Pirate Act to Take Senate Floor, Again

Would enable Justice Dept. to prosecute illegal downloaders
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2007 1:55 PM CST
Jammie Thomas of Brainerd, Minn., left, leaves the federal courthouse with her attorney, Brian Toder of Minneapolis after the jury returned a verdict against her on the third and final day of her civil...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Legislation that would enable the Justice Department to prosecute those who partake in peer-to-peer copyright infringement is coming before Congress—for the fourth time—now sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy and John Conryn. But while it's popular among lawmakers and corporate copyright holders alike, the Pirate Act hasn't seen too much love in the Justice Department itself, CNET writes.

"This legislation is a simple bill that would give the Department of Justice the authority to prosecute copyright violations as civil wrongs," Leahy said. If passed, the the US Attorney General could bring civil suits against anyone caught downloading copyrighted material; criminal charges would not be allowed. The new draft also apportions a hefty chunk of cash for FBI and Justice Department investigations.