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Congress eyes broad new digital copyright bill
engine




msg:930682
 3:01 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite. A proposed copyright law seen by CNET News.com would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers.


Congress eyes broad new digital copyright bill [news.com.com]

I'm not sure about the wiretapping idea, but the broadening, in general, is welcomed.

 

mack




msg:930683
 3:14 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think one of the major problems with copyright law is the fact that it extends far beyond any one country. If only there was a collaboration to enforce a law internationally with this magnitude.

I guess this problem extends to the web in general, what law applies ect.

Mack.

bcolflesh




msg:930684
 3:27 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure about the wiretapping idea, but the broadening, in general, is welcomed.

Before I flip out, can you elaborate on why you would welcome this?

mcavic




msg:930685
 4:05 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

new technology is "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft," Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."

That is total bull. Any business can be used to fund terrorism. Eliminating IP theft will have as much of an effect on terrorism as outlawing scissors will have on fatal stabbings. But the above quote makes Bush like the proposal more.

BertieB




msg:930686
 5:03 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's downright scary.


Such willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

Kill a man, get twenty years in prison. Attempt software piracy, get half that. The constitution has provisions that say essentially that the magnitude of the punishment should fit the severity of the crime (no cruel and unusual punishment) -- does piracy (as bad as it may be) really deserve 10 years imprisonment?


...the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.

Arguably a computer is an anticircumvention tool, although I think they would have a hard time making something so broad stick. But how about a debugger? Say you have a dissasembler, debugger and compiler on your system; surely they could argue the presence of such tools would most likely be used for "circumventing protection", whatever that protection may be.

I picked those out as just a couple of examples. What scares me more is the justification:


Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."

(emphasis mine)

I don't see how revenue lost by record companies == funds going to terrorist organisations. So until I see hard proof of that statement I am going to assume they are playing the 'terrorism card' which helps legislation through on the basis it will be used "to fight terrorism".

While the DMCA has some uses (and indeed I'm sure many members here have served valid DMCA takedown notices), it can be (and is) used maliciously. See the example of Adobe and Dmitry Sklyarov for a particularly bad and blatant abuse. As the DMCA is arguably obstructing progress, or rights we should have, or what have you; I can't see how broadening the scope and increasing the severity of punishment will help.

My two bits worth. I have yet to see an up side to this piece of legislation, but if there is one, please point it out.

stapel




msg:930687
 5:15 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

BertieB said: Kill a man, get twenty years in prison.

Actually, it's my understanding that the average convicted murderer in the US serves less than ten years.

...which, of course, only strengthens your argument....

Eliz.

Demaestro




msg:930688
 5:21 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Absolutly frightening.

You know they will do anything it takes when they start trying to drawing lines on how more control over peoples freedom will help agaisnt the fight on terrorism.

What really needs to happen is the current copyright laws need to be revisted completely.

They keep trying to draws lines of comparison, using physical copyright laws and physical objects and trying to reapply them to the digital world and digital objects.

I truly beleive that until they stop trying to force the physical world business model onto the digital world then we are going to have to deal with these types of solutions.

The problem is that no real solution can come from using physical world models. A Berne 'styled' Convention needs to be reheld with laws written in the Digital Age for the Digital Age. Until then, we're stuck with the archaic laws designed to bolster revenues for large corporate entities in an outdated business model they seem unwilling to alter.

kaled




msg:930689
 5:35 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

does piracy (as bad as it may be) really deserve 10 years imprisonment?

It depends on the value of the piracy. If it amounts to millions then 10 years doesn't seem enough to me. If you're talking about a few bucks, ten years seems a little harsh.

Kaled.

rogerd




msg:930690
 6:30 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>does piracy (as bad as it may be) really deserve 10 years imprisonment?

When I was in the PC business, I had vendors trying to sell me skids of realistic-looking but counterfeit product, and competitors selling hundreds of "loaded" computers with illegal copies of Windows, Office, etc. I'd have no problem with sending these guys to the slammer, and for repeat offenses or egregious violations ten years wouldn't be too much.

I doubt if getting caught giving your brother-in-law a copy of FrontPage would result in jail time.

RWSteele




msg:930691
 6:46 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's pretty obvious what all this comes down. Money! Suprise, surpise. Sure, it's illegal and for many reasons, but if Washington wasn't in bed with the companies who are "suffering" would anyone really care and would this be an issue?

Software piracy in China and Russia was hovering around 90 percent at one time, so how in the heck will this prevent piracy outside the U.S? It won't. Just like the CAN-SPAM Act didn't. After it gets watered down, inflated with legal jargin, and given a few loop-holes, it's worthless.

It seems everyday more industries are finding ways to play the "war on teriorrism" card for their finacial gain. So, I'm just waiting for the day Congress passes a bill that requires all Americans to purchase GM vehicles, because a bribe...err..."intelligence" has discovered that money from Nissan or Toyota could eventually fund al-qaeda. You heard it here first.

hutcheson




msg:930692
 6:50 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

>I doubt if getting caught giving your brother-in-law a copy of FrontPage would result in jail time.

No, isn't it given away "free"? (and way overpriced at that!)

But it could cause a divorce.

If you're going to steal, steal something worth stealing!

BertieB




msg:930693
 7:42 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)


When I was in the PC business, I had vendors trying to sell me skids of realistic-looking but counterfeit product, and competitors selling hundreds of "loaded" computers with illegal copies of Windows, Office, etc. I'd have no problem with sending these guys to the slammer, and for repeat offenses or egregious violations ten years wouldn't be too much.

While this quote is from rogerd, I'm clarifying my original post.

[The proposed bill] boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement... from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses).

Of course there is no question that the more blatant the crime the more severe the punishment, but my question remains: as a first time offence, can one person do enough piracy to warrant 10 years in prison? While it is of course theoretically possible, I can't think of an example offhand that justifies that length of time. It mke me think that the punishment should be primarily monetary (cover losses) and involving community service (say), and prison time if the case was egregious enough, or a repeat offence - as rogerd says. Do we even need further legislation broadening this area with the Acts already in place?

It kind of remids me of the aguments of the RIAA and MPAA; that sharing does $250 or some such damage (or causes that in losses) per song. The damage - or length of jail time in this case - seems overly large and arbitrary.

Also, does it strike you that their saying that IP infringement fund terrorism will weaken their case for other pieces of legislation where that has also been the justification? Will John and Jane Doe say "Hey, they're wong! Downloading a song doesn't help terrorists. Maybe they are wrong about the PATRIOT Act as well...?". Or will the public accept it and further legislation until we are at the point of 1984 or The Right To Read [gnu.org].

If The Right to Read link gets nixed, search for it + GNU.

-----------------
For bonus points:

Can someone clue me in on the differences that would result in copyright infringement being pursued under criminal code versus civil code? Would it be that XYZ Corp decides to make an example of Mr J. S. Infringer and says that he has done $5000 worth of damage in infringement, hence FBI involvement, hence criminal case? The reason I ask is that it would seem that this bill is mainly pursuant to criminal prosecutions, though we've seen before with certain companies (hint: Adobe) that criminal prosecution is straightfoward. Is it up to the plaintiff, or does some other factor determine it?

rogerd




msg:930694
 7:44 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>If you're going to steal, steal something worth stealing!

I thought for a brother-in-law, FrontPage was about as far as you'd want to go. ;)

Demaestro




msg:930695
 7:59 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

What worries me as well is a scenrio like the case from a little while back when the grandma of a 12 year old girl who was downloading and sharing files from the grandmas house when the girl visited every weekend ended up getting pursued for around $12,000 worth of files.

Now their argument is they are out that money, but how can they think that a 12 year old girl with a $20 a month allowence would ever spend that type of money on music?

What would be even worse is if grandma was also facing 10 years. Becuase the computer was left on and the file was probably whared over and over without any action from the grandma she could still be deamed a "repeat offender" because of the number of times the file was shared. This is again a physical world definition that shouldn't be applied to digital crime.

ByronM




msg:930696
 8:57 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

The problem with these laws is they do nothing but give lawyers a job. They don't enable our freedom, they don't restrict our freedom and they don't defign our freedoms, they instead enable a gray area that corporations can afford to play in when they see gains to be made.

None of these laws protect americans and the last time i checked our government was created "by and for the people" and this and any other law like it a far from what our founding fothers believed in.

conservative evangelism gone awry if you ask me. major BS when they associate this with "terrorism" - just another label to get this BS play on Faux News.

Lorel




msg:930697
 11:04 pm on Apr 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

How about hijackers bringing sites down with 302 or 301 redirects. Those are the ones I would like to see the DMCA address.

xalex




msg:930698
 1:51 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can't we sue these media companies because some of them are funded by Saudi Prince and middle east?

walkman




msg:930699
 2:04 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Actually, it's my understanding that the average convicted murderer in the US serves less than ten years.

actually, your understanding is wrong; maybe it was so in the 80's, but now we're "tough on crime."

vincevincevince




msg:930700
 2:14 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Perhaps if they wish to discourage piracy then they should also help make copyright works more available.

For example - permitting anyone to sell recorded music, provided at least $5 per track is given to the copyright holder. The copyright holder has the advantage of gaining income from multiple retailers, the retailers have the advantage of being able to manufacture produce to meet demand, and the copyright holder still has a competitive advantage in that they can sell lower than $5.

The same could be true for books ($1 for 1-10 pages, $5 for 11-50 pages, $10 for 51-100 etc.).

Even software could be covered based upon the number of megabytes copied (Win XP at 670Mb having a copyright fee of $15, a 1Mb downloaded software at just $2).

The basis is to take permission and licensing out of the copyright system and provide clear fixed-rates for all reproduction. Licensing can take place with selected retailers to reduce the minimum fee, and retailers can compete on value-added features - encouraging market innovation.

An added advantage would be that there would be clearly defined losses in every case of copyright infringement - 1000 copied Win XP CDs = $15,000 of unpaid (due) fees + legal costs and costs of recovery.

E-book editions could sell at just 25% markup on the basic copyright fee, whilst hardback could sell at much more than the basic fee - the copyright holder still gets a fair fee for each use of their intellectual property - and the retailer gets a fee which reflects their added value (printing, binding, typesetting, audio edition, etc.)

farmboy




msg:930701
 2:31 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think one of the major problems with copyright law is the fact that it extends far beyond any one country. If only there was a collaboration to enforce a law internationally with this magnitude.

However, in some (many?) situations, the U.S. is the key.

For example, someone from another country took the content from several of my pages and put it on his site which was hosted outside the U.S. He monetized it by placing AdSense ads on the pages.

I went through the DMCA process, notified AdSense and his account was closed. Even though he was outside the U.S. and his hosting was outside the U.S., I was still easily able to take care of business.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:930702
 2:37 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

new technology is "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft," Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."


That is total bull.

Which part is total bull?

That new technology is encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved

or

that proceeds from some of these illicity businesses are used to fund terrorism activities?

FarmBoy

JohnCanyon




msg:930703
 6:19 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just do not forget to voice your opinion. Contact your congressman and tell them how you feel.

They (the gov't) == Us

I will certainly include this in my weekly letter of rantings I can assure you.

Absolutely scary what they are utlizing the word "terrorism" for.

mcavic




msg:930704
 6:54 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Which part is total bull?

The link to terrorism. I'm all for stopping the people who are making a business out of trafficking in stolen property of any kind.

kaled




msg:930705
 8:48 am on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't dismiss the link to terrorism entirely...

Terrorists need money. It is either donated by sympathisers or it is acquired by criminal means. Cybercrime is undoubtedly an area exploited by terrorists (some of whom are very well educated and technically literate). It may well be that terrorists make up less than 1% of the perpetrators, but that does not mean they can be ignored.

Personally, I don't care if criminals get locked up longer. However, a clear legal distinction needs to be drawn between people who break copyright for personal use and those that do so for profit.

Kaled.

Alex_Miles




msg:930706
 12:06 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Um, I hate to break the news, but terrorism is primarily funded two ways. 1) Donations via religious organisations 2) Semi sanctioned heroin importation via countries whose law enforcement is encouraged to turn a blind eye.

At least thats how it is done in the UK. Bin Laden was sending ships up the Mersey laden with goodies all the time 10 years ago, and far from being stopped he got the red carpet treatment even though everyone within a 50 mile radius knew exactly what was on those ships (much of the local economy being dependent on it).

Besides which, pirating for gain is an industry past its time if ever I saw one. You can get anything you want for free via bittorrent.

mcavic




msg:930707
 2:42 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Cybercrime is undoubtedly an area exploited by terrorists

Granted.

a clear legal distinction needs to be drawn between people who break copyright for personal use and those that do so for profit

Yes.

Demaestro




msg:930708
 3:36 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Don't dismiss the link to terrorism entirely...

But it is so much worse in so many more industries, to give life to this argument is really sad and wrong.

You know where most of the oil comes from right? You know that a lot of those countries are associated to terror groups. Why isn't oil being touted as a way for terrorist to fund activities? Because it doesn't serve them to bring that up nor are they going to have a trade boycott of oil from those countries or even bring it up that oil profits from gas purchased in the USA fund terrorism. However that would be by far the more true statement vs the fact that copyright infrgingment funds terror.

The fact that they only bring it up when it serves them is the major problem I have with them using that wording. It is a scare tactic, sure some people use profits of crime for bad stuff, that goes without saying. But using terrosism to pass through freedom limiting laws is unethical at best.

malachite




msg:930709
 6:44 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Seems the UK isn't the only place where laws introduced for the benefit of big business end up having severe and frightening potential repercussions for the little guy.

I'm as keen as the next person that my site isn't copied, but hell! 10 years inside? That's a bit much. Just take the damned content down :o

Alex_Miles




msg:930710
 11:00 pm on Apr 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

If there were no such thing as terrorism to point at when wanting to do something unnacceptable, they'd invent it.

AhmedF




msg:930711
 10:28 am on Apr 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anything can be used to fund terrorism.

But sure, give away your freedom.

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