Intellectual Property Bill Signed Into Law

Intellectual Property Enforcement Bill signed into law by President Bush, includes provision for IP coordinating White House post.

The President Monday signed a pro IP bill into law, despite Congress' creation of an IP coordinator post in the White House that the administration didn't favor. 

The House on Oct. 5 (a Sunday) passed the Intellectual Property Enforcement Bill, legislation backed by studios and publishers that boosts the government's effort to crack down on intellectual piracy. 

The bill had already passed the Senate after a provision was removed that would have given the Justice Department the power to pursue civil cases against copyright infringers. That and another provision still in the bill ran afoul of both the Justice and Commerce Departments. 

But the bill, as passed by both Houses and now signed by the president, still contains a provision for creating an IP-enforcement-coordinating post in the White House's Office of the President, which Commerce and Justice said they objected to strongly as a violation of separation of powers. 

But it appears the White House wasn't ready to take on a veto fight on a bipartisan bill -- it passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by a margin of 381-41--at a time when the administration was focused on a bipartisan effort to get the U.S. economy out of the tank. 

Rick Cotton, NBC executive and IP bill-proponent, says that was part of it. "I think the president has come to see it exactly that way," he told B&C. 

But Cotton also says that he thinks the bill is also a way to help get the country out of that economic downdraft, saying its passage was a major building block in terms of the job-creation capacity of the creative industries "as the country looks to recover from the current financial and economic crisis."