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New Copyright Amendments Target P2P Users
April 28, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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It appears that Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) can finally rest his hat a on sucessful pro-copyright act. Co-signed by Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 (FECA) amends the existing copyright laws by criminalizing two particular infringing activities. President George W. Bush signed the Act on Wednesday.

First and foremost, FECA federally criminalizes the recording of motion pictures in a theater or other exhibition. Prior to this act, only California had a criminal law for capturing motion pictures. According to the amendment, any individual "knowingly uses or attempts" to capture audio/video work may face up to 3 years in prison, a fine, or both. If the individual is caught again, the individual may face 6 years in prison, a fine, or both.

While the aforementioned may not necessarily affect most members of the P2P community, the second aspect of this legislation might raise some eyebrows.

If an individual is caught with a prereleased movie, music or software file, the consequences are markedly increased. Instead of facing a hefty fine, such an act is now criminalized. Any individual who distributes a copyrighted work for commercial or private financial gain, distributes (including electronically) a minimum of just 1 copyrighted work during any 180 day period or distributes copyrighted work by making it available on a computer network accessible to the public (such as P2P networks) now faces prison time.

For the casual user, the individual is looking at up to 3 years in prison, a fine or both. For those seeking financial gain, he or she is looking at up to 5 years, a fine or both.

For a subsequent or second offense for the casual user, the individual could face up to 6 years, a fine or both. Lastly, for a subsequent or second offense for those seeking financial gain, he or she could face up to 10 years, a fine or both. Ouch.

With the file-sharing population on the increase, it is becoming more apparent the MPAA's (Motion Picture Association of America) and RIAA's (Recording Industry Association or America) lawsuit campaigns are having little or no impact. One of the few courses left is to frighten file-sharing and P2P users through legislation. Whether such efforts will have any impact remains to be seen.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Organizations/Initiatives

You can read the full text of this Act here.

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