Ashcroft has been asked to prosecute "peer-to-peer" networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus and the users who swap digital songs, video clips and other files without permission from artists or their record labels.

JAIL TIME FOR PEER-TO-PEER USERS

Attorney General Asked to go After Those Who Download Unauthorized Songs

Lawmakers have asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to go after Internet users who download unauthorized songs and other copyrighted material, raising the possibility of jail time for digital-music fans.

In a July 25 letter released late Thursday (8/8), 19 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle asked Ashcroft to prosecute "peer-to-peer" networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus and the users who swap digital songs, video clips and other files without permission from artists or their record labels.

The Justice Department should also devote more resources to policing online copyrights, the lawmakers said.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

"Such an effort is increasingly important as online theft of our nation's creative works is a growing threat to our culture and economy," the letter said.

The move was welcomed by the RIAA.

"There is no doubt, mass copying off the Internet is illegal and deserves to be a high priority for the Department of Justice," said RIAA Chairman Hilary Rosen in a statement.

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