New law threatens copyright leakers with jail time

— 2:03 AM on April 28, 2005

The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (PDF) has been signed into law in the US. This could be a scary one for P2P pirates:

The law had drawn some controversy because it broadly says that anyone who has even one copy of an unreleased film, software program or music file in a shared folder could be subjected to prison terms and fines of up to three years. Penalties would apply regardless of whether that file was downloaded or not.
Countless games, movies, and albums have been leaked online, often several weeks ahead of their release dates. One could argue that many leak downloaders are simply rabid fans who want to get their hands on new titles as soon as possible, even though they fully intend to purchase the new release when it's available in stores. It appears that the law focuses its attention on those sharing unreleased copyrighted works, so it's essentially targeting leakers rather than downloaders. Still, there will no doubt be much discussion over whether jail time is an unreasonable penalty for such an offense.
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