Upload a File, Go to Prison. A new bill called the Author, Consumer and Computer Owner Protection and Security Act of 2003, or ACCOPS, proposed in US Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network. The bill "clarifies" that uploading a single file of copyright content qualifies as a felony. Penalties for such an offense include up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. In addition, filming a movie in a theater without authorization would immediately qualify as a federal offense.
The NY Times reports that music companies are considering some new anti-piracy measures of questionable legality. The ideas include a program to lock up user's computers, another to find and delete illegally downloaded files, and what amounts to a DoS attack on user's computers. There are some supporters of these possibly extralegal measures. Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced a bill last year to provide the music industry with a "safe harbor from liability" when pursuing P2P traders. Should media companies be allowed to operate outside the law in their efforts to stop illegal downloads of their music?
Berman's P2P Hacking bill (mentioned last week) has caught the notice of a few people, and it's worth noting their suspicions. Cory from boingboing wonders why there needs to be a law for something that is on the surface, not illegal. Declan McCullagh's request for comments about the bill netted a handful of scary responses. Berman's clearly in Hollywood's pocket, but how far will he go to get his legislation passed? And what will happen once P2P hacking is legally permitted for big studios?