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Piracy Deterrence and Education Act Introduced 508

Posted by simoniker
from the funkadelic-copyright-protection-league dept.
Bootsy Collins writes "Last Thursday in the U.S. Congress, H.R. 2517 was quietly introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill, authored by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Howard Berman (D-CA), directs the FBI to develop methods of deterring copyright violation through use of peer-to-peer networks, including efforts to facilitate sharing information about suspected violators amongst law enforcement agencies. It also directs the Justice Department to develop programs to educate the American public on why copyright violation is bad. Berman, you may remember, introduce a bill last year that would give the RIAA and MPAA wide latitude to crack suspected violators' computers. " Update: 06/23 17:03 GMT by S : We also covered a variant of this story on Saturday.
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Piracy Deterrence and Education Act Introduced

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  • Action (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The AtomicPunk (450829) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:56PM (#6274436)
    Will any of you actually write your congress critters about this?

    God forbid the FBI go after dangerous criminals ... I feel much safer with pot smokers and warez kiddies behind bars.
    • by beavis88 (25983) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:00PM (#6274479)

      Read the text of the bill (I can't find the link offhand, but it's out there) -- some of the paragraphs are downright laughable, particularly the one directing the FBI to educate citizens about the dangers of connecting to "unauthorized" P2P services.

      Maybe one of these days Congress will stop trying to prop up a failing business model by turning the US into a police state. But I'm not holding my breath...
    • Re:Action (Score:5, Funny)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:02PM (#6274500) Journal

      God forbid the FBI go after dangerous criminals ... I feel much safer with pot smokers and warez kiddies behind bars.

      But don't you realize that File Sharing is a gateway crime? It leads to fraud, prostitution, murder, and massive drug dealing. For the love of god Think of the children!

      • Re:Action (Score:5, Funny)

        by chazzf (188092) <cfulton AT deepthought DOT org> on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:34PM (#6274860) Homepage Journal
        But don't you realize that File Sharing is a gateway crime?

        I see filesharing as more of a proxy crime myself...
      • Re:Action (Score:3, Funny)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        But don't you realize that File Sharing is a gateway crime? It leads to fraud, prostitution, murder, and massive drug dealing. For the love of god Think of the children! "

        I can see it now.....

        "If you use P2P, you're supporting Terrorism!"

      • Re:Action (Score:5, Funny)

        by hal200 (181875) <`slashdot' `at' `jdk.ca'> on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:36PM (#6275758) Journal
        Ugh. That reminds me of this awful commercial that just started playing up (Ontario, Canada) here on Rogers Cable...

        It starts out with this 10 year old-ish boy walking out of a convenience store with a candy bar, and the shop owner runs out and accuses him of shoplifting it.

        The scene then jumps to a cops dropping the kid off at his parents house.

        The scene jumps again to inside the house, the kid is sitting on the couch with his father next to him. The father asks, "Did your friends put you up to it?" The kid shakes his head. "Then where did you learn to steal?" The kid looks up at his father with big deer in front of headlights eyes and says, "But Dad, you steal satellite signals!"

        It then cuts to a white screen with the words "theft is theft" written on it in large black courier font with the sound of sirens and police radio in the background.

        The funny thing is that the commercial makes me want to "steal satellite signals" just so I know my money wouldn't be going to fund such dreck.

        So, apparently the progression is: P2P leads to Warez. Warez leads to Satellite Hacking. Satellite Hacking leads to Shoplifting, and so on and so on.

        So remember, kids! Every time you download a song off the Internet, you kill a baby panda!
        • Re:Action (Score:3, Funny)

          by dlur (518696)
          So remember, kids! Every time you download a song off the Internet, you kill a baby panda!

          And every time you download stolen copyrighted porn material off Kazaa and masterbate to it, a ninja kills a kitten! So in theory, Kazaa kills kittens. This is why the FBI and government want to shut down P2P networks, because after all who wants to kill a cute little kitten?

        • Re:Action (Score:3, Interesting)

          by homer_ca (144738)
          That's hilarious! The best part of it is that's it's not illegal to decode digital satellite signals in Canada. Directv is not licensed to sell satellite TV service in Canada so it's impossible to "steal" a service that doesn't exist. There's no problem using hacked access cards and receivers there.
          • Re:Action (Score:3, Informative)

            by hal200 (181875)
            Actually, as of last year, it is. Bell, Telus and StarChoice successfully petitioned the CRTC to disallow "grey market" receivers because it was competing with their services. And so, in one fell swoop, all those hacked access cards and receivers suddenly became illegal.

            Great, isn't it?
    • Re:Action (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland@@@gmail...com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:04PM (#6274531)
      Slashdot always has good coverage of this issue, and everyone likes to talk about it, but who does anything about it?

      We should at least be writing to our congress-people about the issue. It's one that's not getting substantial media attention, but it's going to become a HUGE issue in a few years.

      NOW is the time to put the wheels in motion that are going to save us from government control over all intellectual property.

      We need to force some change- we need to show the media empire that it can't hold onto it's current business model, that it's greedy little eyes need to open up a little and see the damage they are causing.

      There is a solution to pirating that does not have to involve the government or anyone else erasing hard drives. Apple's on the right track with the iTunes store. We should be making the RIAA look at new solutions that work best for all involved, not just some fat cats. /end rant
    • Re:Action (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Danse (1026) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:09PM (#6274578)

      Ugh.. Lamar Smith is my rep. I've written him a couple of letters on the subject of copyright and I always get the same sort of BS back, talking about how it's important to strengthen copyright law. Blah blah blah. He never gives a reason. It all seems pretty condescending really. Maybe I should write him again and ask him to explain it to me using very small words so that a simpleton like me can understand why we need practically perpetual copyrights.

      • Re:Action (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MsGeek (162936) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:37PM (#6274884) Homepage Journal
        Ugh...Howard Berman is my rep. I thought he was finished with this kind of stuff [com.com], or at least that's what he said earlier this year. Well, he stands for reelection in 2004, time to get the word out in my 'hood that hack-happy Berman has got to go.

        He got scared a little when he didn't get his usual 85% to 95% of the vote in the last election. Unfortunately, we didn't scare him enough. Someone bring in a pro-choice, anti-Big Media Republican candidate to take him out...or an electable Libertarian.

      • 435 reps not enough (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ChristTrekker (91442) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:05PM (#6275238)

        This is a perfect illustration why 435 representatives in Congress is not enough. Congressman simply do not have time for their constituents. They can't be bothered with the concerns of ordinary folks.

        The original representation ratio was 1:30k. Now it's more like 1:575k. Today we have the technology that would make a meeting of 8300 representatives possible instead of completely impractical. Personally I'm fully in favor of a tenfold increase in the number of representatives in the House. Heck, even raising the number to something nice and round like 1000 reps would be a step in the right direction.

        • by calethix (537786) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:12PM (#6275345) Homepage
          "Personally I'm fully in favor of a tenfold increase in the number of representatives in the House"

          Are you also in favor of paying their salaries?
          In all honesty, I doubt things would change that much if we have 8300 representatives vs. 435. It's not just a matter of having too many constituents that makes them unresponsive, it also has something to do with all of those campaign contributions and their own private dealings.
          • by sckeener (137243)
            In all honesty, I doubt things would change that much if we have 8300 representatives vs. 435.
            yea, but can you image bribing 4151 representatives? I think even companies would be hard pressed to make a dent...
      • Re:Action (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        I've written him a couple of letters on the subject of copyright and I always get the same sort of BS back, talking about how it's important to strengthen copyright law. Blah blah blah.

        so what else have you done? how much have you informed your friends and family? how many letters have they written?

        Geeks writing an email is a Bullcrap cop-out. if we want to do anything but sound like whiney kids, we need to write letters to the editor in all local newspapers, educate friends, relatives, neigbhbors, e
    • Tell your Congressfolk that the bill should explain to their voters that everything ever created, from crayon scribblings to songs in the shower to Madonna's "What do you think you're doing" MP3 is automatically covered by Copyright as soon as it's created, and how you should benefit from Copyright laws too.

      Tell your Congressfolk that the bill should also include programs which explain to constituents just what the social and cultural benefits of the Public Domain might be, which is what the "limited tim

    • (From Lamar's web site)
      The 21st Congressional District stretches along the Interstate 35 Corridor from north San Antonio to west Austin and Travis County and encompasses all of the Texas Hill Country. Fourteen counties are included in the District.
    • Re:Action (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aborchers (471342) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:34PM (#6274859) Homepage Journal
      Will any of you actually write your congress critters about this?


      Actually, having read the text of the bill, I'm not entirely sure I will. While I don't see it as a particularly useful bit of legislation, I don't see it as dreadful enough that I would squander my communication capital with my rep [house.gov] to decry it.

      I have spent considerable time educating the Honorable Mr. Wexler about the technological and civil implications of ill-conceived copyright legislation (a recent sample [slashdot.org]) but I'm not convinced that this bill really has that much substance of concern. Unless I'm missing something, it directs the FBI (1) to engage in a public education campaign (which I imagine will be about as effective and thorough as the leader warnings on videotapes and anti-drug commercials) and (2) to share information among law enforcement agencies about infringement activities. Frankly, I think if people were better informed about copyright issues and laws it would be a Good Thing(TM), and I'd much rather have an accountable law enforcement agency policing copyright infringement (which is, whatever your personal ethical position, a crime according to the US Code) than RIAA and MPAA vigilantes.

      If someone can educate me as to why this bill is so horrible, and what substantial harm it does to consumer rights or technological progress, then I will change my mind and dash out another missive to my rep. ACs need not reply. Nothing of relevance posted in response to this question would you endanger your life or liberty by signing, and and if you do not offer me the respect of knowing my communicant, I will not read your post...
      • Re:Action (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lemmeoutada Collecti (588075) <obereon.gmail@com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:07PM (#6275264) Homepage Journal
        Well, based on the bill itself, I noticed the following legalspeak slipped in that would be detrimental:

        (7) In light of these considerations, it is important that Federal law enforcement agencies actively pursue criminals who steal the copyrighted works of others, and prevent such activity through enforcement and awareness. It is also important that the public be educated about the security and privacy risks associated with being connected to an unauthorized peer-to-peer network.
        (a) DESIGNATION OF AGENTS IN CHIPS UNITS- The Attorney General shall ensure that any unit in the Department of Justice responsible for investigating computer hacking or responsible for investigating intellectual property crimes is assigned at least one agent to support such unit for the purpose of investigating crimes relating to the theft of intellectual property.
        (1) educate the general public concerning the value of copyrighted works and the effects of the theft of such works on those who create them;

        Copyright infringement is not, and has not yet been placed, in the same legal category as theft. Passage of this bill would give the RIAA, MPAA, and Congress the precedent to redefine the crime from infringement to theft, a much more serious crime with harsher punishments. As I am sure you are aware from your interaction with Mr. Wexler, precise legal phrasing is a potent and manipulable tool of politics.

        While I agree that the gist of the bill appears harmless, the use and insertion of the word theft into the bill could very well be a 'backdoor bill' attempt. Educating the public is a good and noble goal, and well worth while. But I am wary after so many times things have been slipped into bills to allow another bill in that redefines the laws in such a way.
        • Re:Action (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aborchers (471342)
          While I agree that the gist of the bill appears harmless, the use and insertion of the word theft into the bill could very well be a 'backdoor bill' attempt.


          Thank you. This is exactly the kind of insight that will convince me to act. Striking use of the word theft, in fact any implication that copyright infringement and theft can be equated, from the bill is truly a wise choice.

          I am embarrased to have missed that. I will start preparing my letter forthwith.

  • Education! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:57PM (#6274439)
    It also directs the Justice Department to develop programs to educate the American public on why copyright violation is bad

    Piracy's bad......mmmmkay?
    • by Slack0ff (590042)
      Next they will be telling me that all these credit card numbers i found online are illegal... what are we fucking commies?
  • Next we'll see copyright education in public schools, just imagine, a textbook with a section on "Why KaZaA is Bad".
    • Re:Next... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:00PM (#6274483)
      And what exactly would be so bad about that?

      Judging from some of the comments and attitudes that are prevalent here, I think a lot of people need to be told what copyright is, and what it's supposed to do.

      If nothing else, how can you possibly make an informed argument against something if you don't know exactly what you're arguing against? (Or for, for that matter)
      • Many people don't know it's illegal to pirate music, and it's actually kind of funny to talk to people about it. I'm not saying that said textbook would be a bad thing, I just think it's interesting that this kind of thing may be introduced in public schools.
        • Most people who post here know piracy is illegal, and they know that large-scale p2p filesharing isn't legitimate fair use. (Although some folks don't seem to realize "fair use" is a legal definition, but, instead, speak as if they, as individuals, get to decide what constitutes fair use.)

          A lot of the noise surrounding this issue is generated by people attempting to pose as intellectual property revolutionaries, convinced that the Internet makes all previous human experience obsolete. This is bogus, of cou
    • Funny thing is, the school my nephew goes to supports students getting their music from Kazza and bringing in home brew CDs to their audio video department. These CDs are used as part of their school's announcements.

  • 2.3 billion...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jdray (645332) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:58PM (#6274447) Homepage Journal
    Did I count those zeroes right? 2.3 billion files exchanged each month?

    I wonder what they're considering a "file." If they're counting the gifs and jpegs for smileys, emoticons, ads, backgrounds for the chat clients and whatnot, that doesn't seem like a fair comparisson.

    What am I saying? This is Congress at work...

    • Re:2.3 billion...? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ToadMan8 (521480) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:06PM (#6274549)
      Oh jeez, I don't doubt it. We had direct connect running on a private network... about 1000 users connected on average, 15 or 16 TB of data, and we averaged over two searches per second. Every day. All day. So if each search resulted in only one download (which most resulted in "download everything, I am connected at 100 mbps") that'd be 172,800 downloads a day and thus ~63,000,000 theoretical downloads per year. On our piddly little 1000 (but blindingly fast ;)) network.
  • by Quietdemon (682573) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:59PM (#6274465)
    I swear the faster future tech and future laws spring up, the more and more I find myself in a future looking a lot like Judge Dredd. This particular saying bugs the sh** outta me: "Quietly introduced" What exactly does that mean...that these people will try and make up some sort of law and unless people are aware enough and rebel against it, there's a good chance it will come to pass? Not to be pessimistic...ahem, but as far as I know, countries go to war without consent of the people. You can bloody bet that laws can be "Quietly introduced" without the will of the people. QD
  • by nemaispuke (624303) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:59PM (#6274466)
    This should make a good "Fleecing of America" or "Your Money" episode, oh that's right, I'm talking about responsible journalism! Never mind! It's nice to know how my tax dollars are being pissed away, and I will remember that when it is time to vote!
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:59PM (#6274468)
    Uhm..excuse me...but shouldn't the FBI be out chasing violent criminals and terrorists, rather than busting teenagers for downloading Britney Spears? Besides...it seems to me that all these wasted hours protecting the obsolete business models of private companies like the RIAA and MPAA might also be spent training agents more....as in making the 'intelligence' community a bit more intelligent.
    • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:08PM (#6274568) Journal
      shouldn't the FBI be out chasing violent criminals and terrorists, rather than busting teenagers for downloading Britney Spears?

      Is this a trick question?

    • Uhm..excuse me...but shouldn't the FBI be out chasing violent criminals and terrorists,

      File sharing is terrorism, isn't it? I mean Sen. Hatch seems to think so.

      rather than busting teenagers for downloading Britney Spears?

      Well, let's not be too stringent on what people should be jailed for. ;^)

      Besides...it seems to me that all these wasted hours protecting the obsolete business models of private companies like the RIAA and MPAA

      The RIAA and MPAA are trade groups (or lobby groups), not private co
      • by calethix (537786)
        "File sharing is terrorism, isn't it? I mean Sen. Hatch seems to think so"

        hrm, let's see...
        Main Entry: terÂrorÂism
        Pronunciation: 'ter-&r-"i-z&m
        Function: noun
        Date: 1795
        : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

        That sounds more like what the RIAA does to people swapping songs than the other way around.

        Not that I'm trying to defend copyright infringement but it's pretty clear who is trying to coerce who by means of terror. i.e. "Stop doing that or we'll sue
    • by wurp (51446)
      Actually, how does the FBI have the right to bust anyone? My country's constitution gives the federal government rights over a very limited set of things: treason, interstate trade, dealings with foreign governments, copyrights & patents (unfortunately). Anything else they arrest people for is strictly illegal (though not at all uncommon).

      I'm sorry to say, but illegal copying is one of the few things that the federal government actually has the constitutional right to do something about.
  • by phorm (591458) on Monday June 23, 2003 @12:59PM (#6274471) Journal
    develop a program to deter members of the public from committing acts of copyright infringement

    What exactly qualifies as a "program?"
    I know a lot of us are picturing armed FBI raids, computer seizures, kids being drug down the streets in chains for the crime of filesharing and being made into examples. It's possible... hell it's already happening.

    However, I'm hoping it's more something like the current drug compaigns. Public awareness on "filesharing" and "piracy" as a crime. Consequences, that type of thing. I also hope that if it becomes obvious enough, people will wake up and Joe Average (tm) will finally realize the type of bullsh*t that corps like the RIAA are trying to pull with the law.

    SERIOUSLY, the FBI has no place at all getting involved with copyright issues. There are a lot more things they can do that are a hell of a lot more productive, like preventing 9-11 mark II. We don't need them tapping our internet lines, tracing our IP's, or dragging more people in to court.

    I think the USA needs a little bit of seperation between government and corporation - thought by now we all know who is really running the country anyways.
    • by no soup for you (607826) <jesse@wolgamott.gmail@com> on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:05PM (#6274536) Homepage
      SERIOUSLY, the FBI has no place at all getting involved with copyright issues.

      In all truth, the FBI is exactly the organization to investigate copyright violations. Remember the warnings at the beginning of movies? IP and copyright are Federal laws. The FBI enforces federal statues

      disclaimer: I hate this bill and think it should not come out of committee.

      • by alfredw (318652)

        SERIOUSLY , the FBI has no place at all getting involved with copyright issues.

        In all truth, the FBI is exactly the organization to investigate copyright violations.

        Not really. My biggest problem with this is that violating a copyright, at least right now, in the United States, is not a 'crime' per se; it is a civil offense. The copyright holder is responsible for dragging you into court and extracting damages. What this bill proposes is that the FBI now take on that role, at taxpayers expense.

    • by Delphiki (646425) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:05PM (#6274540)

      I'm sure I'm going to get flamed for this, but Corporations and copyright holders deserve protection under the law too. If not the FBI then who should be involved with copyright issues? The FBI is not the CIA, or the military, it's the government association responsible for enforcing most federal laws. Stealing copyrighted materials violates a federal law, hence the FBI should get involved. Unless you want to abolish copyrights, or create another law enforcement body to handle this sort of thing, then it is the FBI's business, this law would just make it a higher priority for them .

      And you're hoping it's like the drug campaigns? The war on drugs is one of the most enormous failures that hte US government has ever embarked upon. It's caused increased violence, helped to fund terrorism, and not slowed down the drug problem.

  • Damn.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:00PM (#6274475) Journal
    Based on the headline, I breifly held the hope that they would educate you on how to P2P. However, I then made the mistake of reading the summary. So what have we learned from this? It's not enough that you don't read the article before posting, you also can't read the summary before posting. If I hadn't, I could have posted a "OMG 3y3 can't bel3ive thye R go1ng to t34ch us to p1r4t3!!!!!!!1111", but now I'm stuck with this lame post instead.
  • d00-dz! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by numbski (515011) *
    Neither Smith nor Berman seemed anxious to comment on the legislation.

    Heh...done like any professional three year-old who just messed in his pants.

    SEC. 3. DETERRENCE AND COORDINATION.

    The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall--

    (1) develop a program to deter members of the public from committing acts of copyright infringement by--

    (A) offering on the Internet copies of copyrighted works, or

    (B) making copies of copyrighted works from the Internet, without the authorization of t
    • (2) educate the general public concerning the privacy, security, and other risks of using the Internet to obtain unauthorized copies of copyrighted works;

      Hey, don't touch that! You don't know where it's been! :P

      "They're all over me!
      They're inside of me!
      Can't get 'em offa me.

      I'm covered with....(bacteria)...GERMS!"

      That doesn't sound too convincing, ANY file you get off the internet is a security concern, no?
  • Education (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ToadMan8 (521480)
    Oh! You mean downloading music without paying anybody for it is illegal?! Oh!! In that case I think I'll just stop.

    I'm glad that education campaign is there, jeez, I didn't know that on my own. It hurts ::gasp:: the RIAA. And it hurts the artists. Well, it would if the music industry stays in it's current form. For the hundreth time, the market is changing. Perhaps, RIAA, you are no longer required. Please, Senate, don't ruin the industry squelching a change simply to support a company that makes
  • by acomj (20611) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:00PM (#6274487) Homepage
    It seems that everyone always gets upset when the government cracks down. The whole point in pirating/ copyright infringment is illegal. Its wrong to take something that someone is not giving away and use it. The fact that you can share your files with all the anonymous cowards on the internet doesn't mean you should.

    Do people download music they wouldn't buy, sure. Is there legitimate use for p2p, yes. But it also can be used easily to set out your own inexpensive publishing house and give away what others sell for free.

    Information has value, especially in the new economy. I sometimes think people get to bent out of shape when people/companies try to protect that value.

    • I think that the point is that the government is "paying" to protect assets of private companies.

      Since the government don't "earn" money, so is the taxpayers money that is being diverted from one area to another area that is being said "more important" or "vital" or any other adjective.

      The FBI now will start to eavesdrop and crack down on Joe Beer so he stops downloading N Sync and LOTR. Good...

      Without that kind of distraction Bin Laden parked two boeings in manhatan, other at the pentagon and another di
  • Fair bill? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnuadam (612852) * on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:00PM (#6274488) Journal

    Distributing copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal. This is true regardless of what you might think about the fairness of either the behaviour of the copyright owner or of the copyright law itself.

    This bill is unique. It seems rational. In a world where senators advocate allowing copyright owners to (without due process) destroy or hack computers in an attempt to halt unlawful distribution of their materials, this seems sane.

    It does nothing more than encourage law enforcement to cooperate in fighting crime, and puts the American people on notice that breaking the law is wrong, and that the people distributing many popular p2p programs plan spyware in their programs, and that the use of p2p carries risks for the safety of your computer, especially if they are used unwisely (like shareing an entire drive.)

    • The Real Bill (Score:3, Interesting)

      by krysith (648105)
      Last week, Sen. Hatch made an outrageous suggestion for a bill to allow copyright holders to destroy file-sharer's PCs [slashdot.org]. Some people [slashdot.org] thought this was just a spurious bill to take the heat off of the "real dangerous" laws that would then be proposed, which might seem more "rational".

      Apparently this is the real bill.

      So, please tell me what is rational about this? Yes, distributing materials without the permission of the copyright owner is illegal. We already have laws and civil penalties for this. Thi
  • by Sunlighter (177996) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:01PM (#6274494)

    ...is to provide federal funding to run ads against candidates or referenda which would weaken intellectual property laws such as the DMCA, the super-DMCAs, the CDBPTA (did I spell that right?), etc.

    Why wouldn't they? They've already started doing it about candidates and referenda that try to legalize medical marijuana.

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fobbman (131816) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:02PM (#6274507) Homepage
    They certainly should go after all software, music, and movie pirates, and take them down hard. If they make software piracy a lot more difficult, then it will force people to turn to free software alternatives. If they make music piracy a lot more difficult, then maybe folks will turn to lesser-known bands who allow mp3 downloads of their product and possibly find better-quality (but not as well-packaged, commercially) music. And if they make movie piracy a lot more difficult, then...uh...I dunno. I'm sure there's a good reason for that, other than the whole legality issue.

  • The bill, authored by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Howard Berman (D-CA), directs the FBI to develop methods of deterring copyright violation through use of peer-to-peer networks, including efforts to facilitate sharing information about suspected violators amongst law enforcement agencies.

    Defeat file sharing through file sharing. Ah the irony.

    Supporting P2P is supporting terrorist. Just like doing drugs, sleeping with people of the same sex, vandalism, murder, bouncing checks, jay walking, post
    • Bah!

      They're not talking about defeating file sharing--just illegal file sharing.

      See the difference? No, probably not. Copyright violation only happens when you violate copyright law. There is nothing in the letter or stated intent of this bill that would make P2P illegal per se.

      Implied intent may well be another thing (especially with the backing of Berman, the RIAA, and the MPAA) but your statement is just flat out wrong. (and hence, unironic)
      • They're not talking about defeating file sharing--just illegal file sharing.

        See the difference? No, probably not. Copyright violation only happens when you violate copyright law. There is nothing in the letter or stated intent of this bill that would make P2P illegal per se.

        Implied intent may well be another thing (especially with the backing of Berman, the RIAA, and the MPAA) but your statement is just flat out wrong. (and hence, unironic)


        Umm,

        This is Slashdot. Where I do not have to read the article,
  • by Sean80 (567340) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:03PM (#6274517)
    I wonder about the poster's motivation for this one. Copyright is good, and these efforts at law enforcement are a good thing? Copyright is bad, enforced by the evil corporations? Everything should be free, oh and by the way, pass the J, won't you?

    Law enforcement agencies sharing information and teaching kids about why breaking the law is a bad thing. That honestly sounds like a good idea to me. Kids are taught that drugs are bad, that you don't shoot people - why not also teach them tearing away at the foundation of the economy is also a bad thing. Yes, the way the RIAA and MPAA approach things sucks, their business model is old, and they litigate to save themselves. But that doesn't mean that copyright is a bad thing, per se.

    Around here, as much as people argue that open-source is the way for the world to go, every one of us has to admit that it's only our day jobs which allows us to spend our nights cutting code for open-source projects. Copyright is a Very, Very, Very Good Thing (TM). I don't think that fact is lessened by some idiotic laws which these guys have tried to pass in the past.

    • by Vengeance (46019) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:10PM (#6274583)
      When copyrights were introduced to the U.S., they had a very restricted time frame (fourteen years I believe, without looking it up).

      In the intervening years, various parties have managed to get the copyright period extended to a ludicrous extent, and it's for *one* reason: Walt Disney corporation can't come up with anything NEW that's any good, so they've gotta keep protecting Mickey and Donald and Goofy and all those other characters that, by rights, would have passed into the public domain decades ago.

      Essentially, legislation and litigation are a poor but workable substitute for innovation and invention.
    • Hmm.

      I've argued in favour of rational copyrights on /. in the past, and will do so in the future. I'm not sure that I'd put it in the category of a "very very very good thing," but I'd definitely defend it as a Good Thing when used properly. (the Bono act ain't it!)

      I think that there are some real objections to be brought up here, though: What I can infer about this bill makes it sound like the FBI is pushing for greater powers to subpoena ISPs and get information out of them. What they currently have is
    • Great on paper (Score:5, Insightful)

      by siskbc (598067) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:14PM (#6274639) Homepage
      Law enforcement agencies sharing information and teaching kids about why breaking the law is a bad thing. That honestly sounds like a good idea to me. Kids are taught that drugs are bad, that you don't shoot people - why not also teach them tearing away at the foundation of the economy is also a bad thing. Yes, the way the RIAA and MPAA approach things sucks, their business model is old, and they litigate to save themselves. But that doesn't mean that copyright is a bad thing, per se.

      I know where you're coming from - to disclose, I like the general idea of copyright, and think it would be fine without industry shills. Today, copyright duration is, what, life + 3000 years? And fair use means that copying stuff for home use is only a misdemeanor instead of a felony?

      My problem in light of above is, yes, the law sounds great on paper...but only there. Education is fine, but what about the inter-agency info sharing? Again, I would have not problem if it were used to get blatant commercial-mp3-only sharers, but lately it's been used to go after kids who basically build search engines. And I don't like that.

      So it's like this - the law sounds good, but do you support a just law if you know for sure that it will be implemented in a monstrously unjust manner? That has to be considered, because a law in a vacuum is nothing. Consider sodomy laws on the books in most states - they are horrendously discriminatory against homosexuals and other people the Christian Coalition considers "deviants" - but I don't really care because they're not enforced at all, and amount to nothing more than a quaint little nuiscance. This law, on the other hand, while it sounds nice, has the potential to take down a lot of people who have the gall to allow people a way of sharing information without policing that information. And I don't like that at all.

    • You know, I have nothing against the concept of copyright, although the current legal implementation of copyright is messed up, IMO.

      What I do have a problem with is the usage of federal funds and personnel to attempt to enforce copyright.

      Patents enforcement is largely the responsibility of the holder, not the government. Why should the responsibility of copyright enforcement be any different? If a work is copyrighted and the holder does not want to pay to enforce the restrictions associated with copyrig
    • No, what it means is that copyright law no longer serves the purpose that it was supposed to serve. The public has no stake in it anymore. Nothing becomes public domain anymore, and won't for at least another 15 years. Probably longer because they'll just pass their regular 20-year extension again then anyway. Copyright was never supposed to be perpetual. It was supposed to be a bargain between the public and the people creating things that the public likes. We give them a period of time in which they

    • This was more or less an incencitive to call for innovation (make something new and usefull and we the *governement representationg the people* will give you for some years a monopoly on exploiting your invention*. But slowly it was perverted by the copyright holder. Nowadays they try to make it pass as a natural law protected "RIGHT" of them to exploit something, and if somebody break thier right it should be enforced harshly. The problem here, is that copyright has grown imbalanced and the public interres
    • That doesn't mean that copyright is a good thing either. The funny thing is, as I sit here smoking my J, I'm reading and writing this on software I downloaded off the internet for free. And you know what? It didn't take some big corporation and millions of dollars to write this software either. It only took a handful of dedicated people.

      Much like the internet. It was built not by one government but by the efforts of millions of people working together to ensure that a packet of data can travel from on
  • by stud9920 (236753) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:06PM (#6274543)
    including efforts to facilitate sharing information about suspected violators amongst law enforcement agencies
    install kazaa problem solved
  • So, the government is going to tell everyone to stop doing this, and then everyone's going to stop. Is that how this is going to work?

    I give them high marks for concept (snicker), now let's see them implement it.
  • by shams42 (562402) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:06PM (#6274555)

    From the text of the bill:

    In addition, many of the computer users drawn to the convenience of peer-to-peer systems do not realize that these systems pose serious security and privacy threats to their personal computers or company networks. Recent studies reveal that the majority of the users of these systems are unable to tell what files they are sharing and sometimes incorrectly assume they were not sharing any files when in fact they were sharing all files on their hard drive.

    Does anyone have a reference for these "recent studies?" What evidence suggests that running P2P clients is a security issue?

    I don't know what is considered a strong argument in bill-writing, but in graduate school we are expected to provide specifics (including citations) when we describe the results of a study. Otherwise, we could be "creatively interpreting" the results, or better yet, making stuff up altogether. Assuming that these studies actually exist, I'd bet that the subjects were AOL users!

  • Why is it bad? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jcsehak (559709) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:09PM (#6274575) Homepage
    ...programs to educate the American public on why copyright violation is bad

    Is there any actual evidence that filesharing is bad? Weren't record sales up 10% during the height of Napster? Isn't that the only indicator? I'd be very interested in this. If there are stories of bands that go like "we were doing alright, we just put out our first album, then it went on KaZaa, and nobody bought it, but we have evidence that a million people downloaded the whole album and listened to it more than once and swear that they would've bought it if they weren't able to d/l it for free, and now we all work at a burger joint."

    If there's no actual evidence, what are they going to teach? "Well, we've got heresay and conjecture, your honor - those are kinds of evidence." Does anyone actually believe that artists are worse off with filesharing around?
  • by rivendahl (220389) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:10PM (#6274584)
    I mean really. Everyone here knows that the industry needs to change. They know it too. But the real problem here is that WE the US citizens are not being shielded. We elect these people into office and they work for us. However, at some point since they had the power they decided to give themselves more power. In the end, we have a Congressional body that obviously caters to the all mighty dollar. Therefore, screaming about it does no good. For those you tell don't care. Honestl, they don't.

    Here's the insightful bit:

    Since when did the US government guarantee that a corporation will earn money one way or another? I mean instead of letting the companies attempt to crack down on piracy their own way the companies beg and plead that the US government step in and be the daddy. The problem is that the government is not supposed to be involved in such matters. The ONLY thing the governement to supposed to do receive taxes to defend our countries citizens from outside attacks. Not police the world, bend to the will of a common nation governemnt (UN), or be involved in corporate legalities that do not directly affect the us citizens.

    Online music piracy (incorrectly identified BTW), is nothing more than an easier way to "tape" a CD. We all know this. They know this. The bottom line is that the corporation needs to address this NOT the fucking government!!!

    We OWN the governement. We are the BOSSES! They seemed to forget this. And we citizens find ourselves electing these people to office to only have them incorporate themselves upon entering office and then immediately being hired by a lobbyist firm as a contractor. This is why it's not called bribery. They are getting paid as if they worked there.

    But I could be wrong...

    Rivendahl
  • I've seen a few posts that have indicated that this law would be a Good Thing(TM). But in my opinion, it's useless. The law basically says that law enforcement agencies should share information to stop crime. THAT'S ALREADY WHAT THEY DO!!!

    Yes, violating copyrights is wrong, both legally and ethically, and violations should be reasonably enforced. But will this really do anything for the big copyright violators? Prolly not. It's just more fodder to prosecute the small fries. The people who make a ki

  • In his own words... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PSaltyDS (467134)
    From Congressman Berman's own web site [house.gov], you can see how chummy he is with the Holywood crowd, and even the BSA thrown in for good measure. Quoting from his own summaries:

    [Quote]

    DREIER, BERMAN REINTRODUCE RUNAWAY PRODUCTION LEGISLATION [house.gov]

    "...Congressmen David Dreier (R-San Dimas) and Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) joined by a bipartisan group of 44 Members of the House of Representatives today re-introduced legislation that provides wage-based tax relief for film and television projects produced in the Unite
  • Doesn't the FBI/etc have better things to do then chase after a bunch of citizens violating copyright law?

    Like protecting us from being blown up or poisoned by a bunch of idiots wearing diapers on their heads??

    Sheesh where the hell is the priority system around there..

  • Hmm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Phoenix823 (448446)
    (5) In addition, many of the computer users drawn to the convenience of peer-to-peer systems do not realize that these systems pose serious security and privacy threats to their personal computers or company networks. Recent studies reveal that the majority of the users of these systems are unable to tell what files they are sharing and sometimes incorrectly assume they were not sharing any files when in fact they were sharing all files on their hard drive.

    Of all the P2P sharing software I've ever seen, n
  • The FBI is an executive agency. I thought the agency is directed by the president. Legislature makes laws, executive enforces laws, and judicial interprets laws. I do not understand how or why the Congress would be detailing the enforcement of particular laws. Certainly Copyright law itself would already fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI. And would thusly be at the will of the presidency to either enforce or ignore. Does anyone have any ideas since IANAL?
  • I could be completely wrong on this, but just because somebody is downloading a song via p2p doesn't mean that there is a copyright violation being committed. If that user has actually purchased the album, then that user is not commiting a "crime" by downloading songs. Like I said, I could be completely wrong on this... but if I'm right, then the FBI is going to have to overcome the impossible task of determining exactly who is actually committing a crime and who is downloading legally.

  • Uh huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by retro128 (318602) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:14PM (#6274643)
    Isn't the FBI stretched really thin as it is? Unless a lot of money is involved, they won't look at you twice. Are they going to run down every college student in the country who is sharing a few MP3's? No.

    These people are all living in fantasyland. The senators keep it quiet because they know there will be a backlash. Berman is already saying "It's not my bill. It's his." The RIAA shows their idoicy by touting this bill that they haven't even read! Looking at his top contributors, [opensecrets.org] I don't see the entertainment industry on there. Maybe he wants to get on their payroll?

    I think the stealth with which this bill was put out indicates that the senators know that this type of legislation could damage their careers, but they want to keep the soft money coming in and keep writing up this crap.
  • It also directs the Justice Department to develop programs to educate the American public on why copyright violation is bad.

    Why copyright violation is called a 'crime' if it isn't even obvious to an average Joe that it's bad? People usually don't have any problems identifying common criminal activities as such; you don't have to explain to a person that murder, fraud, piracy (the real one), rape, blackmail are bad, pretty much regardless of the person's citizenship and cultural background.

    Disclaimer: I *
  • We already have laws against all the "activities" that this law is supposed to cover.

    Tell me, when will the US actually start *enforcing* the already existing laws, as opposed to wasting time making up new laws to overlap the existing ones?

    Oh silly me, there I go thinking again...
  • Huh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geekenstein (199041) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:20PM (#6274700)
    You know, it always amazes me listening to the slashdot rants and bitches about copyright protection. The "everything should be free, nobody should make money off of anything!" crap astounds me.

    If someone creates something, be they a penniless mother of 6 living in a hovel someplace, or a big heartless, greedy corporation, they deserve to profit from it. Why should anyone create anything - programs, music, movies - and get nothing for it?

    Before I get the "But Open Source" speech, wasn't that Linus I saw driving around in a very expensive Italian sports car? I more than suspect he knew his work would get him a very good paying job. Good for him. Just like a lot of other OS people are now getting paid well because of their work.

    I'm a capitalist. People's inventions deserve to be protected, because it encourages them to keep on inventing.

    To those of you who still say everything should be free, remember this:

    Eventually your mom will kick you out of the basement, and you'll have to work to feed yourself. You better hope to God not too many people steal your company's product, or you'll be out looking for work again.
  • by phorm (591458) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:23PM (#6274741) Journal
    (1) develop a program to deter members of the public from committing acts of copyright infringement by--


    (A) offering on the Internet copies of copyrighted works, or
    (B) making copies of copyrighted works from the Internet


    This sounds a little odd to me, more like the're trying to deter members of the public by offering copies of copyrighted works. Shouldn't this be something more like
    To deter members of the public who are committing acts of copyright infringement such as: (etc etc).

    Laws only seem to be as good as the wording they are written with - until a lawyer with better skills at manipulating said wording come around. Therefore, it makes sense to word them a little more intelligently.
  • by UnConeD (576155) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:24PM (#6274760)

    'Educate the American public'. Right. Just like those 'drugs support terrorism' campaigns? What's next... 'Downloading MP3s make baby Jesus cry'?

    If you read the bill you can see it's simply a repetition of the flawed arguments the big media companies have against P2P.

    Take for example points (5) and (6):

    (5) .... users do not realize that these systems pose serious security and privacy threats to their personal computers or company networks....

    (6) ...Millions of copies of one of the most popular peer-to-peer networks contain software that could allow an independent company to take over portions of users' computers and Internet connections and has the capacity to keep track of users' online habits.

    Privacy and security violations need to be addressed by banning spyware/adware, not P2P networks. Misleading advertising seems to be the norm in the US rather than the exception, and nothing is being done about it. Gator is not a helpful tool if it's spyware. I am not 'today's winner' if this banner is flashing, because the banner flashes all the time. And if I've "just won $50****" I'm 100% SURE I won't be seeing any of that money at all.
    Why don't they ban THAT?

    And heck, if people are accidentally sharing their entire harddrive, then the software's interface needs to be improved, and the setup procedure for sharing files needs to be changed. Why doesn't a P2P app come with a warning if you decide to share an entire harddrive? Oh that's right, 'a good UI' still means nothing but flashy buttons and a 'cool skin' these days, thanks to Microsoft's own crappy UI skills and inconsistencies. The fact that creating applications for Windows is a pain in the ass doesn't help much either, because a programmer will be satisfied with something that 'just works' rather than something that works well.

    From the user side, it's simple: if people are stupid and leave their house door unlocked, you don't teach them to brick their doors and windows shut, you simply teach them to lock their door.

    The biggest problem I see is that this sort of stuff plays right into the hands of Palladium and friends. People don't want to take responsibility for their own safety. If someone comes along and offers them 'a completely secure platform!' with lots of bells and whistles in a colorful package, then they'll buy it for sure, especially after being 'educated' on how important security is.

  • by Zelxyb (217422) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:25PM (#6274766) Homepage Journal
    I'm a little confused. I thought we didn't even have enough money to keep the arts in schools anymore.
  • by gdav (2540) on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:43PM (#6274939)
    I don't think you're taking this seriously enough.

    According to this article today's Guardian [guardian.co.uk], pirates killed or injured 145 people at sea in the first three months of this year. There are calls for the Royal Navy to station warships in the affected areas, to protect trade routes.

    So you see, piracy is an ongoing and deadly threat... oh wait... *reads thread again*... Somebody seems to have started using the word "piracy" to mean "copyright violation". What an odd thing to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2003 @01:53PM (#6275052)
    Speaking from political experience, there is one thing that scares the bejesus out of your elected officials: Non-profit issue advocacy groups.

    These groups can raise ulimited funds, are not required to disclose their donors, and most importantly, promise to run radio/television/print ads against any legislator that they deem "anti-tech" during election season.

    Trust me, if your congressman knows that the "Coalition for Fair Use Computing Knowledge" or some such, will be watching how they vote on crucial tech bills (no matter how "quietly they're introduced), and letting their constituents know about it. They will think twice.
  • OK, I'll say it: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:00PM (#6275161)
    Copyright is wrong. It is an outdated concept that now directly contradicts First Amendment freedoms. Copyright, not the First Amendment, should go. People who violate copyright (which is itself debatable under the usual "fair use" arguments) are not criminals. They are just people doing what people have always done and should do: share ideas and culture. Painting that as a crime is just as misanthropic and deluded as you could be.

    All of you who pontificate about how file-sharers are pirates and criminals and good-for-nothing freeloaders should wake up out of false consciousness and consider the consequences you think we all ought to live in. Information not only wants to be free, it must be free.
  • by tacokill (531275) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:18PM (#6275467)
    So if the RIAA or MPAA are allowed to "crack" our computers, what does that mean for DMCA-related issues?

    I mean, if I traded through, say, freenet - and they cracked/reverse engineered freenet (assuming they could, technically), does that mean the creators of freenet can sue based on DMCA violations? After all, they would have to reverse engineer the encrypted datastream to first see what was actually being traded - and as I recall, cracking encryption was at the very heart of the DMCA.

  • From the TV/Movies/Music Industry [opensecrets.org]?

    Naw I didn't think so. Every single time one of these stories comes up there is always a congressman taking a payoff.
  • The Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ogerman (136333) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:48PM (#6275950)
    This kind of nonsense is not going to stop until the media giants are made fully obsolete by a mass shift to independent artists/film/etc. P2P is a tool to help this happen, but it's not the end solution. We need quality musicians to stop signing record label contracts and lead the revolution against the big media middle-men. We need musicians that can think like entrepreneurs, not employees.

    What we need is a movement like Open Source but for music: a legal and unstoppable alternative to the corrupt monopolies that exist.
  • by freality (324306) on Monday June 23, 2003 @02:54PM (#6276030) Homepage Journal
    Artificial scarcity is becoming more and more artificial. Soon all literature, recorded music and video will fit on a cheap disk. If disk space doubles every year for the next 14, today's 120GB drive will become tomorrow's 1PB drive. The Internet Archive [archive.org], by comparisson, is "only" 300TB.

    At that point, the protectionism will become impossibly difficult to defend. When each person could be be given a copy of the Archive of Human Knowledge for the equivalent of 1 week's wage, the issue will resolve. There will be those societies who become enlightened, and those who wither in the greatest of dark ages.
  • by MortisUmbra (569191) on Monday June 23, 2003 @03:27PM (#6276503)
    Ok so since when did it become ok for MY tax dollars to go towards protecting the copyrighted material of a company? You are taking MY money away to ensure the flow of money to someone ELSE....what the fuck?

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