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Patents United States Technology

Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates 727

Posted by Zonk
from the another-victory-in-the-war-on-terror dept.
BlakeCaldwell writes "CNet is reporting that President Bush signed into law the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (previously-reported). A lawbreaker can land in jail for up to three years for distributing a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet. The MPAA's president Dan Glickman applauded the move, stating he wanted to 'thank the congressional sponsors of this legislation for their strong advocacy for intellectual property rights.'"
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Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates

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  • Not that bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:20AM (#12370559) Homepage Journal
    Before we hear people slamming this (because it's Bush related), read what the EFF has to say about it...

    Straight from the EFF [eff.org]'s Fred von Lohmann:
    April 22, 2005

    As many have reported, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 (S.167/H.R. 357), recently passed the House, which also issued a committee report about the bill. Since the identical language had already passed the Senate in February, the measure now goes to President Bush for signature.

    There has been some alarmist [theregister.com] reporting about the bill. While it's decidedly a mixed bag, I think the bill should be marked as more victory than a defeat for the public interest side in the copyfight.
    ...And the bottom line from the EFF:
    The real silver lining here emerges when you consider where the entertainment industry started back in 2003, and where they've ended up in 2005. After two years of heavy investments in lobbying Congress for a host of outrageous changes to copyright laws (like the Induce Act), the entertainment moguls managed to enact only a tiny sliver of their agenda, and only by granting concessions to ClearPlay.
    • Re:Not that bad... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You post makes little sense to me. First, we arne't Bush bashing. He wasn't really involved with this bill. It's bashing the Republicans and their love of the religious right. Second when the EFF says there is a silver lining that means the bill is a dark cloud. I don't know how you can read that as an endorsement, but you do.

      To say this bill could be a whole lot worse doesn't make it a good bill. Duh!

      • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Cat_Byte (621676) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:27AM (#12370654) Journal
        What does religious right really have to do with people pirating movies?
        • Simply put: Passion of the Christ DVD sales
          • haha funny ;)

            I hit send before I was done. I also wondered what constituted a "pre-release" movie. Does this include 'Battlestar Galactica' and other seasons of shows which don't even have an announcement of a release date yet? I'm going to buy that as soon as it comes out on DVD but I'm sick of waiting. I'm hoping this just means movies that haven't hit DVD yet. Once it hits DVD anyone who has friends that buy it can watch it for free anyway.
            • Re:Not that bad... (Score:5, Informative)

              by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:25AM (#12371443) Homepage
              (3) DEFINITION- In this subsection, the term `work being prepared for commercial distribution' means--

              (A) a computer program, a musical work, a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or a sound recording, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution--

              (i) the copyright owner has a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution; and

              (ii) the copies or phonorecords of the work have not been commercially distributed; or

              (B) a motion picture, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution, the motion picture--

              (i) has been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility; and

              (ii) has not been made available in copies for sale to the general public in the United States in a format intended to permit viewing outside a motion picture exhibition facility.'.


              Thus, for a motion picture such as Battlestar Galactica, there is a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution, but it has not been commercially distributed. It has not been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility, however, since the definition for that term is: The term `motion picture exhibition facility' means a movie theater, screening room, or other venue that is being used primarily for the exhibition of a copyrighted motion picture, if such exhibition is open to the public or is made to an assembled group of viewers outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances.

              So since only one or the other has to be satisfied, it is a work being prepared for commercial release. Willfully distributing it on a computer network (e.g. Bit Torrent) is a felony and can result in significant civil penalties.

              Is it so hard to look at the text of the law in question?
              • Re:Not that bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by zuzulo (136299) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:58AM (#12371918) Homepage
                I think what folks dont realize is that this kind of legislation just forces the issue for those of us who think seriously about cryptographically secure distributed networks.

                There is now a demonstrable, real need for networks where *all* activities are double blind encrypted transactions through an arbitrary, configurable number of intermediaries who can *prove* they dont know who is sending them data or what data they are handling.

                A network such as this clearly falls under the fair use statues as a way to maintain secure person to person communication and confidential file sharing (ala PGP et al), and if it is constructed in such a way that only request originators and suppliers *can* know what they are using the network for yet still cannot know *who* they are doing it with, it would more than satisfy legal concerns such as providing plausible deniability.

                Therefore 'sharers' and 'users' can still be caught but only through fairly onerous chores like monitoring thier personal computers during use to see exactly what they are sharing or downloading. This is much more analogous to conventional law enforcement techniques for doing video surveillance and audio monitoring - an agent basically has to get a warrant *with probable cause* to initiate any of these activities, and it is not clear to me that data transactions deserve any less legal protection.

                So, to end this somewhat rant like spiel, it is clear that this kind of legislation may be a net *good* for the community in that it forces us to develop a better peered infrastructure simply to maintain our fair use rights.

                Heck, i might have to buckle down and give something back to the open source community and the internet community at large at long last myself. ;-)

                Now if someone would just pay me and my crew our cost of living expenses for as long as it would take to build a network of this sort, or even better if a non profit foundation or relatively wealthy private benefactor would post a bounty ala the "XPrize" with well defined acceptance criteria for such a network (double blind, multiple stops, no scaling issues, configurable encryption levels, automated discovery, etc) I would be able to convince a serious crew to do this now (and we would even donate the resulting IP to the sponsoring org or the open source community - which now that i think about it would be a nice prize requirement) rather than working on other stuff to get paid and pursuing this sort of thing as a hobby.

                Seriously interested parties feel free to contact me at zuz(del)ulo at g(del)mail (del). com. I have been thinking somewhat seriously about the algorithmic side of this for quite some time. On the whole, however, it is pretty clear to me that community forces will force the evolution of something with these characteristics, most likely within the next 24 months or so.
                • You might find the work going on at www.i2p.net [i2p.net] rather interesting. They've already got anonymous HTTP, NNTP, FTP, streaming audio, and, yes, bittorrent up and running rather nicely - decent speeds, good anonymity and security (though it's still in beta, the security is already impressive, and getting stronger with each release)
                • Re:Not that bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @12:45PM (#12374160) Homepage
                  There is now a demonstrable, real need for networks where *all* activities are double blind encrypted transactions through an arbitrary, configurable number of intermediaries who can *prove* they dont know who is sending them data or what data they are handling.

                  Yes, but not for the reason you probably think.

                  Civilly, copyright is a strict liability statute. Thus, if you engage in infringing conduct, you have broken the law. It does not matter at all what your intent was. Even if you do not actually believe that you are engaging in prohibited conduct, and it is not even reasonable for you to believe that you are engaging in prohibited conduct, if you do it, you're an infringer.

                  Your mental state generally only has an affect on the damages you have to pay.

                  Criminally, willfulness is required, which is a fairly moderate standard. However, IMO unless you honestly have a credible, though erroneous belief in the non-infringing nature of your actions, you're likely to be considered to be a willful infringer. Most of the beliefs about what is and isn't infringement that I see around here probably fall on the non-credible side of the line. Additionally, some courts may simply decide that if the action was undertaken willfully, that is sufficient, even if there was no willful intent to infringe.

                  So your proposal doesn't help people to not commit crimes. If they take some infringing action even with regards to encrypted data they don't know the contents of, then they are probably still criminal infringers. After all, courts do not look favorably on the concept of willful blindness, which is basically what you propose.

                  What you're really doing is making it difficult to get caught at these crimes, which is a different proposition. It's sort of the difference between how one could avoid a murder conviction by either a) not murdering people, or b) making sure to not leave any evidence behind that points to oneself.

                  A network such as this clearly falls under the fair use statues as a way to maintain secure person to person communication and confidential file sharing (ala PGP et al), and if it is constructed in such a way that only request originators and suppliers *can* know what they are using the network for yet still cannot know *who* they are doing it with, it would more than satisfy legal concerns such as providing plausible deniability.

                  Like I said, plausible deniability is a really bad thing to rely on; courts simply do not like it, and if you make the attempt, you can probably rely on them to not be friendly should you need to rely on them to be voluntarily lenient.

                  Also, fair use is only in one statute, and it has nothing to do with what you propose. As for technology providers, they would be relying on the current formulation of contributory and vicarious liability (read the Sony and Napster cases for more on that, particularly Napster as a cautionary example) to avoid liability themselves.

                  However, the Supreme Court is at this moment reconsidering the Sony precedent, and there is a very real possibility that the creators or providers of a network as you envision could end up being liable for its use since despite it having many possible uses, it's also practically intended for an illegal one. It doesn't help that you just underlined that with your post here in a public forum, should it be you that faces future legal action. We'll know how this shakes out in the summer, when the Grokster opinion is issued.
                  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by zuzulo (136299)
                    My point is pretty clear, i think.

                    Technology tends to evolve in the directions that our culture desires. It is clear that our culture desires that there exist some avenue for *truly* anonymous conversation and data transfer. Our laws are quite clear that this desire is one supported by historical and legal precedent, and is moreover almost a fundamental axiom of american society.

                    Therefore, since the development of a cryptographically secure anonymous network is technically feasible, it is very likely to c
        • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Informative)

          by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:33AM (#12370736) Homepage Journal
          Nothing. But the religious right are behind a key part of the bill that makes it ok to release "edits" for movies regardless of what they do to those movies without either the consent [slashdot.org] of the artist, or at least honouring the artist by allowing them to have their names removed from the edited work.

          This was covered yesterday [slashdot.org] (we have two Slashdot articles about the same thing from different sides.)

          Personally, and I know this isn't a popular view here, I don't like this bill at all. It expands my "rights" in one area where I emphatically do not want them and feel the net result is a slap in the face to artists and the concept of artistic integrity.

          In the other, it creates the danger of disproportionately high sentences for copyright infringers, which amongst other things threatens to discredit copyright (on top of the overly long copyright terms we see today and absurdities such as the restrictions on equipment we can use to access content we've bought copies of.) Beyond some extra funding of the Library of Congress, I really don't like this.

          • Well, the bill allows the editing of "offensive material" from what I've read.

            Know what I find offensive?

            FBI warnings, MPAA "messages" and commercials on DVDs that I cannot skip or circumvent. Now THAT's offensive.

            Using this law, we might be able to get user restrictions removed from DVDs.
    • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by slavemowgli (585321) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:25AM (#12370636) Homepage
      So we should be happy because even though they got what they wanted, they maybe could've gotten even more? I sure am happy that insane rubbish like the INDUCE act was thrown out, but I don't quite see why I should celebrate a setback just because it could have been an EVEN bigger setback.
    • I don't think there is a problem with the major intent of the bill, which is to allow people to self-censor portions of films they don't want to see. The problem is the 3 year max. prison sentence for distributing any commercial work before its official release date.

      This kind of techinque to get laws passed doesn't go over well with most of us. Its like those gun legislation bills that start out quite good, but then are amended to death with loads of pork and turn in to shit legislation.
      • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by John Harrison (223649) <johnharrison AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:34AM (#12370740) Homepage Journal
        So you think there is a legitimate need to distribute movies before they are released?

        My concern with the bill is the sections regarding commercial content. You can skip things that are offensive to you but not ads? What about the paid placement of Marlboro ads in Superman II? Would skipping that be illegal still?

        In any case it is interesting to see how the responses by the Slashbots vary depending on how the headline is written. When these services are mentioned as "censorship" everybody goes nuts about how evil they are. When the story is posted as being about giving you more "freedom" the same idiots praise it. It would be interesting to compare the last few Clearplay/Cleanflicks stories and look for inconsistencies in the attitudes of individual posters based on the headlines.

        Sheep! All of them!

        • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Informative)

          by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:38AM (#12370805) Homepage
          So you think there is a legitimate need to distribute movies before they are released?

          No. I just don't think it warrants a possible prison sentence of 3 years.

          You can skip things that are offensive to you but not ads?

          Ads are offensive to me; problem solved.
        • So you think there is a legitimate need to distribute movies before they are released?

          Is there a legitimate need for "release dates"? Epecially having different ones according to geography. What's so difficult about just realeasing the movie when it is finished?
        • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by WaterBreath (812358) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:52AM (#12370994)
          It would be interesting to compare the last few Clearplay/Cleanflicks stories and look for inconsistencies in the attitudes of individual posters based on the headlines.

          Make sure you keep track of who is commenting, and of whether each individual's comment is "positive" or "negative". I suspect that there is an explanation other than just herd mentality. (Though that probably is a factor in some cases.)

          I suspect that most of the people that comment, or at least that start longer threads of comment, are people that feel strongly one way or the other. And depending on the wording of the headline, you may be inspired to comment or you may not, depending on which side of the fence you're on.

          Me, there are two things that most often inspire me to comment: If I am upset in some way by the post or article itself, or if I am upset in some way by a comment in the discussion thread. "Hear, hear!" type posts don't contribute much unless they are long on explanation, and I seldom check a thread before one of those is up already, so I don't usually bother. The remaining portion of my posts are inspired by a void of information in an article or a comment that I feel I can fill.

          As far as this specific issue is concerned, no it's not ideal. I still hope for copyright lifetimes to be reformed someday. I still think it's kind of retarded that ads can't be skipped. (I do understand the motivation--if ads can be skipped, advertisers are literally throwing money away for those people--but personally, I think that's part of the risk of doing business.) I also think that the 3-year jail sentence is ridiculous. To put it in perspective, what's your state's normal sentence for a drunk driver? Ours is less than 3 years, I can tell you that. And I think drunk driving is a heckuva lot worse than selling a prerelease movie.

          But it could have been worse. Recent efforts at undermining all P2P activity have failed. Universities don't need to release the identity of students on their networks to the **AA lawyers. And so on.

          We won some battles and we lost some on this bill. But there is yet hope to win the war.
          • Go find the last story on this bill. You'll be shocked at how happy everyone is about it. I was amazed, since /. has consistently seen Clearplay as an evil censorship issue instead of seeing the freedom to watch media as you please side of the arguement.

            I agree that three years in jail is harsh, and probably out of line when compared to drunk driving. I would guess that on your first offense the judge isn't likely to send you to prison for three years. What would you suggest is an appropriate punishme

        • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by tverbeek (457094) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:57AM (#12371049) Homepage
          So you think there is a legitimate need to distribute movies before they are released?

          Of course there isn't. And the people who do it are assholes catering to pathetic little losers with no patience and/or willingness to pay people for what they create.

          But you shouldn't go to jail for being an asshole.

    • Re:Not that bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:28AM (#12370675)
      The real silver lining here emerges when you consider where the entertainment industry started back in 2003, and where they've ended up in 2005. After two years of heavy investments in lobbying Congress for a host of outrageous changes to copyright laws (like the Induce Act), the entertainment moguls managed to enact only a tiny sliver of their agenda, and only by granting concessions to ClearPlay.

      And yet after 229 years of lobbying Congress the flesh and blood people of this fine country and losing their rights sliver by sliver to those "people" created out of paper and ink.
    • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Threni (635302) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:34AM (#12370749)
      Give it a few months/years, and the bit about pre-release will vanish, leaving you with these over the top criminal sanctions for sharing any file, even those legal outside the States (such as Naxos licensed classical/world recordings), or deleted material.
  • by TrippTDF (513419) <hilandNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:20AM (#12370563)
    ...they don't have this problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:22AM (#12370585)
    They should call it the Federal Entertainment Copyright Act of Law (FECAL). That way, when the FBI goes to bust someone, they can have a press release where they say:

    "We here at the FBI take FECAL matters very seriously, and Jimmy here is in way over his head."
  • by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:22AM (#12370586)
    No, Mr President, I don't think this has anything to do with the American family. Just say Movie Protection or something.
    • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:41AM (#12370851)
      That's what I said, what the fuck does the family have to do with the movie industry. Heck, the bill had to pass, it had the word "family" in, nobody wants to vote against family. The lawmakers are just as dumb and ridiculous as the people who elected them. How exactly is my family now more entertained than before? Why don't they add national security in there too, it would have passed much faster.

      Or, maybe the bill is self-referencial and the whole process of trying to stop people from sharing or distributing by threats is entertaintment for the whole family.

      How about I plant copies of a pre-release on somebody's computer the let the feds come and jail him for 3 years? Don't like your neighbour -put the latest peace of crap from Hollywood in the shares on his windows 98 machine and watch him burn. Can you imagine going to jail for distributing "Big Momma's House" - fun times!

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:59AM (#12371072) Homepage Journal
        The part you and the GP missed is a law explictly legalizing mechanisms for third parties to create and release "edits" for movies, the aim being for those third parties to create "cleaned up" versions of Hollywood movies.

        For example, you could buy a DVD of "Monster", download an edit into your DVD player, and the player would play the entire thing through except without the big bad rape scene at the beginning (or knowing it ever happened), which, of course, wouldn't affect how you view the film or its message at all... (<foghorn-leghorn>that last bit's sarcasm boy, sar-casm.</foghorn-leghorn>)

      • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:02AM (#12371118)
        Heck, the bill had to pass, it had the word "family" in, nobody wants to vote against family.

        That's the key, you see. Cunning use of bills.

        As you say, putting 'family' in the name is good. Or perhaps you might slip something evil in with something good. Perhaps it's a 'perverted arts' amendment into the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield. You vote for it? Next election campaign, "he voted for government money for perverts!" You vote against it? Next election campaign, "he voted against the evacuation!" Better yet, if you then remove the evil amendment and have the vote again... Next election campaign, "he flip-flops!"

        Ah, the joys of governmental corruption ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The MPAA's president Dan Glickman applauded the move, stating he wanted to 'thank the congressional sponsors of this legislation for their strong advocacy for intellectual property rights.

    And they would like to thank the MPAA for their contribution.
  • by VMaN (164134) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:22AM (#12370591) Homepage
    ....in my mouth..

    I just can't understand how "buying" laws is considered perfectly natural and good legislation... (I know that's not exactly the context the word was used in, but still)
  • irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:23AM (#12370596)
    irony: President Bush signing anything that involves the word "intellectual"
  • by Verteiron (224042) * on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:24AM (#12370608) Homepage
    I was going to make some cynical, sarcastic comment on this but... damn, what's the point?

    With everything going on today we're going to hunt down... filesharers? And sentence them like they've committed assault. Right.

    The guiding hand of corporate bribes, excuse me, contributions, was never more obvious.
    • Consider the fact that the law only applies to pre-releases, and then you can realize that this is actually quite sensible =)
    • lets hunt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tsiangkun (746511) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:29AM (#12371497) Homepage
      I'd suggest we start hunting down filesharing criminals related to senators, representatives, the president and his staff, lawyers, leaders of corporations, and members of the **AA.

      might as well add the pastors children to the list too.

      The only way I can see the stop laws like this is to send the ruling class's children to prison.
  • by sgtron (35704) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:25AM (#12370624)
    Been nice knowing you guys.. wait.. we'll all meet up again in the big house and talk over the old times together.. it'll be fun!
  • Start -> Control Panel -> Add Remove Programs

    Wait for "The list to be populated"

    Click "Remove" next to "eMule, used Frequently"

    "Are you sure you want to uninstall eMule?

    *sigh* "Yes"

    Remember kids, when you use P2P, you're supporting terrorists, and because of that, using P2P will get you shipped to Syria where a confession will be tortured out of you, and then you'll be imprisoned without trial or access to a lawyer until such time as Democrats seize control of the government.
    • Remember kids, when you use P2P, you're supporting terrorists, and because of that, using P2P will get you shipped to Syria where a confession will be tortured out of you, and then you'll be imprisoned without trial or access to a lawyer until such time as Democrats seize control of the government.

      Which probably won't result in any more than cosmetic changes. If you have only two political parties it's quite cheap for special interests to buy both of them.
  • by cyberlotnet (182742) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:25AM (#12370630) Homepage Journal
    I know, sue americans, take all there money, put them in jail for years for doing things like hmm lets seee.. Oh yea stealing a few movies.

    In the meantime lets let convicted murders get out on "good behavior" so they can get another shot and killing someone else.

    Lets send rapests to see a shrink who can claim they are now safe for the world again.

    Lets focus on every stupid little thing that happens EXCEPT the things that harm and affect us the most!!!

    Cause gosh darn it I don't ever want to walk pass some "Axis of Evil" P2P criminal on the streets, the pure inhumanity of it all.
    • You're missing the point.

      P2P is being punished so harshly because doing so protects the interests of big business.

      Here's the skinny:

      The wealthy don't care about the crimes that impact predominately middle and lower class people. They don't care about white collar crime because most of the time, it's the government or the Middle or Lower classes that end up taking the financial hit. (Enron for example)

      P2P however is something that the wealthy can't let stand. The lower and Middle classes have the chan
    • The death/rape of a one person isn't as important as the wellbeing of huge corporate bodies. Especially when those huge corporate bodies are very willing to give politicians lots of money...

      Sad but true. :(
    • For those unfamiliar with American law, the federal government almost never has jurisdiction in cases of rape and murder. I believe there are only about 100 such cases a year.

      The number of federal inmates on death row is 37, Federal Death Roll Inmates [deathpenaltyinfo.org], the number in Texas alone, 447. Death Roll Inmates By State [deathpenaltyinfo.org]

      When the Feds do become involved, the sentences are rarely lightweight and the prospects for early release are negligible. California man sentenced to 30 years in sex case [soc-um.org]

  • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro.gmail@com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:26AM (#12370642) Homepage Journal
    The MPAA's president Dan Glickman applauded the move, stating he wanted to 'thank the congressional sponsors of this legislation for their strong advocacy for intellectual property rights.'

    Glickman later added that he would like to apologize to those same congressional sponsors, as their seven figure checks will be delayed for up to two days.
  • Good Government (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RealBorg (549538) <thomasz.hostmaster@org> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:27AM (#12370657) Homepage
    always gives their citizens plenty of reasons to feel guilty so they try to keep a low profile and do not risk civil unrest or a revolution against a corrupted system. Schon Tacitus wusste: Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges. The greater the degeneration of the kingdom, the more of its laws.
    • Re:Good Government (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rxmd (205533)
      Tacitus was a clever guy, all in all, when it came to judging the state of the Roman empire [which is why I keep him in my sig ;)]... Here's the quote from its original context, any parallels to present times are, of course, completely incidental:

      Tacitus, Annals, 3.27 [freeserve.co.uk]: After Tarquin's expulsion, the people, to check cabals among the Senators, devised many safeguards for freedom and for the establishment of unity. Decemvirs were appointed; everything specially admirable elsewhere was adopted, and the Twe

  • Time Shift? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maotx (765127) <maotx@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:29AM (#12370678)
    From S.167RH, Title I, Sec 103. [loc.gov] which can be found under the Text of Legislation:

    a. Criminal Infringement

    1. IN GENERAL- Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed:

    C. by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.

    So much for distribution of television shows online. Almost all of them will eventually release a DVD of the series (commercial distribution) therefore anyone posting last nights tv show as a torrent will be a criminal.
    • Re:Time Shift? (Score:5, Informative)

      by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:36AM (#12370777) Homepage
      I wonder if anyone will have the balls to have this challenged in the courts. As many TV shows are distributed via bittorrent, any downloader will make "it avaliable on a computer network accessible to members of the public". It seems to me that 3 years in prison for downloading/uploading a show that is shown for free is cruel and unusual.

      It also reasons that if I run an FTP server and password protect it (jim:jim), then it isn't "accessible to members of the public".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:29AM (#12370687)
    If we're caught, we'll do less time than if we somehow managed to get a low quality copy of a movie from the theater. Heck, we can even lose control, slam into another vehicle, and kill an entire family on their way to visit grandma, at most we'll be slapped with a small fine and told how naughty we are.

    Welcome to MegaCorp, where we make the rules, and frankly, human life is far less important than our profits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:30AM (#12370695)
    Since mr. GW Bush is a known pirate [boingboing.net], I suggest the DOJ investigate him first. Any other course of action would make a mockery of the supposed blindness of lady justice.
  • What A Cheap Shot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:31AM (#12370714)
    from the another-victory-in-the-war-on-terror dept.

    Seriously, Zonk, can you cite anybody in the Administration who has said that enforcement of IP laws is part of the War on Terror?

    No, I didn't think so. So why the cheap shot connecting the two? It's funny how slashbots talk out of both sides of their mouths, that the technology shouldn't be procescuted, it should be the violators. Now the violators are being targeted, you guys still whine about...something.

  • This law seems to target distributers only .. does that mean downloading is ok? But what if you use Bittorrent where you download and upload segments of the file simultaneously, does that make you a distributer?
  • Thank god! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ath (643782)
    Now that this law is passed, unauthorized peer-to-peer filesharing of copyrighted materials will be stopped and we can move on to more important subjects.
  • Amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattmentecky (799199) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:32AM (#12370731)
    Isnt just downright amazing how out of sync sentencing is for certain crimes?

    Take for example Massachusetts Sentencing Guidlines [mass.gov]. And compare it to this new federal law that was signed.
    Larceny on a scale of $10,000-$50,000 can get an offender 36 months (in some cases, less!) than someone breaking copyright on a *single file*. This means that Person A can walk into a physical record store and almost wipe the store clean via theft, and get sentenced the same as Person B who shares one copyrighted song online.

    That is just amazing to me.
  • by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david.davidmeyer@org> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:34AM (#12370741)
    I WAS a Bush supporter...but this bugs the doo doo out of me. Of all the things that are going on in the country why has this become a priority? What about gas prices Mr. President? What about the healthcare fiasco Mr. President? What about all these children that are being kidnapped and nurdered by sex offenders Mr. President? What about the crappy education system in which our children score well below the rest of the world in nearly every category Mr. President? Maybe I expect too much for our elected officials...like concentrating on things that will make life better for Americans, and for the rest of the world.
    • With the exception of the kidnapping part, I fail to remember when any of those other things became the responsibility of the Federal Government--and even then, when they became the venue of the President... And even in the case of the kidnapping, unless they cross state lines it's still not a Federal matter...
  • "strong advocacy for intellectual property rights"

    The same law allows ClearPlay to edit hollywood movies against the creators' wishes. Despite the hype to the contrary, it does NOT allow consumers to rip and edit movies. That'd violate the DMCA!

    How is allowing corporations to edit movies a "strong advocacy" of property rights?!
  • by iammrjvo (597745) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:34AM (#12370752) Homepage Journal

    This piece of legislation has a particularly interesting act in it called the Family Movie Act [google.com]. The legislation allows companies to market filters and equipment to skip over parts of a DVD. The idea is that people who don't care to see the more raunchy side of Hollywood can skip the profanity and sex. (Yes, I don't want the profanity and sex in the movies that I watch. I've heard all of the jokes, so let the rants begin.)

    This part of the legislation was promoted by ClearPlay [clearplay.com], a company that distributes filters and DVD players that can utilize the filters.

    Not only do I like the ability to skip the raunchy stuff, but I like the fact that this promotes the idea that people can have control over the content that they pay to license. Hollywood considers the filters to be an "edit" of the original movie, but since the original DVD isn't altered, I don't see any difference between this and manually skipping content. It empowers the user and I like that. The implications are broader than just "Family Friendly Movies."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am a subscriber and saw the prerelease headline for this story. It was slated before the recent OS X story, then was pulled before general release. I wondered why, and now I know:

    The original story led with a headline covering the aspects of the bill that make it explicitly legal to *filter* DVD content, certainly a positive side to this legislation for the tech industry and fair use. Apparently, that headline wasn't sexy enough, though, so they pulled the story and resubmitted it as yet another whine ab
  • Skewed Justice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by inflex (123318) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:35AM (#12370766) Homepage Journal
    Disclaimer - I own all my music.

    What scares me here is the absolute disparity (right word?) between the punishment of virtual-space crimes versus violent, sexual and other more "real" crimes.

    When you see murderers/rapists/etc walk free 12 months after their committal to jail and yet people can get 3 years for file-sharing... wow, I'm disturbed.

    I think it's time more people in congress suffered to violent crime.
    • Re:Skewed Justice (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ishkibble (581826)
      "I think it's time more people in congress suffered to violent crime."

      as sad as that statement is i feel the same way. i'd like to see some right wings congressmen get shafted by bubba. you can't possibly argue that you are more emotionally damaged by someone downloading your song, then getting raped.

      i'm just waiting for the time when some militia group takes over the gov and sets things right.
    • Re:Skewed Justice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brontus3927 (865730)
      When a murder gets 12 months, its because the charge was pled down to something like voluntary manslaughter with the minimum sentence (18 months IIRC), and get time off for good behavior.

      shall be imprisoned not more than 3 years, fined under this title, or both;

      Even assuming someone was sentenced to the full 3 years (at which case the murder-filesharer analogy breakes down) unless they tried to escape or do something else monumentally stupid, they'd get out early, also. On top of that, I'd bet 90%+ of

  • If you also look at Title II of the bill it also has an "Exemption from Infringement for Skipping Audio and Video Content In Motion Pictures" This will allow manufacturers to legally create players to skip over crappy content and effectively lower the moving rating.

    Back when DVDs first came out, this was supposedly one of the big "features" that the industry was touting: the ability to select a G, PG, PG-13 or R rating for the movie. So far, Hollywood has never delivered on that. Then, when a compa
  • you can steal hundreds of millions from shareholders and get a slap on the wrist. enron, adelphia, worldcom, dot-bubble, arthur anderson, xerox, tyco, haliburton, qwest, health south. where are the crack downs on these villains who steal real money from citizens? this doesnt even count the recent plague of ceo's stealing 10-20-30 million dollar salaries while golfing.

    but if you duplicate binary bits that happen to form images when passed through an appropriate transmogrifier you go to jail for 3 years.
  • Congress: The entertainment industry is evil and is hurting our children and families, it must be stopped! Congress: We need to protect entertainment industry so it can keep making products for our children and families!
  • I wish broadcasters and movie studios would learn from P2P instead of trying to eliminate it. I do not fit inside the typical demographic model they have for programs. I have a 55+ hr a week job and a 1 year old. I usually cannot watch my favorite shows when they are scheduled, and it is a real pain to get a babysitter so I can go to a theatre just to get mad at little teeny-bopper punks running in and out of the theatre and talking all the time. What I want is non-commercial TV on demand and first rele
  • by Evro (18923) * <evandhoffman@@@gmail...com> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:48AM (#12370942) Homepage Journal
    I don't know how the word "pirate" came to be associated with the downloading of movies or songs, but it makes no sense in this context. A pirate is someone who boarded other ships on the high seas and robbed them of their treasures. Providing a movie or song for download without authorization may not be ethical, but it's not piracy. By calling it such the MPAA/RIAA have managed to raise the perceived level of badness by several orders of magnitude.

    The bill is not targeting "p2p pirates," but rather people who put movies up for download before release (which, really, they should be hunting down the people who got access to the movies in the first place). Calling them pirates implicity plays into the ??AA's game of criminalizing anything that doesn't net them a profit.
  • Although this law probably takes no account of how lax security may be in terms of allow unwitting would-be publishers getting hold of a pre-release work, it is morally laudable.

    I'm all for abolishing copyright as applied to published works, but unpublished works are the only true 'intellectual property'.

    If it's unpublished, it remains property. Once published, it belongs to the people and enters the public domain.

    The archaic 'copyright incentive' was only a sweetener that granted a publication monopoly for a limited time. It's time that ended (at least on the Internet).

    So, yes, if the IP is unpublished and under lock and key, then anyone who steals it and publishes it is a criminal of the first order. Although, someone who privately distributes something under NDA to 50,000 conference delegates does not really deserve as much damages as a movie company who has distributed a DVD to 50 reviewers.

  • ebay? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @08:53AM (#12371001) Homepage Journal
    How long until congress goes the final step and auctions off laws? It's obvious that many of the recent laws are simply bought, even if the politically correct term is "lobbyism". Why not go the whole nine yards? In the long run, it'll be the only way to save the exploding deficit anyways.
  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @02:03PM (#12375198) Homepage Journal
    In other news, the US Congress passes law targeting P2P pirates.

    Before you start dressing in sackcloth and ashes over Bush's signing of this bill, first ask yourself if your own representatives or senators voted for it. The reason we're in this mess is because people like you find it easier to blame the big guy on national television instead of little guy who only makes your state and local newspapers.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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