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Posted: 9/29/2004 10:34:12 AM EDT

New Law Could Send California File-Swappers To Jail
September 28, 2004

A new bill signed into law last week by California Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger requires file-swappers to include a legitmate email address in the digital file when they share songs or movies online. The law, which goes into effect in January, gives law enforcement the ability to charge users with a misdemeanor if the email address is not present.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The new language updates a current state law - originally intended to prevent counterfeiting - that requires the names and addresses of manufacturers be printed on CDs, DVDs, and videos.

"We took that model and concept and translated it to the electronic and digital world," Vans Stevenson, SVP of state legislative affairs for the MPAA, told Wired. "It's another tool to go after counterfeiters and thieves on the internet."

While many of those in favor of the law take the same stance as Stevenson, saying it simply allows law enforcement to attack copyright infringement, critics claim its a sneaky way for copyright owners to go after file-sharing and file-swappers. Under the new law, people are not charged with copyright violations, but are instead fined or arrested for omitting their email address.

"No one believes that it's a crime to leave your e-mail address off of a file you're sharing," Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Wired. "It's a means to an end to get around the limits of federal copyright law and give state prosecutors leverage to bust people. Now they are going to be arresting people for forgetting to list their e-mail address."

Critics also say that the law will take resource away from more important issues, such as violent crime and the fight against terrorism. Despite opposition, the consequences for not including an email address in traded digital files are fairly stiff. Any resident of California who shares files with more than 10 people is now required to add their email address to the file. Those who do not could be fined up to $2,500, spend a year in jail, or both. Minors who do not include their email addresses in the files would have to pay $250 for their first and second offenses.

This is just one part of a recent crack-down in California by the governor. FMQB reported last week (9/20) that Schwarzenegger issued an executive order barring state workers from using peer-to-peer file sharing programs at work. Previous versions of the bill would have required swappers to include their name and home address in the files.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 10:51:55 AM EDT
well they dont enforce drug laws, gun laws, assault weapon laws. so I would say they aren't going to enforce this either.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 10:53:11 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 10:54:05 AM EDT
I lost all my MP3 players in a boating accident.
Link Posted: 9/29/2004 10:58:19 AM EDT
Another 'law' passed by a village idiot who does not have a clue either (a) How computers work… encryption my dear friends, or (b) how many terrabytes of data they would have to monitor…

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