Upload a file, go to prison

Friday, 18 July 2003, 9:09 AM EST

A new bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network.

The bill was introduced by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.). They said the bill is designed to increase domestic and international enforcement of copyright laws.

More specifically, the bill targets peer-to-peer file trading, an aide working for the congressmen said. The law is meant to keep up with changing technology.

Content like movies, music and software are the country's No. 1 export, but the creators are being hurt by people who use technology to get the content for free, Conyers said.

Jason Schultz, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the bill "a sign of desperation" by the recording industry and Hollywood as they try to hold on to their business models.

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