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Thanks to RIAA lobbying, kids in Madison could be led away in cuffs for letting their friends get No Doubt tracks for free.
DOWNLOAD A SONG,
GO TO PRISON?
Fed, Wisconsin Up The Anti-Piracy Ante
So you logged onto a file-trading site to a couple of Uriah Heep MP3s. And while you were there, you shared your Gentle Giant catalog with the other nerds. But hey, you're not making money or anything, so it's cool, right?

No, you're busted. And you're going to the hoosegow.

Thanks to sentencing guidelines that go into effect next month, MP3 pirates could be arrested and forced to serve non-virtual jail time. Hey, just like an episode of "Oz."

The concept, as articulated by the U.S. Customs Agency's Cybersmuggling Center, is to make examples of a few high-profile digital scofflaws to discourage everyone else.

"Sure, you paid for the LP, and then you paid for the CD of the same music again," claimed one anti-piracy enforcer. "But that doesn't give you the right to have a file in a folder that other people can download. Think of what you're doing to the social fabric, for God's sake!"

Meanwhile, Wisconsin's Republican governor Tommy Thompson this week signed Assembly Bill 614 into law; the legislation deems music piracy (and kindred copyright violations) a felony offense in the state.

Thompson is allegedly on George W. Bush's shortlist of potential running mates.

Thanks to RIAA lobbying, kids in Madison could be led away in cuffs for letting their friends get No Doubt tracks for free. Following speedy trials, these miscreants will be whisked off to dank prison cells, where they will no doubt be brutalized by repeat offenders.

"I think it sends just the right signal," said one record executive while figuring out how to deduct his Viagra prescription. "What have these kids ever done for us?"

Considering the ferocity of Net-based rebels, however—and the ingenuity with which they've attacked authority figures who flout their wishes—most observers expect virulent, relentless cyber- and legal challenges to these measures.

Meanwhile, a judgment in the RIAA vs. MP3.com could come on Friday; the organization's suit against file-sharing champ Napster did not get the summary judgment it has been seeking, and is currently on hold.

By the way, the RIAA now has a toll-free anti-piracy hotline (1-800-BAD-BEAT) and e-mail address ([email protected]). Call 'em and order a double cheeseburger.

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