On Tuesday, the White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, provided Congress with a White Paper (available for download here), outlining a series of the Obama Administration’s recommended legislative changes to combat online piracy and counterfeiting. Significantly, the recommendations include making it a felony offense to stream infringing content and giving Federal agencies wiretapping authority to obtain evidence of criminal copyright and trademark offenses.
The White Paper is the product of the IP Czar’s review of “existing laws to ensure that they were effective and to identify deficiencies that could hinder enforcement.” The review was conducted in conjunction with a group of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the State Department.
These new proposals, as well as the Obama Administration’s recent questionable domain seizures and previous controversial proposed laws, such as COICA, have raised questions about what Obama’s legacy will end up being with regard to internet issues.
n the White Paper, Espinel attempts to camouflage some of the potentially controversial recommendations behind lofty goals like health risks, national security, counterfeit drugs and combating criminal gangs. However, many of the key measures, such as the new wiretapping powers and increased sentencing for repeat offenders, appear to be potentially applicable to any website operator and not limited to any one group or purpose.