Thursday, September 09, 2004

Share Lots of Files, Go To Jail

The Register is reporting that HR4077, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, has moved out of committee. From the article: "The bill specifies up to five years' jail for anyone making over a thousand copyrighted works available for download. That's if the infringer is profiting from the action: ordinary P2P users would face up to three years simply for making their collections available."

The bill also sets up a program to issue warnings to infringers, apparently, although IANAL, and that section seems vague. The whole bill is available at Thomas, by searching for "HR4077".

My opinion? This is a good thing. My hope is that this replaces any of that INDUCE nonsense that sought to outlaw P2P software. It actually surprises me that there wasn't enough teeth in the law already to prosecute this sort of thing, but apparently HR4077 amends existing law to provide those teeth. And yes, this will generate much more heat than light from the Slashdot crowd, but y'know what? Obeying the law might actually be considered a good thing in some places. Bad laws (I don't think this is one) can be corrected, and I'm quite in favor of copyright terms being brought back to reality (didn't the original Constitution say 17 years? None of this life-plus-70 hooey...), but telling people to get right is a good thing.

Let the flaming begin.

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