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Congress Creates Copyright Cops 533

Posted by Zonk
from the story-you-are-about-to-see-is-a-fib-but-its-short dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000 for infringing upon a $0.99 song, Congress is proposing new copyright cops in the "'PRO IP' Act of 2007, specifically the creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws. MPAA boss Dan Glickman praised the bill saying that, 'films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year,' though Ars points out that it allegedly costs the studios only $6 billion."
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Congress Creates Copyright Cops

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:47AM (#21610873) Homepage Journal
    I feel quite justified in saying you can take your laws and shove them up your arse.

    *ahem* sorry, but the summary just forced me to say that.
    • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tritonman (998572) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:55AM (#21610925)
      OMG this is (*&#$% scary, the last thing we need is another above-the-law government organization. We've already seen that the CIA is now above the law with their news of destroying evidence of torture that they previously said did not exist.
      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:59AM (#21610959) Journal

        OMG this is (*&#$% scary, the last thing we need is another above-the-law government organization

        "the last thing we need is another government organization"

        There, fixed that for you.

        • Not Satisfied (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:03PM (#21613141)
          Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000

          The reason they are not satisfied has nothing to do with a perception of how extreme the punishments should be. The reason they are not satisfied is very simple:

          It's not working.

          The complete collection of laws, technologies, and enforcement agencies that presently exist are failing to stop the widespread practice of copyright infringement. Given that the industry controllers are stuck in the past, they are doing the only thing they know how to do: pass even more laws, make even more enforcement agencies, and make the punishments even worse.

          As much as we would like to see the dinosaurs roll over and die...they don't want to. They will struggle for life, and have no qualms about causing as much waste, suffering and injustice as they can in the process.

          To the RIAA/MPAA: The new world is here. You can't bring the past back. Your attempts at forcing your values on to your clients cannot succeed. All you are doing is harming yourselves and everyone else. You will continue to experience nothing but failure until you embrace the world and harmonize with the technologies that exist and the ways in which your clients want to use them. That is all.
      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#21611137) Homepage Journal
        Pffft. Lots of luck with government enforcement, especially when just about everyone [boingboing.net] is doing it. Don't they get it?

        Besides, I'll bet the federal courts strike this law down as being unconstitutional.

        • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Technician (215283) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:14AM (#21612377)
          Pffft. Lots of luck with government enforcement, especially when just about everyone is doing it. Don't they get it?

          For those who think "I don't copy copyrighted material so I'm immune" should think again.

          Have you ever right clicked on a webpage and picked "Save Photo As..."??

          Congratulations you have committed a copyright violation unless the owner explicitly gave permission. This goes beyond simply making available on P-P. If you have copyrighted stuff on your computer without the copyright owners permission, you are in violation.

          Finding infringers is as simple as finding computers.

          Just where did your desktop art come from? Saved any photos from a news story? NASA photo? Clipped any text? The top part of my post is directly cut and pasted from another author. I didn't ask permission. Is it fair use?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *
        Remember, they are counting on us being too lazy and too self-involved with our shopping and HDTVs and Guitar Hero III to do anything about this stupid new proposal, as well as the rest of their idiotic/evil mess.

        As far as the destruction of evidence by the CIA, I'm starting to think that there must be a dedicated corps of decent public servants left in government, our military and in our intelligence services, otherwise, we'd never even hear about these things. Somehow, we've learned about the illegal sur
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What ever happened to state sovereignty?
      • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#21611079)
        If you are British don't forget that our arse-licking government has made an "agreement" where the USA can extradite anyone without showing they have a case, even for crimes committed in the UK. See here [bbc.co.uk] and here [spy.org.uk] for details. So if a record company thinks you might have have duplicated a disk, or videoed someone singing happy birthday you could be whisked of to the states just like that.
    • WTO Membership (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:12AM (#21611049) Homepage Journal
      If you are a member of the trade union, the ip cops will come and shove it up yours, as being a separate sovereign nation wont mean diddly.

      Man this is scary. Just the very idea of federal government running around to arrest people on a CIVIL issue where the burden of proof is ( basically ) reversed is frightening and completely contray to the constitution. WTF ?!?!
  • by superwiz (655733) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:49AM (#21610879) Journal
    The music owns you.
    • by Negatyfus (602326) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:00AM (#21610963) Journal
      Am I the only one that thinks the USIPER acronym eerily sounds like "usurper?" That's exactly what this is starting to look like.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by superwiz (655733)

        Am I the only one that thinks the USIPER acronym eerily sounds like "usurper?" That's exactly what this is starting to look like.

        Please, stand by for questioning.

        In destroying one, two or 10 of them, we are doing the work of millions. That's why our hand must not tremble, why we must march across the corpses of the enemy toward the good of the people. -- Joseph Stalin

        Because remember that "Goals (if noble) justify the means".
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Cjays (866936)
        It also almost rhymes with "Lucifer."
  • Remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WPIDalamar (122110) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:51AM (#21610897) Homepage
    Remember to write your congressmen.

    Both in opposition to this bill and to state you general feelings that copyright law has become too broad and too far in favor of big media companies.

    Do it now, email is good, paper is better.
    • Re:Remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cliffski (65094) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:04AM (#21610993) Homepage
      Why is it specifically in favour of 'Big' media companies? What is it that prevents this also helping out small media companies, and even individuals who create copyrighted works?
      It seems that anti-copyright campaigners would much rather portray every copyright owner as being like Madonna, prince or Metallica, rich and arrogant, rather than the reality, which is that the vast majority of copyright holders by number are very small or one-man companies.
      if you are an average-wage magazine column writer, copyright law helps protect you from being ripped off. If you are an author, musician or other content creator, the copyright law also helps protect you. the fact that the law also protects some big clueless, evil bastards that none of us like does not mean we should throw out the law. Laws against violence also protect politicians and business people that we hate, that doesn't mean the whole idea of those laws is bad too.

      Copyright law needs to be clarified and reformed. But it also needs to be enforced. Writing to your elected representative is the correct way to achieve sensible laws. Breaking the law so you can watch spiderman 3 for free proves their point, not yours.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jaysyn (203771)
        You know what happens with every single new government entity? They feel the need to justify their existence. 3 guesses how these guys would try to accomplish that. We already have laws for these things. Enforcement on a digital system *is not possible* with out invading our privacy or crippling our hardware.

      • Why is it specifically in favour of 'Big' media companies? What is it that prevents this also helping out small media companies

        The optimistic side of me wants to say you're right. I hope this doesn't turn out to be just the enforcer for the RIAA, but instead turns out to be something useful. I could see a possibility where government influence would eliminate the $47483848343524324 suit for an album's worth of songs. An agency dedicated to proper enforcement of all types of copyright could only help. Thi
      • by Znork (31774)
        "If you are an author, musician or other content creator, the copyright law also helps protect you."

        Except, of course, that the monopolistic nature of copyright law works as a force multiplier for marketing investments. Which in turn means that the market will be strongly biased against any small or one-man owners; they'll be utterly and completely marginalized. Out of the money consumers are spending on 'copyright', only a pittance ever reaches the actual creators.

        The 'small author' is, and has always been
      • Re:Remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:49AM (#21611445)

        Why is it specifically in favour of 'Big' media companies?
        Because, currently (in the US) [wikipedia.org], an individuals copyright is good for life plus 70 years! (Sounds more like a prison sentence than something good;-) For a corporation the copyright is for either 120 or 95 years.
        How does having a work protected by the government for years after the creator has passed on benefit anyone other than a corporation that is feeding off the works of others?

        if you are an average-wage magazine column writer, copyright law helps protect you from being ripped off. If you are an author, musician or other content creator, the copyright law also helps protect you. the fact that the law also protects some big clueless, evil bastards that none of us like does not mean we should throw out the law.
        Only a few nuts are suggesting we should totally repeal or ignore the copyright laws.

        Writing to your elected representative is the correct way to achieve sensible laws.
        Yes, and we need a lot of letters to counteract the bags of $$ that 'Big' media companies are providing to said elected representatives. Copyright laws may protect the little guy but the little guy is not the one that is demanding that the government get involved in stepped up enforcement.
      • Re:Remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by m2943 (1140797) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:01AM (#21611547)
        Why is it specifically in favour of 'Big' media companies?

        Because big media companies get to write it.

        What is it that prevents this also helping out small media companies, and even individuals who create copyrighted works?

        As one of those people, I can tell you that it does not help me.

        Copyright law needs to be clarified and reformed.

        Copyright should not be clarified and reformed, it should be taken back to its original design: about 20 years protection, required explicit registration, and no protection on content that has DRM applied to it. That's what copyright is.

        The bullshit that passes as "coypright law" today is legalized extortion.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mr_mischief (456295)
          I agree except for the required explicit registration. Every time you make a new blog post, you have to register? Every time a live sports broadcast is on TV they have to register? Before the game happens, when there's no footage to copyright? Or do thy register after it's transmitted, and therefore can't protect it because ti wasn't under copyright when it was broadcast? Or maybe we just wouldn't get live games on TV any longer.

          Besides, the US is a signatory country on the Berne Convention. That requires c
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773)
            I agree except for the required explicit registration.

            Well, it's absolutely essential.

            Every time you make a new blog post, you have to register?

            Yes, if you want a copyright on the post. Remember, public policy is to use copyrights as an incentive to get authors to create and publish works that otherwise would not have been created or published. If the work would have been created and published anyway, there's no reason for the public to grant a copyright; we benefit more from having the work in the public d
      • Re:Remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by raddan (519638) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:10AM (#21611645)
        Big media companies are the only ones who have the resources to police their works. Do you think the FBI would even notice if people started illegally distributing my software? Even if I made a stink about it, claimed that this was 'millions of dollars of loss' to me, do you think they would care? Now what if Disney does the same thing? The FBI listens to Disney.

        Sure, I agree, copyright is a good thing. But what we have now is insane. Copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years. That's essentially in perpetuity, because the public that is alive today, and likely their children and even grandchildren, will never see those works enter the public domain. I can buy an argument that works should remain copyrighted for the lifetime of the author (although I personally do not believe it should be this way), but an additional seventy years? Who does this benefit? Let's see... something that never dies... er, not vampires... Highlander? Oh, right! A big media company!

        I don't argue for people making an honest living. But when you've got the government pulling Gestapo shit for the big hitters, that's not honest. That's fascist.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RobBebop (947356)

        What is it that prevents this also helping out small media companies, and even individuals who create copyrighted works?

        To answer that question, cost. It would cost to much to help enforce "protection" of the small guys.

        And I agree with you... the system needs to be (a) reformed, and (b) enforced. I disagree that writing to Congress-critters will have much of an effect. Instead, my recommendation it to support bands who publish their music on Jamendo [jamendo.com] and other "distribution-friendly" sites. There is nothing better for fans than an artist who WANTS you to listen to his music without greedily trying to grab a couple pe

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      I am living in Europe, which congressman should I write to to tell them I don't want these in my country ?
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      And don't forget to follow thru and vote anyone out of office if they vote for the bill. Empty threats only compound matters, you must be willing to follow thru.

  • Just more evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoMMiX (748510) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:51AM (#21610901)
    That our government is owned by corporations. What a surprise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679)
      Corporations are people too!

       
    • I am not so sure it is the corporations, though I am sensitive to their influence.

      In my mind, the real issue is that GDP is based upon dollar transactions. Sales of a product like DVDs are probably the easiest dollars they can tax, entertainment taxes, easier than cigarettes, easier than gasoline. The ephemeral nature of IP is that it can be simply duplicated - like cheaply printing money for taxes and adding to the GDP.

      Every loss is an opportunity lost to their "business", government, and I am sure they do
  • Oops, better not, these USIPER agents might not have a sense of humor that we are aware of.
  • The role of the government is to run the country per the will of the people who created the government, is it not? So at what point does public will tip the scales and cause these laws to become moot and oppressive? How legal is it to make a law that will actually cause the majority of law-abiding citizens to become criminals? What if more than 50% of the people illegally download music, shouldn't the law then be repealed? Whatever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
    • Whatever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
      It's been redacted.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      How legal is it to make a law that will actually cause the majority of law-abiding citizens to become criminals

      Very [wikipedia.org].

      What if more than 50% of the people illegally download music, shouldn't the law then be repealed

      That argument hasn't seemed to work very well for marijuana legalization so I kind of doubt it's going to work here :(

      Whatever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

      I don't know if I buy downloading music off the net for free as essential to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". I definitely think the punishments for doing so are way out of line with the severity of the crime though. And "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" went out the window when the Government decided it could tell [wikipedia.org] me what I can and can not put into

    • So at what point does public will tip the scales and cause these laws to become moot and oppressive?

      Moot and oppressive? What? I do not think it means what you think it means.

      How legal is it to make a law that will actually cause the majority of law-abiding citizens to become criminals?

      You mean like this one? [wikipedia.org]

      What if more than 50% of the people illegally download music, shouldn't the law then be repealed?

      We still have speed limits, don't we?

      Whatever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
    • by Colin Smith (2679)

      So at what point does public will tip the scales and cause these laws to become moot and oppressive?
      WT? People will quite happily kill each other. Hanging for stealing a loaf of bread etc.
       
  • blackmail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by midnighttoadstool (703941) on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:57AM (#21610933)
    With such disproportiate laws, particularly of seizure, innocent US citizens are now wide open to black-mail.

    A determined enemy only has to have a few minutes access to your computer, download a few songs and then report you.

    • Sounds like a junior hacking project...just don't forget to tip the media off after you turn the congressman over to the IntelliCops.
  • The *AA industry is comprised of some pretty heavy hitters in the donation arena for politicians. I'd be more surprised if ridiculous laws that favored the industry weren't put forward. Heck, it's practically a perfect ploy. Politicians still get to play "save the childrenz!!1" by targetting video games, and nobody seems to care that they're ignoring the tripe their biggest doners put out.
  • What you fucking imbeciles don't realize is that the people pirating your movies WOULD NOT PAY FOR THEM OTHERWISE (mostly because they're shit, but that's really beside the point here). But no, dickbeats like Glickman parade their made up and meaningless numbers in front of the largest congregation of dickbeats on the face of the earth (hello, US Congress!), they have a big circle jerk, and come up with some abominable brainchild of a bill like this one. Sigh. If the terrorists haven't won already, they pro
    • If the terrorists haven't won already, they probably deserve to.

      Sometimes it seems that living as a dhimmi [wikipedia.org] in an Islamic state would not be that different than living in Britain where our government has seen fit to make us a de-facto 51st state, but without the voting rights or constitutional protection.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by FreakyLefty (803946)
      Also, look at the numbers they're using. Choosing a random album from the charts, I put Led Zeppelin's Mothership into Isohunt, and got back just shy of 1,500 seeders and leechers, every one of whom is technically "making available" the entire album, which consists of 24 tracks.

      At $9,250 per track, the RIAA seems to think they're owed nearly $315,000,000. From just one album, and just the results on Isohunt.
    • by ThosLives (686517)

      Indeed. If N is the number of people with legitimate copies today, and X is today's price, and M is the number of people using illegitimate copies, potential lost revenue would be (N+M)*Y - N*X, where Y is the price required to get everyone to use legitimate copies.

      Note that I said "lost revenue", not "lost money". If an entity invests some amount of money and doesn't get a return on it, then they have lost money on a poor investment. However, as soon as that entity makes any type of profit, by definiti

      • Note that I said "lost revenue", not "lost money". If an entity invests some amount of money and doesn't get a return on it, then they have lost money on a poor investment.

        My wife could be an RIAA accountant. She often tells me that if she brought a £70 for a sale price of £50 it will save us £20. I keep telling her that buying it won't save anything - it will cost us £50, but she doesn't (or chooses not to) get it!
    • by clifyt (11768)
      "the people pirating your movies WOULD NOT PAY FOR THEM OTHERWISE"

      Bullshit.

      I hear this argument all the time, and know people that pirate their movies / songs / whatever and they ALWAYS tell me this same thing. But the minute it becomes impossible to get whatever through elicit means, they seems to come up with the money for it.

      My last girlfriend would always get her movies from some Russian warez site...but if one of the films wasn't there she'd begrudgingly see the new release (and complain it wasn't bad
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by goldspider (445116)
      "What you fucking imbeciles don't realize is that the people pirating your movies WOULD NOT PAY FOR THEM OTHERWISE (mostly because they're shit, but that's really beside the point here)."

      TRANSLATION: A movie is "shit" only when you have to pay for it. Otherwise it's a justified use of bandwidth (downloading it), storage (burn it to media), and maybe even time (watching it).

      When you're armed with little more than those bullshit, hypocritical arguments, you really aught not be surprised when your opponents
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by beavis88 (25983)
        Oh bugger off. I haven't EVER pirated a movie. If I'm not willing to pay $10 to see it in a theater, or $15 to buy on DVD or $5 to rent it or whatever, I DON'T WATCH IT. EVER. I know, it's a novel concept - either pay what the owner is charging for the product, or don't buy it. Don't presume to know what I do with my time and my money, and don't accuse me of doing something based solely on a smartass remark I've made in passing. What, do you work in the movie industry or something?
      • by langelgjm (860756) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:45AM (#21612005) Journal

        TRANSLATION: A movie is "shit" only when you have to pay for it. Otherwise it's a justified use of bandwidth (downloading it), storage (burn it to media), and maybe even time (watching it).

        It's called elasticity. When the price rises above a negligible amount, a lot of people will no longer consume this particular good. As for the "costs" you mention: A) people are already paying for bandwidth - it doesn't cost them anything extra to download a movie as opposed to letting their connection sit idle; B) burn it to media? who does that?; C) we're posting on /. - clearly our time isn't that valuable :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by darthflo (1095225)

        A movie is "shit" only when you have to pay for it. Otherwise it's a justified use of bandwidth (downloading it), storage (burn it to media), and maybe even time (watching it).

        Movie on a retail DVD: $25. (Current titles ranging from some $10 after rebates to $40 full retail)

        2 GB of Bandwidth: $2. (Ranging from some $.10 volume datacentre pricing to way more; $2 seems realistic)
        DVD-R: $.50
        Movie on a selfmade DVD: $2.50

        If your quality requirement for both products is equal, I'd happily trade a used D

  • by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hotmai l . com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:00AM (#21610975) Journal
    It's a good job I'm communist, all this file sharing and FOSS is exactly what the doctor ordered.

    Too bad that the US wants to wipe out anything that looks/is commie and benefits the people and turn it into something that benefits the few.
  • A Bigger Picture (Score:5, Informative)

    by flyneye (84093) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:03AM (#21610991) Homepage
    I'd like to point out that Ben Franklin said we should have a revolution every few years just so we could weed out these helpful sort of Congress/Senate criminals legislating to line their pockets.

    • by superwiz (655733)
      Pretty sure he was referring to elections. But he never imagined that people would trust CNN more than their own judgment.
    • Actually I'm pretty sure it was Jefferson and he suggested once every generation or so.

      Of course they both may have suggested something along those lines.
  • by jrutley (723005)

    Hah! I fart in your general direction!

    As a Canadian, I know that there's no way that they would be let in the country. We are not like that other country with its corrupt politicians that pass laws like the DMCA.

    Oh wait a sec...

  • Cool. Another War (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:14AM (#21611061)
    First we had the WAR ON DRUGS
    Then we had the WAR ON TERROR
    Now we have the WAR ON COPYING

    Funded by the taxpayer of course.
     
    • by darthflo (1095225)
      Let's start a WAR ON WARS ON STUFF then. Actually, at the current rate, a WAR ON NOT BEING AT WAR might be in the general public's best interest. Whaddaya know, maybe it'll work out :)
    • by owlnation (858981)

      First we had the WAR ON DRUGS
      Then we had the WAR ON TERROR
      Now we have the WAR ON COPYING
      Funded by the taxpayer of course.
      In which case -- not to worry -- since the first two were/are miserable failures. Although the tax payer spending is a thing...

      And anyway, surely this is a CIVIL issue and not a criminal one?
    • Re:Cool. Another War (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nimey (114278) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:08AM (#21611609) Homepage Journal
      War on government?
  • Copyright cops eh? Sounds like they'd just trawl the net, connect to trackers and get a whole load of IP's.

    Getting paid to surf the web and download copyrighted material? Every slashdotters dream!

  • from TFA: "To do this work internationally, the bill also authorizes US intellectual property officers to be sent to other countries in order to assist with crackdowns there."

    ... I state stay home.

    CC.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#21611105) Homepage
    It's getting RIDICULOUS... no, it's getting MORE ridiculous!

    Before long, people will stop watching TV and movies because it LEADS to wanting to record from TV or buying a DVD which leads to wanting to make backups which leads to being a felon! But if you don't know what you're missing, you won't be tempted by the 'drug' that is the entertainment industry.

    So now I am imagining an entire future where people are afraid to hum a tune or even create their own entertainment for fear that it is similar enough to something they never heard or saw but is currently controlled by the perpetual copyright holdings of "big media" which officially merged a couple of years ago.

    Should this thing pass, darker times will be upon us... not that things aren't pretty dark now.
  • I sometimes wonder if lobby money (bribes, as civilized people call it) surpass the alleged loss because of piracy...
  • If the US government makes half of the country cops and puts the other half in jail, there'll be no unemployment. Well, not until they outsource the cops. Wait, they're already sending their cops to other countries. I see, the US is going to try to corner the world market in law enforcement.

    That almost makes sense. I think it's time for bed.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:30AM (#21611213) Journal
    I don't even see how having that will even help their sales...

    Their problem is that they're still living in a society where we had:
    - No Internet.
    - No home cinema systems.
    - No media centers.

    Many today don't even want to go to the cinemas because they think it's noisy and with annoying people in front of them, or even people telling about the events in the movie or constantly laughing at bad places. Or maybe they just want to easily go to the bathroom when they wish during a LOTR-like movie marathon. So then they pirate stuff instead of just twiddling their thumbs with a useless 50" home cinema system until the artificially delayed DVD/Blu-ray/HD-DVD release is made, usually also with artifically imposed regional restrictions.

    I mean, there's a whole new field of technology at play here that completely seem to pass them. They still seem to think we are sitting on: a mix of cassette, vinyl, and CD players, and on CRT TV sets. That's what their business model is still geared for. And people today barely even own these relics anymore. They use the media in totally different ways than before.
    • by imsabbel (611519) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:51AM (#21611459)
      You STILL think to narrow.
      And your argument is a bit of a strawman.

      The real point is: Money in = Money out, in the long term.
      We have a many-multi billion video games market. We have the rise of cell-phones/ringtones/ect, which suck enormous amounts of spare income out of the 15-23 target group. All that money obviously is missing somewhere else.

      People might spend less money on music because of the internet, not because they download it instead, but the fact that those 50$ cable/dsl/flatrate fee are just missing somewhere else.

      And nowadays, a lot of people find better things to do with their time in the web/blogosphere/ect than fullfilling their old role as mindless media consumers.

      And ultimately, people who have money to spend are time-limited (as opposed to the typical teenagers that have tons of time, but not the money, and create "no loss" piracy. Or do you think that timmy would have bought those 3500 albums and 700 games he downloaded from piratbay?
  • by Fizzl (209397) <{ten.lzzif} {ta} {lzzif}> on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:30AM (#21611221) Homepage Journal
    If this is ever actually implemented, I would taunt the motherfuckers to try and come "seize" me and whatever infringing media machine I might be using. At some point a man has to say "enough" and defend himself with violence from absurd laws.
    • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:39AM (#21611339)
      If this is ever actually implemented, I would taunt the motherfuckers to try and come "seize" me and whatever infringing media machine I might be using. At some point a man has to say "enough" and defend himself with violence from absurd laws.

      That this post is a terrorist threat. Now they won't even have to pretend to treat you fairly. ;-)
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:33AM (#21611249)
    Perhaps there would be less frivolous legislation proposed if the bill drafters would maybe compare their bill against the US Constitution. There seems to be a rather basic conflict between confiscation of property and the "due process" clause of the Constitution.

    Not to mention that other countries tend to have laws and Constitutions and claims of sovreignity over their land and inhabitants.

    Just a little advance reading could spare a us a whole lot of floundering and discussion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:33AM (#21611251)
    Lets' see.....

    There's no money for fixing schools. My property taxes have gone way up due to the fact the Current Administration is cutting school aid nationwide. Lucky for my kids we are in a rich area so the parents can still pay.

    We are pissing away cubic dollars in Iraq on a scheme to keep Iraqi oil off the market, protect OPEC, and keep prices high.

    But, we can set up an entire law enforcement apparatus to protect the richest industry on the planet ? Oops, almost forgot, that industry also owns the media outlets (thank you FCC for allowing mass ownership of media) which the wankers rely upon to be re elected.

    Corporate America has gotten just about every Christmas Present it wanted under the Bush Administration. The Bankruptcy Bill was the first shot. Next, continue to subsidize Oil and Gas companies. Make sure that all worker protections, or public protection, is de-fanged, or given to the person who used to lobby against it. Flat top mountains in West Virginia. Allow utilities to continue to build 1950's era generation plants.

    Meanwhile, block stem cell research, push "abstinence", and raise the prices of contraception for poor women while making abortion less available.

    Bush was honest, once, when he stood before a gathering of huge corporate benefactors, and said "Some call you the elite...I call you my base".

    Next up....roadside execution for speeding.
  • to help other countries enforce US laws

    Once you start to meddle, you just can't stop anymore.

  • as all computers are used to commit copyright infringements [slashdot.org], this effectively means the prohibition of computers, right ? :P

  • Obviously someone put a lot of thought into this moronic bill. Although I'm totally missing the 'but our kids want to listen to new music' (Ignore the fact that 90% of the so called new music is just a remix/rehash of old ones, but hey)

    An idea would possibly be to put in a second branch of Congress which only allows people that have a technical background. They can then create the laws that they think are required for the regularion of technology, instead of the current flock of congresscritters that think
  • Especially scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:42AM (#21611377) Journal
    The worst thing about this from my perspective is that the US has a record of refusing to follow any foriegn laws and not allowing their own officials to be extradited to other countries if they break local laws in the course of their work.

    This mean that these copyright cops will have the ability to go into a foriegn country, stomp all over the local legal system and then escape back to the US before they can be forced to account for their actions. These are not the actions of a country that wants to earn the respect of the world community.

    This will not help the US cause in the long run as it will just cause even greater resentment in the countries on the receiving end of such treatment.

    The obvious example is the pirate bay. If they really want to close the pirate bay they need to convince Sweden to pass tighter copyright laws, not go in and bust it illegally like they did. The problem now is that after that stunt it has made it much harder for them to convince the swedish people that such a change in law is neccessary. It has also made many european politicians scared on enacting said laws for fear of being accused of being a lapdog of a deeply unpopular president (Bush).

    Maybe some of this situation will change when he leaves office but at the moment no other politician wants to appear to cosy with someone who has made some very questionable decisions and is going to be out of office soon anyway.

    If the US really wants to try and encourage europe to adopt their laws, a much better start would be make some sort of concession to the european community. A good start would be allowing US troops to be prosecuted by a european criminal court for crimes they commit in Europe. We are not really that bad in Europe, we are also democratic nations who have very similar outlooks in a great many ways. If the US trusted us a little more that would most likely be reciprocated.
  • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:48AM (#21611431)

    The MPAA, for one. MPAA head Dan Glickman, in a statement praising the new bill, said that "films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year,"


    I had a hard parsing Glickman's quote until I realized what he probably meant was "film theft costs ..."
  • The bill is H.R.4279.

    More information [loc.gov] including full text [loc.gov] available from the . [loc.gov]
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:29AM (#21611853)
    What I don't get about this whole mess is the governments complete and utter trust in the industry's claims. Either they don't want to know, or they don't care (and I am speaking to both US and Canadian). The industry will have some study done, or simple just say "we lost 18 billion" due to piracy, and it is believed. Even though it is fairly easy to check, and they have been caught lying about it so many times in the past. Tell me in what other industry this would happen?

    Here is my idea of how it goes down:

    RIAA: WAAA WAAA WAAA! We lose money!

    Gov: Whats wrong?

    RIAA: Evil piracy make us lose money!

    Gov: OH NOES! How much did you lose?

    RIAA: 89 Kajillion Bakillion dollars!

    Gov: You know that isn't a real number.

    RIAA: 18 Billion dollars (evil pinky to corner of mouth)!

    Gov: NO NOES! Lets make crazy laws!

    RIAA: YEA!
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:59AM (#21612213) Journal
    They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws.

    Uuuuh, right Wally.

    So, let's see, some multibillionaire shitbag in Hollywood wants the US .gov to send agents overseas to persecute people in other countries for dealing with objects according to their own local laws and customs.

    And this isn't imperialist fascism?

    JH Kunstler noted that when local architecture of the commons is reduced to cartoon houses in the burbs and megamalls, you no longer have places worth caring about. Who ever wept at the demolition of a WalMart? Ad when you get enough places in one country that are not worth caring about, you end up with a nation not worth defending.

    There's another kind of architecture, and its the architecture of the mind, and it's called "Media". And when enough of it is such crap that no one cares about it, and it is seen as more of a utility than a creation, then it ceases to be a culture worth defending.

    With preposterous laws like this, the USA is working very hard at becoming a nation no longer worth defending. People will simply "Walk Away" from this catastrophe of a country, or, as William S Burroughs put it:

    "(Thank you America) for being the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams."

    RS

    If you have ANY SENSE at all, you will get out of the USA as soon as possible. The second wave of mortgage failures will come in March. Once the USA sinks, things will get tough, and legislation like the above will become commonplace, even under a Democratic Administration.

    Run. Now. And when you get out, you will see what the rest of the world sees: Those people are fucking crazy.

    HW

  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:19AM (#21612459)
    Currently we have seen that the costs for sharing only a handful of MP3s can be as much as a quarter million dollars or more after legal fees. How does anyone think that increasing fines to a half million and including jail time will be any more of a deterrent? Financial ruin was already nearly guaranteed if one was caught, if that isn't enough to scare the thousands (millions?) of file sharers then it is unlikely this will. We might also see a blow-back effect similar to when penalties for violent crimes are raised to maximum levels. e.g. if one gets life in prison for rape or murder then it induces some rapists to kill their victims since the sentence is the same and killing the victim might make it less likely to be caught. The parallel would be if you're going to be financially wiped out and sent to prison for sharing ONE song, why not simply share hundreds? You're screwed either way.

    Also this brings copyright infringement from a civil tort to a criminal charge. Change of venue to courts already overburdened by America's various other "War on $CONCEPT". And why should this be a criminal offense? The system was already out of balance in favor of the copyright holder, this law would make it egregiously so. If Congress is willing to reduce copyright limits to *reasonable* lengths then maybe it would make sense, but as it stands now almost nothing created in my parent's lifetime will become public domain for me before I die. Copyright is supposed to offer limited protection in return for the work passing to public domain. If it essentially never enters public domain then why should it be protected by criminal penalties? It's like shooting someone for shoplifting, completely out of scope with both the crime and the supposed bargain between the public and copyright holders.

    Also in regards to some posts saying that this law protects all equally and is not skewed in favor of large corporations, I must disagree. Large corporations could afford a judgment against them brought successfully by an individual, it would not go so well the other way around. The inherent imbalance between the resources (financial, legal and manpower) of a corporation and an individual pretty much guarantee an individual will be forced to cut a deal or risk their livelihood and freedom while a corporation could stall for years and even if convicted would be able to recover almost instantly.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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