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Definition: NET Act

(No Electronic Theft Act) U.S. Federal legislation passed in December 1997 that covers illegal distribution of software over the Internet. Anybody uploading copyrighted software to a website and posting its availability is liable for prosecution. ISPs are also liable if they have been warned to close down a Web page and do not comply. Penalties include up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In August 1999, a 22-year-old university student was the first person convicted under the NET Act of making copyrighted software, music recordings and movies available to the general public. See software piracy and SIIA.