'Pirate Act' raises civil rights concerns
Last modified: May 26, 2004, 4:00 AM PDT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
File swappers concerned about getting in trouble with record labels over illegal downloads may soon have a major new worry: the U.S. Department of Justice.
A proposal that the Senate may vote on as early as next week would let federal prosecutors file civil lawsuits against suspected copyright infringers, with fines reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The so-called Pirate Act is raising alarms among copyright lawyers and lobbyists for peer-to-peer firms, who have been eyeing the recording industry's lawsuits against thousands of peer-to-peer users with trepidation. The Justice Department, they say, could be far more ambitious.