Nashville passes a ‘sharing’ but not caring law

July 2011

All areas

Tennessee state lawmakers in Nashville, the home of country music, have passed a groundbreaking measure that would make it a crime to use a friend’s login – even with permission. The new law would make it an offence to listen to songs or watch movies from services such as Netflix or Rhapsody. The bill, which has been signed by the state Governor, was pushed by the recording, television and film industries to try to stop the loss of billions of dollars to illegal music and film sharing – and free access to paid for services. The legislation was aimed at hackers and thieves who sell passwords in bulk – but could be employed against people who use a friend’s or relative’s subscription. Reports says that those who share their subscriptions with a spouse or other family members ‘under the same roof ‘ almost certainly’ have nothing to fear but college students who give their logins to everyone on their dormitory floor – could get in trouble, however. Tennessee would become the first state to update its theft-of-cable laws for the 21st century and address the new trend toward Internet delivery of entertainment, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Stealing $500 or less of entertainment would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. More serious infringement would constitute a felony, with heavier penalties.

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