NET Act Summary In Plain English

NET Act Summary

NET Act Summary: Introduction

The NET Act is a law passed in the late nineties with an aim towards combating piracy and copyright infringement. Prior to its passing, the uploading as well as downloading of large volumes of data were not covered under existing laws. This allowed for large scale intellectual property infringement without the threat of legal repercussions.

NET Act Summary: Background

With the growing popularity of Internet use seen in the late nineties, this was a situation that was in need of attention. Through use off the NET act fines as well as prison time can be the result of knowingly infringing copyright online. The result being a more effective way to ensure the security of existing copyright and intellectual property with regards to material online.

Prior to passage of the NET act, infringement of copyright was difficult to punish, as it had to meet strict criteria before legal action could be used. Material had to be used for commercial advantage or private financial gain before litigation could be consider. Such an arrangement allowed for massive copyright violation, as long as it was not done for commercial purposes. With passage of this law, commercial gain is no longer a factor that needs to be met in order to prosecute. This closed a loophole that had allowed for the violation of copyright for purposes other than monetary gain to go unpunished.

NET Act Summary: The Rules

There are two application levels to the NET act. The first level provides that copyrighted material must have a minim commercial or retail value of more than $1,000. This is than punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and /or a fine of up to $100,000.

The second level involves the distribution of at least 10 copies, distributed during a 180 day period, totaling at least $2,500. This can be punishable with a fine of up to $250,000 and/or five years of imprisonment. The severe nature of such penalties serves as an effective deterrent to copyright violators, and having closed the loophole of needing to prove monetary gain, the NET act allows for such punishments to be brought to bear on violators who are operating without an economic motivation.

Thanks in part to the NET act, as well as other laws that have been passed to protect and maintain online intellectual property rights, the Internet is able to offer convenient access, to a variety of different types of materials, all while ensuring the rights of the copyright holder.

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