The PRO-IP Act of 2007, “To enhance remedies for violations of intellectual property laws, and for other purposes” was signed into law on Monday.

The law, backed by the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, enhances and expands existing piracy and counterfeiting laws and also creates an intellectual property czar, reporting directly to the president.

In related (but somewhat dated) news, the copyright wars have gone criminal. A blogger was arrested in late August for posting songs of a widely known rock group, which songs had not yet been released. LA Times article.

An enhanced spin on this story was put out by the legal blog, May it Please the Court, which explained:

The penalties for criminal infringement are determined by its extent: if the infringer has made in any 180-day period ten or more copies of one or more copyrighted works with a total retail value of $2,500, the crime is a felony entailing up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for organizations. 18 U.S.C. §§ 2319(a), 3571(b).  Jail time can be increased to ten years for repeat offenders.  Infringement is a crime where it is done “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” 17 U.S.C. § 506(a).   Recent fines levied in criminal copyright infringement cases have been as much as $250,000.