Hollywood is pushing a bill in California (California Assembly Bill 2735 and California Senate Bill 1506) that would require anyone but a copyright-holder who knowingly transmits commercial audio or video over the Net to attach their true name and address. From the bill:
This bill would provide that it is a crime, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500, imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment for a person who is not the copyright owner to knowingly electronically disseminate a commercial recording or audiovisual work without disclosing his or her true name and address, and the title of the recording or audiovisual work.
This bill would also provide that a court may order the forfeiture and destruction of articles upon which sounds or images can be stored, electronic files, and electronic and other devices in connection with a violation of these provisions.
There are a few exceptions for distributing to one’s immediate family and over a household network, but it doesn’t exempt fair use or even allow a copyright holder to grant permission for anonymous distribution. As I read it, it includes iTunes-sharing at work and even over-the-network backup.
EFF is seeing their “evil pirates” card and raising them one “protect the children” card:
“These California anti-anonymity bills would force everyone — including children — to put their real names and addresses on all the files they trade, regardless of whether the files actually infringe copyrights,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “Because the bills require Internet users to post personally identifying information, they fly directly in the face of policy goals and laws that prevent identity theft and spam and protect children and domestic violence victims.”
Mr. Fantastic, are you out there?