Last month, we pointed out that the first person charged under a new law making it a federal crime to share a pre-release song or movie had pleaded guilty. Now, it appears that seven more people pleaded guilty and now face $100,000 fines and a year in jail. We've already discussed why such sentences are way too harsh for people who are, basically, helping to promote a movie, but in this case it's even worse. The seven people simply passed the movie along a chain to each other, rather than sharing it online. It was the last person who actually uploaded it to the internet. Still, as we pointed out when the movie came out, all of the online buzz seemed to help get more people to go to the movie, since a lot of the buzz was quite positive -- and because most of the big Star Wars fans clearly wanted to see the movie on the big screen, rather than on a tiny computer screen. We recognize that the people involved did, in fact, break the law -- but it seems like a waste of time and money to go after these people who simply liked a movie and where the impact of their actions doesn't seem likely to have caused any harm.
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