I really, really wish this was a joke — the additions and extensions proposed by Gonzales to the reach, fines and punishments for “attempted piracy” are outrageous, frightening, and are tantamount to Orwellian-style thought crime punishment. They’re proposing life imprisonment for use of pirated software, easy seizure and sale of computers, wiretapping for Americans they believe to be “attempting piracy”, a provision to require the Dept. of Homeland Security to notify the RIAA, and prosecution for “attempts” to infringe copyright. And we all know how well we can trust both the RIAA and HS for their prosecutorial accuracy. Snip from Cnet:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pressing the U.S. Congress to enact a sweeping intellectual-property bill that would increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement, including “attempts” to commit piracy.
“To meet the global challenges of IP crime, our criminal laws must be kept updated,” Gonzales said during a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Monday.
The Bush administration is throwing its support behind a proposal called the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which is likely to receive the enthusiastic support of the movie and music industries, and would represent the most dramatic rewrite of copyright law since a 2005 measure dealing with prerelease piracy.
Here’s our podcast on the topic.
The IPPA would, for instance:
* Criminalize “attempting” to infringe copyright. Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The IPPA would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department’s summary of the legislation says: “It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.”)
* Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software. Anyone using counterfeit products who “recklessly causes or attempts to cause death” can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it.