House passage for copyright czar likely

Bill would establish overseer of government IP programs

WASHINGTON -- The full U.S. House is expected to approve a bill establishing a "copyright czar" in the White House to oversee the myriad of intellectual property programs run by the federal government.

Under the bill, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative would have broad power to direct and implement the federal government's policies to combat IP piracy. The USIPER would have cabinet status on par with the U.S. Trade Representative.

While the bill is expected to win overwhelming approval under the expedited procedure known as the "suspension calendar," there have been objections to some portions. There are provisions in the bill that make it easier for copyright laws to be enforced, including one that would allow federal authorities the right to seize property used in copyright and other piracy.

The Senate is waiting for the House to finish its business before it takes up its own version.

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act is badly wanted by a diverse coalition of special interest groups that include the studios, record labels, software makers and pharmaceutical companies. Most all sectors of the economy count piracy as a contributor to their financial woes.