Legislation goes after 'inducers' of infringement.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is poised to introduce a late-session bill, the Induce Act, that would designate peer-to-peer services as copyright infringers. The bill could be introduced as soon as tomorrow (June 21).

The one-page bill, the "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act of 2004," says that whoever "intentionally induces," or "intentionally aids, abets, counsels or procures" any violation of copyright "shall be liable as an infringer." The language could also apply to lawyers who take on P2P services as clients.

Such an inducement statute could sidestep the defense against contributory infringement in the KaZaA and Grokster court rulings that employment of technology that can be used to infringe copyrights is legal if it also has a non-infringing use.

Sources say that co-sponsors of the bill will include Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bill Frist, D-Tenn., Senate majority leader.

A Hatch spokeswoman would not comment on the final language of the bill, but tells Billboard.biz: "Sen. Hatch is greatly concerned about corporations that profit by encouraging children, teenagers and students to commit illegal acts of copyright infringement. He is working on legislation to address this problem."

Hatch is also trying to move a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel reform bill soon, sources say. That measure has already been passed by the House.