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Sen. Hatch to Introduce Wide-ranging Copyright Bill 891

The Importance of writes "C|Net News is reporting that a new copyright bill, to be introduced next week by Sen. Orrin Hatch, will likely overturn the Betamax decision (which held that VCRs were legal) and threaten all sorts of innovation. EFF broke the story and Copyfight has been all over it. Don't miss the comments of law professor Susan Crawford who says, 'This is amazing. Now we're waaaaaay beyond contributory and vicarious theories of liability, which are court-created and pretty darn broad on their own.' Text of the bill here and PDF."
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Sen. Hatch to Introduce Wide-ranging Copyright Bill

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  • Powerful incentives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SIGALRM ( 784769 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:11PM (#9464399) Journal
    the Induce Act was scheduled to be introduced Thursday by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

    Senator Hatch has a powerful incentive [opensecrets.org] in attacking P2P networks (see #'s 7, 15, 18).

    Oddly enough, by the same logic he's using in this legislation prescription drugs should be illegal because they can be used to kill as well as heal. But since the rest of his top contributors are pharma co's he isn't likely to raise that as an issue is he?
    • by cluckshot ( 658931 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:25PM (#9464561)

      Has anyone out there noted that he is not sponsoring legislation to make sure that computer programmers get copyrights and royalties for their work just like musical writers and performers do? I think that if he gave one rats rump about realy copyrights he would start with the people who are being ripped off of their rights the most.

      • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:00PM (#9465016) Homepage Journal
        I don't think writers or performers get royalties if the work is produced as work for hire.

        -Peter
        • by cluckshot ( 658931 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:24PM (#9465277)

          Writers and performers can get paid salary but they also can get paid royalties based upon some pretty strongly defended copy protection rights under law. The FBI enforces these.

          How many programmers do you know who get offered the chance to write for retained royalty pay? Do you think you are likely to get offered such rights which currently do not exist under law? [NOT NO...^*!! NO!] Please get with reality here. Computer programmers are more likely to have their work last longer than movie actors and screen writers who most often get royalties for use.

          My objection to SCO and others is not that they should get paid for their work, rather that they stole the work they are demanding to get paid for!

    • by dmitriy ( 40004 )
      > Oddly enough, by the same logic he's using in this legislation prescription drugs should be illegal because they can be used to kill as well as heal

      That's why prescription drugs are heavily regulated, you cannot take drugs prescribed to somebody else, etc.

    • by DRWHOISME ( 696739 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:31PM (#9464626)
      These congressman are paid hitmen and are all corrupt because the system is about lobbying(which needs to be outlawed). Lobbying = Corruption. This should not be a lobbyocracy but a democratic republic.
    • by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:45PM (#9464817) Journal
      Hey, it's our old friend, the Jackass from Utah!
      1. Senator Hatch was the fellow who last year wanted to develop software to physically destroy the computers of people who download music.
      2. One of his staffers cracked into computers of House Democrats.
      3. Senator Hatch's website used unlicensed (read illegal) hosting software for several months.
      4. Hatch also thinks of himself as an amateur musician, who is losing money because people download his music.
      5. Hatch's son is a lawyer, one of who's clients is the SCO.
      • by DukeyToo ( 681226 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:10PM (#9465762) Homepage
        Yep. As soon as I see "Sen Hatch to...", I just feel like crying. The fact that he is an elected official just drives me crazy. Its like a glazed donut, washed down with beer.

        Wake up Utah, there's something stuck on your shoe, and you're stinking up the country.
        • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:43PM (#9466190) Homepage
          He used to give us fairly decent representation. Then he started recording his music, and went off the deep-end on copyright issues. His repeated attempts to amend the constitution have always been comic relief.

          Unfortunately he's not up for re-election til 06, and it is doubtful the Republican party will put up any serious contenders for his seat. Demos just waste their time and money trying for a Senate seat in Utah. There is one house seat they usually do well in, but forget the Senate.

          As to this issue, I'm just waiting for EFF to put up an action center item on this, once they do he'll get a fax or three on this issue.

    • by vnguyen6 ( 524122 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:45PM (#9464818) Homepage
      Does anyone notice the majority of the companies contributing to Senator Hatch were investigated for frauds? HealthSouth, Pfizer, Qwest, Metabolife, AT&T, AOL, Global Crossing... Senator Hatch should be introducing legislation going after companies committing frauds.
    • by PetoskeyGuy ( 648788 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:15PM (#9465169)
      I love the idea of a sponsored congressman. They should go to work each day dressed like those NASCAR drivers. Logos all over the place, head to toe. He pauses in the middle of his speach to take a refreshing drink of Coca-Cola. Ahhhhh.

      Hell lets stop pretending anymore. Lets create corporate representatives and get our elected ones back. All these probablems coming from the fact that corporations are seen as people in the eyes of the law. Make the House, the Senate and the Market. People elect the first two, corporations vote for the third and can't contribute to the others.
    • All laws like this (overly broad and specifically targetting minorities for extortion, the minority in this case being young people who download and don't vote) are enforced in the real world as balance between how much money can be extorted from the target and how much this extortion depresses the economic activity that generates the wealth from which the extortion comes. They are basically designed to function as an open-ended and arbitrary tax.
      They backfire when all the people who have been extorted
  • by XeRXeS-TCN ( 788834 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:12PM (#9464409)
    Sigh. Is anyone actually surprised anymore by yet another attempt to remove more freedoms? I thought progress was being made with the bill to remove the more dangerous elements of the DMCA, and now a new "Free Speech Killer"... The world's going to hell in a handbasket.
  • by norculf ( 146473 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:12PM (#9464418) Journal
    I haven't been following too closely, but it seems like he just keeps coming up with stuff like this, and just keeps getting smacked down, because even an idiot can tell it's not reasonable. Why doesn't he find a new cause?
  • Is anyone surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by absurdist ( 758409 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:13PM (#9464422)
    Orrin Hatch has been in the pocket of the recording industry for ages. Could it have something to do with the disproportionate royalties he receives for his avocation as a "popular song writer?"
  • Could this pass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by powera ( 644300 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:14PM (#9464442) Homepage
    I don't think it stands a snowball's chance in hell, but as it might, we'd better make sure to make our side of the case clear. Hatch may want to blow up our computers, but I hope there are some senators who realize that "He took away your VCR" won't go well on the campaign trail.
    • by tanguyr ( 468371 ) <tanguyr+slashdot@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:20PM (#9464508) Homepage
      "He took away your VCR" won't go well on the campaign trail

      lol - if you thought Americans got mad when you went for their guns, wait till you see what happens when you go for their TVs.
    • Re:Could this pass? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shadowcabbit ( 466253 ) <cx@the f u r r y o n e . net> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:31PM (#9464633) Journal
      Here's a plan. Go to the pawn shop, buy the junkiest, most disgusting VCR you can find, and mail it to any senator listed on the bill. Bonus points if it is a) old, b) heavy, or c) not working. Enclose with it a note that says something to the effect of "Dear Senator: As a loyal and concerned citizen of the United States, I am hereby turning over equipment which could potentially be used in copyright infringement, pursuant to the INDUCE Act which you are supporting. I intend to continue turning confiscated equipment over to you until I receive word that the Act has been rescinded. Sincerely, a patriotic constituent."
      • by nebaz ( 453974 )
        This would unfortunately probably never get to the senator, because the secret service would most likely not look kindly on a big package full of "old, junky, nasty" machinery and think it was a bomb or something.
      • by robslimo ( 587196 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:06PM (#9465095) Homepage Journal
        Here's a better plan. Write to your senator(s) about this. Sometimes I think they live in a world too insulated from their constituents... let them know your thoughts on the matter... let them see the side of it that Hatch is not going to.

        And of course it does no good to curse and flame at your senators; keep it clean and thoughtful. Here's my effort to that effect:


        Dear Sir,

        I've recently read that Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is preparing a bill that is being referred to as the "Induce Act" which, were it to be passed, would make significant changes to copyright law.

        It may be precipitous to be arguing against something which has not yet been presented, but this one is scary. Wrapped by the excuse of reducing the exploitation of minors, which is a worthy goal, this bill has the potential to wreck the development of software and technology in the US by making any product or service that could possibly be used for copyright violation illegal. Understand that this would have zero effect on technology development outside our borders, putting the US at a severe disadvantage in the global market.

        What is worse is that this is a disingenuous attempt to place unwarranted power in the hands of copyright holders and, especially, publishers. If I thought it had the proverbial "snowball's chance in Hell" of achieving any improved protection for children, I might consider it. As it stands, it is a thinly veiled effort to further remove rights of "fair use" and access to technology from the public. Even assuming that was a desirable goal to a majority, this proposed bill would have deliterious effects of distasterous proportion to the freedoms of US citizens and our ability to compete in the world.

        Please pause for a reality check, read what is appearing in the press regarding this and other efforts to undermine our rights and freedoms and take a very long and careful look at the true agendas and priorities of your colleague, Sen. Orrin Hatch. I don't know who's interests he is attempting to serve, but I am certain they are not those of his state nor this nation.

        Thank you for your time,

        [my name]
        [my address]
    • Re:Could this pass? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:32PM (#9464642) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately, if it's got Bill Frist as a co-sponsor, it does have a pretty good chance of passing. The political clout of the Majority Leader is not something to take lightly.
    • by wwest4 ( 183559 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:37PM (#9464714)

      Chapter 5 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding to the end of
      section 501 the following:
      (g) Intentional Inducement of Infringement.-Whoever intentionally
      induces any violation identified in subsection (a) of this section shall be
      liable as an infringer.
      (l) In subsection (g), "intentionally induces" means
      intentionally aids, abets, induces, counsels, or procures,
      and intent may be shown by acts from which a reasonable
      person would find intent to induce infringement based
      upon all relevant information about such acts then
      reasonably available to the actor, including whether the
      activity relies on infringement for its commercial
      viability.
      (2) Nothing in this section shall enlarge or diminish the
      doctrines of vicarious or contributory liability for
      copyright infringement or require any court to unjustly
      withhold or impose any secondary liability for copyright
      infringement.


      See subsection 1 and the broad verbage. This won't get by, at least not without some serious surgery, because there are too many big companies (re: campaign contributors) who stand to lose from such a broad, sweeping change.

      Also, beware of the supposed pretext - child pornography / pedophelia. Some people who are up in arms about these issues may see this bill as virtuous, when it's probably a pork barrel ruse. But I haven't seen any evidence that either thing is 1) correlated or 2) a serious, widespread threat warranting federal legislation. I've seen the same sensational coverage of abuses in the Catholic church, but that is a far cry from scientific studies. Surely Kinsey has done studies on this... but I can't find any clear web references. Maybe being armed with hard science about pedo could help fight the bill (and others using the same red herring).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:14PM (#9464445)
    "Your Rights Online: Sen. Hatch to Introduce Wide-ranging Slashdot Execution Bill"

    Might as well, since it seems only people on /. know about these bills.. someone has to do something, the general public needs to know whats going on.. having flamewars on /. isn't going to stop this.. Doesnt ANYONE have the ability to get this in major news outlets? No one from CNN or something reads slashdot?

    I'm so sick of reading on /. about how our rights are being taken away and then no one else i know offline knows anything is happenning. FUCK!!!
  • It's fine but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spirality ( 188417 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:15PM (#9464450) Homepage
    It would be fine it the length of copyright was also reduced to say 7 years instead of the infinite lifespan copyrights have now. Not really infinite, but anything copyrighted right now will remain so long after I die.
  • Oh lord... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:16PM (#9464455)
    The Induce Act stands for "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act,"

    See? Stop being mean to them. They're not corporate shills trying to control culture and take away computers. They're doing it for the children. Think of the children. Don't you care about the children? I, for one, welcome our new child-protecting overlords.
  • by Three Headed Man ( 765841 ) <dieter_chen@noSPAm.yahoo.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:17PM (#9464467)
    Only by offending consumers and performing in-house raids to confiscate VCR's and arrest their owners, is it possible to get the public outraged. Non-slashdot-readers don't hear about bad laws until they're passed. Outrage from the general public will wait until this passes.
    • by Too Much Noise ( 755847 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:06PM (#9465091) Journal
      Well, I'm not sure VCR users will be affected. Technically, that would have been an infreingement even without this and the present attitude doesn't have to change. On the other hand, here's something that won't offend most consumers, but might hit /. readers hard in the head. The bill says:

      Intentional Inducement of Infringement.-Whoever intentionally induces any violation identified in subsection (a) of this section shall be liable as an infringer.


      In subsection (g), "intentionally induces" means intentionally aids, abets, induces, counsels, or procures


      Well, if you thought the DeCSS lawsuits were frivolous, you're in for a new type. This would effectively ban the LAME-type projects that are source-only in order to avoid copyright infringement. Yep - you're 'inducing' violations by providing a means to distribute illegal copies of copyright materials. What about audio rippers? Well, if they can be inducing violations, they're infringing. Forget about fair use. All you need to ban some product is an example of its use for copyright infringement and a benevolent judge that would accept some broader definition for 'intentional'.

      Also, this will be a generalized ban for any devices non-compliant with future equivalents of the broadcast flag in other fields. Maybe even selling the old non-compliant devices, as they're sure to be used for an infringing purpose.

      I hope I'm wrong, but remember, if the wording of the law allows it, sooner or later someone WILL use it.
  • by Honest Man ( 539717 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:17PM (#9464471)
    That should make for some interesting news when nearly every household in America would be in violation of the law - what, are they going to storm down every home who has a vcr that is capable of 'recording'? They never cease to amaze me - whats next - the cassette recorder?? Or how about my camcorder?
    • Re:VCR's illegal (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Surt ( 22457 )
      Well the great thing about this plan is that as soon as most americans can be made guilty of a felony for owning a vcr, they can be relieved of their voting rights as well. Then the senators and congressmen can just vote themselves into office, and pass the office down by inheritance.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:17PM (#9464472) Homepage
    Section 1. SHORT TITLE This Act may be cited as the "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act of 2004."

    Child Exploitation? Child Exploitation? This has about as much to do with child exploitation as it does with farming subsidies or strategic national defense. The only reason this has "Child Exploitation" in the title is so that Hatch et al. can demonize anybody who opposes this as "having voted against protecting children from exploitation".

    This is not about protecting America's children against exploitation; this is about protecting the revenue stream of a powerful business lobby.

    Senator, you're a schmuck and a tool. The afterlife, if it exists, will most likely be a very unpleasant place for you.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:17PM (#9464476)
    Congress can't overturn a decision by the Supreme Court, thats a convenience of having a well-designed government. What they can do is change the law, which would effectively allow someone to sue using the Betamax issue all over again. If this case makes it to the US Supreme Court, the Court could choose to apply the new law, or the old, or throw out the new, or the old, or somewhere in between.

    So while Orrin Hatch may be a sleazy politician, he's not the Darth Vader who will pervert and destroy the entire copyright system in the US. (yeah, yeah, the ??AA has already done that, ha, ha, +1 Funny)
    • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#9464571) Journal
      The court case specifically said Congress has the power to enact laws which would change the Betamax case outcome. The Court said they came to the conclusion based on laws congress had on the books. If those laws change, the outcome of the case would change.

      What I think is more important is the RIAA hired Senator Hatchs son as one of their lobbyists. It should be a conflict of interest. Since they can't outright buy the Senator, they hire the kid who will have a wealth of oppertunity to influance his father.

    • Oh yes they can... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mosel-saar-ruwer ( 732341 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:40PM (#9464760)

      Congress can't overturn a decision by the Supreme Court, thats a convenience of having a well-designed government.

      Your "well-designed government" was designed by this thing called The United States Constitution, which states, in no uncertain terms:

      In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
      Of course, The Constitution ain't the most politically correct document these days, and goodness knows the courts don't give a damn about it...

    • Not correct. Congress cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision when the Court is interpreting the Constitution. But the Betamax case was an interpretation of the statutory and common law doctrine of fair use. When it comes to decisions of the Court regarding statutory interpretation, as in the Betamax case, Congress most certainly can overturn a Supreme Court ruling by amending the law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:18PM (#9464481)
    ...to vote Libertarian. Question for conservatives: What the hell do you see in Republicans these days? They've become a bunch of right-wing socialists at this point.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:57PM (#9464976)
      Growing up, I approved of the Republicans- being a fiscal conservative and all. I didn't really like their social issues, but all the talk was about what the Democrats were doing to take away our rights (remember it was the Clinton administration that talked about 3rd part escrow encyption [Clipper / Capstone], the DMCA, etc.) The implication was that the Republicans would preserve them- basically, Rush and friends sold the Republicans as if they were Libertarians on many social issues. Heck, during the Clinton administration the Republicans were the party of We Are Not The World's Policeman, so they were the antiwar party. When I talk with any Republican friend of mine, they usually speak of a belief in financial conservatism, and a disapproval of the current administration on spending too much (not fiscally conservative). They also don't like most of the freedom restricting things that we on slashdot don't like (in general, of course), but since all third parties are so kooky and radical and can never win they'll never vote for any of them. Long term implications? I bet within 20 years the current Republican party will be a lot more liberal on social issues. But for now a lot of people who would never vote for a third party are now looking at the Democrats a little more seriously.
  • Opposition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yderf ( 764618 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:18PM (#9464485)
    Originally, the Induce Act was scheduled to be introduced Thursday by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, but the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed at the end of the day that the bill had been delayed. A representative of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a probable co-sponsor of the legislation, said the Induce Act would be introduced "sometime next week," a delay that one technology lobbyist attributed to opposition to the measure.

    Does anyone know who opposes this in the Senate? They deserve a cookie.
    • Re:Opposition (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:39PM (#9464744) Homepage
      Does anyone know who opposes this in the Senate? They deserve a cookie.

      they dont deserve cookies they deserve votes and letters to them from you stating that you will vote for them because of their actions.

      too many times we only bitch... we never EVER freely give praise and rewards to those that do good.

      you want the senators to do good things? when they do something good, send them a check, and a letter stating "good boy!"

  • Overturn Betamax? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Exmet Paff Daxx ( 535601 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:19PM (#9464498) Homepage Journal
    My reading of the bill is that the law would not overturn Betamax so much as explicitly prevent Betamax from being applied to digital media. Betamax and VHS were both analog formats with cumulative degradation, that is, a copy of a copy was degraded, and at enough generations the quality would be unusable. Perfect digital copies, however, do not have this limitation, and it is merely common sense that they should be covered by a different law. Betamax was a Supreme Court decision, and it cannot be overturned by an Act of Congress unless Congress retracts the right of Judicial Review. Rather, this law extends stronger protections to the more powerful (and therefore dangerous) process of digital copying.

    Screaming and histrionics aside, I don't know how else you could prevent digital theft. For years, Democrats have argued that to stop gun crime, we must outlaw guns. This is common sense. Why now do we reverse our logic? To stop digital copying crimes, we must outlaw digital copying.

    • by DunbarTheInept ( 764 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:33PM (#9464655) Homepage
      A handgun is designed specifically to be capable of destroying flesh, with the intent to wound or kill. If you shoot someone with it, you are using it for exactly what it was made for. The fact that it can be a deterrent to crime is just a side-effect of this feature. It is not a seperate type of use altogether, as the gun lobby tries to phrase it. (Note: I favor gun ownership rights - I just think that this particular argument is a stupid way to try to support it. The reason I support gun ownership rights is specifically *because* guns are an unbalancing factor that makes it trivially easy to kill - that's the kind of power that shouldn't be solely in the hands of government.) Digital copying, on the other hand, has uses that are totally independant of copyright violations. Outlawing it is like trying to reduce traffic fatalities by making it illegal for anybody to own a car.

    • I have a Digital Copy machine here at work. Its a college, so we have lots of copywrited books. In fact, some teachers sometimes copy a page out of a book, and hand it out to students. That is leagal. However, that "Digital" copy machine is also cabable of completely copying a textbook, so should it be outlawed?

      I have a Sony DVCam. I can record images of my little nephew running around, and of my trips and stuff, but its digital, so I could make perfect copies of things that I have recorded. I can

    • by thelexx ( 237096 )
      "I don't know how else you could prevent digital theft"

      It isn't theft. The original is not lost to its owner. It is, at most, unauthorized duplication. Which is exactly the problem that has been being worked on by the software industry, unsuccessfully, since at least the late 1970's.

      Further, gun crime is an illusion. There is only crime. Whether I stab, run over, blow up, electrocute or saw someone in half, it's all still just as much of an illegal act no matter how it was done. Someone died. They
    • Re:Overturn Betamax? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by wedg ( 145806 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:58PM (#9465660) Homepage Journal
      To stop gun crime, simply remove the reasons for gun crimes to happen. If everyone was reasonably well off, with a certain level of comfort, why would they shoot anyone?

      If you outlaw guns, it just means only the most hardcore criminals will have the guns. Outlaw digital copying, and only the most hardcore copiers will keep doing it.

      Even if it was $1 for a cd/dvd/whatever, someone somewhere would still be copying and stealing it. Even if it was *free*, someone would rather download it than run down to the store just to pick it up.

      My point being, that it is *impossible* to prevent theft unless you get everyone to agree not to steal. It's called the Social Contract. However, we are *never* given the choice to enter into that contract, we're *born* into it. Effectively slaves to laws we never agreed to in the first place.

      Some people reject this forced contract purely on that basis, even if they don't know it. The teenage stereotypical rebellion? The black market? I digress.

      You can make an infinite amount of laws, it will not change anything. You can imprison the *entire* population, and people will still pass around contraband. The only thief that won't steal is a dead thief, and dead thieves don't buy *anything*.
  • Broadband (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Casca ( 4032 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:19PM (#9464504) Journal
    This would pretty clearly target the telcos, if you couldn't move the packets, nobody would be able to pirate this stuff.

    This would pretty clearly target the network equipment manufacturers, if you couldn't move the packets, nobody would be able to pirate this stuff.

    This would pretty clearly target Intel/AMD/Motorola and any other manufacturer of microprocessor that can be used to convert this pirated media into something visual/audible.

    The list goes on and on.
  • This is messed up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:21PM (#9464531)
    There is just something wrong about advocating PRISON TIME for someone commiting a nonviolent offense WITH NO PROFIT MOTIVE. Unlike the previous boogeyman of drug laws, nobody is even being hurt here - hence the whole idea of fair use. There's just something fundamentally wrong here. These proposed bills are getting crazier and crazier.

    Legislators in Canada (I am not an American. YMMV) looked at this and while recognizing a problem, rejected the notion of stiff criminal penalties for this kind of thing. This concerned me here enough to write a detailed letter to the committee reviewing these laws in Canada.

    Control over media devices has another impact to - it's about control over the PRODUCTION OF MEDIA. With so much news and speech regulated THROUGH the media, this is tremendously important for the future of free speech in the USA.

    Sigh, sometimes I think the world went mad while I wasn't looking. You just don't put people in PRISON for sharing a SONG with NO PROFIT. There is this thing called CIVIL law. Sue him into the ground, sure. Prison is where you put murderers and rapists - not copyright infringers. I wonder how many politicians in the USA would see the irony if they looked back at the treatment of international patents over historical timescales.

    Arrgh! Please, get involved in this process and get organized. DO SOMETHING.
  • Chilling effect? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:22PM (#9464541) Journal
    They're trying to make it legally risky to introduce technologies that could be used for copyright infringement

    IANAL, but won't this have a "chilling effect" on technology? Isn't it one thing to go after people who break the laws, rather than going after people who might offer ideas on how to break the law (or ideas with other applicability)? I guess this is one of the reasons I can not find anything which will record streaming media on the internet, and I have looked and looked and looked. One of my professors has his lectures streamed on-line, and I wanted to copy it to watch it later, but could not. I guess with this law, if someone made software to copy that streaming content, it would be illegal. Oh well, less power to the people I guess.

  • Exploitation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by genixia ( 220387 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:23PM (#9464545)
    "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act of 2004."

    What!!???
    Using peoples' fear of child exploitation as a tool to push through draconian copyright measures to help BigCorp Inc. is despicable.

    Surely this _is_ child exploitation.

    It's bad enough that there are sickos in society preying on children for their bodies without someone to then abusing that exploitation to steal their legal rights.

    Fascist Alert.
  • by cthrall ( 19889 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:25PM (#9464563) Homepage
    I, for one, welcome our new Mormon overlords.
    • Why can't we have a SCO or Hatch story without disparaging remarks about the Mormons? I don't see jokes about Jews getting modded up as funny every time a Jewish name appears on /.

      I am just waiting for a polygamy thread to start up in this story.

      In any case, if you live in MA, like I do, you already have a Mormon overlord.

  • by skyryder12 ( 677216 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#9464577)
    ...I would recommend that you do the same. Looks like a full court press while the Republicans control everything...too good an opportunity for the greedheads to pass up.....
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#9464579)
    Not intentionally trolling, but is it any wonder why other countries don't accept our way of governing with open arms.

    US Ambassador sales pitch on democracy:
    "So look, get get all this freedom in a 'democracy', but the trick, and you'll love this, is that you have the freedom to take away freedom. Now don't do it right away, give them 100 or so years and then start doing it slowly so that no one notices til it's too late. It also helps to get in bed with big business cuase oil or not, cash is king."
  • Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LightStruk ( 228264 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:27PM (#9464585)
    Since they "aid" and "abet" copyright infringement, normal CD Burners would also be illegal under this law. It's as if Sony Music wants Sony Electronics to stop making devices that are obviously designed solely to pirate their copyrighted works.
    • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mark-t ( 151149 )
      As would many other electronic devices.

      Even more, it could ewen make learning how to build them illegal, effectively banning education in electrical engineering, the knowledge of which could, of course, be exploited to create digital copies of a work.

  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:27PM (#9464588) Journal
    Ralph Nader called Washington DC a "corporate-occupied terrority," and I think we need little proof beyond this bill to bolster his claim.

    Giant corporations walk into a congressman's office, just flat-out order him to introduce a bill that their lawyers wrote that suspends the Constitution so that they can make a little bit more money, and the congressman goes right along with it, apparently without a moment's hesitation.

    As far as enforcing this law, I cannot imagine in a million years that any standard of fairness would even be considered in its application. As Drummond states in Inherit the Wind, "I say that you cannot administer a wicked law impartially. You can only destroy. You can only punish. I warn you that a wicked law, like cholera, destroys everyone it touches -- its upholders as well as its defiers."

    When people who innocently use technology like TiVo and VCRs and CD burners start getting randomly sued and arrested by RIAA and MPAA members, I can only hope that the public outcry is strong enough to reverse the trend. But I fear that the opposite will happen, that we'll all be huddled under our bedclothes, shivering in fear that the giant corporations will come after us next. Terrified that armed corporate goon squads, deputized under the banner of protecting copyright, will break our doors down, confiscate our computers and home entertainment systems, and lead us off in handcuffs, we'll do anything to protect ourselves from them, even if it means testifying against a neighbor, friend, or family member. Boy, do I hope that I'm just being paranoid.
  • Not again! (Score:3, Informative)

    by igrp ( 732252 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:32PM (#9464640)
    I don't mean to politicize this but maybe Sen. Hatch should just let it go.

    He's been one of the big supporters of the Pirate Act [slashdot.org] (allowing the DoJ to file civil suits against file swappers) and the Induce Act [scrawford.net] (blog [p2pnet.net]) which seeks to hold those that "induce" copyright infridgements criminally liable.

    Here's some more information on him [vote-smart.org]. I guess some people should just not be reelected...

  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:33PM (#9464650) Homepage Journal
    The Induce Act stands for "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act," a reference to Capitol Hill's frequently stated concern that file-trading networks are a source of unlawful pornography. Hatch is a conservative Mormon who has denounced pornography in the past and who suggested last year that copyright holders should be allowed to remotely destroy the computers of music pirates.

    and industry puppet. I wish the CNet story pointed out that Orrin Hatch's official website was found to be running unlicensed software [slashdot.org] a few days after his acclaimed suggestion to destroy "pirates'" machines.

    Amusingly, an AC discovered [slashdot.org] that one of the links on the website was linked to a pr0n website as some /.arrs may remember.

  • by Featureless ( 599963 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:37PM (#9464705) Journal
    Here we have another debate about copyright.

    What do you think? Will we settle it this time? Will we have copyright anarchy or copyright enforcement? If we're too permissive, we'll have no information economy!

    What a false dillemma.

    Have you really seen how strict we're thinking of making our copyright rules?

    Freedom and privacy are in themselves valuable. And strict enforcement of copyright is simply incompatible with freedom and privacy.

    But, actually, neither freedom nor privacy are the most important reason to avoid becoming "too strict" about copyright.

    Our _economy_ requires us not to be too strict.

    Remember, our whole world is, and has always been, engaged in massive, systematic violations of copyright law. So let's look at why that is, and what purpose it serves, before we rock the boat too quickly.

    For a minute, let's set aside mix tapes, and libraries, and the VCR, half your childhood singalongs in school and around the campfire - all of which are illegal, and might not have happened under a "strict" copyright regime.

    Lets head to the everyday world of the home and office, where almost every other computer has some illegally duplicated software or media on it. Sooner or later somebody brought a CD or some music from home, or installed WinZIP without paying for it. Only WinZIP is the tip of the iceberg. Many of the most copied software titles are "programs for work." Microsoft's Office, or Windows. Visual C++. Macromedia's Flash or Director.

    It gets copied because it's very expensive, and the people who want to use these tools can't always afford them.

    This stolen software is used to do work. It writes school papers. It creates art projects. It produces other software, from desktop applications to web sites to video games (even some really big titles you've all bought in the store). It is used by the attorneys of companies suing other companies for copyright infringement, and certainly by the children of everyone concerned. "Stolen" media is present all around you, like air and water, in virtually every workplace, and in every home, used for writing love letters, wiling away hours in hospital beds, researching cancer, and even fighting crime and educating our children. (Yes, even police and schools have been prosecuted by the "BSA" - the software industry's copyright enforcement arm.)

    Perfect enforcement of copyright has never been possible, or even close - so only egregious violations of it are prosecuted (big companies that could afford it, but chose not to pay, or stalls on the street - actually trying to sell the stolen goods). The rest pass by, unremarked, uncredited - often even without our noticing.

    This stolen softare, present in everywhere, from the halls of giants like EA, Microsoft, and IBM (despite their own best efforts to stop it) to little companies all over the country, has been used to do work that made billions of dollars in the marketplace.

    Copying, whatever its costs, has enormous benefits. It's like a magic lubricant, empowering our business and creative activities and enriching our lives - subtracting the mythical "last 5%" from the copyright holder, while adding 500% to the society as a result.

    Imagine if a poor person could magically borrow a wealthy man's house. He could shower, eat in the kitchen, he could read the wealthy man's books, change into the wealthy man's clothes, and when walking out the door, get a better job.

    Now what if millions of poor men could all live in the rich man's house at the same time as its owner did, without anyone ever meeting each other? What if the kitchen was always full no matter how many people it fed?

    This is the magical world of "intellectual property" - where the very term "property" makes us want to protect our ideas as though only one person could possess them at a time. Yet we all know that's not true. Ideas have a different set of rules. As has been observed many times already, "Intellectual Property" many not be
  • by seawall ( 549985 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:39PM (#9464747)
    According to http://www.nbc5.com/irresistible/2276786/detail.ht ml, Senator Hatch has made $18,000 in music royalties in a single year.

    A past scandal in congress was over institutional supporters of politicians buying lots and lots of a book written by that politician. Maybe the books were in a warehouse or distributed free to members afterwards but the money was "royalties".

    The above paragraphs probably have nothing to do with each other.

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:44PM (#9464804) Journal
    Stop inflicting this pain on your fellow Americans by keeping this Bozo in power.

    First the DMCA and now this....
    Sheesh
  • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:44PM (#9464809)
    Hatch is a conservative Mormon who has denounced pornography in the past and who suggested last year that copyright holders should be allowed to remotely destroy the computers of music pirates

    I think they misspelled "moron"
  • by Fizzlewhiff ( 256410 ) <jeffshannon.hotmail@com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:52PM (#9464907) Homepage
    but you can stop him from getting votes.

    All that needs to be done is for the voters in his state to be made aware of what he is doing. People don't have a clue where this copyright legislation is going. Someone needs to start a campaign in Utah saying something like "Sen Hatch doesn't trust you. He thinks you are a criminal at heart. If he had his way it would be illegal for you to video tape your childrens Christmas pageant at school and church." and then show what is between the lines of his bills.
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:58PM (#9464988) Homepage Journal
    he's really gone off the deep end the past few years, it's time for him to retire and surround himself with his little tin Nazi soldier toys. he is not of this nation any more with his actions.
  • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:00PM (#9465023)
    I'm sure that Mr. Hatch is properly within his rights as a US Senator to introduce this Bill, and that nothing he is doing is treason. He is, however, attacking the 1st Amendment, which Amendment protects his right to introduce this Bill in the first place.

    I'm also pretty sure that he's got himself covered in regards to any possible charges of being bribed by lobbyists, PAC's, etc. He's probably too smart for that.

    However, I can't but help feel that he is a traitor. He is un-American, and I hope that he loses re-election. The 1st Amendment is 1st because of its importance to America, and the 1st Amendment is America.

    You attack the 1st Amendment, you attack America.

    So, Mr. Hatch: ES&D.

  • Bookmark time (Score:3, Informative)

    by nanojath ( 265940 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:09PM (#9465123) Homepage Journal
    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/ senators_cfm.cfm

    Let your senators know.
  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:45PM (#9465519) Homepage
    The entertainment industry is also pursuing this through another vector: through WIPO. If the U.S. signs the new WIPO treaty, then Betamax will be overturned even without Hatch's bill. See my Nov. 8, 2003 blog entry U.S. corroborating with WIPO to overturn Betamax decision and also eliminate public domain [underreported.com].
  • by deathcloset ( 626704 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:52PM (#9465603) Journal
    perhaps this is a bit off-topic, but I've about had it up to here with copyright.

    Let my put it this way, in the good old days of the middle ages if you wanted a book, say the bible, you would aquire a transcription: not a copy. Some monk or whatnot would actually create the article by hand, painstakingly.

    Therefore the idea of illegal copies was nonexistent - because it would take forever to make such a copy. you were essentially paying for the transcription service, not really the intellectual property contained within the work - if you were paying at all, that is.

    then came the gutenberg press, a great creation, and fun to say too. Copies could be made in a much more effecient manner, but the consumer was still paying for the service more than the copies; after all the bible was the first thing printed - and unless you consider tithe a type of royalty - no money was payed for the creators. I think tithe is more like a membership charge.

    Still, the concept of the consumer making thier own copies was unheard of - unless that consumer had a press and the expertise to use it.

    Up until the 60's consumers didn't really have any good methods for making cheap copies of any intellectual works; books, music, movies. But then the xerox, and then the magnetic cassete tape.

    Basically i'm saying that the current methods of copy protection are a backwards technology. you see, because the freaking consumer now has the ability to create documents that have all the quality expected. The gutenberg press is in every household in the form of HP and Memorex.

    Copy protection, IMO is tantamount to sabatoge. It impedes the capability of the consumer to utilize thier equipment to it's full extent - in effect decreasing the functionality.

    Money is a great example of this; it is vital that cash be as difficult as possible to copy. But, it is a chasing of the tail. you see, the money of the 20's can probably be duplicated fairly accurately via consumer-level hardware. Money is a type of proof saying "hey, this paper says what i'm worth, you must trust me because george washington says so"; but the physical document (dollar bill) can be duplicated - Gold, not so easy; goods and services likewise. In other words, the value contained within the bill is an illusion. (all value arguably is, but the value of a doctor in times of emergency is not so etheral - service and goods my friends; the only real values).

    Eventually, if the hardware manufactures are smart enough, and industrious enough, consumer-level will match corporate-level in every aspect.

    Already, consumer-level music is oft-times better than corporate-level; likewise with movies; and likewise with software (read: consumers created linux).

    Copy protection should be illegal.
  • by mysterious_mark ( 577643 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:05PM (#9465722)
    It is worth noting that Senator Hatch has a long history of supporting legislation that tramples upon constitutional rights and civil liberties, this man is definitley an enemy of your rights and the constitution, anyone in Utah really needs to remember to vote and get this bastard out of Office. He has waged war on the Bill of Rights long enough. M
  • Copy machines? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Minstrel Boy ( 787690 ) <kevin_stevens@hotmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:45PM (#9466209)
    "If you make a product that has dual uses, infringing and not infringing, and you know there's infringement, you're liable." Wouldn't this automatically make all copy machines illegal? IANAL, but they seem to fall precisely into the same category as the VCR. I don't see anything that restricts this bill to digital media. I'm sure there are more ripple effects as well, but that one certainly jumped out at me. KeS
  • by canfirman ( 697952 ) <.ac.oohay. .ta. .52ivadp.> on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:16PM (#9466592)
    The Induce Act stands for "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act," a reference to Capitol Hill's frequently stated concern that file-trading networks are a source of unlawful pornography.

    Well then, next we should be banning:

    1. Cameras - they can be used to take pictures of infringing or unlawful material.

    2. Tape Recorders - they can be used to produce an audio copy of infringing or unlawful material.

    3. Cell Phones - they can transmit infringing or unlawful material.

    4. Magazines - in case anybody prints infringing or unlawful material.

    5. Books - see point 4.

    6. The internet as a whole - transmission of infringing or unlawful material.

    ...

    I know I'm exagerating a bit, but it seems to me this law is like trying to kill a fly with a nuclear bomb - you'll get the desired effect, but totaly blow away things you did not intend to do. I feel innovation will be stifled because companies will be afraid of "possible infringement" and don't want to be liable.

    I only hope that Congress wakes up and sees the impact of this law ... but I'm not holding my breath.

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago

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