The Bush administration has announced its strong opposition to a bill backed by the recording industry that would let federal prosecutors file civil lawsuits against peer-to-peer pirates, CNET reports. In a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 23 that amounts to a veto threat, the administration said it was "deeply concerned" that the proposal would divert resources from criminal prosecution to civil enforcement, and create "unnecessary bureaucracy." Currently, prosecutors have authority to file criminal charges. The two-page letter said that copyright owners already have plenty of legal methods to target infringers, including seeking injunctions, impounding infringing materials, recovering actual damages plus statutory damages, and, in some cases, obtaining attorney’s fees. The letter was signed by Keith Nelson, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, and Lily Fu Claffee, the Commerce Department’s general counsel. The bill in question is called the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved in a 14-4 vote on Sept. 11. It’s relatively rare for a pair of federal agencies to oppose a bipartisan bill so strongly–Republican co-sponsors include Arlen Specter and Orrin Hatch–and the implied threat of a veto is likely to doom the proposal in its current form…

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