Senators Patrick Leahy and Arlen Specter have introduced a new bill that would allow the Department of Justice to file civil lawsuits file-sharers and copyright infringers
"The protection of intellectual property is vital to our economy," Senator Leahy explained at a press conference. "The time has come to bolster the Federal effort to protect this most valuable and vulnerable property, to give law enforcement the resources and the tools it needs to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to make sure that the many agencies that deal with intellectual property enforcement have the opportunity and the incentive to talk with each other, to coordinate their efforts, and to achieve the maximum effects for their efforts. This bill does just that."
The proposed bill entitled the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act has been welcomed by organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America. But has also been struck down by organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Digital Future Coalition who believe that they don't need the government's help with battling piracy.
In a letter addressed to the judiciary committee, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations stated that, "The recording industry has threatened or filed over 30,000 lawsuits against individual consumers. There is absolutely no reason for the federal government to assume this private enforcement role."
As of recently, several acts have been created in the hopes of prosecuting copyright infringers.
In 2004, the Protecting Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation Act of 2004 also known as the Pirate Act was created to allow federal prosecutors to file civil lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers.