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New California Law Bans Anonymous Media File Sharing 679

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-helpful dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like California will soon be requiring emails to share files. The story from SF Gate has a few details as Ahnold goes on his signing spree in Sacramento. 'Aiding the industry that helped him gain worldwide fame, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Tuesday aimed at discouraging online piracy by requiring anyone disseminating movies or music on the Internet to disclose their e-mail address.' Also he signed a bill to limit the sale of video games."
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New California Law Bans Anonymous Media File Sharing

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:40PM (#10323386) Homepage Journal
    The signing was hailed by the bill's sponsor, the Motion Picture Association of America,

    Well, if they sponsor it, it's gotta be good for the Governator and what's good for him is good for California. You got something to say about that, Girly-man?

    the Motion Picture Association of America, which says it loses $3.5 billion annually to piracy

    Hollywood accounting, ya gotta love it, babe.

    Governor and video game star Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a measure aimed at curbing sales of violent video games to children. .. Some of Schwarzenegger's movies were spun off into video games that bear the governor's likeness - although they are not among the most violent under the industry's ratings system.

    Sure is helpful to have connections to those who determine what violent is. He might want to consider a ban on showing caskets of returning service personnel from Iraq, as that could upset impressionable television viewers.

  • by UID1000000 (768677) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:41PM (#10323399) Homepage Journal
    I don't get it? Either he doesn't get it either or he wasn't paying attention while he was signing these bills. ...Anyone think he was busy pumping?

  • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:41PM (#10323400) Homepage
    its either billg@microsoft.com

    or

    president@whitehouse.gov (or was it .com ?:) )

  • HA! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Malicious (567158) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323412)
    ipiratemusic@hotmail.com
    anonymimityismyfriend@hotmail.com
    youcantfindme@hotmail.com

    Need I continue?
  • by Class Act Dynamo (802223) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323415) Homepage
    I am willing to bet it will be struck down as inhibiting legitimate anonymous free speech.

  • by strictfoo (805322) <strictfoo-signup ... om minus painter> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323418) Journal
    I mean, I really really don't it. It's already illegal share movies. Now in order for them to allow me to commit an illegal act I have to share my email address?

    What's next: "Before you rob a store you must inform the local police of your intentions"?
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:45PM (#10323478) Journal
      I mean, I really really don't it. It's already illegal share movies. Now in order for them to allow me to commit an illegal act I have to share my email address?

      According to my understanding, even if you have permission to share the file, you still have to provide an address.

      • that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:49PM (#10323535)
        Is probably not constitutional. You can't stop a willing group of participants from engaging in anonymous conversation with each other.
        • Re:that (Score:4, Informative)

          by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:56PM (#10323639) Journal
          Maybe it is not constitutional, but check out the actual text for yourself. [ca.gov] It looks pretty clear to me that there is no exception for files that you have permission to trade.
        • Re:that (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BitterOak (537666) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:10PM (#10323798)
          Is probably not constitutional.

          It's probably not constitutional whether you have permission to share the file or not. If you are violating copyright by sharing the file, then there is a serious Fifth Amendment issue protecting you from begin compelled to incriminate yourself, by providing your e-mail address, for instance.

          If you are not violating copyright by sharing the file (if you have permission from the copyright holder, or are the copyright holder, for instance, or if the file is public domain) then surely there are First Amendment problems in banning certain types of communication without including compelled speech (your e-mail address.)

          Either way, I don't see how this law could withstand constitutional scrutiny.

          • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers @ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @10:31PM (#10325678) Homepage Journal
            Not sure about the fifth ammendment ramifications. It seems that the counter argument is that this is simply requiring people who presumably have permission to identify themselves so that they can better go after those who do not have permission.

            Now, the first ammendment aspect may be more interesting. I propose that we all create political speaches as media files and in them explicitly state that we only give permission for them to be distributed, publically exhibited, etc. anonymously, and that no one is allowed to *both* distribute the content and comply with this law. Then we should send them around P2P networks with catchy titles like "California Dreaming--- RIAA Dream On" etc. Note only the copyright holder would have permission to email them to political figures, or we could make an exception for that in the license :-)

            Such speech would have clear political value and would not contain the unprotected practical elements which cause problems for DeCSS cases. In the end one might have a case regarding whether one can legally curtail political discourse using such laws. Also if such laws cannot curtail political discourse, then they might not be able to curtail other things as well.

            As an aside, we could also set the text ofthe law to music and then forbid anyone to distribute it in such a way that complies with the law :-)
      • According to my understanding, even if you have permission to share the file, you still have to provide an address.

        Which is important - because everybody knows email addresses are a great authoritative identity source...

        Should be about as effective as having spammers sign their email address.

      • RTFB (Score:5, Informative)

        by originalhack (142366) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @07:25PM (#10324539)
        If you RTFB [ca.gov], it is clear the the work must be commercial and you must not have a license to distribute it, otherwise this does not apply.

        excerpt....

        SECTION 1. Section 653aa is added to the Penal Code, to read:
        653aa. (a) Any person, except a minor, who is located in
        California, who, knowing that a particular recording or audiovisual
        work is commercial, knowingly electronically disseminates all or
        substantially all of that commercial recording or audiovisual work to
        more than 10 other people without disclosing his or her e-mail
        address, and the title of the recording or audiovisual work is
        punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars
        ($2,500), imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding
        one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
        (b) Any minor who violates subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine
        not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Any minor who
        commits a third or subsequent violation of subdivision (a) is
        punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000),
        imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or
        by both that imprisonment and fine.
        (c) Subdivisions (a) and (b) do not apply:
        (1) To a person who electronically disseminates a commercial
        recording or audiovisual work to his or her immediate family, or
        within his or her personal network, defined as a restricted access
        network controlled by and accessible to only that person or people in
        his or her immediate household.
        (2) If the copyright owner, or a person acting under the authority
        of the copyright owner, of a commercial recording or audiovisual
        work has explicitly given permission for all or substantially all of
        that recording or audiovisual work to be freely disseminated
        electronically by or to anyone without limitation.
        (3) To a person who has been licensed either by the copyright
        owner or a person acting under the authority of the copyright owner
        to disseminate electronically all or substantially all of a
        commercial audiovisual work or recording.
    • Now in order for them to allow me to commit an illegal act I have to share my email address?

      What's next: "Before you rob a store you must inform the local police of your intentions"?


      Just like it's illegal to not report profits from illegal activities to the IRS. It gives them more ammo to use against you. If they can't prove one thing, they have something else to go after you for.
      • by GimmeFuel (589906) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:57PM (#10323645) Homepage
        Precisely. Stacking charges. This allows the prosecutor's to have 12 charges against you intsead of one. They can then plea bargain down to just one or two charges if you plead guilty. This means prosecutors get their 90%+ conviction records they want if they want to become DA or something, and a lot of innocent people go to jail because they take the plea bargain rather than go through a costly trial at the risk of even longer jail time.
    • by jdunn14 (455930) <jdunn&iguanaworks,net> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:57PM (#10323641) Homepage
      What's next? How about, "Before you sell that pot you need to put a tax stamp on it." Love that law, and it's been on the books since 1937. Search for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Or even better, here's a link: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/mj taxact.htm [druglibrary.org]
      Legislators work in mysterious/interesting ways.
    • by Bastian (66383) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:58PM (#10323649)
      The idea is that if take one act and turn it into several crimes by breaking the act into little pieces and making each of those illegal (in addition to the primary act), you will be able to lock someobody up for a very long time if they are caught committing even a very minor offense. This is supposed to act as a deterrent.

      I'm sure even a kindergartener could find several logical flaws and unfounded assumptions inherent in this line of thinking, and anyone old enough to have research skills could also find a huge stack of numbers that also show that this is silly. Still, it is the basis for a large percentage of the USA's legal opus, including some laws that most people seem to really like (hate crimes, for example).

      (completely unrelated, I swear)Fun Fact: Did you know the USA has a larger percentage of its population in prison than any other democracy (and most other authorotarian states) in the world?
    • by babybird (791025) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:58PM (#10323657)
      What ever happened to a person's constitutionally protected right not to incriminate themselves? I'm pretty sure such a law would be blatantly unconstitutional.
    • I mean, I really really don't it. It's already illegal share movies.

      You mean if I make a movie or tape a song by myself it's illegal for me to share it?
      What if the work is under a creative commons license?
      Because those are two of the situations this bill will affect.
    • It is NOT illegal to share movies and music..

      Its illegal to share media files that are prohibited from distribution by their ( copyright ) license holders.

      Not all media files have this restriction. Many license holders DO permit free re-distribution of their ( copyrighted ) files.

      You are just spreading the same set of lies the industries push to confuse people. Perhaps unintentionally, perhaps not. Only you can answer that question.
  • by Proc6 (518858) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323425)
    Time to sign up for an @something.ru or the like.
  • by uchi (534979) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323431) Homepage
    Is it just me, or is it a violation of your rights(as an American)? I can think of situations where I could be sharing perfectly legal media, and would not want my email address/identity tied to it. For example, if I produced a documentary about how bad the company I work for is, I should be able to disperse that to those who please. There would most definitely be reprecussions if it was found out who made it, and this bill would just make it all the easier.
  • by kevman42 (681617) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323432)
    I've seen a lot more files from this user: illbeback@mailinator.com
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:42PM (#10323434)
    as in beer.

    Does Californica not realize that the Internet will treat this as damage, and route around it? You can't make your tiny part of the Internet have different rules than the rest of the Internet. It just doesn't work. Unenforceable.

    • by Jim McCoy (3961) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @07:03PM (#10324347) Homepage
      Does Californica not realize that the Internet will treat this as damage, and route around it?

      Considering the fact that until recently the majority of packets on the internet either originated or terminated in California, I sincerly invite you to try routing around CA.

      The benefit of running the state that contains Silicon Valley (and the tech centers in LA and San Diego) is that you get to exert a significant impact on the internet, whether the rest of the internet likes it or not.
  • by mentalflossboy (811716) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:43PM (#10323443)
    So you have to provide an email address if you're "disseminating" movies/music/etc. What purpose does that serve other than to direct the MPAA straight to your door?
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:43PM (#10323444)
    Governor and video game star Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a measure aimed at curbing sales of violent video games to children. AB 1793, by Assemblyman Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, requires stores to post signs and offer brochures about the industry's game-rating system.


    I doubt that even accomplishes anything. But if it does what it is intended to do, inform parents/consumers, more power to them. Parents should be aware when they are buying San Andreas for their kid.

    As far as the email is concerned? Ludicrously unenforceable, so I'm not paying attention to it.
  • Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanSpice (300894) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:43PM (#10323453) Homepage
    What email address does Apple get to use? Or Real? Or Microsoft?
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:44PM (#10323457) Homepage Journal
    he signed a law that finally made necrophilia a crime in California. Who cares about file sharing...
    When the casket is a 'rockin
    Don't come a 'knockin
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:44PM (#10323458)
    Right, *no* one will be able to distribute *anything* anonymously if they have to provide an EMAIL address...

    After all, an EMAIL address is as solid an ID as a fingerprint!

    Signed, arnoldschwarzeneggar245573@hotmail.com
  • Text of the bill (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_demiurge (26115) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:46PM (#10323486) Homepage
    You can read the text of the filesharing bill (now law) at http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_1501-1550/s b_1506_bill_20040823_enrolled.html [ca.gov]
  • by dmeranda (120061) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:48PM (#10323507) Homepage
    This seems like it's making the same old assumptions. That *if* it's music or video, then the copyright *must* be owned by RIAA/MPAA. This is all about control, not copyrights.

    If I own the copyright (say because I produced it), or I have the permission of the copyright owner (which may be, gasp, somebody besides the **AA); then WHY in the world can't I do with it what I want? I certainly can give somebody a copy of a book in secrety; or even leave a copy of a newspaper on my chair when I'm done reading it (which is anonymous distribution).

    Oh, and what about PUBLIC DOMAIN media files?

    See, this whole thing still seems to be the big media industries trying to shut out independent artisits and producers of content. The whole piracy thing is just a smokescreen; the excuse. What they really want is to make it illegal or impossible for anybody besides them to "traffic" in media.
    • You obviously haven't seen the attempts by the newspapers to prevent this illegal sharing of their copyright works to people who are not the original purchaser.

      The Boston Globe, for example, has an advanced system for preventing you from giving your newspaper to someone else. They continue every damn article from the front page to some random other section of the paper, which you will never find unless you have the whole paper in its original order. It works way better than an EULA.
    • Newspaper on seat? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HPNpilot (735362) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:33PM (#10324034) Homepage
      You can't necessarily leave your newspaper on the seat when you're done. At least not if the newspaper companies have a say.

      Metro-North railroad (the commuter lines into NYC) now consider leaving a paper on your seat as "littering" and are talking about fines and revocation of the monthly passes of violators. When you get to Grand Central station there are specially designed bins to throw your used paper into. They are locked and were supplied by the New York Times so you cannot reach in and get a used paper. And if you somehow do, the transit police are instructed to treat it as theft and arrest you.

      Of course you can *hand* the paper to someone, they don't seem to have that one covered (yet).
  • No problem! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:49PM (#10323518) Homepage Journal
    My email address? A real one, even? No problem! Get'cher red hot MP3s from your friendly local root@localhost! I might even reply to emails sent to that address, for a particularly appropriately-scoped definition of "localhost".
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:49PM (#10323531) Homepage
    If you are sharing content illegally, ie breaking federal copyright laws, then why the hell would be inclined to make it even easier? This is functionally identical to gun registration. How many criminals actually register their guns? If they can't get one off the street, they just get them by stealing from law abiding citizens.

    I can appreciate trying to cut back on massive copyright infringement, but this.... this is just bullshit. Whoever at the MPAA/RIAA paid for this should be fired for wasting their employers' money. No one who is breaking the law and "causing them to lose money" is going to follow this law. Well maybe some, the kind that would have probably been caught anyway.

    If it be true that California leads the way for our country, then Arnold has ushered in a new wave of stupidity into American politics. Doesn't he have better things to do, that not coincidentally would help these lobby groups' retainers more, like cut down the overall size of the CA state government, streamline its laws, eliminate red tape, cut taxes, cut expenditures and find innovative ways to save money?

    Here's a novel idea for the RIAA/MPAA/BSA: instead of wasting your money on bullshit like this, lobby for tax and spending cuts. Get rid of the income tax, when the people aren't taxed at 20-50%, they have discressionary income out their asses and that's when people buy your products.

    In other words, stop subsidizing the Republicrats and send the check to Reason and the Libertarian Party.
  • Stupid law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:50PM (#10323544)
    Anything I make (or anything anyone else makes) is automatically copyrighted by the person or organization that made it. Does this mean I can't post to /. without showing my email, because that would be sharing copyrighted media? Is the only legal anonymous transfer one that only is composed of public domain works? Ug... good thing this isn't anywhere near enforcable.
  • So??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El (94934) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:51PM (#10323560)
    So now to distribute movies, you simply have to create a hotmail account, even though you never have to actually log in and check your mail? Just wait 30 days, Microsoft automatically deletes any Cease and Desist letters, and you're home free! I'm not quite clear on what this law accomplishes...
    • Re:So??? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HiThere (15173) *
      Actually, the section that I read never even said that it had to be you own email account. Just that it had to either be a valid email account, or be your own. (And interesting formulation.)
  • Lots of questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LS (57954) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:52PM (#10323575) Homepage
    * Who is the email provided to?
    * How is the email to be provided?
    * Is this only for legal files haring? (I would assume so)
    * How are email addresses verified?
    * If the file sharing app has to provide a way to advertise an email, does this make app incapable of this illegal?
    * Are FTP and websites affected by this law?
    * What if I don't have an email address?
    * What if my address is with Yahoo? Will my information be required to be given to lawyers by Yahoo or whomever my ISP is?
    * How did this law get passed?

    LS
  • Questions. (Score:3, Informative)

    by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:52PM (#10323578)
    That's nice, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

    Which of my several e-mail addresses must I disclose?

    And for how long after the file transfer takes place must the address remain valid?

    How often, if ever, am I required to check for messages?

    And does the state impose any particular requirements on what kinds of filters I can apply to my incoming mail?

    If I record a protest song and choose to distribute it anonymously (perhaps to avoid retribution by the state), am I prohibited from doing that?

    Can I write a letter or produce a film and distribute it anonymously? How about if I use a pseudonym?

    I'd like to actually read this law. I find it difficult to imagine that such a law could possibly stand up to any sort of scrutiny in the courts.
  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:53PM (#10323584)
    If everybody on peer to peer networks was required to give out their real email address freely, the spammers would be able to go to town with e-mail lists that they would *know* to be real.
  • Video Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by adamjone (412980) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @05:57PM (#10323642) Homepage
    Also he signed a bill to limit the sale of video games.
    Ummm... no, that's not at all what he did. Talk about blowing things out of proportion. Directly from the article:
    AB 1793, by Assemblyman Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, requires stores to post signs and offer brochures about the industry's game-rating system.
    The bill only requires that video game retailers provide information on the rating system. It in no way inhibits the sale of any game to anyone. In fact, he indicated that he would strike down any bill that included any such ban.
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:09PM (#10323783)
    So, if I want to distribute documents critical of the government I must give the government my email address making it possible to track me down and hurt me? I smell a constitutional issue.
  • Illegaler? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FullCircle (643323) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:19PM (#10323894)
    So now sharing content without permission is realy, really, more illegaller than it was before.

    Do they really think that people who are already breaking a few laws care about this legislation?

    AND to share my own home movies or an indie film that I produce, requires me to submit to a thorough spamming and possible MPAA scrutiny.

    Great, thanks for that Arnie.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:26PM (#10323963)
    the other 89 bills he signed into law yesterday.

    I noticed that the article highlighted a couple of rather reasonable-sounding ones, and presented them in a positive light. Hmm.

    I wonder about the other 80 or so bills which are now law. Does anybody know?

    Basically, after cutting a deal with Enron [alternet.org] before his election, I think it is highly unlikely that Arnold is a man with anybody's interests other than his own at heart. --And all in the wake of the CA energy scandal, (which the capitalists defended from the get-go; Nice job guys! Enron is the logical end result of greed-based policy. Did you learn anything?)

    If Bush hasn't been crowned "Dictator For Life" by 2008, then I'll be pretty spooked about Arnold taking the throne.


    -FL

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:26PM (#10323964) Homepage Journal
    But he has made no secret of his opposition to the online sharing of copyrighted material. Last week he signed an executive order prohibiting state employees from using software designed for file sharing.

    Hmmm, I would love to see how that one is worded. Since the internet only really works based off file sharing, That ban ought to include most windows OSes, most Linux Distros, software such as Mozilla, Netscape Navigator, IE, IIS, Apache and even stupid junk like MSN Messenger, ICQ, and a few MILLION other programs.

    (standard rant about stupid politicians)

    OK, now that that is out of the way, here is a way to make an example of Ah-nuld's silly legislation: Look up the exact wording of the legislation. Chances are they tried to describe the programs rather than explicitly name them. Then sue the state because state agency X,Y, and Z are using software that falls under the law. After a few rounds of write ups in the 'oddly enough' section of Reuters and court filings, the law will get voted off the books. (I'm sorry mr Swartzheneckher, but the DMV is ENTIRELY shut down by your law. The voters aren't too happy, either...)
  • My Email Address (Score:3, Informative)

    by GAMMAH_DJ (767495) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:28PM (#10323977)
    root@127.0.0.1
  • hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ralphus (577885) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @06:33PM (#10324033)
    Is there another law requiring anyone who uses the internet in california to have an email address?
  • by ectoraige (123390) on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @07:04PM (#10324364) Homepage
    If your email address is with a non-US entity, the DoJ can go swivel.

    Therefore, if anybody wanst a prestigous yourname@the.prosecutor.has.herpes.and.a.leaky.ass .helgrim.com email address, provided free here in Ireland, contact me through my site.

    I'd love to see a video from the courtroom as the charges are read...
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> on Wednesday September 22, 2004 @08:23PM (#10324939) Journal
    It says it requires your email address and physical address and phone number if you are going to share files.

    However, it also says that you are *NOT* obligated to provide these details if you either owned the material you are sharing or otherwise have permission from the coypright holder to be distributing the content.

    But if you don't have permission from the copyright holder to distribute the content, then distribution is copyright violation anyways. So this bill is basically saying "If you're going to break the law, you have to tell us who you are and where you live so that we can find you". This is about the stupidest thing I think I may have ever seen.

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