Letter from Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), and others.
To: Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Re: enforcement of intellectual property laws by the Department of Justice.
Date: July 25, 2002.
Source: Office of Rep. Lamar Smith.

July 25, 2002

The Honorable John Ashcroft
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:

We are writing to urge that the U.S. Department of Justice vigilantly enforce intellectual property laws on the Internet to punish online theft of our copyrighted works and to deter such conduct. Such an effort is increasingly important as online theft of our nation’s creative works is a growing threat to our culture and economy.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed a staggering increase in the amount of intellectual property pirated over the Internet through peer-to-peer systems. According to recent news reports, the six most popular peer-to-peer software programs have been downloaded by computer users over 140 million times. Research has also shown that at any one time there may be as many as 2 million users simultaneously utilizing any one of these services.

In order to stem this growing tide of massive piracy on the Internet, we urge the Department to utilize its powers to:

The copyright industries account for 5% of our gross domestic product. Increased criminal enforcement will ensure that this industry remains a driving factor for economic growth, and we ask that you make this a priority for the Department.


Sen. Joseph Biden, Chairman
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime
& Drugs

Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime,
Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman
House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Robert C. Scott, Ranking Member
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime,
Terrorism, and Homeland Security

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member
House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Howard Coble, Chairman
House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts,
the Internet, and Intellectual Property

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Rep. Henry Hyde

Sen. Rick Santorum

Rep. Bob Goodlatte

Sen. Gordon Smith

Rep. Robert Wexler

Rep. William L. Jenkins

Rep. Ed Bryant

Rep. Lindsey O. Graham

Rep. Adam B. Schiff

Rep. Ric Keller

Rep. Darrell Issa

Rep. Melissa Hart

cc: Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Attorney General, Legislative Affairs
      Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division
      Martha Stensell-Gramm, Section Chief, Computer Crime and
      Intellectual Property Section, Criminal Division