Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Weekly column: Be a P2P pirate, go to jail? Could happen soon...

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 09:53:47 -0500 From: Declan McCullagh <> To: Subject: FC: Weekly column: Be a P2P pirate, go to jail? Could happen soon... Send reply to:

Perspective: The new jailbird jinglee By Declan McCullagh January 27, 2003, 4:00 AM PT

WASHINGTON--If you've ever used a peer-to-peer network and swapped copyrighted files, chances are pretty good you're guilty of a federal felony.

It doesn't matter if you've forsworn Napster, uninstalled Kazaa and now are eagerly padding the record industry's bottom line by snapping up $15.99 CDs by the cartload.

Be warned--you're what prosecutors like to think of as an unindicted federal felon.

I'm not joking. A obscure law called the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act that former U.S. President Bill Clinton signed in 1997 makes peer-to-peer (P2P) pirates liable for $250,000 in fines and subject to prison terms of up to three years. (You may want to read it, since you'll likely be hearing more about it soon.)

That's a long time to spend cooling your heels in Club Fed.

Yet something strange is going on here. So far the Justice Department has made precisely zero prosecutions of peer-to-peer users under the NET Act.

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