March 26, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Funding the War On File Sharing

You may not agree with the recording industry's litigation campaign against people who use peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. No matter. Under legislation introduced Thursday by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), you'd still have to pay for it.

The legislation in question is the Protecting Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation Act (PIRATE Act). It would allow federal prosecutors to bring civil copyright infringement suits--meaning a lower burden of proof and no need to show that a defendant had knowledge of her wrongdoing and willfully engaged in it.

Two million dollars are earmarked, four U.S. Attorney's offices must set up a "pilot" program, and the Department of Justice is required to file annual reports with the Judiciary committee to identify how many civil actions have been brought.

Okay--so the recording industry rejects voluntary collective licensing, implying that it's a compulsory system and therefore tantamount to the dreaded government solution to a private sector problem. Yet it supports the PIRATE Act--a government solution that would have taxpayers paying for lawsuits, not music.

Says Sharman attorney Phillip Corwin over @ Wired: "It's unfortunate that the entertainment industry devotes so much energy to supporting punitive efforts at the federal and state level, instead of putting energy into licensing their content for P2P distribution so those same people could be turned into customers."

Sure is.

More (reg. req.) from David McGuire @ the Washington Post.

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

New Zealand confirms half the TPP countries will be forced to extend copyright term by 20 years. We have to stop it.

Oct 6 @ 3:37pm

Attending a protest anywhere in the U.S.? Know your rights and protect your data:

Oct 6 @ 2:19pm

EFF urges the California Supreme Court to review a decision that could criminalize artistic speech

Oct 6 @ 12:49pm
JavaScript license information