House lawmakers on the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property marked up legislation today (March 31) that deals aggressively with file-sharing over the Internet. The bill was f

House lawmakers on the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property marked up legislation today (March 31) that deals aggressively with file-sharing over the Internet. The bill was fashioned out of several pending measures.

The main provision of the bill, H.R. 4077, gives prosecutors the authority to go after uploaders of unauthorized copyrighted files as possible felons. The bill defines felonious copyright infringement online as the uploading of even one unauthorized file, but lawmakers are only interested in prosecuting those who have uploaded at least 1,000 files worth a total of more than $10,000.

The bill would also require peer-to-peer services to post warning notices stating the legal dangers of file-sharing. Other provisions provide extra copyrght-enforcement funds and training programs at the Department of Justice and allow the FBI to send warning communications to alleged infringers.

The bill also contains a "Sense of the Congress" resolution authored by longtime copyright champion Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., that casts a critical eye at P2P services in their current form.

The bill is a substitute measure for H.R. 2517 and H.R. 2752, introduced last summer.

Industry leaders applauded the new bill and the markup, but the P2P community is crying foul.
"Passing yet more penalty statutes to put an infinitesimal fraction of file-sharers in prison may make Big Music and Hollywood feel more secure, but are a waste of taxpayer dollars," says Adam Eisgrau, executive director of the P2P United lobbying group. He says the legislation "won't help real artists and rights holders make a single dime from the literally billions of downloads that will continue to occur every week without end."