Politicians Take One Step Closer To Throwing People In Jail For File Sharing

from the ugh dept

Unfortunately, this one appears not to be an April Fool’s joke – though, perhaps it should be. A House subcommittee has approved a bill to criminalize file sharing for anyone who makes available (whether intentional or not) over 1,000 songs. It would put people in jail for up to three years. Not only that, they would fund the program with $15 million. Declan McCullough has more details on how this bill would criminalize things that are currently considered fair use. Part of the problem is that (unlike yesterday’s decision in Canada) this law makes it clear that simply making available the files violates the law. So, if you screw up the configuration of your computer, you might end up in jail for a few years. The quotes from supporters of the bill are somewhat bizarre. Howard Berman (the representative from Disney) says that there’s no reason to worry about the FBI because “They have been as passive as you can be. They have authority they don’t exercise.” Huh? What does that have to do with anything? And, if they have authority they don’t exercise, why are we giving them more authority to work on something that most people don’t see as a crime? Don’t they have more important things to do?

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