Legislation gives White House coordinating role

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that will create a White House czar for intellectual property rights and also increase resources to fight bootleggers.

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act, known as the PRO-IP Act and supported by a wide coalition of interests that includes the entertainment industry, sailed through on a vote of 411-10 on Thursday.

The bill creates a White House position that would coordinate antipiracy efforts of eight federal agencies and also toughens laws against piracy, in addition to increasing resources, particularly at the Dept. of Justice, to go after bootleggers.

“Intellectual property protection is among the key issues that will determine America’s competitiveness in the 21st century,” Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), a co-author of the bill, said in a statement. “The ability to create, innovate, and generate the best artistic, technological, and knowledge-based intellectual property is the formula for continued growth in the global economy, and is fundamental to the promotion of human progress.”

Hollywood, the recording industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Copyright Alliance (which includes Daily Variety‘s parent company Reed Elsevier) all welcomed news of the vote.

The Senate has yet to pass a companion bill.

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