CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1319 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) on March 5, 2009. The Committee on Energy and Commerce approved the bill by voice vote on September 30, 2009.
H.R. 1319 would place new notification requirements on companies that develop or distribute software that allows files to be shared between computers. Specifically, the bill requires these companies to provide clear notice that file-sharing capability is being installed on a computer.
Additionally, prior to activation of the file-sharing function, H.R. 1319 would require companies to specify which files would be made available for sharing and obtain the user's consent before the files would be made available to be shared. The bill also would make it unlawful to prevent a user of the software from disabling or removing the file-sharing capability.
Under the bill, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would develop regulations to impose those requirements and to enforce the new restrictions.
Peer-to-peer programs, sometimes referred to as P2P software, allow computer users to share files on the Internet and obtain files on other computers. The software offers opportunities to share information and files for personal and business purposes, but the software can allow unwanted and unauthorized access to files on a computer, including confidential information.
According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), "inadvertent file-sharing has gone on for too long and has already compromised millions of personal files, in addition to our national security."
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 1319 would cost about $1 million annually over five years, assuming availability of the necessary amounts.