On the same day it announced the 50th conviction stemming from its massive piracy sweep, Operation Fastlink—of a member of the Apocalypse Crew (best known for dropping albums pre-street date)â€”the Department of Justice proposed new legislationâ€”dubbed the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007â€”that would punish copyright infringement more harshly than ever, with no distinction between "attempts" and acts. Repeat offenders will suffer "stronger penalties" still.
DoJ's logic for throwing an "attempted" copyright infringer in the slammer for 1-10 years? "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." Other "intent" clauses are strewn throughout the bill. Hit the jump to make your eyes pop out of your head.
The new legislation gives more teeth to the DMCA as well, adding forfeiture penalties on top of the 10-year sentence and $1 million fine for criminal violations of its anti-circumvention clauses.
It gets better. The Department of Homeland Security will directly notify the RIAA when pirated CDs are imported and intercepted by the government. Your computer, or anything else "intended to be used in any manner" for criminal copyright infringement is subject to forfeiture, on top of fines and jail time.
And CNET says it best here: "Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are "attempting" to infringe copyrights." I'm glad it's not super easy now or anything. Oh wait.
The DoJ press release's highlights:
â€¢ Provide stronger penalties for repeat-offenders of the copyright laws;
â€¢ Implement broad forfeiture reforms to ensure the ability to forfeit property derived from or used in the commission of criminal intellectual property offenses;
â€¢ Strengthen restitution provisions for certain intellectual property crimes (e.g., criminal copyright and DMCA offenses);
â€¢ Ensure that the exportation and transhipment of copyright-infringing goods is a crime, just as the exportation of counterfeit goods is now criminal.
The days of free-flowing copies of Windows XP, Justin Timberlake and Doom 3 seem to be approaching their twilight. Does copyright infringement really merit 10 years in PMITA prison?
Gonzales proposes new crime: 'Attempted' copyright infringement [CNET via Consumerist]
Press Release [DoJ]
Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007 [Politechbot]