The US House Judiciary Committee has voted for criminal penalties for individuals that install spyware on PCs and for movie pirates.
A new copyright bill, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act is calling for sentences of up to three years in jail for individuals who illegally share US$1,000 (€819) worth of copyrighted material over the internet. That, plus the promise of being sued by the RIAA should be enough to deter most people from ripping off music.
When the House Judiciary Committee approved the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, Congressman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, said in a statement on his website: “Piracy of intellectual property over the Internet, especially on peer-to-peer networks, has reached alarming levels… This legislation increases cooperation among federal agencies and intellectual property owners, and assists federal law enforcement authorities in their efforts to investigate and prosecute intellectual property crimes.”
Additionally, people who install spyware on victims’ PCs for the purpose of stealing identities and personal details will also face prison sentences. The Internet Spyware Prevention Act, sponsored by Bob Goodlatte and Lamar Smith is to go towards the full Congress and suggests jails sentences of between two and five years depending on the severity of the case.
Since the CAN-Spam act was entirely toothless, time will see just how effective these two pieces of legislation will be if they finally become law.