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Wednesday, 23 July 2003

US COPYRIGHT BILL

Two Democratic Congressmen, John Conyers, Jr., and Howard Berman, have introduced the Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner Protection and Security Act of 2003 (the ACCOPS Act for short). Most significantly:

1. The Bill clarifies that uploading a single copyright-infringing file to a publicly-accessible computer network counts as a felony under United States copyright law.
2. It requires file-trafficking software distributors to obtain consent from consumers who download their software if the software takes over the consumers’ computers to search other peoples’ computers for content or to store files.
3. It makes it a federal offence, punishable by fine and up to 5 years imprisonment to provide false contact information when registering a domain name if the registrant has knowledge that the information is false and has fraudulent intent.
4. The Bill would make it a federal offence to video films at cinemas.

Don’t know if the Bill will get passed yet, but if it does (1) will bolster the attempts of copyright owners to crack down on individuals who download copyright-protected work while (3) should in theory make it easier for disgruntled companies to track down cybersquatters.

Read the Congressmens’ press release here.

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