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Senate May Rush Copyright Legislation 970

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lick-a-stamp dept.
iman1003 writes "According to an article on Wired, the Senate may soon pass a bill labeled HR2391, a bill which lumps many other copyright bills. If passed the bill would "would criminally punish a person who 'infringes a copyright by ... offering for distribution to the public by electronic means, with reckless disregard of the risk of further infringement.'" In addition the bill would "permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited." The bill would also punish people "who bring a video camera into a movie theater to make a copy of the film for distribution" with up to three years imprisonment and fines. If any of this worries you please contact your Senators and Representatives and voice your concern."
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Senate May Rush Copyright Legislation

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  • Read The Ammendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by teiresias (101481) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:12PM (#10831720)
    http://www.aipla.org/Content/ContentGroups/Legisla tive_Action/108th_Congress1/House/hr2391.pdf

    now that you've read what they're voting on (even if they probably haven't) write or e-mail your representative.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:15PM (#10831759) Homepage
    This is about broadcasting, time shifting, and the notion of "copyright" as it relates to the combination of content and advertising. No one is stopping you from editing the movie or whatever in your own home, it involves redistribution.

    It would have nothing to do w/Tivo as there is no "redistribution". It's just a recording that you are fastfowarding through. It might affect those Tivolike devices that skip the commercials automatically though.

    Like I said in my post... They were never specifically clear in what a "motion picture" is and because they also claim that recording a "motion picture" in a theatre with a camera is a punishable crime I would go out on a limb to say that they WERE NOT talking about TV and they WERE talking about movies.
  • by stecoop (759508) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:16PM (#10831762) Journal
    of the "original content"

    Hmmm, this dosn't sound good. You know all those freaking commerical up front on say Disney DVDs. I rip about 30 minuts of that crap out so if the kiddies want to watch something, all I have to do is put in the cd and walk away - it autoplays the movies instead of the watching 30 minutes+ of commericals and then hitting play (like that isn't what I wanted to do in the first place).



    I rip that stuff out and backup the DVDs to another DVD for this reason plus it child-proofs the orignal.
  • Re:Weird (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:16PM (#10831771)
    49% of us, did not vote for Bush.

    I have a feeling if everyone over the age of 18 had actually voted, the results would have been very different. It's sad that those who actual vote are not an accurate cross-section of the country.
  • by UWC (664779) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:17PM (#10831782)
    From the Wired article:

    In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will expire next year, with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) in line to take over the committee. Bill opponents hope Specter would take a different approach to copyright law than Hatch, who has been an advocate of several bills that have rankled public-interest, technology and consumer-electronics camps.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:17PM (#10831789)
    Your TiVo doesn't automatically skip commercials, which is what would be disallowed by this law. It's not forcing you to play commercials, or even stopping you from manually skipping them.
  • by sp00 (639381) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:18PM (#10831801)
    ...can be found here [loc.gov].
  • by limabone (174795) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:20PM (#10831836)
    By forcing manufacturers to lock out any commands on their remote control/dvd player/future technology while the 'advertising bit' of the digital broadcast is on. Could see this happening in the very near future.
    Sure there will be hacks, as there always are, but Jane and Joe Sixpack will not be hacking their systems and simply let it happen.
  • Just to clarify... (Score:5, Informative)

    by syphax (189065) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:21PM (#10831845) Journal
    The Senate bill is S.2192 [loc.gov]

    The House bill is H.R.2391 [loc.gov]

    See the S is for Senate, the H in H.R. is for House...

  • by JavaLord (680960) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:21PM (#10831853) Journal
    I don't see how this fits into the Republican ideal of smaller government. Should the government be concerned with if you decide to skip any commercials or promotional announcements? I'm sure the democrats will oppose this bill, and I would urge all Republicans to do the same. It is against the core values of your party.

    PS- No matter what your political affiliation is, Do you think sending people to prison for three years who "bring a video camera into a movie theater to make a copy of the film for distribution" is a good use of your tax money? Those three years probably come to around/at least $150,000
  • by Le Marteau (206396) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:22PM (#10831864) Journal
    Your TiVo doesn't automatically skip commercials, which is what would be disallowed by this law. It's not forcing you to play commercials, or even stopping you from manually skipping them.

    Maybe, but the article wasn't clear about that. It said, However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited. The article said nothing about whether the skipping was automatic or user-initiated.

    The technology certainly is there to prevent us from skipping commercials, for example, on DVDs, the hardware can be prevented from fast forwarding through content they don't want us to skip. I had to assume this was what they wanted to do for future TiVos.
  • by Badgerman (19207) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:25PM (#10831913)
    I found this interesting:

    The groups that lined up against the bill include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the American Conservative Union and public-interest advocacy group Public Knowledge, which hosted a press briefing on Friday as the opening salvo of its campaign to stop passage.

    and

    Hollywood's involvement has even irked the American Conservative Union, which holds considerable sway with conservative Republicans in Congress. The ACU plans a major print ad campaign this week to oppose the bill, mainly because some provisions would require the Justice Department to file civil copyright lawsuits on behalf of the entertainment industry.

    "It's just plain wrong to make the Department of Justice Hollywood's law firm," said Stacie Rumenap, ACU's deputy director.


    Sounds like there's some pretty good opposition lined up. Besides writing your Congressbeings, it may be worth keeping track of what these groups are up to.

  • by Meostro (788797) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:27PM (#10831955) Homepage Journal
    <rant>
    Compyright? Consern? Editors, please fucking EDIT these stories!!!
    </rant>
    According to an article on Wired, the Senate may soon pass a bill labelled HR2391, a bill which lumps many other compyright bills.
    The Senate will never pass a bill labelled HR2391, that would be a House of Representatives bill.

    It wouldn't hurt to notify your Senators [senate.gov] and Representatives [house.gov] anyway. Click the link, pick your state or zip and go to their e-mail forms.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:31PM (#10832005)
    This doesn't benefit the majority, as is abundantly obvious to /.ers.

    However, it greatly benefits the wealthy content-controllers. They have the money, and hence the power, to make it happen.

    If we stop them this time, they will just re-propose the bill again and again until we fail to stop them.

    Eventually, they will get what they want. They always do.

  • wtf (Score:3, Informative)

    by gumpish (682245) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:32PM (#10832027) Journal
    My anchor tag was flawless. Slashdot is broken.
    link [aipla.org]
  • Keep centered. (Score:2, Informative)

    by i_r_sensitive (697893) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:33PM (#10832044)
    The issue should be that the bill is not internally consistent, even to casual observation. The bill is poorly worded, rife with loopholes, and prone to abuse at every turn.

    When you write to your representatives, make sure you stay centered on the real problems with the bill.

    Also, for pity's sake, use the spellchecker! Then have someone who understands how to construct a sentence review your grammar. The slack-jawed-troglogeek thing works fine for /. but don't expect your representatives to be that sophisticated...

  • Re:Senate.Gov (Score:3, Informative)

    by V. Mole (9567) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:35PM (#10832069) Homepage
    Actually, despite the misleading prefix (HR), it's already passed the House and is in the Senate. As a side note, it's got an extremely misleading title.
  • by malsdavis (542216) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:37PM (#10832105)
    Sorry, but as a non-American I can only laugh.

    You guys voted in these people who had recieved A LOT of campaigning money from large companies. ...Now these companies are turning around to the puppets they helped to elect and are expecting a return for all that commerical investment.

    Apparently this isn't corruption though. Although its hard to see how it isn't corruption when as you say, elected representatives are making decisions which stand to benefit only the select few who gave them campaign money.

  • by cdrudge (68377) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:38PM (#10832118) Homepage
    The original bill was introduced into the House, hence the HR2391 in the write up and article. It basically they was hijacked once it got to the Senate, but it still is tracked by the HR2391 name here [loc.gov]. Check out the differences between #4 and #5. Anything that was in the house version was strickened out and all the extra crap was added.
  • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:40PM (#10832163) Journal
    I've never had trouble skipping the ads at the beginning of a Disney DVD... all I have to do is not allow auto-play to start after putting the DVD in, and then hit the "Top Menu" button. Works every time.
  • Ok, 'splainin time (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:42PM (#10832178)
    I realise that research on foriegn governments may not be your thing, but if you are going to talk about them, you should know about them. The president does not make laws. Not only does he not, he cannot. He can endorse them, and he has the power to veto their passage (subject to override), but he doesn't make laws.

    In the US laws are made by the legslative body congress. It is a body of two houses. The lower body, called the House of Representitives, is composed of 435 representitives. They are divided across the US based on population. The upper body is called the Senate is is composed of 100 senators, two from each state.

    For a law to be made, a bill is introduced in one of the bodies of congress. The bill is then debated and voted on (there are a number of ways this can happen and most bills are killed before a full vote). If the bill passes a majority vote, it is tehn sent to the other body for another vote. If it passes a majority in both bodies, it is then given to the President to sign in to law.

    So no, the President isn't responsible for this. The person most responsible is Senator Orrin Hatch, from Utah. However the president has nothing to do with this legslation, and hasn't commented on it either way. The only say he'll get is if it does pass both houses, he can veto it (which congress can then override with a 66% vote).

    Please, if you are going to comment on the America political system, at least do some cursory research in to how it works. The President is the Chief Executive, meaning he is responsible for the enforcement of the law, not the creation of it. The legslature handles that.

    Same thing with treaties. It is not the president's responsibility to make a treaty law. The president signs treties, but that means nothing. A treaty is not law in the US unless ratified by the Senate. The President can sign whatever they like, the Senate has the final say on if that gets to become US law (though the judiciary can override them if it is unconstutional).
  • by jarich (733129) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:43PM (#10832193) Homepage Journal
    1) Only applies to motion pictures (ie: movies) 2) Prevents any commercial skippage... so when they show a movie on TV, you are legally required to not skip them? From here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c108:5:./tem p/~c10864QF67:e20039: [loc.gov] `(B) no changes, deletions or additions are made by such computer program or other technology to commercial advertisements, or to network or station promotional announcements, that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture.';
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:45PM (#10832222)
    It is against the core values of your party.

    Saying it is against core values is really a joke. For years, the republicans stood for personal freedoms as well as such things as a balanced budget. In reagan's 8 years, he ran a horrendous budget. W. made reagan's deficit's look like child's play. Now, W invades a country with NO proof of anything that he accused them of.

    Don't get me wrong. Both the democrats and the republicans are willing to vote in whereever the money for the next election comes from.

  • by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:49PM (#10832282) Journal
    What makes you so sure this would take us closer to the end? Why won't this just further solidify the existing power structure?

    Maybe there's a way out [thestranger.com].
  • by Evangelion (2145) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:50PM (#10832306) Homepage

    I'm sure someone has linked mplayer to libaa....

    *google*

    What do you know, someone has [mspland.com].
  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:53PM (#10832337) Homepage
    It's your DVD player ignoring the DVD then. I have been noticing more and more DVDs that do not allow you to skip through their advertisements at the beginning.

    Some even used to allow you to skip through the FBI warning. No more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @01:59PM (#10832464)
    Sounds like a classic case of seeing what you want to see: it's very clearly a flame.
  • EXACTLY! (Score:5, Informative)

    by WebCowboy (196209) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:01PM (#10832496)
    skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited

    This bill contradicts itself. I find most commercials/promotional announcements objectionable, and more and more these days are sexually explicit. Does the "skip objectionable content" part trump the "prohibit skipping commercials" part? Really, I don't want my kids minds to be warped by the likes of Britney Spears selling brown sugar water or any other product.

    I'm glad I live in Canada where the government doesn't try to tell us what we can and cannot watch...Oh wait... [crtc.gc.ca]
  • Parallels (Score:4, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:05PM (#10832569) Homepage Journal

    A nearly lame duck House and Senate passed both the Bono Act and the DMCA about a week before the November 1998 election, and they did it by voice vote so that constituents couldn't know which way anybody voted.

  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:07PM (#10832595)
    A motion pictures according to copyright law are:

    "audiovisual works consisting of a series of related images which, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion, together with accompanying sounds, if any."

    That is not just movies.
  • by riversky (732353) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:08PM (#10832619)
    Actually it is the Democrats that are supported by the hollywood crowd. Just look at the political contributions by the studios, producers, actors, and the TV execs. Almost all to the Dems. Sure they work with Republicans to get their way because they hold all the power. These are the people with the most to loose. I know people who produce indepentent film and they've been told they can't get insurance for a project because of the potential of theft. This is not a partisan issue.
  • by david.given (6740) <dg AT cowlark DOT com> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:10PM (#10832647) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me or are any of you sick of advertising too?

    I use Adblock religiously. I hardly ever watch TV that's not prerecorded, and the stuff I do watch tends to come off the BBC (which is commercial-free).

    It's incredible how much cleaner my life is.

    Every so often I have to use IE or watch some commercial TV channel and I'm always horrified by how much flickering, jittering, attention-grabbing crap there is, always trying to distract me from what I want to read or watch or whatever, metaphorically screaming LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! all the time.

    I don't mind advertising, in principle. What I do mind is being advertised at. I don't like spending money so that I can be brainwashed into spending more money. I particularly hate advertisements in the cinema --- I pay seven pounds for a two-hour film, plus 30 minutes of advertising, which means I'm paying over a pound just so I can sit there and watch the bloody things. And I don't even have a choice in the matter.

    I just wonder, how much better the world would be if all that money got spent on something worthwhile...

  • by ekimminau (775300) <eak@kimminau.org> on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:50PM (#10833281) Homepage Journal
    http://www.publicknowledge.org/action/hr4077

    Just fill out your info and click.
  • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:57PM (#10833385)
    However, under the proposed law, skipping any commercials or promotional announcements would be prohibited.

    This is wrong. The proposed law does not prohibit skipping commercials.

    What this portion of the law is about are products like ClearPlay [clearplay.com], which is a DVD player that "sanitizes" movies by eliminating the naughty bits. Some object to this as censorship, others endorse it as personal control of content.

    Movie producers have claimed that ClearPlay violates their copyrights on movies. This new bill incorporates an earlier proposal that would basically make it clear that the system does not violate copyright. It explicitly says that these kinds of filtering systems are legal.

    However, the exemption from copyright does not apply to systems that eliminate commercials. That is the clause which is causing so much controversy. It leaves open the possibility that filtering commercials might be said to violate the copyright held by the original producers of the content.

    Here is where the big mistake is made in interpreting this. The new law does not change the legal status of filtering commercials. It might be legal, or it might not. Generally, it is untested. What the new law FAILS to do is to explicitly state that it is legal.

    I hope that readers are intelligent enough to distinguish between a law that criminalizes skipping commercials, versus a law that fails to legalize them. The truth is that this law does not change the legality of the action.

    Unfortunately the Wired author either was not intelligent enough to make this distinction, or chose to present an inflammatory and false interpretation in order to increase his readership and make more money for his employer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @02:59PM (#10833401)
    for the last FUCKING TIME.

    David Cobb was the green party presidential candidate. :(

    -sigh-
  • by mpath (555000) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:24PM (#10833728)
    Looking at the text of the Senate bill (S.2192 [loc.gov]), I don't see anything that mentions copyright. Rather, it's about patents.

    Reading the Wired article talks about HR4077 and S2237. So where did H.R.2391 and S.2192 come in?

    Actually, now that I'm digging some more, it looks like H.R.2391 got padded w/ that piracy mess. Actually, it looks like they trojan-horsed it, where they took the patent bill and stripped the copy out and put in that mess. So if the Senate version passed, does it have to go through re-voting in the Senate, given that the House has dramatically changed the bill?

    Just want to make sure I tell my representative the right bill. If I'm confused, I'm thinking they might be, too. Of course, they've been at this game for a while longer than I have.

    Looks like I need to write my H.R. dude (instead of my Senate dudes).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:48PM (#10834097)
    That won't work, most of them feel morally superior to you and I. They can do things we can't. Case in point, many of the legislators that pass anti gun legislation carry weapons, at the very least, in their cars, even in D.C. where it is illegal.
  • by jlrobins_uncc (136569) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @03:50PM (#10834120)
    From SEC. 212 of Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Act of 2004 (Reported in Senate)[H.R.2391.RS], available as http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.239 1:/ [loc.gov] ....

    (3) by inserting after paragraph (10) the following:

    (11) the making imperceptible, by or at the direction of a member of a private household, of limited portions of audio or video content of a motion picture, during a performance in or transmitted to that household for private home viewing, from an authorized copy of the motion picture, or the creation or provision of a computer program or other technology that enables such making imperceptible and that is designed and marketed for such use at the direction of a member of a private household, if--

    (A) no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture is created by such computer program or other technology; and

    (B) no changes, deletions or additions are made by such computer program or other technology to commercial advertisements, or to network or station promotional announcements, that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture.';and ...

    It seems that one key clause in there is 'the making imperceptible' of the editing out of the commercial. Seems that if you got a 1 second 'commercials removed' screen then it might be OK?

  • by netsharc (195805) on Tuesday November 16, 2004 @05:15PM (#10835371)
    There's an opinion that says, if Islam had become the major religion of the world, and Christianity the minor one, then we'd have christian Bin Laden's out there..

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