House Panel Moves to Criminalize Spyware, Net Piracy [pdf]
The Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 is one of a handful of measures gathering steam in Congress that target the practice of Internet file sharing, which record companies blame for playing a part in a $2 billion dollar decline in yearly CD sales since 2000. The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure by voice vote, clearing it for debate in the full House.
[...] Congress has done little thus far to address Internet file-swapping, but that could change in the next few months as lawmakers in both houses consider a clutch of measures that target either individual downloaders or the companies — like Kazaa and eDonkey — that distribute the file-swapping software.
Although music and movie piracy is already a crime, existing law makes it difficult for the Justice Department to prosecute Internet file-swappers, since they don’t charge money for the pirated works they distribute online. “There have been no prosecutions against egregious uploaders on public peer-to-peer networks,” said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who co-sponsored the measure.
Music industry officials have maintained that criminal prosecutions will carry more weight with would-be downloaders than the civil lawsuits the recording industry began filing against song swappers in September 2003.
And I love these kind of statistics, particularly I doubt that there’s any credible basis for them — except the fact that the source has a stake in scaring universities into buying their products
The average college student has 1,100 illegally copied music files on his or her computer, according to a survey of more than 1,000 students published earlier this year by Ruckus Network, a Boston-based company that sells a legal download service to universities.
Finally, there’s the fact that committee members aren’t toeing the RIAA/MPAA line
The bill also makes it illegal to use camcorders to record first-run movies in theaters, a practice commonly used by bootleggers looking to distribute the latest Hollywood hits. Smith angered Berman by amending the bill to also include a measure aimed at protecting the company ClearPlay from infringement prosecution.
ClearPlay makes a DVD player that allows parents to edit violent and sexual references out of movies like “Se7en,” “Purple Rain” and “Laws of Attraction.”