A congressional look at IP crimes

Declan McCullagh
Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.

A key legislator in the House of Representatives said Tuesday that he will release the first "Intellectual Property Crime Index" next week. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees copyright law, said the index would accomplish what he asserts the Department of Justice statistics currently don't do well: track intellectual property crimes and analyze trends over time.

"Our analysis will break down the numbers so we know precisely what type of IP (intellectual property) crimes are occurring, from copyright law to trademark violations to the theft of trade secrets," Smith told the Media Institute, a First Amendment nonprofit group. "While some of these statistics will be familiar to us, they will also be a useful tool for lawmakers as we move forward to increase the enforcement and identification of intellectual property crimes." A year ago, Smith signed a letter to the Justice Department that urges prosecutors to seek indictments against peer-to-peer pirates.