October 20, 2005

Kill them all and let God sort them out! [6:29 pm]

Man, this is going to make for some interesting court cases (”emergency” — to whom?): Net pirates will face stiffer punishment

The U.S. Sentencing Commission on Wednesday approved an emergency set of rules that would boost prison sentences by roughly 40 percent for people convicted of peer-to-peer infringement of copyright works “being prepared for commercial distribution.”

The changes also say judges may “estimate” the number of files shared for purposes of determining the appropriate fine and sentence. Larger numbers typically yield longer sentences.

[...] The law was supported by major media organizations, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. It imposes fines of up to $250,000 and prison terms of up to three years, regardless of whether any downloading of a prerelease work took place.

Another change in the sentencing guidelines alters the definition of “uploading” to make it clear that merely having a copyright file available in a shared folder–such as those used by popular file-swapping programs like Kazaa and BearShare–can count as illegal distribution.

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