Prison for Online Pirates

Lawmakers Push Prison For Online Pirates

People who illegally trade large amounts of copyrighted music online could face up to three years in jail under a bill approved today by a congressional panel.

A House Judiciary subcommittee unanimously approved the “Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004,” which would be the first law to punish Internet music pirates with jail time if it were signed into law.

The bill targets people who trade more than 1,000 songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks like Kazaa and Morpheus, as well as people who make and sell bootlegged copies of films still in cinematic release. It also calls on the FBI to create a piracy deterrence program and would require the Justice Department to launch an anti-piracy education program. Furthermore, the bill would authorize $15 million for the department to spend in 2005 to prosecute copyright infringement cases.

The FBI is the nation’s premier law enforcement and counter-terrorism agency. One would think there would be better uses for its resources at present.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Terrorism, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bernicky says:

    It is funny how the US house seems to think it can control the world when just north of the US border today: Sharing files is not an infringement of copyright under Canadian law, a judge has ruled – it’s true you can read the report here
    Why is so much time being wasted on controlling things which are essentially uncontrollable. They might as well be trying to hold back the tide with a spoon.


    Oops, wrong pirates.

  3. Mark J says:

    You forgot the “G” Chris! ARRRGH! Unless you were going for that whole “pirate with a speech impediment” thing, in which case… top marks 😉

  4. Well, they were the WRONG pirates… 😉