By Richard Menta 4/20/05
Declan McCullagh's article on CNET describes everything in lurid detail. Congress has passed a law - one that President Bush says he'll sign - that gives the entertainment industry what it wants, the power to send file sharers to prison for a long time.
As Declan describes it the law is written quite broadly, enough so that "it could make a federal felon of anyone who has even one copy of a film, software program or music file in a shared folder and should have known the copyrighted work had not been commercially released.
Remember all those Fiona Apple Fans who are sharing her latest album that Sony has refused to release? These fans number in the millions. If Bush signs this bill every one of those individuals; children, mothers, grandparents, even the teenagers of a few of our Congressmen, will be subject to a prison sentence of three years and fines of up to $250,000.
It gets worse. They don't even have to share the files online, just have possession.
The criminal penalties were grafted onto a bill called the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act. It lowers the bar for the media conglomerates to chase not only true copyright criminals but to also victimize people I define as innocents. The media conglomerates have already proved they will abuse this power to the full extent that they can get away with.
This of course won't stop file sharing. It will just finally make Hollywood's war on its customers the equivalent of the war on drugs.
Just say NO to file sharing kids. It seems the entertainment industry wants Congress to compensate for their inability to change with new technology.
If the media industry ran the railroads 75 years ago, there would be no airplanes today. Airplanes would have been outlawed by Congress as a disruptive technology because it robbed the railroads of clients. Today, a two hour flight from New York to Chicago would still be an overnight train ride.
The Samsung Yepp YH-999 20 GB Portable Media Center is available on Amazon
Other MP3 stories:
MP3 Frees the Music of Fiona Apple
Can Free Broadcast TV Really Be Napsterized?
iPod and Other MP3 Players Go Mainstream