Hi Pam, That's the reason I never download shareware. I do have freeware. and I'm not in to music nor movies, although I do go to the local movie house each Friday. Thanks for the warning. Here in Houston we get a radio talk show of 2 hours on Saturday afternoon called 10Commandos and she talked about this new law the entire 2 hours. Carl ----- Original Message ----- From: "Pam" <ltf01@xxxxxxxxxx> To: <pcductape@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 11:39 AM Subject: [pcductape] Are you an unindicted federal felon? > > > > > > http://news.com.com/2010-1071-982121.html > > Perspective: The new jailbird jingle > 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. > > This odd delay is not because peer-to-peer piracy is legal. It's not. > The NET Act covers people who willfully participate in the "reproduction > or distribution" of copyrighted works without permission, when that > activity is not covered by fair use rights. > > The law even grants copyright holders the right to hand a "victim impact > statement" to the judge at your trial, meaning you can expect an > appearance from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), > the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) or the Business > Software Alliance (BSA), depending on what kind of files were on your > hard drive. You'll no longer have that hard drive, of course, because > it'll have been seized by the FBI, and you'll be in jail. > > Fretting that not enough peer-to-peer pirates are already in the > slammer, a band of congressmen asked Attorney General John Ashcroft last > July to begin some NET Act prosecutions, pronto. Their letter complained > of "a staggering increase in the amount of intellectual property pirated > over the Internet through peer-to-peer systems." The 19 > politicos--including Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Rep. James > Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.--urged > Ashcroft "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying > from their computer over peer-to-peer neworks." > > It didn't take long for the Justice Department to respond. A few weeks > later, John Malcolm, a deputy assistant attorney general, said to expect > some NET Act prosecutions. "There does have to be some kind of a public > message that stealing is stealing is stealing," said Malcolm, who > oversees the arm of the Justice Department that prosecutes copyright and > computer crime cases. > > Since then, however, there's been nothing but silence. The Justice > Department has been tight-lipped about its plans, and did not reply to a > request for comment on Friday. > > To duck a conviction, you'd have to, in essence, prove you were an > idiot. Not a problem for some, but a big problem for most file-sharers, > I suspect. > --Polk Wagner, assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania Law > School > Yet there are signs that prosecutions are coming soon. A person close to > the RIAA told me that it has had recent meetings with the Justice > Department. > > A second hint that pressure on the Justice Department is increasing lies > in a statement of principles that the RIAA signed this month with the > Computer Systems Policy Project and the BSA. The trio of groups say they > want more "governmental enforcement actions against infringers." > > For its part, the RIAA sent me a statement on Friday that seems to back > that up: "We are in constant communication with various law enforcement > agencies about all forms of piracy. It's illegal, and there clearly is > an important role that law enforcement can play...It's important to > remember that a 'Kazaa user' trafficking in copyrighted music without > permission is doing something that is clearly illegal, as numerous > courts have held that uploading and downloading copyrighted works > without permission constitutes direct infringement. And it is > well-established that copyright infringement can be a federal crime, so > government enforcement seems perfectly appropriate." > > Bob Kruger, BSA's vice president of enforcement, says his group is not > actively lobbying for prosecutions of peer-to-peer users, but would not > oppose them, either. "Industry has an obligation to make law enforcement > aware of the problems that beset it," Kruger said. "Congress has > recognized that government enforcement efforts are part of the overall > solution." > > History of the law > > Rampant file-swapping is precisely the activity that the NET Act was > designed to punish. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the co-chairman of the > Congressional Internet Caucus, drafted the law to close what had become > known as the "LaMacchia Loophole." > > In 1994, David LaMacchia was a junior at the Massachusetts Institute of > Technology who was charged with wire fraud for creating a file-swapping > site on the Internet. But a federal judge dismissed the criminal > charges, ruling that although LaMacchia could be sued in civil court, he > was not guilty as charged. "It is not clear that making criminals of a > large number of consumers of computer software is a result that even the > software industry would consider desirable," said U.S. District Judge > Richard Stearns. > > In an e-mail to me, Goodlatte said: "We would like to see more done to > help guard against the wholesale violation of our copyright laws. We > have helped secure additional funding for the Department of Justice to > enforce the NET Act." > > The NET Act works in two ways: In general, violations are punishable by > one year in prison, if the total value of the files exceeds $1,000; or, > if the value tops $2,500, not more than five years in prison. Also, if > someone logs on to a file-trading network and shares even one MP3 file > without permission in "expectation" that others will do the same, full > criminal penalties kick in automatically. > > The odds of any specific person getting busted are pretty low, but > someone's going to be a test case. > "I'd imagine there are, at minimum, several thousand file-swappers > meeting this definition," said Polk Wagner, who teaches copyright law at > the University of Pennsylvania. To duck a conviction, said Polk, "you'd > have to, in essence, prove you were an idiot. Not a problem for some, > but a big problem for most file sharers, I suspect." > > Jessica Litman, a professor at Wayne State University Law School, says > achieving a conviction wouldn't be trivial for prosecutors. "For > purposes of a criminal prosecution, you'd have to show more than that > the defendant made the files available--you'd have to show that she > actually made or distributed copies," Litman says. "Not too difficult > using today's tools, but you would need to show the actual copying of > the file by third parties rather than merely proving that defendant > downloaded the files into her share directory." > > There already have been successful prosecutions under the NET Act of Web > pirates--but not of peer-to-peer pirates. > > In 2001, a 21-year-old Michigan man named Brian Baltutat was > successfully prosecuted under the NET Act for posting a mere 142 > software programs on the "Hacker Hurricane" Web site. Jason Spatafore, > 25, pleaded guilty to posting just one movie on the Web--"Star Wars: > Episode I - The Phantom Menace"--in December 2000. > > A quick check of Kazaa on Friday afternoon showed that there were 4.1 > million users online, sharing some 800 million files. The odds of any > specific person getting busted are pretty low, but someone's going to be > a test case. Got your lawyer ready? > > > > > ///JSH > > > > To unsubscribe from this list send an email to > pcductape-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field > OR by logging into the Web interface. To unsubscribe from this list send an email to pcductape-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field OR by logging into the Web interface.