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US Senate Passes PRO-IP Act 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the ruh-roh-shaggy dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Senate has passed the PRO-IP Act. While they stripped out the provision to have the DoJ act as copyright cops, it still contains increased penalties for infringement, civil forfeiture provisions, and creates an 'IP czar' to coordinate enforcement. Even though the civil forfeiture provisions are ostensibly intended for use against commercial piracy outfits, history indicates that they will probably get used against individuals at some point. Worse, because they left out the only part of the bill that Bush threatened to veto, it is expected to pass. It is going back to the House where they're expected to pass it on Saturday, after which the President will probably sign it. So, if you want to contact your representative, hurry." An anonymous reader notes that DefectiveByDesign.Org is mobilizing to fight this legislation. The Senate vote was unanimous. We've been following the progress of this bill for quite some time.
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US Senate Passes PRO-IP Act

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  • Everyone in favour of another treat for the plundering knights of the 'free' market, throw your hands in the air!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905)
      I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA.

      It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nipoez (828346)

        I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA. It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.

        I presume, then, that you missed the portion of the law creating five positions for "International Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinators"? Their sole goal will be convincing other countries to adopt similar legislation.

      • Re:Huurah! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold (788862) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:59AM (#25177073)

        I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA. It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.

        You wish. Every time any nation ups the ante with a more restrictive and draconian copyright law, everyone else (except China) jumps on the bandwagon to "harmonize". Nothing brings out the spirit of "international cooperation" like Disney Dollars.

        • China (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phorm (591458)

          Which is why - in many ways - China may actual progress while the US will continue to stagnate.

          With the current patent and IP system in the US, it will reward those that may come up with an idea but not necessarily though that produce a product. Moreover, producing a product becomes dangerous as the chances of intersecting somebody else's IP goes up, and companies become unwilling to produce products due to the risk of being sued.

          Meanwhile, Chinese and other non-IP-following shops will continue to ignore Am

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jimicus (737525)

        I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA.

        It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.

        Depending on which country you're in, you may or may not be fine.

        Europe will probably enact similar legislation 5-10 years down the line as a European law. Expect corresponding laws in EU member states to ratify these on a per-country basis after another 2-3 years.

        For many parts of Africa, "being less competitive than the US" is the least of their problems.

        For the middle East, any countries the US considers even remotely likely to become an economic threat may expect diplomatic measures and/or cluster bomb

        • Re:Huurah! (Score:4, Funny)

          by jacquesm (154384) <j@w w . com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:54AM (#25177385) Homepage

          Poland is part of the EU now ;)

  • Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theCoder (23772) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:21AM (#25176603) Homepage Journal

    This is outrageous! I don't think I can vote for the Senator running for president that voted for that bill that goes completely the wrong way on copyright reform, so I guess I'll have to vote for

    The Senate vote was unanimous

    Damn.

    I wonder if any of the third party candidates opposed this bill...

    • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stupido (1353737) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:03AM (#25176763)

      Given that the US economy is moving away from the production of physical goods, and embracing IP production more and more, it should come as no surprise that the state got more involved in policing IP "theft".

      I bet this is going to get advertised as another law to "save the US economy".

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Things like this, TRULY, make me laugh... not your post I am replying to!

        (Well, part of it does, & it's not YOU, or your statement from you)

        I mean, the very fact the US really IS 'moving away' from the production of physical goods in & of itself, is a damn joke!

        I.E.-> Outsourcing harms us more than anything else!

        ( & the STUPID gov't. allows it! )

        What they OUGHT TO BE DOING, is saying "Sure, we'll do 'laissez-faire', & allow you to do this, BUT, we will also penalize & tax you for doin

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)
          No. What we need is a truly free economy that means A) No minimum wage, B) Copyright law where unless you are making money on the product you can pirate all you want C) Little to no patents D) The government stays out except to 1) Protect us 2) create general law and order 3) give a basic education and 4) maintain roads. If all those were followed, we would have no economic crisis.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Some decent points, & I'd have to say, in combination with those you replied to would probably be "a way" to get the job done, & done right... because it certainly IS NOT BEING DONE RIGHT, now, by the current administration (or, are the economic results satisfactory under the current & previous administration? NO WAY!).

            E.G. - If you or I were to have "such a good performance on the job" as the current set of politicians have done (not, it's horrendous - proof being the state of the economy itsel

          • by orasio (188021)

            Truly free economy does not have monopolies, so copyright and patents are out of the question. Let the market encourage the creation of products... somehow.

            And I don't understand why the government would need to maintain roads. For instance, the US already has enough roads. They can be maintained by tolls, or disappear. If your town doesn't have a good road infrastructure, move.

            • The thing about roads is, though I don't think that the government should run roads or education, if we stopped maintaining either tomorrow, something bad would happen. And really, if the government stopped doing other things, it would find that it has plenty of tax dollars to make decent roads.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by orasio (188021)

                Then you don't think you need a truly free economy. You just want the regulations to be where you like them. And want to remove the regulations that do not affect you, or that you don't undestand.
                I also believe that if my government didn't spend so much money on health, they would have the money to give me a nice gift at the end of the year.

              • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

                by cgenman (325138) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:17PM (#25177863) Homepage

                A free, unregulated economy above a certain size is almost guaranteed to degrade into monopolies. This is not just my assessment, but that of Adam Smith, founder of a lot of the principles of free-market capitalism.

                Take for example the privitization of water in Argentina. The capital outlay is heavy enough that nobody else can afford to do it, or if they did they would have little chance of recouping. However, the water company in Argentina is by far one of the most profitable institutions in the country, nearly doubling monthly fees since their tenure. If there wasn't government regulation, that company could then enter into new markets with the hook that "if you sell anything other
                than our beef, we won't provide water." This is exactly the tactic that Microsoft took in the mid 90's to prevent computer manufacturers from working with the other (many times superior) operating systems on the market at the time.

                Taking it a step further, a "Truly Free" economy is indistinguishable from the anarchy that exists in a power vacuum, and which quickly degrades into feudal warlordism.

                Oh, but you'd have regulations against use of force, improperly leveraging monopolies, properly labeling items, adhering to contracts, etc, etc, etc. And that of course all requires regulatory bodies, police force, civillian treaties for non-lethan enforcement, additional regulatory bodies to form and enact those civillian treaties, etc. As orasio mentioned, you can't have a "Truly free economy" without a hell of a lot of regulatory institutions. Otherwise, what would prevent me from saying "I'll insure your house against hurricanes," taking all of the money for personal use, and abandoning everyone when the first hurricane came along? Or becoming the head of an established bank, taking everyone's deposits, and heading for the Cayman islands?

                As my father liked to say (in more colorful language), we're no longer arguing about if you're a communist, but just haggling over degrees.

              • by westyvw (653833)

                The thing about roads is, though I don't think that the government should run roads or education, if we stopped maintaining either tomorrow, something bad would happen.

                And some would argue that without health care people aren't going to care much about education or roads, and something bad would happen.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Rob the Bold (788862)

            No. What we need is a truly free economy that means A) No minimum wage, B) Copyright law where unless you are making money on the product you can pirate all you want C) Little to no patents D) The government stays out except to 1) Protect us 2) create general law and order 3) give a basic education and 4) maintain roads. If all those were followed, we would have no economic crisis.

            Roads? Education? If people want education for their kids, they can buy it. And don't get me started on roads. Want to get somewhere, you take a helicopter. Don't see what's so hard about that. Law and Order? That's a TV show. You don't want someone stealing your stuff, you hire a security guard.

            • by strabes (1075839)
              Actually, there are more private security guards in the US than public police officers. Clearly people don't think the police do that great of a job.
            • by westyvw (653833)

              Roads? Education? If people want education for their kids, they can buy it.

              On a interesting note, the government being involved in education does come at a societal cost, where students are rarely exposed to trades and real life experience. Gone are the days when one learned common knowledge and real world experience in their youth.

          • by strabes (1075839)
            Not sure why this was modded funny, since it is entirely true.
          • by westyvw (653833)
            Just out of curiosity why does the government have to maintain roads? Are you suggesting that transporting goods is a fundemental need in the commons? And if so, does that mean that transportation of the new types of goods, such as "information" in digital form should also be handled by the government? Well then roll out the broadband for all!
        • other countries also implement restrictive policies, preventing u.s. firms from exporting overseas, doing business to overseas, upon the naive example you are proposing below :

          What they OUGHT TO BE DOING, is saying "Sure, we'll do 'laissez-faire', & allow you to do this, BUT, we will also penalize & tax you for doing it also, taking away your incentive to do so - thus, you'll bring back the jobs to our internal domestic shores, because we'll make outsourcing less profitable for you by us doing so"!

          then you will be left to drivel in your own dirt, because you will be limited to only 200 million users in the u.s., since other countries wont let your internet and software firms (even manufacturing firms) doing business with their own market.

          get a clue first, then speak about policies. current wealth level of this civilization i

        • Re:Voting (Score:4, Insightful)

          by strabes (1075839) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:02AM (#25177431)
          I hope your comment isn't serious and I wasted my time writing this comment, because if it is, nearly everything in it is entirely wrong and bass ackwards.

          First, your comment about âoewe'll do laissez-faireâ but penalize you and tax you, blah blah blah, is ridiculous. Clearly taxes, quotas, and tariffs are not laissez faire.

          The arguments against outsourcing and for protective tariffs are a total joke. They necessarily rest on the faulty mercantilist assumption that there is a fixed amount of labor in the world and when a company outsources labor to another country, US consumers are just that much worse off. I'll address that imaginary problem of eliminating âoeinternal jobsâ later. Regardless, when one argues that outsourcing is bad and tariffs are good, one is unquestionably arguing that it is 1) better for US consumers to pay higher prices for their goods than they otherwise would, and 2) that US workers should work in less-productive jobs than they otherwise would. Both of these will be explained and argued against in the quote from a book I have copied below.

          The two largest reasons why people like yourself favor ridiculous economic legislation like high tariffs are that 1) you only look at the immediate consequences of the legislation, and 2) you clearly do not have a background in economics. Sure, tariffs help prevent foreign competition in US markets. This is good for the US producers of the product. However, it also keeps prices higher for US consumers, and keeps people employed in underproductive, less-than-competitive firms.

          Every dollar over the world price that US consumers have to pay for a product is another dollar that they don't have to buy other items. For example, say China was producing sweaters for $25 and the US sweater industry produced them for $30. There is a protective tariff on foreign sweaters to allow US producers to compete. Now suppose the tariff is repealed. I'll quote directly from Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson:

          "The tariff is repealed; the manufacturer goes out of business; a thousand workers are laid off; the particular tradesmen whom they patronized are hurt. This is the immediate result that is seen. But there are also results which, while much more difficult to trace, are no less immediate and no less real. For now sweaters that formerly cost retail $30 apiece can be bought for $25. Consumers can now buy the same quality of sweater for less money, or a much better one for the same money. If they buy the same quality of sweater, they not only get the sweater, but they have $5 left over, which they would not have had under the previous conditions, to buy something else. With the $25 that they pay for the imported sweater they help employment-as the American manufacturer no doubt predicted-in the sweater industry in England. With the $5 left over they help employment in any number of other industries in the UNited States. But the results do not end there. By buying English sweaters they furnish the English with dollars to buy American goods here. This, in fact (if I may here disregard such complications as fluctuating exchange rates, loans, credits, etc.) is teh only way in which the British can eventually make use of these dollars. Because we have permitted the British to sell more to us, they are now able to buy more from us if their dollar balances are not to remain perpetually unused. So as a result of letting in more British goods, we must export more American goods. And although fewer people are now employed in the American sweater industry, more people are employed-and much more efficiently empoloyed-in, say, the American washing-machine or aircraft-building business. American employment on net balance has not gone down, but American and British production on net balance has gone up. Labor in each country is more fully employed in doing just those things that it does best, instead of being force to do things that it does inefficiently or badly. Consumers in both countries are better off. They are able to
      • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:29AM (#25176913)

        I prefer to call it data rather than IP. It draws attention to the fundamental nature of the product.

        • by westlake (615356) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @04:54PM (#25179549)
          I prefer to call it data rather than IP. It draws attention to the fundamental nature of the product.
          .

          It draws attention away from the true nature of the product.

          WALL-E does not begin as a pre-existing stream of numbers but as the collective effort of about 400 artists and craftsman working on a budget of $180 million dollars.

          That does not happen - that never happens - unless the studio and its financial backers see a reasonable expectation of profit.

      • by ubrgeek (679399)
        Alright, I know I'm being a complete moron but based on the linked article, I'm not sure what is particularly bad about this particular act (other than the usual, "All IP should be free to blow in the wind" arguments /. always sees.) No, I'm not being a troll or aiming for flamebait. There do need to be laws for protection for IP and doesn't this thing just clarify and/or create laws to enforce that need? Someone pls explain, without going rabid, what _in this particular act_ is causing consternation and I'
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          kay,I'll play. The reason that all this IP crap sucks the big wet titty is because STEAMBOAT FREAKIN' WILLIE is still under copyright!!! If they had left copyrights at the same level that had been for a century and a half,most folks here probably wouldn't have a problem with it. Of course you'd be able to get most of the 50's,60's,and 70's tunes for free along all kinds of wicked new uses for Atari and NES games.

          But wait,we don't got that,do we? We instead got greedy bastard congress critters that go "How m

          • by ubrgeek (679399)
            And, as I asked, what is the stand-out issue with this law? I specifically said, not IP in general - this law. I understand the usual IP issues/concerns/dislikes.
      • by wellingj (1030460)
        Don't worry, When the dollar crashes due to inflation we will have a competitive advantage against china in manufacturing especially when it comes to the emerging markets in South America.
        • by jacquesm (154384)

          heck, maybe China will even consider outsourcing some work to the newly minted 3rd world country in the west.

      • Given that the US economy is moving away from the production of physical goods, and embracing IP production more and more, it should come as no surprise that

        ... we're all doomed.

        Copying bits isn't very useful, anyone can do is approximately for free. If we don't/can't provide useful services (which I take to include manufacturing things or digging things out of the ground), why would anyone do business with us?

      • by westlake (615356)
        I bet this is going to get advertised as another law to "save the US economy".
        .

        Of course it will.

        The entertainment industry is worth billions in export dollars. It is clean industry, skilled labor - and it is a huge presence in states like California, New York and Florida.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dachannien (617929)

      The Senate vote was unanimous

      Not exactly true. It was passed by unanimous consent, which means that nobody who might have decided to vote against it actually cared enough to participate in the process.

      • by kadehje (107385)

        If anyone present would have voted against it, they would have made a motion for a roll call vote to get their objection on the record. As far as I'm concerned, those who weren't in attendance either supported it (with the exception of Sen. Kennedy and anyone else who may have a medical reason for absence) or didn't care enough to show up to fight it, and everyone that was on the Senate floor when this bill was considered voted "Yea."

        And by the way, why is the Senate even considering such legislation righ

    • This is outrageous! I don't think I can vote for the Senator running for president that voted for that bill that goes completely the wrong way on copyright reform, so I guess I'll have to vote for The Senate vote was unanimous Damn. I wonder if any of the third party candidates opposed this bill...

      All the major actions on the bill took place Friday, when McCain and Obama were out campaigning/on their way to the debate. I can't find any list of the absent Senators, but I think it's likely they were among

    • I don't have a link, but I'm pretty sure Nader opposes this sort of corporate handout/nonsense. And yes, I am considering voting for him (again) for just this reason.

      (Well, also the fact that McCain and Obama both favor continuing the war...)

  • A few of the problems with the U.S. Congress: 1) Insufficient understanding or caring about the issues. 2) Hidden agendas. 3) Blatant corruption. 4) Passing laws quickly, without allowing debate. 5) Writing laws so that it is difficult to understand their implications. 6) Combining good legislation with bad, so that the bad will pass. 7) Providing descriptions that present laws as different from their true purpose.

    An example of number 3 was removing the regulations that required banks to have assets similar to their liabilities, with the understanding that taxpayers would pay for the resulting bankruptcies.

    Another example of number 3 was removing the regulations that required savings and loan [wikipedia.org] organizations to have sufficient assets to cover their loans, with the understanding that taxpayers would pay for the resulting bankruptcies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dun Malg (230075)

      Another example of number 3 was removing the regulations that required savings and loan [wikipedia.org] organizations to have sufficient assets to cover their loans, with the understanding that taxpayers would pay for the resulting bankruptcies.

      Now now, let's not engage in hyperbole here! The regulations requiring them to have sufficient assets were never changed. What was changed was the definition of what constitutes an "asset"! The key line in the Wikipedia entry is

      "They were also allowed to take an ownership position in the real estate and other projects to which they made loans"

      Essentially what happened was that oversight over the real value of their assets was removed, which allowed the S&L's to basically buy worthless swampland and s

      • Dun Malg,

        You said, "This illustrates how fiendishly corrupt government is, and how you have to be diligent, how can't depend on them doing something bad in a blatant manner to warn you you're about to get hosed."

        Good point. Thanks for your entire explanation.

        Could you provide more information about the bank de-regulation that allowed the current, even more serious, crisis?
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:49AM (#25176703)

    I mean, it's not like they have a financial crisis that they should be spending their time on.

  • From Senator Wyden [senate.gov]:

    "With over 30,000 civil suits filed by a single entity against individual Americans it is clear that industry is more than able to enforce its intellectual property rights in civil courts without the contribution of taxpayer funds and busy federal prosecutors."

    But while that's a kind of system that should be working, it really isn't. There are still tens of millions of Americans who either believe that it is within their "fair use" rights to freely redistribute copyrighted materials to dozens of unknown online participants, or do so fully knowing it is illegal.

    So while the method sucks... isn't this actually a reasonable place for government action, you know, in enforcing the law?

    --
    Learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digi [nerdkits.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kilz (741999)

      "So while the method sucks... isn't this actually a reasonable place for government action, you know, in enforcing the law?"

      The simple answer is... NO. While it is a good idea to punish commercial exploitation of copyright. Punishing end users only makes matters worse. That so many people are breaking this law points to the fact that it is unjust. Unjust laws should be removed, not reinforced. An example of this is Prohibition. Consuming Alcohol was against the law, but no one followed the law. The government saw eventually that the law was unjust because so many broke it, and it was removed.
      Should they have lined up all those t

      • by McDutchie (151611)

        Unjust laws should be removed, not reinforced. An example of this is Prohibition. Consuming Alcohol was against the law, but no one followed the law. The government saw eventually that the law was unjust because so many broke it, and it was removed.

        So, since smoking pot is more innocuous than consuming alcohol, why hasn't the absurd and disastrous "war on drugs" not been given up yet, then? Maybe it used to work the way you describe, but it sure doesn't appear to work that way anymore. Too many entrenched i

    • by cervo (626632)
      In some of the stuff it should be within their rights. The idea of copyright was you lease your product for a small period from the public to make money, then it goes to the public. The period was originally small 25 years or so. Now it is like 75 or 100 years.... Some of the copyright holders are stealing public property which shouldn't even belong to them.

      On the new stuff sure there should be some enforcement. Still when the penalty for copyright infringement is more harsh than murder or rape, ther
      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:23AM (#25177549) Journal

        And let us not forget these laws are being made up by the same folks who say ripping your purchased cd to your iPod is illegal [switched.com]. You see,this isn't about "teh evil piratez",this is about getting you conditioned to pay over and over and OVER again for the same crap.

        I'm sorry I can't find the link from the studio head(I believe BMI) who said music should be pay per use,just like the old days of jukeboxes. Sadly,the guy was actually serious. Is that what you really want,a CC slot in your iPod so you can pay every time you want to hear a song? Maybe add a CC slot to your radio too? And don't think it can't happen,because our "How much money? Really?" whores in congress would sell out their own mothers for a fat enough check.

        If EVERYONE is breaking your law then the law needs to be changed,PERIOD. Or did that "We,the people" part get changed to "We,the corporation" while I wasn't looking? Of course now that they are privatizing prisons this could turn into a win/win for the corps. They can rig the laws for themselves all they want,and when the people naturally break them because they are oppressive,they get paid by the state to warehouse them. Must be good to rule everything.

    • by wwahammy (765566)
      There is. That's why we have criminal prosecutions. What they were proposing was akin to the government paying for your personal injury lawsuit.
    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      These are civil torts and they should be handled in civil court between the two parties involved. There's no reason for the government to get involved at all, much less any more than they already are, that much more less than making it a White House/presidential priority by creating a copyright czar to operate from within the executive branch.

      But more to the point, I'm tired of them pandering to big business. Assume this passes. I write a song and it's getting copied around. Do you think I'm going to

  • by jacquesm (154384) <j@w w . com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:57AM (#25176737) Homepage

    If you don't know who runs the USA after today then you're simply blind: Corporations are the real government.

  • Vote the Fuckers Out (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:04AM (#25176767) Homepage Journal
    Early on in this administration they changed the bankruptcy rules to make it harder to declare bankruptcy, stating that individual Americans need to be more responsible with their borrowing. At the same time they've driven this country into historic levels of debt and are now debating a bail out package for their friends on wall street with $700 billion of taxpayer dollars. Time and again they vote to support their friends in big business, but if you're an individual facing possible homelessness they'll treat you to some weasel words and turn their back on you.

    This November we should all vote with one voice, Democrat and Republican, against the current corrupt congress. We should vote across the board, not Democrat or Republican but against anyone sitting in office. We should kick every single one of those bastards out, and we should keep kicking them out after just one term until they once more represent the people and not the businesses that contribute millions of dollars a year to their campaign funds. We should keep kicking them out until they spend more time doing the jobs we elected them to do instead of gallivanting around and campaigning for most of their terms. We should keep kicking them out until we find some people who actually take the responsibility to fix the major problems in thus country.

    It is time to put aside our petty differences and root out this corruption that infects our very core, before it destroys this country.

    • by Jaysyn (203771) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `todhsals+nysyaj'> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:27AM (#25176899) Homepage Journal

      It won't matter, because the ones that get voted in will still be Republicans & Democrats. I swear mainstream voters are *just* like abused spouses who just keep coming back for more beatings. It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.

      • by mishehu (712452)
        I like to remind the people that I know that politically, the difference between the US gov't and a communist gov't is a difference of 1 single party. Until more people are willing to vote for non-"mainstream" parties (read: democrat or republican), there will be no voices really heard. It will just continue to be more of the same-old-same-old. Remember, a lot of these corporations and corporate interest groups bribe both parties to ensure that whoever is in control at the given time will do their dirty
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cervo (626632)
      Well yes and no. Some congressman do do an okay job (not mine). As far as I can tell Ron Paul votes no to almost everything. Unfortunately with the shitty laws they pass it is probably mostly the right way. I'm sure there are those 5 or 10 congressmen who do their job right. We need to find/promote them and then vote everyone else out. If we vote out the few good ones too, we'll probably get bad ones in their place...I would bet that if we keep doing that maybe we get 5 or 10 more good congressmen eac
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      With more people that will do the same?

    • by sowth (748135)

      Early on in this administration ...

      Everyone seems to forget quite a bit of this crap started with the Clinton administration. Convincing the fed to play with numbers to make the economy appear to be great when it is not. Telling banks to reduce their requirements for people to get loans (the whole down payment thing is to weed out those who are not finacially responsible and stable). Though I think the relaxation of bank regulations came with Bush--can't remember (either way very stupid). There is also the

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Greyfox (87712)
        It's not your guy, it's every guy! Reagan really started the ball rolling on the deregulation that is one of the reasons we're in this mess now. But the Democrats have been more than happy to suck at the teat of the taxpayer while enriching their own cronies. Get rid of them all is what I'm saying.

        Sure it's most likely that a democrat or republican will get in behind them, but the longer they stay in Congress the more corrupt they get. A lot of the freshmen congressmen go in with the idea that they will s

        • by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:14PM (#25177831) Homepage

          It's not your guy, it's every guy! Reagan really started the ball rolling on the deregulation that is one of the reasons we're in this mess now.

          No, it was Carter, who lifted rate caps and and upped FSLIC coverage to 100% for the S&L's...

          No, wait... it was Nixon monkeying with the gold standard....

          No, it was Johnson mortgaging our future with uncontrolled government spending...

          Hold on.... I think I've spotted a pattern....

          But the Democrats have been more than happy to suck at the teat of the taxpayer while enriching their own cronies. Get rid of them all is what I'm saying.

          Damn straight!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freedom_india (780002)

      This would just result in one bunch of corrupt, spineless, thoughtless, clueless tube-savvy idiots to be replaced by another bunch of corrupt, blah blah, guys.
      Look, every single senator and congressman has at some point got some money from corporates, etc. No one uses his money anymore to get elected.
      You can keep kicking them out every 2 years, but the same type of guys will return every time.
      Until such time a legislation is passed outlawing ALL outside funding for elections, except that provided by Governm

    • All that's left is to try to be happy anyway.

  • by bogjobber (880402) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:08AM (#25176783)

    Thankfully this isn't that terrible of a bill with that ridiculous idea stripped out, but it was completely unnecessary. Our country is falling down around us, and they're worried about copyright infringement.

    The only thing Democrats and Republicans can come together on is selling their constituents' rights for a few pennies.

    • this isn't that terrible of a bill with that ridiculous idea stripped out

      It still has civil forfeiture!

  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Triv (181010) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:45AM (#25176997) Journal

    I'm not an expert on the subject, but it looks like the summary doesn't match the article.

    The summary says the new bill leaves out a section that might have brought a presidental veto, but the article says that the part that the president might take issue with, the creation of a "Copyright Czar" within the White House, was left IN the bill but that a veto is unlikely.

    The summary also says that the bill has passed the senate, but I can't find a record of that in THOMAS [loc.gov] anywhere, just that the AMENDMENTS to the bill were unanimously approved and that the bill itself is scheduled to be voted on soon. Nothing has passed anything yet; there's no congressional voting record available.

    This is an important piece of legislation, I know it is, but the summary makes it sound like this is a done deal when it's absolutely not. Some rudimentary fact-checking would've killed ya?

    (and no, I'm not new here.)

  • We are screwed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:10AM (#25177125) Homepage Journal

    Yet more proof that government is for the corporation, not the people. Too bad by the time the average joe is effected by this it will be far too late.

    I will be willing to bet this is not the only thing that slips thru the side door while everyone watches the banking fiasco. ( like the automotive bailout...)

  • by Tatsh (893946) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:51AM (#25177371)

    and all I got was this stinkin'...

    Anyway, here is the real letter:

    Please vote no on the 'PRO-IP Act'. This act is nothing but a provision to protect businesses who cannot adapt with our 'digital age' and will not accept that they need to create new products and not 're-hash' the same content every 10 years.

    Consider the film industry. What are they up to now? They keep moving formats, each time simply because one may contain a better form of DRM. Both new formats for physical media, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, have DRM (digital rights management, a scheme to protect content from easily being copied by the average person) built-in that was stronger than DVD's protection. Regardless, as citizens, we are asking for our fair use rights back more than anything else, and the repeal of the DMCA. Now the MPAA as a whole has switched to BluRay in the hopes that such DRM will keep the money 'flowing in'. I, and many others, refuse to buy such a media even if we like the content. Secondly, we refuse to watch the content at all.

    Every other industry is now similar, and they are simply placing the blame on 'pirates'. EA Games has implemented a DRM scheme where we may purchase their game, but only install it a total of 5 times, and each time will be accounted for because the installations will be verified on-line. After that, especially when such a product is not on the shelves any more, what is a fully law-abiding citizen to do?

    It is nothing but a waste of tax money to have more resources in the government trying to keep these failing business models alive. Good businesses would adapt to the market properly, making new products, better products, understanding the customer needs, and certainly NOT treating the customers as criminals before they have even done anything 'illegal' (this is what they assume, since they use DRM so unwittingly and hardly give consumers warning).

    Most citizens are going to agree that so-called 'street pirates' should be given punishment, including myself. That is the large difference. This bill has a provision for that, but it seems as though it could easily be used for individuals who are not making any money from 'pirates', who I cannot see as doing anything that is hurting these industries.

    If RIAA head Mitch Bainwol has called the legislation "music to the ears of all those who care about strengthening American creativity and jobs," he really means that it will further allow the RIAA to enforce more DRM on their potential customers, while most are far too undereducated on the topic to know what is really going on. They buy a CD that may contain protection, or download a music file from a store, but what is almost NEVER labelled clearly is that such a medium is protected from fair use (i.e. making a backup copy).

    What is here to replace the failing business models? Non-failing ones. We have the Internet, a place where people can publish their music (charge money or not) without ever having to go through a major publisher such as Warner. And same for films. While many will say much of Youtube is a waste, many people are gaining recognition. Monetary? Hardly, but they are happy with being known 'out there', just as a film star celebrity.

    Tell the industries who want this law passed that they need to handle their business in ways that help and strengthen their relationships with their customers, not weaken them, just because a law says that they can do so, and please vote no under all circumstances.

    Thank you

    Everyone else please contact your Congressman/Congresswoman! Even a sentence or two can make the difference between not writing anything at all.

  • by DaveWick79 (939388) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:01PM (#25177749)

    The only people that seem to be horribly affected by this is the people who seem to think it is ok to share copyrighted materials with as many people as want them, and they want to be immune from being prosecuted for their activities. This bill doesn't necessarily affect the legality of what they are doing, it stiffens the penalties.

    In order to sidestep the entire issue, the recording industry should lower prices on all the various forms of audio and video media, make them more affordable to the general public and more available via online services. They would sell more, keeping profits rolling in, while lessening the widespread consumer file sharing because of the affordability. Sell mp3's for 15 cents each and CD's for $5. Alot of people do this because it's simply too expensive to buy all of their favorite music. How much would it cost to fill up that 4GB Ipod with legit CD's? Assuming you could fit somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 songs on there, that's $800 at Itunes. What if you could do it for under $100? I think alot of people would go for that.

    • by russotto (537200)

      This bill doesn't necessarily affect the legality of what they are doing, it stiffens the penalties.

      And reduces the burden of proof. Civil forfeiture means that if your IP is on an RIAA list, they get to take all your computers, in a lawsuit which names the computers. No rights for you.

    • Gee, given that iTunes has sold a couple billion songs @ $0.99 each, I'd say more than enough people are willing to go for it at that price. And outside of Slashdot, I'd don't hear a lot of people complaining. Most folks I know seem to think that a dollar a song is a fair and reasonable price. As do I.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674)

      The current investigatative procedures are sloppy at best, and downright criminal at worst. There's plenty of opportunity for them to make mistakes in identifying people who are sharing copyrighted material, and the industry associations representing the big media companies have certainly made them. Making it easier for them to seize people's hardware and potentially slap them with huge court costs and even massively punative judgements on very flimsy evidence is a bad step in the wrong direction.

      Even if th

    • by skeeto (1138903)

      The only people that seem to be horribly affected by this is the people who seem to think it is ok to share copyrighted materials with as many people as want them

      First of all, distributing copyrighted materials is not in itself illegal. It is only if it is not authorized. Those GNU/Linux ISOs are copyrighted, but everyone is authorized to share those, under a few conditions. Same goes for anything on which you yourself hold the copyright. So yes, it is "ok" or legal to share copyrighted materials.

      Second, the law does not determine right and wrong. Just because some action is against the law doesn't make it wrong. This is especially true when the laws are so out o

      • Second, the law does not determine right and wrong. Just because some action is against the law doesn't make it wrong. This is especially true when the laws are so out of whack (as is copyright law) that a large part of the population breaks it on a regular basis (see Prohibition).

        So "right" is defined by "whatever the majority does?"

        You can try to call copyright law unjust, and draw weak analogies to totally different issues like drug prohibition, but what you're really doing is just putting lipstick on

  • We hear there is a financial crisis going on that needs immediate action. The senators still found time to deal with an issue of limited importance in the short term. My conclusion is that either:

    A. The action regarding the financial crisis is not that pressing as they present it.
    B. The senate has issues setting and following priorities.

    I ruled out C. PRO-IP is immediately needed and cannot wait (even until next year).

    • This always happens. Wait until a crisis occurs (or can be effectively created by ignoring a problem until it explodes in the public's face.) Then try to get all the bad legislation passed that you can while everyone is distracted and not paying attention. It also helps if you can get people on board with a completely misnamed bill that Congresspeople are afraid to vote against because of voter backlash (because the voting public is largely composed of idiots who take everything at face value), even though
  • I will be fighting this bill by identifying areas where I can release works or encourage others to release works with open, liberal licenses.

    I will do everything I can to help the average citizen compete with the selfish corporations behind this.

    That's one area where I have some influence, so I hope everyone else will turn up the heat in their own way too.

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