This made my jaw drop: downloading music illegally can get a person a maximum sentence of ten years in jail, but the maximum for downloading child pornography is only seven. What a disparity. Of course, in actual practice a judge is more likely to give a paedophile a longer sentence, but the fact that on the books, at least, the former is punished more harshly is a bit perplexing. And wiretapping? Better watch out for those crafty college kids swiping music! They’ll be the downfall of the country, they will! (please note, I am not defending illegal activities, merely stating astonishment at how such a “victimless crime” is treated in compared to very real threats.)
It appears that the DMCA will have a maximum sentence of ten years inside for the crime of software and music piracy. It will also give the FBI the powers to wiretap suspected pirates.
Although sentencing varies in the US, the new law does send a very strange message as to what the government considers ‘bad’ in the 21st century.
For example assaulting a police officer will get you five years, downloading child porn will get you seven years, assaulting without a weapon will get you ten years and aggravated assault six years.
So in other words if you copy a Disney CD and sell it you will be in the same league as a paedophile who is distributing pictures of sexual attacks on children.
[Editor’s Note: Not sure why, but something in this entry is screwing with the CSS for the comments page so leaving comments on it will be difficult until I can figure out what the hell the problem is.]