellectual property on the U.S. economy is undeniable.”[10]

Focusing more on intellectual property protection in 2008, President Bush signed a law that created a "copyright czar," who would develop a plan that would counter piracy and intellectual property theft. On September 25, 2009, the Obama Administration appointed Victoria Espinel[11] as the United States intellectual property "copyright czar", who would aid with and oversee development and implementation of the President's overall strategy for the enforcement of intellectual property.[12]

Intellectual property terrorism[edit]

The relationship between terrorist organizations and intellectual property infringement is financing because copyright infringement of IP, especially pirated CDs and DVDs and other counterfeit goods, has become the main source of terrorist organization funding.[13] The Bush Administration strictly instated the use of wiretapping in order to investigate and track terrorist organizations, which sell pirated movies for profit and funding of terrorist actions. It has been noted that organized crime profits highly from illegally copied media, and that, in most cases, the profits are then transferred to associated terrorist organizations. The groups that pirate copyrighted material often threaten those who attempt to interfere with the process of distribution of said pirated material.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ U.S. Congress. "PDF of Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006". Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Privacy and Security Law Blog". Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ Sohn, Gigi B. (2009). "Public Knowledge". Public Knowledge. Retrieved March 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Bush Administration and AT&T Wiretapping". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ "World Intellectual Property Organization". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "DRM". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ "EFF". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Counterfeiting and Piracy: How Pervasive Is It?". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Victoria Espinel". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  12. ^ "File trading may fund terrorism". Retrieved March 22, 2011. 


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