The US administration proposed a new law toughening penalties for counterfeiting and piracy of everything from bootleg DVDs to prescription drugs.
The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005, proposed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, would stiffen criminal penalties and give the government broader authority to seize assets of those involved in such crimes.
"This legislative package, if enacted, would strengthen penalties for repeat copyright criminals, expand criminal intellectual property protection and add critical investigative tools for both criminal and civil enforcement," Gonzales told a US Chamber of Commerce "anti-counterfeiting and piracy summit."
Gonzales said the measure would also improve restitution provisions for victim companies and rights holders.
The proposal comes amid growing concerns about piracy of patented and copyrighted materials that are key for the US economy -- Hollywood movies, music and videos, prescription drugs and a variety of brand-name goods ranging from watches to sunglasses.
"The fact of the matter is that intellectual property crimes have become too common," Gonzales said.
"Counterfeit and pirated goods are easy to access -- from bootleg CDs, DVDs and games to fake watches and sunglasses on street corners to online file sharing.
"While these crimes may appear harmless to some, they actually have a measurable impact on our entire economy -- and they undermine the values of competition and creativity that are important to our way of life."
Gonzales said the battle against piracy involves global law enforcement cooperation, and he added that "that's one reason I am traveling to China next week" for discussions on intellectual property protection.