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Representative Lamar Smith (R - TX)
How does up to 10 years in jail for a first offense sound?

The proposed Intellectual Property Act of 2006 aims to crack down on digital copyright infringement and stiff penalties will be imposed on the parties involved. According to News.com, the new draft legislation was created by the Bush administration and is being backed be Representative Lamar Smith of Texas.

Not surprisingly, the RIAA is in favor of the legislation. And it's not too hard to see why considering some of the key points laid out in the legislation which include:

  • Piracy would be considered a federal crime punishable with up to 10 years in prison (10 to 20 years for repeating offenders).
  • Seized computers and accompanying peripherals used in the crime would be destroyed.
  • Copyright holders can impound documentation used to support copyright infringment (i.e. receipts, invoices, etc.)

With recent efforts be made to scale back the scope of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, this proposed legislation flies in the face of leniency. From News.com:

Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.

"It's one degree more likely that mere communication about the means of accomplishing a hack would be subject to penalties," said Peter Jaszi, who teaches copyright law at American University and is critical of attempts to expand it.





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