Justice Dept. Cautious About Becoming Copyright Police

Fascinating statement in an otherwise news-free talk this morning at the PFF Aspen meeting by R. Hewitt Pate, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. He seemed to indicate that the department has more than enough on its plate already without also taking on the role the entertainment cartel and its friends in Congress have been urging: copyright cops when it comes to ordinary infringement.

Pate urged more self-enforcement — not a totally happy thought if this means the industry gets the power to sue anyone who merely advocates the use of technology, including file-sharing, that might be used for purposes of infringement, as some are pushing today.

But he threw some welcome cold water on the industry’s wish for a government-led crackdown. “The idea that copyright shold be shifted wholesale to be a Justice Department activity is something people should take with a grain of salt,” he said. Good.


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