Business Plan One: Alienate Customers. At the end of July, Reps. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., introduced the Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act, a bill that would legally authorize copyright holders to hack into peer-to-peer networks. The bill would immunize groups such as the MPAA and the RIAA from all state and federal laws if they disable, block or otherwise impair a “publicly accessible peer-to-peer file-trading network.” In a speech before the Computer and Communications Industry Association at the end of June, Berman offered a number of technological measures that the music and film industries could use: interdiction, which allows copyright owners to flash a file swapper's computer with false requests so that downloads can't get through; redirection, which points a file swapper to a site that doesn't have the file he/she is looking for; and spoofing, where the copyright holder puts up a false or corrupt version of a file that the swapper is looking for. However, these measures are illegal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. According to Berman, “Removing the unintended legal constraints on technologies [which are found in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act] that may help deal with the problem is an important part of the solution.” Congress has a few weeks left before it adjourns for the year, leaving the outlook of this bill uncertain.
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