New Bill Raises Penalties on Downloaders, Creates Anti-Piracy Czar

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Photo: Courtesy of Disney

The RIAA is celebrating — for once! — after President Bush's signing of a controversial bill yesterday that will institute harsher monetary penalties for music downloaders and create a hilarious new, probably ineffectual federal-level position — an "intellectual-property czar," who will report directly to the president on matters related to copyright (the post will most likely not be filled before the end of the Bush administration).

An earlier, even sillier draft of the legislation had called for the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute civil cases against downloaders and then turn any recovered damages over to rights holders (thereby giving the RIAA free lawyers at taxpayers' expense), but that measure was stripped from the bill before passage. Now, the most controversial part calls for the forfeiture of any device used in piracy (meaning they can take your computer). Remember, though, they still have to catch you! And since the RIAA has brought lawsuits against only 25,000 of the hundreds of millions of file sharers since they started in 2003, your chances of being sued are still really, really bad. So, please, continue to enjoy our daily Right-Click post worry-free!

Bush signs controversial anti-piracy law [Reuters]