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The No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act

Summary of Changes to the Criminal Copyright and Trademark Laws

On Tuesday, December 16, 1997, the President signed into law H.R. 2265, the "No Electronic Theft (NET)" Act. The Act was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress (143 Cong. Rec. S12689 and 143 Cong. Rec. H9883-01). The NET Act strengthens the copyright and trademark laws, providing enhanced protection in the digital age in a careful and balanced manner.

The criminal copyright and trademark provisions in titles 17 and 18 of the U.S. Code are amended to:

Copies of the trademark and copyright provisions as amended by the NET Act are attached. These are 17 U.S.C. §§ 101, 506, and 507 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 2319, 2319A, and 2320. New language appears in bold typeface.

The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), Criminal Division, is preparing a supplement to the manual "Federal Prosecution of Violations of Intellectual Property Rights - Copyrights, Trademarks and Trade Secrets" which will explain and incorporate the changes effected by the NET Act. The supplement will be reproduced and distributed to recipients of the manual and will be posted on our website (

1. The reproduction or distribution of 10 or more copies of 1 or more copyrighted works which have a total retail value of $2,500 or more constitutes a felony, with a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The reproduction or distribution of 1 or more copies of 1 or more copyrighted works which have a total retail value of more than $1,000 constitutes a misdemeanor, with a one-year maximum sentence and a fine of up to $100,000.

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Last updated file February 18, 1998