Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship The Internet News Politics

Rethinking How Congress Pushes Copyright Laws 228

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-spoonful-of-sugar dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "Lamar Smith just can't get a break. The Texas congressman and widely despised author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ruffled the Internet's feathers once again this week with the quiet unveiling of a new piece of legislation that's drawing criticism for being plucked out of SOPA's language and rushed through Congress. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act (IPAA) would streamline the process by which the U.S. protects its intellectual property by enforcing U.S. copyright law abroad through specially assigned diplomats or attachés. These officers would report to a new agency-level position, the Assistant Secretary for Intellectual Property and push agendas that, according to the bill's language, are 'consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rethinking How Congress Pushes Copyright Laws

Comments Filter:
  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:42AM (#40635757)

    Welcome our new RIAA/MPAA SS Troup overlords

    • Re:I for one (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:50AM (#40635801) Homepage

      It may be interesting to check how much he has been paid by lobbyists to drive this.

      Maybe it's time to study Lamar Smith in detail for any kind of inappropriate behavior. Everyone is guilty of something.

      • Re:I for one (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xelios (822510) on Friday July 13, 2012 @05:29AM (#40636917)
        I saw this [imgur.com] back during the SOPA trial. During the hearings the people on the left did everything they could to try to push it through, the people on the right were more or less the only ones speaking out against it.

        One has to wonder why the $2 trillion+ in taxes we pay every year don't buy us as much influence over the legislative process as $100,000 in campaign contributions by various corporate interests. Why aren't election campaigns funded by tax dollars instead of private donations?
        • Re:I for one (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Friday July 13, 2012 @06:43AM (#40637167)

          That's how it is in my country. You get more than 2% of the votes, you get your campaigning costs refunded. It does actually not only level the playing field, it also lessens to some extent the reliance on bribery.

          Sadly, it does not eliminate it. Politicians are simply greedy, they take money where they can get it. The only cure would be to outlaw bribery.

        • by seyfarth (323827)

          One has to wonder why the $2 trillion+ in taxes we pay every year don't buy us as much influence over the legislative process as $100,000 in campaign contributions by various corporate interests. Why aren't election campaigns funded by tax dollars instead of private donations?

          Excellent point! My way of stating this is that those who buy our government through various contributions are getting control of the biggest economy and largest army on the planet for a dirt cheap price.

        • Re:I for one (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MMC Monster (602931) on Friday July 13, 2012 @08:31AM (#40637613)

          Maybe someone should start a kickstarter campaign to buy a senator?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by usuallylost (2468686)

          Basically you have no options for the $2 trillion+ in taxes you either pay it or you go to jail. The people giving the campaign contributions have a choice who they give that money to. Which forces the politicians to listen to them.

          Political contributions are not all bad. The need of politicians to raise money does force them to be somewhat responsive to the public. In countries where the public funds campaigns out of the treasury politicians know they only need enough supporters to qualify for support and

          • by alexo (9335)

            Political contributions are not all bad. The need of politicians to raise money does force them to be somewhat responsive to the public.

            But only to the part of the public willing to pay (bribe) them.

          • I do agree with you in principle, but the situation is not quite as simple as that. Certainly if we want to have a chance to change things we need strong organizations with a lot of people supporting them, but it may not be enough in this case.

            NRA fights weak organizations in US and not anything like the MAFIAA. Even a organization as big and as well financed as NRA wouldn't stand a chance against the kind of money MPAA and RIAA can put on the table.

            Having strong organizations to fight them would cert
        • During the hearings the people on the left did everything they could to try to push it through

          Really? SOPA was not a leftist law. I think you are confused about the meaning of "left wing," perhaps because you have spent so much time focusing on Democrats and Republicans...

        • by Shavano (2541114)
          Because I don't want my tax dollars going to try to elect YOUR favorite candidate.
      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        Maybe it's time to study Lamar Smith in detail for any kind of inappropriate behavior.

        He's a politician. If he were NOT corrupt it would be inappropriate.

    • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Friday July 13, 2012 @01:36AM (#40636021) Journal
      BAM Instant Godwin, well done.
    • by Xenkar (580240)

      Honestly I have to wonder if Hitler would have been against file sharing if they had the technology at the time. Assuming file sharing is as bad for the media industry as the media industry thinks it is, and that a certain race dominates almost all aspects of it, wouldn't Hitler rejoice file sharing? The only reason I can think of that he would want to ban file sharing is because of the multicultural and degenerate propaganda contained in the content.

    • Where do I apply for one of these Attaché jobs? Sounds like fun!

  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado (2569351) on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:45AM (#40635771)
    This way they can bypass the congress and do whatever they want through secret trade agreements like ACTA and TPP. Seriously, US citizens should lock these guys and throw away the keys. They are corrupt to the bone.
    • Our judges are from the same law schools, and they are all good friends... what now?

      • Throw in the judges too? >.>
        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Throw in the judges too? >.>

          Hear, hear... I do prefer to keep alive a passivized (locked in a prison) parasitic life form than an active and aggressive one (still paid from taxes, therefore parasitic).

      • You DO still have those guns, yes? Just asking...

  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:47AM (#40635777) Journal

    The problem is not how these laws are being pushed.
    The problem is the content of these copyright laws.

    Lamar Smith (R-TX) obviously thinks that the copyright lobbyists are his constituents
    and not the masses of citizens which protested and sank PIPA (Patrick Leahy (D-VT))
    which in turn lead directly to SOPAs death

    Wasn't life + 90 years enough copyright?

    • Wasn't life + 90 years enough copyright?

      "Wasn't life + 90 years enough copyright?"

      It's not about copyright term length. It's about increasing the profits of the failing companies behind him, no matter how much any individual, or any other business in the country, has to suffer in any way.

      It should also be noted that only one of the Hollywood companies is an American company, all the rest (BMG, News Corp, Sony, etc.) are foreign companies.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        It should also be noted that only one of the Hollywood companies is an American company, all the rest (BMG, News Corp, Sony, etc.) are foreign companies.

        How this is relevant? I mean, they still pay taxes and lobbying in US, aren't they?

        • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Miseph (979059) on Friday July 13, 2012 @01:45AM (#40636063) Journal

          It shits all over the rhetoric about protecting "American" interests and intellectual property if the relevant interests and intellectual property do not belong to Americans.

          Not even the anti-protectionism crowd would bother defending the use of American political and legal machinery to specifically and disproportionately benefit foreign business.

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            It shits all over the rhetoric about protecting "American" interests and intellectual property if the relevant interests and intellectual property do not belong to Americans.

            The fact that the politicians interest and citizens' interest aren't aligned doesn't make the the politicians less Americans than the citizens, nor precludes them from having an interest on the matter. Granted, they are "more Americans than the rest", but... is not unconstitutional and/or making profit is not immoral nowadays, is it now?
            </large_grin>

        • by NoMaster (142776)

          How is News Corp. a foreign company?

          Incorporated in Delaware; headquartered in NYC; its primary listing is on the NASDAQ; the chairman/CEO (Murdoch), president/COO (Carey), CFO (DeVoe), and about 1/2 the rest of the board are US citizens; its primary listing is on the NASDAQ ...

          How much more "American" do you want it to be?

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            How is News Corp. a foreign company?

            Incorporated in Delaware; headquartered in NYC; its primary listing is on the NASDAQ; the chairman/CEO (Murdoch), president/COO (Carey), CFO (DeVoe), and about 1/2 the rest of the board are US citizens; its primary listing is on the NASDAQ ...

            How much more "American" do you want it to be?

            Me? Let it be 100% american and even a bit more.

            The only thing I'd wish for: keep it there (together with the ex-Ozzie Murdoch) and don't let it outside... but that's not going to happen, is it now?

      • Hey, it's good for the economy if foreigners bribe you! Money coming in from abroad is good, isn't it?

    • Two terms of fourteen years each was enough.

      The length of the copyright term isn't even the primary battleground - except for Disney, what company is still profiting from exclusive use of stuff created more than ninety years ago? The bulk of profit is made from content that was created in the last 10-20 years (maybe longer for books). The current trench warfare lies in the control of computers and the internet. The aim of the lobbyists pushing these bills is not primarily a perpetual copyright (though that'

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        [QUOTE]The length of the copyright term isn't even the primary battleground - except for Disney, what company is still profiting from exclusive use of stuff created more than ninety years ago? The bulk of profit is made from content that was created in the last 10-20 years[/QUOTE]
        Marvel and DC would tend to disagree... although marvel is Disney now I guess.

    • It's very possible that the good people of Texas are ok with a strengthening of copyright law, when they think about it at all.

      Either way, I'm willing to bet that a campaign of, "the Internet hates him because of copyright law!" isn't going to get him out of office.
      • If you think a politician is bad, consider just how much worse the other guy must've been to let that guy win...

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Friday July 13, 2012 @04:50AM (#40636769)

      The problem is not how these laws are being pushed.
      The problem is the content of these copyright laws.

      How these laws are pushed leads to their content. There is a reason Lamar is treating them like his constituents.

      Campaign Contributions should not only be public, but limited as being from citizen/residents of the level of office that is representing that district. Would-be representatives should only be allowed to accept funds coming from citizens from within that district and Senator from within the state. This will, in theory, make them more likely to honestly represent the area in question. I doubt Lamar Smith's own district in TX is clamoring for this shit.

      Superpacs should not be allowed. I don't think anyone but citizens should be allowed in the campaign contribution process. No groups like megacorps, superpacs, NRA, no unions, nothing. At best, special interest groups should be allowed to notify members in the specific area to give to candidate X or Y. That keeps freedom of association.

      The way it works now, with the structure of the Congress, special interest groups like the MPAA/RIAA entertainment cartel just have to target a few special senators/representatives that head pertinent the committees and have seniority, like the Bidens/Lamars of the world for bribes campaign donations, and they can usually railroad what they want through unless the apathetic public makes a special effort to counter it.

      The problem is that the general public has a life besides watching Congress like a hawk and protesting. These groups can just keep advancing their agendas patiently, like a person playing chess, despite any one-time setbacks.

      • How difficult do you think it is to create a letterbox company in every state of the US if you're an international corporation?

  • Sovereignty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 13, 2012 @12:57AM (#40635839)
    Can't wait until China starts sending diplomats into our country to enforce their intellectual property laws. I'm sure our esteemed legislator from Texas will be overjoyed to cooperate with Chinese business interests acting within his state.
    • Re:Sovereignty (Score:5, Insightful)

      by c0lo (1497653) on Friday July 13, 2012 @01:33AM (#40636013)

      Can't wait until China starts sending diplomats into our country to enforce their intellectual property laws. I'm sure our esteemed legislator from Texas will be overjoyed to cooperate with Chinese business interests acting within his state.

      This may well be: I reckon is only a matter of how much they'd contribute to their electoral funding.

      • Re:Sovereignty (Score:5, Insightful)

        by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday July 13, 2012 @02:17AM (#40636203)

        This may well be: I reckon is only a matter of how much they'd contribute to their electoral funding.

        My point is that we act like we own the world. America, fuck yeah! But the truth is, other people own us. They've got us by the balls, and anytime they want, they just have to squeeze and it's the end of the line for us. We can't manufacture most of the goods and services we depend on. The only thing we have in abundance is fresh water, farmable land, and a lot of nuclear missiles. Everything else is decaying. It's been outsourced. There's a few hundred thousand in this country that are rich, and the rest of us are, or soon will be, dirt poor. We're dependant on the 3rd world to provide everything, they're starting to realize they have everything. It's just a matter of time until they can (and will) take the lead and do away with our exploitations.

        Intellectual property is the (failed) attempt to delay this fate of ours... but they saw through it. They're ignoring it. And although we can destroy the world a hundred times over with our military... they are still saying no. And rather than using this antebellum moment to prepare, to maybe even reverse our fate... we're letting those select few rich people ride headlong into our own destruction. And we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and call them heroes even as they destroy it all.

        Years from now, America will be nothing but a lighthouse, telling other countries where not to sail if they want to avoid a ruinous fate.

        • I'm not sure what numbers you are basing your ideas on, but US manufacturing output has been increasing for a long time. You might want to look it up. We don't do the cheap, labor intensive stuff, but we do a lot of manufacturing.
          • We don't do the cheap, labor intensive stuff, but we do a lot of manufacturing.

            A brilliant strategy which has no obvious downsides.... except for reduced levels of employment which you are going to need to support through a benefits system or risk increasing social instability and crime.

          • Numbers may be misleading, just like that infamous "average national income". You know anyone who makes that magical number of dinero? No? But you know a lot of people who make less, right? Simple reason: If 10 people each earn 1000 a month and one earns 100.000, the average is still 10.000. Now, isn't an average income of 10.000 just great? How can this country have poverty if its people earn that load of money? Hell, I could easily support a family of 5 on 10 grand a month, couldn't you? Where is the prob

        • But the truth is, other people own us. They've got us by the balls, and anytime they want, they just have to squeeze and it's the end of the line for us.

          Who would that be, and how are they going to do it without destroying their own economy?

          We can't manufacture most of the goods and services we depend on.

          Well, setting aside the fact that you can't manufacture services (one of the many logical errors you make), you confuse "don't" with "can't".

          The only thing we have in abundance is fresh wate

          • I think the "can't" in his sentence is a matter of economic ability, not so much one of technical. It is an economic impossibility to manufacture a good sensibly domestic if it is cheaper to get from abroad. You will not sell it. Worse, nobody will be able to buy it.

            I can only offer you an example from my country, not knowing how it worked in the US, but here, in the 70s, a TV could easily cost you the equivalent of 2 months income. And we're not talking about some kind of fancy 100" bleeding-edge technolog

        • Re:Sovereignty (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShakaUVM (157947) on Friday July 13, 2012 @05:35AM (#40636939) Homepage Journal

          Sorry to burst your ideology, but pretty much all your facts are wrong.

          >>There's a few hundred thousand in this country that are rich, and the rest of us are, or soon will be, dirt poor.

          The US has the most millionaires of any country in the world, with 3M (about 1 out of 100 Americans is a millionaire!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millionaire#Number_of_millionaires_by_country [wikipedia.org]

          The real median household income rose steadily from 1947 to the present day (not counting the current recession): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_Income_Distribution_1947-2007.svg [wikipedia.org]

          This includes all levels of income earners in America.

          >>We can't manufacture most of the goods and services we depend on.

          Manufacturing is doing fine: http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/08/us-industrial-production-resumes-growth.html [blogspot.com]

          >>It's just a matter of time until they can (and will) take the lead and do away with our exploitations.

          If China stops exporting to us, there will be a disruption of our market as we shift production around. But China's economy would be destroyed.

    • Depends. How much does the Chink pay in campaign contribution?

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Friday July 13, 2012 @01:01AM (#40635869) Homepage

    Haha. Whoever said that the economic interests of the copyright cartel were the same as that of either:

    1) the US government (I'm not talking about the Obama or Bush campaigns when they inhabit the White House). The copyright cartel is pushing the US into forcing other governments to do stuff they don't want to do, leading to blowback, leading to anti-Americanism. Hollywood films already routinely make more abroad than domestically, and it'll only increase as the world gets richer. What's the problem?

    2) the United States (i.e., the States, united). State and local governments are the ones who have the most to gain from a freer copyright regime. They're usually strapped for money.

    3) people (RIAA lawyers are not counted among these). IP is strangulating innovation and increasing prices. What's the upside? Avatar wouldn't have been made if copyright expired before James Cameron's death?
     

  • No doubt when these extortion and espionage agents start to disappear or become "accident prone," the US will declare it a casus belli for more foreign adventures. Foreign nationalism and impatience should not be underestimated with this type of invasion.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      No doubt when these extortion and espionage agents start to disappear or become "accident prone," the US will declare it a casus belli for more foreign adventures. Foreign nationalism and impatience should not be underestimated with this type of invasion.

      Sustaining a war in two third-world countries (Iraq and Afghanistan) for 10+ years and running out of money... and you still think "invasion" is a viable solution for US? I mean... the so-called IP is almost the last merchandise US may have chances to export to cover the deficit... and this not for very long.

    • Erh... rethink that.

      Trying to enforce copyright in countries you could have a "war" with (with "war", n: Where we dump a ton of weapons without having to fear too much of a problem because the enemy has some bb guns at best) is pointless, because countries that have no money to defend themselves are usually also countries where the population doesn't have money to buy content.

      And waging war against China, Russia or the EU... uh... you might want to reconsider that. Not so much that you might lose it, but it

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday July 13, 2012 @01:17AM (#40635925) Homepage

    ACTA->CETA->
    SOPA->IPAA->
    They'll keep renaming it until people stop paying attention long enough for it to pass. They've still got almost 17576 four-letter acronyms ending on -A that they haven't used yet.

    (All this keeping in mind that they already pushed the DMCA through.)

  • Lamar smith needs a very hard kick in the pants just prior to being thrown out of government onto his ass in the street.

    How long are we going to put up with his shit?

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Lamar smith needs a very hard kick in the pants just prior to being thrown out of government onto his ass in the street.

      How long are we going to put up with his shit?

      Wanna bet? I say: longer than Lamar is goin' to get his pants kicked... what do you think?

    • Re:Lamar... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Freddybear (1805256) on Friday July 13, 2012 @02:03AM (#40636161)

      It won't matter. Kick Lamar out of Congress this year and he'll be back next year as a lobbyist for the MAFIAA. Just like Chris Dodd and countless other members of the Revolving Door Club.

    • Ask the Texans.

      Then again, I don't know who he ran against. Maybe the other one was even worse?

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        The other man was probably a Democrat.

        So the Republican gets to be the biggest dirtbag he can just because he knows the demographics of his district allows for it.

  • Its funny. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    Back when the first bill was killed, I was certain that it was over. And yet, the neo-cons try over and over and over to get their agenda through. My guess is that their under-the-table money depends on getting these bills through.

    Sad. They put more effort into styming our nation, then they do into solving unemployment, high deficits, and our on-going illegal issue (though they will no doubt introduce HR-2885 in the next couple of months; an e-verify bill that is so bad (basically, little penalties on the
    • by nzac (1822298)

      He has only got to get one though, then he does not care if he gets kicked out.
      They will give him a job for a stupidly high salary somewhere and then get someone else to get the next one though.

      Is this his last chance before elections?

    • This isn't neocons, it's neoliberals who sometimes overlap with neocons. Neoliberals like Clinton who signed DMCA and Obama who voted yes on telecom immunity. Ironically it is the Democrats who often push for greater abuses of government power over communications media, and then the Republicans who merely consolidate that power with some new legal fiction about how it helps promote American prosperity. Rinse and repeat every decade.

  • That bit about "consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad" sounds remarkably like "what's good for GM is good for America" -- except that, to my knowledge, Ford never tried to block sales of the Camaro by citing infringements of Mustang-related patents. Besides, I must have missed the part where biasing the US legal system in favor of the RIAA and MPAA, and constricting our network infrastructure to conform to those organizations' business models, is even slig
  • intellectual property free products?

    like hormone free milk or pesticide free fruit?

  • Vote Him Out (Score:5, Informative)

    by misfit815 (875442) on Friday July 13, 2012 @08:41AM (#40637683)

    Lamar Smith's Democratic opponent in the 21st Congressional District of Texas is Candace Duval (http://www.candaceduval.com/). I'm sure donations are welcome.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:31AM (#40639369)
    and who is he running against. can we croud source an operation to un-elect this goofball?
  • by Steve B (42864) on Friday July 13, 2012 @11:46AM (#40639515)

    "Didya hear about Lamar Smith's bill to create another Obama-appointed czar?"

Byte your tongue.

Working...