Proposed Legislation Would Make Attempted Copyright Infringement a Crime

The Justice Department has proposed the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which, among other things, would make it a criminal offense to attempt to infringe copyright .

Here’s the key section that deals with this issue:

(a) IN GENERAL—Section 506(a)(l) of title 17, United States Code, is amended
(1) by inserting "or attempts to infnnge" before "a copyright" and
(2) by striking the comma and "if the infringement was committed" after "18";
(3) by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting "(A) if the infringement was committed or attempted for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain";
(4) in subparagraph (B), by striking "by the reproduction or distribution" and inserting "if the infringement was committed or attempted by the reproduction or distribution"; and
(6) by inserting at the beginning of subparagraph (C) "if the infringement was committed".

In "Proposed Crime of the Century: Attempted Copyright Infringement," Mathew Honan of Wired sums up the proposal this way:

Essentially, the bill would turn copyright law into something more akin to existing drug laws: The government could seize personal property, wiretaps would become legal for the first time, violators could face life in prison and, in an ambiguous and far-reaching provision, the mere attempt to violate a copyright would become a crime.