Assigning a Dedicated Government Agency

One of the main issues with enforcement of digital copyright laws is the lack of a dedicated agency to deal with the issue. Currently, multiple agencies are roughly defined to deal with music piracy, namely ICE, the Patent Trade Office (PTO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Commerce.

A specific organization should be created to deal with the problem. The organization could be called the Intellectual Property Enforcement Agency (IPEA) and its only task would be the prosecution of people who are downloading or sharing music. Additionally, the agency could also focus on the education of the general public as to the country’s music copyright laws and penalties.

This solution’s main advantage would be a focused and dedicated approach to enforcement of copyright laws. The organization would also not be affected by shifts in resources suffered by the FBI and ICE. The conflict in resources usually causes these agencies to have inconsistent results when prosecuting and investigating file sharing. The IPEA could also be able to train more technical staff to deal with a crime that is less likely to  require the normal resources of the day-to-day field operations of the FBI or ICE. Another advantage would be the ability of the IPEA to target both sharers and more importantly downloaders because of superior technology and focus. One other incentive for the government to increase enforcement would be the increase in tax revenue. According to RIAA, “a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes” ( RIAA, 2010).

The main disadvantage is that the creation of one more government agency adds more overhead to the government as a whole. Additionally, funding of the new agency would be difficult to swallow given the current economic climate. American tax payers may be more inclined to let the RIAA fund its own lawsuits rather than involve the U.S. government any more than the government already does. This method also largely ignores the international factor involves in music piracy and the lack of jurisdiction and enforcement in those countries.

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