October 20, 2003 5:17 PM PDT

U.S. lawmakers form antipiracy caucus

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A group of federal lawmakers aims to put more steam behind intellectual property piracy issues online and offline, forming a new caucus to focus on the issue.

Dubbed the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, the group will officially launch Tuesday, joined by representatives from movie studios, record labels and software industry trade associations.

The group also plans to unveil a "Piracy Watch List" for 2003, which will focus on countries where sales of illegal copies of software or entertainment products are common. This type of list has traditionally been kept by the U.S. Trade Representative's office.

The group will be jointly headed by Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Joe Biden, D-Del., along with Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virg., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Goodlatte in particular has been active on digital piracy issues, drafting the 1997 No Electronic Theft (NET) Act to close what some saw as loopholes in earlier copyright law in terms of file sharing on the Internet. Some lawmakers, including Biden, have pressed the U.S. Department of Justice to use that law to prosecute people who swap copyrighted music, software and movies on networks such as Kazaa.

However, the new group will primarily focus on international issues rather than domestic piracy concerns, a Goodlatte spokeswoman said.

 

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