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Penalties increased for illicit peer-to-peer movie sharing

[JURIST] The US Sentencing Commission [official website] has authorized emergency rules [text] increasing penalties for persons convicted of swapping as-yet-unreleased films over peer-to-peer file sharing networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus. The emergency regulations, which supplement the current guidelines [PDF text], allow judges to base sentences on the volume of copyrighted works shared, and expand the definition of infringement to include “storing an infringing item in an openly shared file.” Commentators expect the new rules to increase prison sentences for those convicted by about forty percent. The emergency rules are the end result of the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act [text; JURIST report], signed by President Bush last April, which was supported [press release] by the Motion Picture Association of America [industry association website] and the Recording Industry Association of America [industry association website], among other media groups. CNET has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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