Quickly following the demise of Napster, entertainment industry groups, including the RIAA and NMPA, have asked a federal court judge to rule before a trial on their copyright-infringement claims against file-swappers KaZaA, Grokster and Morpheus, arguing that the past several months have made it “abundantly clear” that the file-swapping services are illegal.
As reported in August, the major labels' new plan to fight online piracy is to hook the users rather than the actual online service. Part two of this new approach lassoes the federal government. Reuters reported that some senior members of Congress were pressuring the Justice Department to invoke the No Electronic Theft Act. Signed by former President Clinton in 1997, this act makes sharing copies of copyrighted products with friends and family members a federal crime if the value of the work exceeds $1,000. Violations are punishable by one year in prison. If the value hits $2,500, violators are subject to a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The agency has used this act to imprison software pirates. According to the report, 19 members of Congress — including Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — urged Attorney General John Ashcroft “to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks.” No further action has been reported.
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