Tech Daily (sub. req’d) reports on a Senate bill introduced yesterday by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would allow the Justice Department to file civil lawsuits and bring criminal charges against song-swappers using peer-to-peer networks. Complaints from content providers about the relatively few numbers of criminal prosecutions for file trading apparently led Leahy to introduce the bill (S. 2237 — should be available online shortly). Currently, the government has to prove that song traders demonstrate “willful conduct” to bring criminal charges. Leahy’s bill apparently lowers that threshold. Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch is a co-sponsor. RIAA and MPAA are on board:
“This legislation provides federal prosecutors with the flexibility and discretion to bring copyright-infringement cases that best correspond to the nature of the crime,” said Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America.
“I commend Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch for their vision and leadership in combating the theft of America’s creative works,” said Jack Valenti, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.
More info as it becomes available….