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Embed a Video, Go To Jail? 314

Posted by Roblimo
from the up-the-stream-without-a-paddle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago, Slashdot had a post about the new bill in Congress to make streaming infringing videos a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail if just 10 people watch the video. As more details come out, the bill keeps looking worse and worse, as it appears that the definitions used in the bill would mean that merely embedding or linking to an infringing YouTube video could put you on the hook for jail time. Obviously, supporters of the bill insist that's not who will be targeted with this bill, but just the fact that they could be should be worrisome enough. We've seen other laws 'misused' in the past."
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Embed a Video, Go To Jail?

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  • Good - arrest me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore6502 (1981532) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:34AM (#36319152)

    I'd be happy to appear on every radio and TV show discussing the out-of-control government which arrested me because I linked infringing "Sanctuary" episodes from youtube to my facebook page. It's time to Inform the public about what kind of tyranny they are living.

    So go ahead and arrest me.
    I'll be happy to fight back.

    • by Script Cat (832717) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:34AM (#36320124)

      Selective enforcement needs to be a crime in its self. It happen all the time. This is incompatable with rule of law.

    • by Magada (741361)

      You'd be in jail, stupid. Fighting for your life, not fighting the gov't.

    • by Gripp (1969738)
      sounds great in theory. problem becomes that no matter how big of a problem it is, nobody cares enough to listen. so have fun yelling at the wall!

      however, where is the petition to have this shut down? posting it up on /. would be a great idea....

      and i don't care what the proponents "think the intent is" it will be used to-the-letter of how it is stated. and i'm sure they know this (who doesn't!?). so to me it sounds they are even admitting it is incorrect.
    • Re:Good - arrest me (Score:4, Informative)

      by delinear (991444) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:47AM (#36321144)
      The problem is the people who own the media are the same ones buying these ridiculous laws. How much airtime are they going to give you to argue against something they've spent a lot of time and money lobbying for? At best some liberal media might pick this up and then get shouted down as commies. Even if you could get your point across, the second it became clear you knew what you were talking about, they'd drop the charges and claim that as proof the system works - there are plenty of people who don't understand the issues that they can go after instead.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:36AM (#36319176)

    Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

    Is this the new War on Drugs or something?

    • Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

      I think the BoR & 8th Amendment says cruel and unusual [wikipedia.org] punishments.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        That is correct, when it becomes cruel and routine, it is no longer unconstitutional. Just see Guantanamo for reference.

      • Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

        I think the BoR & 8th Amendment says cruel and unusual [wikipedia.org] punishments.

        My bad... I should have RTFC before posting.

      • No cruel and unusual punishment, but either one by itself is permitted. Logic says we're screwed.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      The 8th amendment protects against cruel and unusual, not unjust, punishments.

      Have to remember that they weren't too far off of a time when if a ruler didn't like you you very well could be locked in a brazen bull and roasted to death. Simple incarceration isn't considered cruel or unusual and the constitution doesn't really deal with sentence lengths.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There was a Supreme Court case where they determined that a life sentence without parole for the crime of passing a bad check for $50 was, in fact, cruel and unusual. Don't recall the name of the case off the top of my head. But in general, yeah, sentence length doesn't usually fall under there.

        • by jdpars (1480913)
          Right, incarceration is only cruel, not unusual. But if they sentenced you to be a shepherd (in nice conditions, though that's rare) for a year, well, that'd be unusual, but not cruel.
          • The unusual part would be the exceedingly long imprisonment for what most would consider minor offense.
            • by urulokion (597607)

              Like getting life sentence w/o the possibility of parole for shoplifting a DVD?

              Eyes the various 3-strikes laws

              • by memojuez (910304)
                That must have been a gold plated DVD for its theft to be considered as a felony.
              • by gfxguy (98788)

                While I also don't like the three strikes laws, you wouldn't be getting a life sentence for shoplifting a DVD; that's a pretty disingenuous portrayal.

                That's like me saying I got a divorce because my wife wouldn't put the cap back on the toothpaste. Well... that's what started the final argument, but it's certainly not the reason I got a divorce. (point of fact - I didn't get a divorce, it's just an example).

                You'd be getting a life sentence for repeatedly breaking the law; the shoplifting being only the mo

            • The unusual part would be the exceedingly long imprisonment for what most would consider minor offense.

              Actually, it would only be unusual if it was not the usual punishment for the same offense. It looks like the objective of this legislation is to make incarceration for some years the usual punishment. It would be merely an irrelevance that some people consider it a minor offense; what's important is that the punishment is applied consistently to all who are found guilty of the same offense.

              • what's important is that the punishment is applied consistently to all who are found guilty of the same offense.

                Well you can then toss out a large portion of the laws right then and there. It is connom knowledge that if you are in a position of power and influence or a corporation you can get away with just about anything. Where as if your everyday working middle class citizen where to commit the same crime, they would be in jail faster than you know it.

    • by plunderscratch (2169382) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:41AM (#36319266)

      Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

      Is this the new War on Drugs or something?

      er, I think you allowed successive elected representatives to gradually erode any form of constitutionality in the name of capitalism, which is now being protected by the big corporations who fear that their monopoly may be at risk.

      Drugs and piracy are just bad ok, so please just accept what you are told, do what 'the man' says, be a good citizen and don't forget to inform on your neighbour if you think they are up to no good. They might be terrorists you know!

      • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:03AM (#36319588) Homepage Journal

        I think you allowed successive elected representatives to gradually erode any form of constitutionality

        How did I allow it? A lot of these bills became law before I became old enough to vote, and most of the time since then, the candidate for whom I voted lost the election.

        • Did you coerce your neighbor into voting properly? I suspect not, therefore it's all your fault.
        • by The Moof (859402)
          Along with that, there's the whole "Lesser of 2 (3? 4?) evils" we get to choose from as a result of balloting procedures. If all candidates are bad and going to pass the bill, who should I to vote for?
      • er, I think you allowed successive elected representatives to gradually erode any form of constitutionality in the name of capitalism,...

        Actually, if you study the history of jurisprudence in the U.S., you will discover that any form of constitutionality was eroded in the name of progressivism. Early progressives were upset that Constitutional limitations prevented them from implementing the modernizing "reforms" they wanted, so they took actions to gradually nueter those limitations (FDR's attempts to pack the Supreme Court being but one example).
        Large corporations were only too happy to help the government implement these changes which a

    • by stewbee (1019450) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:58AM (#36319516)
      It's not just the time that is ridiculous, but also the fact that it is a felony. A felony is a huge thing to be charged of. It means that you essentially lose your civil rights. You can't vote. Your chances of finding future work will certainly be more difficult, since after all you are a convicted felon.

      Anyone else just getting tired of this crap?
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>.....the fact that it is a felony.
        >>>Anyone else just getting tired of this crap?

        I am well past "tired".
        I am angry.

        Jefferson had the right idea when he proposed this amendment: "Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding ___ years, but for no longer term, and for no other purpose." He suggested "19" be inserted into the blank.

        • Considering the broad support for strong copyright/trademark/patent laws in both the Democrat and Republican parties, I doubt that such an amendment would make a difference: the amendment would just be repealed.
        • Jefferson had the right idea when he proposed this amendment: "Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding ___ years, but for no longer term, and for no other purpose." He suggested "19" be inserted into the blank.

          I have thought of non-transferable IP as perhaps a good policy, but then you'd get murdered so your patent would expire.

        • by jd2112 (1535857)

          >>>.....the fact that it is a felony. >>>Anyone else just getting tired of this crap?

          I am well past "tired". I am angry.

          Jefferson had the right idea when he proposed this amendment: "Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding ___ years, but for no longer term, and for no other purpose." He suggested "19" be inserted into the blank.

          The Disney version of this story says he sugguested '19,000,000,000,000'

    • Granted I think Cruel and Unjust punishment is much better then Cruel and Unusual (Especially as the Unusual may come up with more innovative and effective ideas). But Copyright law hasn't been keeping up with the modern times. The Laws are now unfairly harsh now because it doesn't factor in how easy it is now to break the law "innocently".

      Back when these laws were designed copyright infringement meant often a full attempt to break the law. You needed expensive resources to produce copies. Either a lot of

    • by rbochan (827946)

      Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're LYING. They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.

      • It is those uncommon uses which gives power to one who wishes to abuse. What may happen is that people get used to nobody doing anything about breaking it, then suddenly they "crack down" on it.
        How about a car analogy. Let's say there is a law outlawing making left turns on Thursday.
        Some people object saying it is ridiculous, that there are justifiable reasons to make left turns on Thursday.
        The lawmakers say they only want this law for a particular

  • May make it hard for a jury to convict and up to 5 year how many rapist and others will have to go free to make room? And who will pay to keep all that many people locked up? When we can't even find room for the drug offenders.
    • We might need a little help from the Fully Informed Jury Association. "The people have the right to decide the facts and the law." If the jury believes the law is bad, they can refuse to convict.
  • by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gOPENBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:41AM (#36319252)
    What it boils down to, is they can send you to jail if they want to. This is just another hook to let the man fuck you over if you not play the game like a good little plebe.
  • by foobsr (693224) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:43AM (#36319288) Homepage Journal

    The best solution for the interest groups involved would perhaps be to declare all of the US a jail (with some islands for the privileged).

    This would be a rather elegant way to get rid of the 'constitution' 'legally'.

    CC.

    • by Issarlk (1429361) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:46AM (#36319342)
      maybe the US could get pointers from North Korea on how to put 200 milions american to work in camps.
      • ... and solve the unemployment problem all at once ... genious ...

        • by Amouth (879122)

          you know.. around here they state is looking at requiring community service hours for people collecting unemployment.. (something like 12 hours a month not much really)

          some of the people who responded to it where quoted along the lines of "its not really unemployment if you have to work for it"

    • by Geeky (90998)

      Kind of a twist on Wonko The Sane's asylum...

    • It's been in the works for quite some time now. There's the serf class, and then there's the political class. What's old has become new again. Make no mistake about it. American Exceptionalim is just that; an exception, a brief moment in time against the natural state of mankind. That natural state is oppression against those outside our immediate sphere of associations (read the Monkey Sphere).

      I'm privileged to be born in this era of humanity. Not many get to taste freedom while it lasts.

    • by t2t10 (1909766)

      Well, since you're from Europe, you're obviously speaking from experience.

    • I've been to Arkansas, thought this had been done already.
    • by cHALiTO (101461)

      The best solution for the interest groups involved would perhaps be to declare all of the US a jail (with some islands for the rich).

      This would be a rather elegant way to get rid of the 'constitution' 'legally'.

      CC.

      FTFY

    • by X86Daddy (446356)

      They kinda already did... there's a 100 mile radius of all "border crossings" that's considered outside of Constitutional protections, so the north border, the south border, the coasts, and everywhere close enough to an airport, and the government has declared it can violate its founding document there. The courts upheld challenges to this. Here, found it: http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone [aclu.org]

      La-and of the Freeee, and the Ho-ome of the Brrrraaaa

    • The best solution for the interest groups involved would perhaps be to declare all of the US a jail (with some islands for the privileged).

      Unfortunately, those who live in such islands would be equally imprisoned, as a substantial part of the country will be barred to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:44AM (#36319310)

    is the name of the video site I'm going to launch!

    • just put a counter on there and you are set

      for(i10, i=0, i++)
      {
      play video link
      }
      delete video link

      pardon my psuedo code for being sloppy, I haven't coded in nearly a dozen years

  • "... supporters of the bill insist that's not who will be targeted with this bill..."

    If it's written that way, sooner or later somebody will enforce it that way. They always have.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:55AM (#36319458) Homepage

    IF they are not Lying, then change the bill to close that loophole.

    If they refuse to then they are bold faced liars. It really is as simple as that.

  • by Yaddoshi (997885) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @08:57AM (#36319496)
    Soon they'll be pressing charges against us for infringing on their intellectual property by thinking about the movie we just watched after we leave the theater without paying some sort of license to do so.

    I mean really - they're gonna ruin some kid's life because the kid misused an embed tag? Really? Doesn't the "Justice" system have a better way to use their time and spend our tax dollars? Clownshoes.
    • Ha! I've got them beat. I'm thinking about the latest crop of movies and I haven't seen them at all! What's that knocking? ..... What do you mean, "under arrest for depriving the entertainment industry of deserved profits"?

    • misused an embed tag?

      The only tag you can misuse is the <blink> tag

  • by bhengh (2029204) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:05AM (#36319618)
    Let your representatives know what your view is here: https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/s978 [popvox.com]
  • by jkinney3 (535278) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:21AM (#36319916)
    I am astounded that the /. crowd has not been calling for an absolute boycott of ALL media from ALL labels who sign on to these kinds of bills.

    Put down the mp3 player and streaming video toys and pick up an instrument. If you want entertainment, get creative and make your own. Then you can do all the sharing you want with content you make.

    Like it or not, whining about "they are taking away my perceived rights" on /. will have no effect on the people who are writing this legislation. But if the people who are supposed to be paying for this content all say loudly in one voice "Your content is crap and I don't want it" and then grow a pair and stick to their convictions and DON'T WATCH THE CONTENT FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BACKING THIS LEGISLATION IN ANY FORM, the loss of 10-20 million viewers will have an impact the longer it keeps up. The only language those people understand is cash. They think they are getting less than they deserve so they buy votes. We outnumber them so remind them they exist because we allow them to. It's not like your life will end if you don't hear/view the latest "thing".

    Besides, if /. started looking around and something other than the media content this is about, you might notice there's a lot of stuff that geeks can do to keep crap like this from expanding.

    Walk away. Nothing to see here. Literally

    • by boristdog (133725)

      I've been saying this for years. And living it.

    • by uglyMood (322284) <dbryant@atomicdeathray.com> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:07AM (#36320558) Homepage
      The problem with this line of thinking is that any loss of revenue is immediately attributed to piracy, regardless of the facts. Case in point: the music industry. They've mostly been putting out autotuned garbage for the past 15 years, and when sales slumped because nobody wanted to pay twenty bucks for identical vocals that sound like they come out of a kazoo it was blamed on those darned music pirates. The entertainment industry needs piracy to cover for the fact that it's cheaper to produce utter crap no one wants than to produce quality work. A few arrests here and there merely reinforce the illusion that piracy is having a major impact on their sales.
    • The stupid people need protection too, and they outnumber the /. crowd. Left to their own devices they will elect the charasmatic person as leader who will screw all of us.

      I don't want to retreat into an enclave of people who ignore copyright. We should fight against those who would lock up our culture and deny it to future generations.

    • "DON'T WATCH THE CONTENT FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BACKING THIS LEGISLATION IN ANY FORM" It's not that cut and dry. I work in the movie industry, and my union asked me to support the legislation. I wrote back and not only declined to support it, but actively opposed it. So sure. Don't watch my stuff just because SOME of the people working on it don't agree with you. How about you watch what you like, and oppose the laws with your representative?
  • When they say "that not the intent", then modify the bill so that it's words match the intent. Nobody is going to give a shit what you meant to write, they're going to look at what you actually wrote down on paper.
  • by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad...arnett@@@notforhire...org> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:23AM (#36319972)
    I've been thinking about these kinds of problems that plague civilization when corporations have a louder voice than humans, and are able to manhandle laws into doing everything they can to keep the plebs in their places. The problem to me appears to be that corporations are completely amoral, and dedicated toward doing absolutely whatever it takes to make as much money as possible. They do this due to their obligations to the shareholders. I'm going to pause along this train of thought to abuse the corollary: Somewhere along the line, "The customer is always right", transformed into, "the shareholder is always right."

    Basically what I'm getting at here is that I now believe that in order to effect change, the only way to proceed is to play their same game against them. I propose creating a holdings company, getting it classified as a NPO, and then using donations generated by those interested in the lofty goals of the organization to purchase stock in the companies that are causing the problems. Any and all dividends made from the stock would go toward operational costs of the organization itself, and any surplus would go toward purchasing additional stock. The purpose of this is to be able to try to lobby within the stockholder's meetings with the stockholders themselves, and at worst case and assuming that the organization has enough stock to do so, threaten to tank the company by liquidating the stock for pennies. I'm no market analyst, but I'm pretty sure that it would play havoc with all the automated trading systems were a couple thousand shares of stock to be put out there for 1% of the current asking price.

    Anyway, I thought I'd leave this here, figuring that if anyone was cynical enough to be able to shred this to pieces, it'd be Slashdot. Obviously, it has flaws. I'm no genius, and it was just something that came to me the other day, so I've hardly spent much time considering it.
    • This is a clasic issue of business ethics and Friedman vs Freeman is typically cited. In "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits" Friedman argues that companies should act in their own self interest and the interest of their share holders. Social issue are only a concern if they are in the self interest of the company. Freeman presents an almost diametrically opposing view in his article "A Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation". Freeman's view is that companies have res

  • How does this affect them, when they allow you to post videos and what not?
  • Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guttentag (313541) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:49AM (#36320316) Journal
    Consider This Scenario

    I want my friend to see a really funny movie from 20 years ago, but they're not convinced it's worth their time. I search YouTube and I find a video of some highlights, so I send my friend the link to the video. I assume the clips fall under fair use because otherwise YouTube would have pulled them, right?

    My friend watches the video, likes it, goes down to the store and buys the DVD and thanks me for introducing him to it.

    The MPAA "piracy squad" spends all its time searching YouTube for copyrighted videos. It sues YouTube for its records, the logs show that I used their "share" feature to share the link with one person, and that person watched the video twice. The piracy squad watches the video 8 more times and then sicks its lawyers on me. Since I did indeed link to the video, and it was watched 10 times, I am guilty and convicted of a felony [wikipedia.org]. I lose the ability to vote, the ability to work at many jobs, the right to possess firearms, ammunition and body armor, eligibility for welfare, eligibility for federally-funded housing, and the right to serve on a jury. I no longer have any influence in society and am reduced to flipping burgers by day and scanning retail inventory by night to scrape together enough money to live, which presumably keeps me sufficiently occupied to stay out of trouble.

    Meanwhile, the MPAA gets a fee from the sale of the DVD that my friend would never have bought otherwise, they tip the balance of power in government further toward themselves by taking one more voter out of commission, and they strike fear in the hearts of anyone who even thinks about doing anything with video. The only previews you will get to see are the ones they force you to watch every time you pop in a DVD you bought from them.

    Perhaps we could counterbalance this bill by adding language that makes it a felony to disable the FFWD or MENU button on a consumer's remote control. It's at least as criminal an act as linking to some YouTube video: millions of people are forced to watch 30 seconds to 5 minutes of previews every time they want to watch the movies they paid to "own" in their own homes. Sure, you could pop the movie in 5 minutes before you're ready to watch it, but the amount of productivity and electricity this needlessly wastes on a global scale is staggering. That's criminal.
  • pushing for way less government?

  • Honestly, it takes an idiot to not realize that it is precisely such "it won't be the people you think we'll go after tha we'll go after" laws that effectively support a police state bordering on the infamous "new world order" model. Because, if they can, they WILL go after you. If they would want to. Give them a reason, c'mon! Of course simple laws of economy and ROI (let's face it, the modern world is largely a commercial enterprise of sorts) says that a 14 year old kid linking to infringed material on Yo

  • by LordofWinterfell (90845) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:11AM (#36320606)

    By making this a criminal instead of civil issue - its not about locking you up - its about getting the government to prosecute copyright infringements instead of the corporation.

    By making linking into a criminal law, now largescale content owners can harness the raw power of the taxpayer dollar - the governement is now the plaintiff, and government laywers are prosecuting on behalf of the corporations. Just like they have done with IP and piracy, by linking their profit protection to criminal matters (the Pirates are stealing our product and selling it on the streets!) they get to defray the costs of protecting their profts, and sic the government on anything they don't want to see happening, like sharing passwords or sharing content, when they could be making profits off of those interactions.

  • "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."

    I was never an Ayn Rand fan, but she nailed that one. I leave it others to argue whether it was actual prescience or the "stopped clock" effect.

  • ... submitting a bill to Congress doesn't mean that its going to get passed. There is no quality control for proposed legislation. One could reasonably expect that, once the relevant committees review this, they'll identify problems related to convicting someone of a crime without proving intent and the whole thing will get killed.

    The kinds of legislation I worry about are where a few sentences get added to some unrelated legislation (some "Feed the Poor, Starving Children" type bill) that sneaks this kin

  • If by some slim chance this was made into law the US government would effectively be able to throw whomever they wanted to in jail. This person causing trouble? Just slip an imbedded video link into their social account and go arrest them. The last couple administrations have shown they don't care about the US laws and Constitution anyways. They'll do what they want. "Change we can believe in".
  • The average jail time served for rape is 65 months.

    Potential jail time for linking to a youtube video under this law? Up to 60 months.

  • This all begs the question as to which competitor to YouTube is paying (I mean supporting their re-election campaign...) the bill's sponsor behind the scenes. Someone wants YouTube shut down and is obviously getting this exact sort of wording put into the bill so that they can do it.

    Remember, it's never about politics or even copyrights these days. It's about power and money.

  • by Blackbrain (94923) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @12:49PM (#36322608)

    So a Rick Roll is a federal crime?

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

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