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From the Herald Sun website this evening:

Customs to search for illegal downloads on MP3 players and laptops

MUSIC fans might soon have their iPods searched by Customs officers at airport checks – and face jail if pirated music is found on them.

The push for the unprecedented searches of travellers’ laptops and MP3 players has been revealed in a leaked discussion paper relating to a treaty being negotiated by the Federal Government.

It suggests criminal sanctions for infringements on a commercial scale.

That meant innocent pop and rock fans with huge song libraries could unwittingly be hit with jail for commercial piracy, according to Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos.

“It talks about (sanctions for) commercial infringements – does that mean one, 10, 20 or 1000 songs?

“It could be that people get sent to jail for being in possession of commercial-scale quantities of copied music.’’

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s office has confirmed the Government was a part of negotiations for the international agreement, but Australia had not signed nor agreed to any aspect.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said: “Searching into people’s iPods is out of order.

“We don’t need to suffer draconian regimes to protect intellectual property.

“US music labels are keen for their government to sign up other countries to the zero-tolerance stance.”

Oh please. I’ve always thought there were higher priorities myself. Drugs. Firearms. Bombs. How truly wrong I’ve been.

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