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EU Proposing to Make P2P Piracy A Criminal Offense 420

Posted by Zonk
from the harsh dept.
brajesh writes "The European Commission is pushing for a proposal (.pdf) to crack down on organized piracy, which could also make indirect copyright infringement a crime across Europe, with implications similar to the recent MGM v. Grokster U.S. Supreme Court ruling. If the directive is adopted, developers who create software for file sharing that is then used for illegal ends could potentially be criminally liable in EU member countries." From the article: "The problem here is some activities, such as the creation of software, can be used for legal and illegal purposes, as is the case with Grokster...It gets really messy, because it is unclear what is legal or not legal, and it is problematic to operate with such abstract terms."
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EU Proposing to Make P2P Piracy A Criminal Offense

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  • by dhakbar (783117) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:45PM (#13250920)
    Especially the freedoms we Americans don't have.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:46PM (#13250927) Homepage
    A directive being pushed by the European Commission would, among other things, criminalize "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" acts of copyright infringement.

    Let's ban everything that attempts, aids, or incites acts of anything. It would eliminate cars, guns, tools, computers, people, milk, water, and air.

    Fuck, let's just blow up the whole earth, some corporation would likely benefit from it -- I'm sure they have a patent on the bombs, cleaning up the destruction, and cloning human life after creating the vegetation and animal life.

    Let's stop making laws that only support the businesses that have endless supplies of money please.
    • by shark72 (702619) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:53PM (#13251012)

      "Let's ban everything that attempts, aids, or incites acts of anything. It would eliminate cars, guns, tools, computers, people, milk, water, and air."

      Maybe the summary wasn't clear enough. This is an attempt to institute a standard of liability similar to that of MGM vs. Grokster. The folks behind Grokster were taking active measures to profit from piracy -- their ad campaigns and email trails showed that quite clearly. If you're not sure why Grokster fell into this category and a gun manufacturer does not, it may help to compare Grokster's business model and advertising campaign to that of BitTorrent.

      Any moron can slippery-slope this one. We're smarter than that.

      • by garcia (6573) * on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:56PM (#13251050) Homepage
        If you're not sure why Grokster fell into this category and a gun manufacturer does not, it may help to compare Grokster's business model and advertising campaign to that of BitTorrent.

        The only reason is because of lawyer speak. Guns were created to kill living things but they are marketed with clever wording that includes everything but.

        P2P was created to quickly and effectively distribute data without a central server handling all the load. Problem is that the corporations that don't like it being used against their current business models have more money than the users and creaters of the P2P software.

        I'm not slippery sloping anything. I'm stating a fact.
        • by Ahnteis (746045) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:24PM (#13251321)
          The difference is the advertising, not the product.

          If your software is advertised as a way to download copyrighted works without permission from copyright holder, you are a Napster and will be held liable.

          If your software is advertised as a data distribution network with no emphasis on copyrighted works, you are a bittorrent and will not be held liable.

          (If you are a gun manufacturer and you advertise that your weapons can be used to kill HUMANS you will be held liable. If you advertise that your weapons can be used to kill animals and targets, you won't be held liable.)

          • So my advertising is the factor that decides my culpability?
            • So my advertising is the factor that decides my culpability?

              Exactly. There's a difference between creating software that can do something, and specifically marketing it for doing that thing. Grokster sat on their site and said "violate copyright with our products". That was a prime reason they were held responsible when their users did exactly that.

          • Actually, the gun analogy falls apart more easily than that.

            It would be more accurate to say that you'd be held liable if you marketed your guns for killing people illegally. Like, "Is your neighbor annoying you? Our guns will shut him up, forever." On the other hand, "Worried about home invasions? Protect your family with our guns" would be seen as a legitimate use of the weapon, which also involves killing humans.

            Yes, you can share data with lots of people without it being illegal. If you marke

      • OK, if they want to go after companies like Grokster fine. I have no problem if they are flagrantly advocating copyright infringment. My problem is with the wording. Why cannot they just say EXACTLY what is illegal?

        "It also covers attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting such offenses". What the HELL!!! By that definition they could go after ISPs, PC makers, OS makers, etc, etc, etc, etc...... As you say "any moron can slippery-slope this one". Why not make it so some moron DA (or whatever the
      • We're smarter than that.

        You must be new here.

    • by ciroknight (601098) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:12PM (#13251191)
      I've been reading through these posts and I haven't seen anything that none of us hasn't seen before. But what do we do about it? We sit on our asses, yelling at a website because our rights are being violated left and right.

      What happened to the days when a country's movements were so offensive that people would march? That people would have sit ins and public readings and such? Words are just words people, unless any of us is willing to stand up for our rights, we're just blowing hot air.

      Perhaps all of those users of P2P programs, software developers, people who feel like their rights are being encroached on should get off their asses and go to DC for a day, sit down on the captial lawn, and get some influential people to talk and unite us. I'm sure RMS would have no problem, nor would Linus or anyone; a day out of their lives to support such an important cause isn't going to hurt anyone.

      I'm just tired of hearing about this on Slashdot and having no outlet than to whine about it on here. It's far past time we actually *do* something about it.
      • So go do something about it! Stop complaining about the people who are complaining. Don't tell US what to do, go do it yourself!

        OSS philosophy here...
        • The idea is to get people to notice that they're doing the same, not to reply with "clever" comments such as yours.

          Just so you know, I'm a heavy supporter of the EFF, and I sit down and write my congressmen about once or twice a month, which is really all the time I have as a college student. Sadly, my words alone can't convince anyone, but get enough people noticing what they can do about it, and things happen.

          If I had the ability to schedule a march on the captial, I would in a heartbeat, but I'm no
      • And how would going to DC help on an EU proposal?

        And for the public readings - the internet is a much better medium.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:35PM (#13251460)

        Two million people marched in London to protest against the Iraq war.

        Approximately 78% of the electorate did not vote for Tony Blair's Labour party at the recent UK general election.

        Our troops still went into Iraq, and Blair is still in power.

        If the biggest mass protest in recent history couldn't avert a war that has killed thousands, it's not going to do much about some random Eurocrap. We need to do something more than bitch on Slashdot, but apparently marching isn't it.

        • by Tim C (15259) on Friday August 05, 2005 @02:34PM (#13252134)
          Approximately 78% of the electorate did not vote for Tony Blair's Labour party at the recent UK general election.

          In that figure you are of course including the people who did not vote at all, despite being eligible. According to the BBC [bbc.co.uk], there was about a 60% turnout of voters. Therefore, 40% of that 78% didn't vote at all.

          I'm not detracting from your main point - that the majority of us did not vote Labour - but the way you present it implies that something dishonest occurred, which is not the case.

          We need to do something more than bitch on Slashdot, but apparently marching isn't it.

          Our government isn't listening. It hears what it wants to - fears over immigration, terrorism, etc - and acts on that. On other matters - ID cards, the Iraq war, etc - it simply claims to know best and carrys on regardless.

          And you know what? It's as much a fault of the 40% who didn't vote at all, as it is of those that voted Labour. (Not that the Tories are any better if you ask me, but that's a rant for another time)

          Oh, and a disclaimer: it's my fault too, as in the end I didn't vote either. I didn't see that there was any real point; my constituency (Hornchurch) is split roughly 45/45 Tory/Labour, with the remaining 10% or so "other" (mainly Lib Dem). Not much of a choice, if you ask me.
      • Actually, it would appear that we are doing quite a bit. According to Rolling Stone magazine, sales of prerecorded CDs are falling about 5-7% a year. This is happening despite various superstar's hot new albums and mass purchases of must-have new releases. And despite that so many teeny-boppers have so much of their parent's money to spend and no political awareness whatsoever. Plus the audience of young people continues to grow worldwide and there is generally more money available for the purchase of re
    • by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:15PM (#13251223) Journal
      I'm sensing a bit of negative attitude here.
    • Who was it who said:
        "Anything which is not deemed illegal shall be compulsory!"....
  • by Stanistani (808333) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:46PM (#13250928) Homepage Journal
    Crowds of file-sharing enthusiasts herded into makeshift prison camps.

    How nostalgic for Europe.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:48PM (#13250950)
    organized crime: monopolies and artificially inflated prices?

    Two wrongs doesn't make a right (i know, three lefts do), but those corporations have no moral ground to talk about lost profits.
    • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:54PM (#13251018)
      It doesn't matter how much profits they make. They are free to charge as much as they like for their movies/music/software.

      You are also free not to buy any of it.

      The problems with these types of laws is that you don't always know if what you are downloading off the internet is something that is copyright'd ,and not freely re-distributable, vs something that may be copyrighted, but freely destributable (opensource software, promotional free-music, etc). You usually don't really know until you have it downloaded and can run/play it. Even then, you might not know if it's legal or not. ex: Plan 9 from outerspace was a commercial movie, but it's now being freely distributed legally.

      • "They are free to charge as much as they like for their movies/music/software."

        You're right that the current situation looks like this, however i don't think that this is appropriate all the time. The "you don't have to buy it" works if the buyer and seller are on the same level, like on ebay, but honestly it's just not working in today's economy, for multiple reasons, like for example vendor contracts, and mostly sheer ignorance by the buyers.
      • The problems with these types of laws is that you don't always know if what you are downloading off the internet is something that is copyright'd

        Exactly. That is why only software made by the media industry will be allowed, because they can guarantee that only stuff that is not freely distributable will be available.

        The true enemy of the music/movie/software industry is not piracy, but availibility of free alternatives. This law would kill distribution of free stuff, which is exactly what is intended.

        You ar
    • It would be oh so lovely if laws were made on moral grounds. Meanwhile, back in the real world, laws are made by those with power and cash == power so laws will always favour the major corporations.

      As for cracking down or organised crime, don't they have cash too?

  • by ChadAmberg (460099) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:48PM (#13250951) Homepage
    What about MSN messenger? I send executable files across that all the time.
    Or, heaven forbid, a floppy disk containing copywritten software on it and thrown across the room.
    • Cisco will have to stop making routers. They send my copywritten movies across the internet, don't they?
    • by shark72 (702619) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:02PM (#13251098)

      " What about MSN messenger? I send executable files across that all the time. Or, heaven forbid, a floppy disk containing copywritten software on it and thrown across the room."

      I think the person who wrote the summary mistakenly assumed that most readers would know the background of the recent MGM vs. Grokster case.

      The whole point is to separate the "bad actors" from the providers of generic tools. That's what the decision showed us -- if you create an ad campaign focused on piracy, build your business model on inciting piracy, leave an email trail showing that you're aware of and condone what's on your network, and then lie to the government about it, you'll get nailed.

      Knowledge is power here, guys -- it's important to understand the difference between people who set about profiting off of other people's works, vs. the people who write IM applications. The EFF page linked in the summary contains further links to the supreme court decision and lots of other stuff which would have answered your question.

      • Knowledge is power here, guys -- it's important to understand the difference between people who set about profiting off of other people's works, vs. the people who write IM applications.

        You know the difference between those two? It's only that "people" writing respectable applications like IM are actually large software and media corporations, the same ones buying this legislation; like AOL-TimeWarner, Microsoft..

        Which is why internet explorer isn't classified as a piracy device, even though the main functi
    • by xtrvd (762313)
      NO! You can't copy floppy's, that's wrong! See this [netilium.org] if you don't believe me!
    • Re:GUNS! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurmr (773394)
      Guns can be used to kill people, but you don't see people taking the arms manufacturers to court do you?
  • by LuciferBlack (905438) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:48PM (#13250955)
    I am going to blame beer for making me share sex with girls that I may not have otherwise had sex with. Please governments of the world...save me!
  • If the directive is adopted, developers who create software for file sharing that is then used for illegal ends could potentially be criminally liable in EU member countries.

    I guess it sucks to be the guy who wrote mIRC or the guy who came up with the FTP protocol then....

    What a dumbass, overly broad law. Wouldn't survive a court review in the US.

    • Might not survive a court review, however the poor soul who was brought to court where the review would occur would not have a fun or easy time. Not to mention the cost of defending oneself until he could get off.
      • yeah, but we could start a legal defense fund, and between all of us, we could probably come up with 3 or 4 hours worth of a real lawyer's time for help...

        Or, we could do the typical /. thing and just send him 2TB of material useful for being his own lawyer...

        Oh, and there's every chance it might survive a court review. And not because of evil corporations or any of that...

        Have you ever noticed how bad the average individual is when it comes to figuring out computers? Ever had to answer user's questions t
  • Messy? Unclear? Please.

    If you distribute copyrighted stuff from your computer without any formal agreement with the copyright holder to perform such distribution, you're liable. If you distribute non-copyrighted stuff -- public domain, creative commons, or (gods forbid!) something you've created yourself, -- you're okey doke.

    One may disagree with the scope and breadth of legal protections afforded copyright holders, but that's a different debate.

    Of course, you're not liable if you download only and don
  • Stupid! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zonix (592337) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:49PM (#13250961) Homepage Journal

    The problem here is some activities, such as the creation of software, can be used for legal and illegal purposes, as is the case with Grokster...It gets really messy, because it is unclear what is legal or not legal, and it is problematic to operate with such abstract terms."

    Well, let me make it easy for you! Here's a hood ... it can protect you in a snowstorm, or you can use it to rob a bank. Ban hoods!

    Geez!

    z
    • Re:Stupid! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:02PM (#13251106)
      Here's a hood ... it can protect you in a snowstorm, or you can use it to rob a bank. Ban hoods!

            You may laugh, but in some countries (eg. Costa Rica) it is ILLEGAL to sell full face motorcycle helmets because these were used by criminals to rob banks...

            I guess it was easier to create this law than for bank security to USE COMMON SENSE AND DECENCY and ask customers to remove their helmets before being allowed in the bank.

      Back on topic:
            Funny how they never managed to make cassette tapes and tape recorders illegal, yet people used to tape stuff and make copies of casettes all the time. But now because someone THINKS they have the right to tell MY computer what to do (that's a real funny one), copying digital information is seen as "criminal behaviour".

            At least some of us know HOW computers work, and we will never be stopped. It listens to me, not to you.

      • Hoods have been banned in some "privately owned" places such as shopping centres in the UK.

        Gist of it is that young people wear hoodies, affluent grown-ups don't (except me sometimes). Therefore, they get banned.
    • "Here's a hood ... it can protect you in a snowstorm, or you can use it to rob a bank. Ban hoods!"

      Check out this article from the 'Australian'...

      "ITALY has banned Islamic burqas under tough terrorism laws that provide two-year jail terms and E2000 ($3200) fines for anyone caught covering their face in a public place.

      The counter-terrorism package, passed by Italy's parliament yesterday, doubles the existing penalty for wearing a burqa or chador -- traditional robes worn by Muslim women to cover their faces -
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:49PM (#13250965) Journal
    What's the difference between P2P piracy and piracy?
    Isn't the former just a subset of the latter?
    Do we need special laws to make FTP piracy illegal too?
    Usenet piracy?
    IRC piracy?
    • It's not the act, it's the meothod of aquiring it. P2P makes for a lot of needs to purchase new gear to pursue such criminals. On the whole, its likely a Fund Raising Operation. There are these crooks there who we need to buy more computer gear to chase them. They will likely get their money and move up from Pentium 2 computers.
  • Stupid law... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tominva1045 (587712) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:49PM (#13250968)


    Another stupid law. Using this reasoning any web browser manufacturer could be found criminally liable.

    1. Open mozilla browser.
    2. Download image and share with friend.
    3. Lawyer sues mozilla because they let me do it.

    If I buy a pencil and poke my neighbor in they eye with it the lumber company should not be sued either.

    They should go after the actual criminals but they don't because there isn't any money in it.

    This law should be called the EU Extortion Act.
    • Re:Stupid law... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I haven't looked at the EU law, but I think the key issue is promotion.

      My understanding with the Grokster case is that Grokster opened themselves up to trouble because they promoted it as tool to help trade illegally shared files, which "incitement" was almost an accurate term for it, the way it was promoted.

      Mozilla does not promote Firefox, Mozilla Suite, etc. as a tool to break the law, which is a key difference, even if Firefox could be used to do so. Firefox could be used as a means to trade child porn
    • Before you write such things, it's probably worth reading the draft proposal. It is in English and remarkably short and clear for a EU document.

      It appears to be mainly aimed at non-software infringement, i.e. at stopping the trade in counterfeit goods. The law affects those who intentionally do such acts on a commercial scale. That rules out any attempt to criminalise individual copying.

      However, there is one sentence in the document, whereby anyone "inciting" infringementments, and doing this inciting on
  • I would suggest that if Bram Cohen is considering any future travel to the EU that he do so now, just in case this legislation gets passed.

    Why? Because he would probably be target #1 for all of the rampant piracy that occurs via bittorrent, all despite his original intentions for the protocol/system.
  • not gonna happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MooseTick (895855)
    Lots of companies make products that can be used for both legal ald illegal purposes. No one is going to go to jail for making some software that merely allows people to swap files. Everytime somplace tries to make a law to limit/minimize illegal file sharing people here get all antsy. If you don't share things you aren't supposed to you won't get in trouble. If you don't like the laws concerning copyright, fight to change them. Why does everyone feel they have a right to do anything they want to simply be
  • "Abstract Terms" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:51PM (#13250987)
    > From the article: The problem here is some activities, such as the creation of software, can be used for legal and illegal purposes, as is the case with Grokster...It gets really messy, because it is unclear what is legal or not legal, and it is problematic to operate with such abstract terms.

    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

    - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

    Whoever came up with the "abstract terms" locution was pretty clever; that's certainly a new twist on it. Usually, the folks who want unenforceable laws want the laws to be abstract. Now that there's so little left unregulated, they can take the gloves off and come out and say it -- "everything not compulsory must be forbidden, and everything not forbidden must be compulsory."

  • That's pretty crazy but typical of the times. You might as well go after Internet Service Providers too rather than tool makers, as they are not only providing a kay part of what is needed but are also profiting from it (something not all tool makers are). Will not happen though, because the ISPs have money and the tool makers generally don't.

    But there is actually a group of international criminals that are involved in music piracy too. Why not go after them? The music piracy would not exist without them.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:54PM (#13251020) Homepage Journal


    If you lower the bar far enough, and make most everyone criminal, You can pretty much take away everyone's rights.

    Once you are 'assumed' to be a criminal, just because you breathe ,then its easier to take things from you ( such as money ) and redistribute t to the 'victims'.

    As well as destroy other rights you had, such as privacy.
    • To quote my favorite book:

      There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. -- Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged (1957)
      • I didn't really like that book, though I've found very similar quotes in more recent stuff that I do read.

        I didn't know this originated with Rand, though I'm not in the least bit surprised. (I assume it originated here, or did someone else popularize this thought about too many laws).

        There's a quote from Terry Goodkind's Soul of the Fire which was similar and good, but different.

        I don't have the book at work, so I can't give you the quote, but the jist (sp?) is this:

        Unenforced laws are wonderful things, be
  • Old adage (Score:5, Funny)

    by qeveren (318805) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:54PM (#13251027)
    Better to err on the side of money... er, caution.
  • Jail them all (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MickyJ (188652)
    So SMTP, POP3, NNTP, FTP, and HTTP are potentially illegal as they can potentially be used to transmit and receive copyrighted material illegally. And I can potentially punch someone in the face with my fist (or both of them, if I'm lucky), so you'd better chop my hands off, just in case.
    • I hear you 100%.
      I've been training in Martial Arts for 13 years now and am fortunately very capable with my body. I compete regularily in tournaments and have been to world championships where the fights are bare-knuckle and full contact; yet for some strange reason, I am not allowed to carry cuticle trimmers (Nail Clippers) onto an airplane in fear that I may stab somebody with them. If we were to really take into consideration the safety of other passengers while people like myself are on the plane, they
  • by cdrguru (88047) on Friday August 05, 2005 @12:58PM (#13251066) Homepage
    You should have. The US will be shortly on its way with this kind of law as well. It is a matter of survival for an "information economy" - if you can't make money because someone is "sharing" it out from under you, there can't be an "information economy".

    I would equate this level action similar to what police do in inner city areas. You live there for years and there is a murder here and there, a few robberies a day and every once in a while some grandmotherly-type is raped and beaten. The police generally do nothing and it seems this is all just happening and nobody can do anything about it. Does this not sound like the level of copyright enforcement today?

    Well, one day (actually more likely a dark night) the police come. Not just your usual two officers assigned to the neighborhood patrol car, but tens or even hundreds of cops in vests carrying all kinds of heavy weapons. Anything that gets in their way gets thrown into the paddy wagon and hauled off. Some people get shot, some by accident and some because they thought they would stand up against this invasion. Like what happened in Philly, maybe a building gets burned down as well.

    Three weeks later, everything is back to normal. The drug dealers are back on the corner, the neighborhood liquor store got robbed last night and somebody gets shot and might live. The police came, put up a show of force, and left. They won't be back for a year or so.

    We can expect a show of force soon over copyright. China gave up and has ceased all commercial music production. We can expect that in a few years here as well. It is almost the identical situation to the inner city - if the people don't give a hoot about it, the police (and RIAA, courts, government, etc.) can do nothing except put up a show of force. It is all just a show and it will be over soon.

    • if you can't make money because someone is "sharing" it out from under you, there can't be an "information economy".

      Or perhaps you:

      a) can't make as much money as you would LIKE to make - dream on. The real world isn't like that, or

      b) aren't providing anything that people are willing to pay for.

      Either way, whining about it and obtaining draconian regulation is not going to ensure more success in the future. Pehaps there can be no such thing as an "information econ
    • Like what happened in Philly, maybe a building gets burned down as well.

      Was that the case that they allowed the building to burn and prevented firemen from putting the fire out? My understanding was that people died in that fire. That made me mad, and if it is true that people died because of that, I'd call that police department a den of murderers.
  • FTA:

    If the directive is adopted, software used primarily for illegal file sharing, for example, could potentially make its developers criminally liable in one or several EU member countries.

    I think this would get a little bit tricky and could cause some serious legal problems. Sure you could go after BitTorrent because people can use it for illegal purposes, but you have to realize that this is no different than most other products.

    Cars are a wonderful way of getting from place to place that can be us

    • Cars are a wonderful way of getting from place to place that can be used for such illegal activities as escaping from the scene of a crime, running people over, and smuggling drugs into a country.

            Not to mention having sex in the back seat with some drunk girl you just met in a bar, on some deserted strip of road...hic
  • can be held liable for writing software that can be used for copyright infringement. I wonder if email programs like Outlook should be included. Maybe Microsoft should be found liable for copyright infringement. Or Mozilla for Thunderbird. Oh no, browsers can download copyrighted material so there is liability there too. It is a crazy proposal.
  • Why not make it illegal to make pencils and paper - people might use them write notes saying "this is a stick-up" during bank robberies.

    And glovves for hiding their finger prints.

  • by Feanturi (99866) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:03PM (#13251109)
    If you want to start making it illegal to posess software that could be used for piracy or counterfeiting then you might as well just call it quits on the whole computing age. Photoshop should be illegal since I could use it to claim credit for someone else's artwork. My soundblaster driver should be illegal because it allows me to record anything playing on it. Web browsers should be illegal because they cache copies of protected or copyright material that I can recover if I know where to look. Better get rid of my video capture functionality too, because I can record DVDs right from my Playstation with no issues other than a loss of quality. And TV-out, gotta get rid of that too, I might videotape licensed content off my computer. All chat programs are potential piracy vectors as well, for maintaining contact in 'the scene' or whatever, better get rid of those too. Where does it stop?
  • F**king Commission (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hazee (728152) on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:06PM (#13251134)
    What the hell is it with this unelected bunch of goons? First they do their level best to introduce patents across the EU, despite the will of the (elected) parliament, now they're sticking their noses into another area they know bugger all about.

    It really is high time that the EU Commission was given the boot.

    And they wonder why people across the EU are jumping at the chance to say NO to the EU constitution, which cements the Commission into place...

    How on earth did we get this bunch of cretins foisted upon us, and why aren't we the people of the EC allowed to say "actually, no, we don't want them, we never have"?

    Democracy? Pah!
    • Some misconceptions (Score:3, Interesting)

      by antientropic (447787)

      What the hell is it with this unelected bunch of goons? First they do their level best to introduce patents across the EU, despite the will of the (elected) parliament, now they're sticking their noses into another area they know bugger all about.

      You seem to be confused about how the EU works. The commission only proposes legislation. But nothing happens unless the Council agrees with it. That means a sizeable majority of the governments of the member states. So if bad legislation is passed in the E

  • It covers all Intellectual property crimes, including criminalizing patent infringement.

    The items covered are the same as 2005/295/EC
    http://wiki.ffii.de/Ipred0504En [wiki.ffii.de]

    So it would make it a criminal offence to infringe a patent. No kidding, imagine Philips Siemens, Nokia and their officers all vulnerable to a criminal infringment of some 'smiley' patent.

    • It covers all Intellectual property crimes, including criminalizing patent infringement.

      That with software patents could make it illegal to develop any free software.
      • A crime is transnational in Europe. If you commit a crime in any country in the EU, you are not immune because you are not in that country. The bigger a multi-national you are the more markets you are liable in and the more opportunity to infringe.

        That means that any country (i.e. UK patent office) that decides to implement software patents will force them onto everyone for the whole of Europe.

        Anyone that wants a software patent for their smileys will apply in the UK and file criminal charges against the co
  • My understanding was that the issue in the MGM vs. Grokster case was that Grokster marketed their software to be used in an unlawful manner. But the judge clearly stated that other software (ie. IM software used to send files, web browsers, etc) and companies would not be held responsible for their tool simply being used for illegal purposes so long as the tool was not marketed to be used in that way. So whats the deal? That sounds like a logical outcome to me...
    • "My understanding was that the issue in the MGM vs. Grokster case was that Grokster marketed their software to be used in an unlawful manner. But the judge clearly stated that other software (ie. IM software used to send files, web browsers, etc) and companies would not be held responsible for their tool simply being used for illegal purposes so long as the tool was not marketed to be used in that way. So whats the deal?"

      Thank you for pointing that out. Many people have completely forgotten that import

  • Argh! (Score:2, Funny)

    by cavemanf16 (303184)
    The other day I boarded me PC and headed out on the wide open network seas of information to find me some poor bloke's PC to board and swaggle all his mp3's for fear of me runnin' him thru with me l337 computer hacking skills. But to me su'prise, there were all sorts of bloke's wandering around the network seas INVITING me in to their cabin to rifle through their hoard of files in the hold's of their PC's! Shiver me timbers! They paid good drinkin' money for their massive hoards of music and movies and then
  • ..used by the media companies to make it morally justified to make such harsh laws.
  • Sheesh... RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zoomba (227393) <mfc131&gmail,com> on Friday August 05, 2005 @01:14PM (#13251212) Homepage
    This is a proposal to attack specifically the act of INTENTIONALLY infringing or contributing to infringement. Grokster or Napster would get nailed under this because it is clear that ths software was meant to redistribute music files, they built their companies and communities on the idea of music piracy (ok... those of you who are going to say "But you could distribute your own music too!" can leave the room now. Both Napster and Grokster KNEW what was going on, they built the system to make it as easy as possible to pirate music).

    When you come to technologies like BitTorrent or Freenet, you have technology platforms that are completely independent of what is being distributed. Going after BT because it allows infringement would be like going after E-Mail technology because you can send files, or FTP etc...

    The wired article is a piece of FUD trying to scare up some controversy when what this proposal is calling for is to explicityly make criminal IP infringement through P2P. People love to argue that the law is fuzzy on whether or not it's criminal, so now they're clarifying it.
    • No law should ever be based around intention. Proving intention makes lawyers rich, but does little for justice. As an example, consider the difference between murder, manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

      Intention per se is essentially unprovable without documented evidence, and any law based around intention just results in business via conversations in remote places.

  • I have an even better idea! Let's step back and look at this problem from a broader view. What are we trying to prevent here? Illegal activities! What is the primary thing that makes a person a criminal?

    That's right: LAWS!

    Yes, folks, we should outlaw laws that make activities illegal, because without them, there would be no crime!

    I say we start by making politicians criminally liable for proposing any new law that might result in criminal activity...

  • so, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo etc., will they all be liable? Those are also p2p apps.

  • So, what about fair use then? There are several European countries where you automatically pay a fee for each and every CD/vinyl record, each and every CD-R or other blank media, and - last not least - each and every *computer* you purchase, in order to compensate the content industry for losses they suffer due to fair use.

    It seems that (unfortunately, even though understandably) the content industry would like to keep these fees while at the same time outlawing fair use.

    But what exactly *is* fair use, anyw
  • by iive (721743)
    Today the famous inventor Johannes Gutenberg was sentenced to 200 years of hard labour for creating, distributing and using machine for massive copyright violations.
    Him so called "Printing Press" could produce hundreds and thousand copies of one book just for one week.
    Pirates have used it in enormous proportions to execute undreamed copyright violations.
    This had caused a big loss in book sells and SCWAA estimates them at 1 000 000 in gold.
    This evil invention had taken the work and bread of more than 10 000
  • Doesn't Windows allow you to set up file sharing between different systems so would that make it illegal to use MS Windows?
  • by xtracto (837672) on Friday August 05, 2005 @03:00PM (#13252381) Journal
    Man... I think we really need to make something.

    I have read some of the comments in this thread... I can see we are all pissed off about the way things are going but we are all whinging in slashdot without anything else to do...

    I have read some recommendations about 'voting with your money' or 'Talking to your representative' but I think that is *really* not making any difference...

    We must find a way to make the government hear us. Governments are supposed to represent the people in our countries not to serve as big companies servants allowing them to profit... We need real actions, movements, people, we need to fight again for our rights, not in UK or France or USA, but in all the world, we have the Internet which is one of the best communications tools which can be useful for us...

    Big companies are using the globalization to get more and more of the markets, meanwhile squeezing the goverments are making they take our rights.

    I am sure this will continue until there is something more severe, this will end in a kind of civil war but between consumers (us) and big companies... I see this as the next big war, but as they always say it will be a war of information , it will be a 'revolution' to get again our freedom, once, we fought other countries to get freemod (like Mexico from Spain or US from UK or UK from Germany)... now all the world will have to join to fight the big corporations, to get our freedom.

    The sad thing is that it is a system a big system which everyone of us is making work, because it is in those big corporations where people like you and me work. Although there are just like a thousand people that controls the 80% of those and it is of they most interest to make the system work smooth, that is what we need to change, we need to break that system and install a new system a new freedom for information, all kind of information.

    But then again I am here, siting in my desk just about to press the submit button and then I will continue reading the next story and then I will read my email and then I will just go to sleep waiting for tomorrow to go to work again... although my soul is shouting to go liberated... can we do somehting?
  • by gosand (234100) on Friday August 05, 2005 @03:10PM (#13252473)
    I am starting to think that I want these laws passed. I want the DMCA, I want the Patriot Act, I want record companies to be able to send people to jail for years. I want all this. Because slow change is NOT happening. Our rights are continuously being violated, our governments have over the years been taken over by those in power who can afford to purchase laws.

    I think the only way it will stop is that they go too far, and there is some kind of revolution. Let's get on with it...

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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