In what some view as payback time to the industry, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Californian legislation on Tuesday forewarning those engaged in online piracy. The bill, which is the latest attempt by film and music trade associations to combat the use of elusive file-sharing software, requires anyone disseminating movies or music on the Internet to disclose their e-mail address.
The opposing camps could not be more different. The bill’s sponsor – surprise, surprise – the Motion Picture Association of America, applauded the signing, its president Dan Glickman saying that Schwarzenegger had “a unique understanding of the powerful impact of piracy. ” Does this mean he appreciates that if lots of people with very questionable taste in cinema had not pirated copies of Schwarzenegger movies, he would be even richer than he already is? He also remains a member of the (not exactly indigent) Screen Actors Guild, which supported the bill.
On the opposing side you have the San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Foundation who say that ‘suing fans doesn’t pay artists’, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both the EFF and the ACLU say the measure infringes on the privacy rights of computer users and could turn casual file-sharers into criminals.
This Internet piracy bill will work like a sniffer dog tracking down people who download copyrighted material. Henceforth in California, file sharers who trade songs or films on the Internet without providing a valid e- mail address will be guilty of a misdemeanour.
Schwarzenegger already signed an executive order last week prohibiting state employees from using software designed for file sharing. He did not comment on the signing, but if he did it might go something like, Play da movia ya, but give me you’re email address first.