Chalk up another win for the RIAA and MPAA, with a corresponding loss for sanity in our legal system.

Congress approved a new bill today that would make the possession of a digital copy of a pre-release movie a federal felony punishable by three years in prison and a fine of up to a quarter-million dollars. The fine would be levied even if no one actually “shared” the file.

Maybe the brain-trust that is Congress was seduced by the warm-and-fuzzy name of the bill (the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act), or maybe they were just paid off by the idiots running the media industry. It’s hard to tell, but the outcome is frightening. It’s just another draconian rule in the ever-expanding circle of ridiculous copyright “protections” that are really only protecting the absurd profits of a few media moguls.

As with the recent nine-year prison term for a guy who was a notorious spammer, this bill levies penalties that are terribly disproportionate to the crime committed. But hey, the entertainment industry seems to enjoy instilling fear and hatred in their consumers. Go figure.