In a new example of the entertainment industry’s disconnect with reality and their overreaching tactics, an anti-piracy group known as the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property has issued a 89-page report in which they cite billions of dollars in losses, and suggest a wide variety of measures to combat this nuisance -- like legalizing the use of malware to punish suspected offenders.

The group says that copyright holders should be allowed to take more assertive action against intellectual property thieves. And though they start off with seemingly reasonable requests like allowing a file to be rendered inaccessible if the user gained access to it illegally, it quickly scales to something resembling ramsomware.

The scheme calls for software to be pre-installed on users’ computers to identify whether they are illegally copying, storing or consuming copyrighted content. From there a number of scenarios are proposed, such as locking down your computer up and taking all your files hostage until you contact law enforcement to face the consequences. This is supposed to “stabilize a cyber incident” and provide time to gather evidence against you.

That’s just scratching the surface, though. More drastic measures mentioned in the report include the ability to infiltrate a network to retrieve or destroy the stolen files, snapping a picture of the offender using his or her webcam, and even physically disabling or destroying the hacker’s own computer or network. None of this is currently permitted under US law but the commission would like to see that amended to allow defensive action.

It should be mentioned that the report has a strong focus on foreign threats and goes beyond just piracy by attempting to thwart hacking and economic espionage on US companies. The problem -- aside from giving the entertainment industry an unprecedented amount of power -- is that it doesn’t draw a clear distinction between the theft of corporate trade secrets and more casual piracy such as torrenting a TV show or movie.

Header image via Shutterstock