Workers in The US House of Representatives have been illegally downloading dozens of movies and TV shows for the last four months. The illegal activity was detected back in October when someone decided to catch up on the latest episodes of Dexter and downloaded the program while inside a congressional office. Employees continued to download several television shows and current movies like the 2012 mob flick Lawless, according to US News.
Unauthorized downloads of copyrighted material is illegal in the US. The penalties for illegal downloading vary by country, but the gravest penalties for illegal downloading are usually fines. It is possible to serve time in a prison for downloading a film, music, or television programs illegally. Japan has since made it illegal to download music and videos, making the act punishable with jail terms.
ScanEye, a website that tracks IP addresses on sites like BitTorrent, has been tracing the download trail. BitTorrent and Pirate Bay are online protocols where large files are shared over the internet. The report does not include IP addresses associated with every congressional office, therefore the number of illegal downloads may be even higher. ScanEye reports the illegal downloads have not ceased.
It was reported back in December 2011, the TorrentFreak blog covered news about the US House of Representatives illegally downloading books, TV shows, and even Microsoft Windows 7 via BitTorrent. At the time, members of Congress were drafting legislation for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). SOPA was proposed with the intention of escalating punishments for illegally downloading copy-written material but was not successfully passed.