P2P: People to Prison
Conyers, and five other Democrats (but no Republicans), have introduced the Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner Protection and Security (ACCOPS) Act to the U.S. House of Representatives in an effort to brand P2P file-sharers as felons who could each be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Should this Act become law, anybody caught making copyrighted material available for download from a network will be deemed to have illegally distributed at least 10 copyrighted files within a 180-day period worth a total of $2,500, whether or not they really have done this. For the full text of the proposal, click here.
The measure would render the crime a felony under the Copyright Felony Act. Anyone found guilty would face a fine of up to $250,000 and a five-year stretch behind bars.
The targets of this proposed legislation are the people who upload files onto P2P networks and would mean that anyone simply adding a file to a P2P network could face felony charges.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which estimates that 60 million U.S. citizens are file sharers, is not impressed by the proposal. "Throwing the book at music swappers makes great political theater, but jailing 60 million music fans is not good business, nor does it put a single penny into the pockets of artists," states EFF staff attorney Jason Schultz in a prepared statement. Added EFF senior staff attorney Fred von Lohmann: "Proponents of this bill are casting aside privacy, innovation, and even our personal liberty as collateral damage in their war against file sharing."
But think of the money!! If the courts applied the maximum fine to all 60 million P2P users in the U.S., the government could collect $15 trillion, one third more than the entire U.S. gross domestic product in 2001.
That's more than enough to build prisons for all the file-swappers. In fact, there'd be enough left over to launch a fiber-to-the-prison program to enhance their P2P experience.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch