poptones writes "The Senate Judiciary committee has just approved four new bills relating to IP law in the U.S. A couple of them provide some much needed reforms for the patent process including raising fees, raising fees more for those who most use the system, and providing discounts for small entities (who'da thunk?)" According to poptones, "Unfortunately, all is not good" -- read on below to see how the RIAA and MPAA stand to gain from one of these bills in particular.
This bill, put forward by your friends and mine, Msrs. Leahy and Hatch, would task the JD with filing civil actions against "pirates" - essentially putting your tax dollars to work bringing civil actions against college students in the name of the very largest Copyright holders, allowing them even more spare pocket change to spend lobbying to restrict your already shrinking online freedoms. A choice snippet from the floor: "For too long, Federal prosecutors have been hindered in their pursuit of pirates, by the fact that they were limited to bringing criminal charges with high burdens of proof..."
And it gets better: "In the long run, I believe that we must find better mechanisms to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens--our children--are not being constantly tempted to infringe the copyrights that have made America a world leader in the production of creative works." Hold on to your wallets folks, they're telling us to "think of the children" again..."