May 15, 2007 | By Derek Slater

Criminalizing Copyright Infringement, States-Side

Once again, the Department of Justice is pushing for legislation that would expand the scope of, and stiffen the penalties for, criminal copyright infringement. Its draft bill [PDF] is just as outrageous as a similar proposal floated last year and criticized by us here. Public Knowledge rightly slammed the bill earlier today.

Among other things, the bill would make attempted copyright infringement a criminal offense. Turning ordinary fans into potential copyright criminals is senseless, and this bill is an unfortunate distraction from meaningful copyright reforms that Congress ought to be focusing on.

While this bill hasn't been formally introduced, it's worth remembering that copycrime legislation is already on the move in the EU. We've been fighting hard against the IPRED2 Directive, which recently passed the European Parliament and would impose new criminal sanctions on copyright infringement. Learn more and take action at

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