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P2P Bits 300

yohaas writes "Two Op-Ed stories today in the NY Times address music sharing. In one Kembrew McLeod says that the lawsuits aren't working and gives some alternate suggestions. In the other Harvard Law professor William Fisher says that the industry is going about the situation in the wrong way, concluding that 'the record industry's response to file sharing--trying to block the technology altogether--would generate the worst of all possible results'. Neither article is comprehensive, but they are good read nonetheless." Reader Brill Pappin points out that Canadians aren't afraid of the music industry. And reader The Importance of Being Earnest writes "The INDUCE Act, which would make it a crime to 'induce' copyright infringement, such as by inventing things like the Betamax, has finally been officially introduced. The bill has been renamed the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act [PDF]. In addition to the name change, there has been another slight modication: 'counsel' is no longer part of the proposed statute. Here is a line-by-line refutation of Hatch's introduction [PDF] to the Act. EFF has shown how broad the Act is by writing a mock lawsuit [PDF] suing Apple (for making the iPod), C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods). Previous Slashdot coverage here."
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P2P Bits

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:21PM (#9530589)
    How do you put up with having your freedoms taken away bit by bit any day, every day?

    And WHY do you put up with it?

    I really don't understand...

  • by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:21PM (#9530593)
    great.. more laws BOUGHT to prop up an obsolete business model.

    when do we start enforcing the constitution and putting a stop to legalized political bribery?

  • by trainsnpep ( 608418 ) <mikebenza@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:22PM (#9530608)
    I remember a quote from a book I read abuot 5 years ago....or something like it.

    To make a pig go forward, tie a string around its leg and pull it backward.

    The basic instinct of anyone or anything - pig or human (or as the RIAA seems to consider P2P users pigs) - is to go the opposite of the way you're being directed. Now, I'm not saying the RIAA should encourage P2P, I'm just saying they are definitely going about it the wrong way. I've gotta agree, they're doing it all the wrong way. Perhaps some positive campaigns, not negative ones?

  • Ironic... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shoeler ( 180797 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:22PM (#9530617)
    That the RIAA is spending millions or tens of millions or more of their "hard earned" money to combat piracy, but yet they see fit to increase the price of downloaded songs from iTunes, Napster, etc. At $.99 songs were a bargain, but why the hell would I go out to download an album that I can buy on a CD for the same price???
  • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:23PM (#9530635)
    I could start about how corporations have bought the congress and that we are going down a road to hell, but unfortunately it has been this way for a long time [www.uhb.fr]
  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:25PM (#9530659)
    ... address music sharing. In one Kembrew McLeod says that the lawsuits aren't working
    Does anyone else notice a pretty serious effort to associate, psychologically, music sharing with illegal activities? The two don't always go together. I share legitimate music on the Internet with strangers. And I legitimately share music I own with close friends. They're trying to brainwash us (and it's working BTW)
  • There goes ftp... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:25PM (#9530661)
    Can't write ftp code. Could be used to copy files... Worse, don't try reading a childrens book to your kids while away on business (which the US Navy encourages by offering recording services). Unlawful encoding of copyrited material.
  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:27PM (#9530687) Homepage Journal

    It's consistent worrying about this flaming asshat's policy of blatantly handing out free kicks in the nuts to consumers on behalf of business interests that has prevented him from having a good track record on bad bills.

    By all means - knock the hand wringing up a notch.

  • by bobhagopian ( 681765 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:29PM (#9530709)
    Lord knows I don't agree at all with the RIAA/MPAA, and it certainly hasn't stopped me (or probably most other /. readers from "sampling" music "before I buy").

    But, their tactics have worked reasonably well, at least as a low-pass filter. I'd say that the lower 80% (in terms of resourcefulness) have significantly reduced or altogether ceased downloading music and videos online. Everyone is afraid at some level of the RIAA, and the effect has been noticeable. Whether or not the RIAA's campaign has been cost-effective is another matter, but that's not to say that it hasn't worked.
  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KevinKnSC ( 744603 ) * on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:36PM (#9530802)
    Um, have you ever been to Utah?
  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:43PM (#9530888) Homepage Journal
    That's a scary bill, I don't think it will pass, its too vague.

    But, I'm getting tired of hearing how some elected fuck nut bought and paid for by special interests are introducing a bill to fuck over Americans.

    Key word, ELECTED OFFICAL.

    How can I hope for the best for America, when they want to re-elected people like this over and over. When questioning our presidents actions is Un-American? When watching a movie like Fahrenheit 9/11 can make your blood boil, and still people don't do anything.

    Seems like the Dark Ages.
  • Re:Ironic... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fearless Freep ( 94727 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:45PM (#9530908)
    If the RIAA really actually cared about the *artits* they would spend a lot more time working to make sure the *artists* got more money per CD and didn't get acidentally trapped into vicious contracts

    There's a *lot* more the RIAA could de doing to help the people they supposedly reresent then going after file sharing. I mean, if a CD is sold a few less times due to downloads then the artists loses a few hundred bucks and the record company loses thousands. If the RIAA really cared about the money the arist was making or losing, they'd be fighting the record company to change the way contracts work so that the artist *gets* more then spare change per cd

    Not that I think filesharing s right in it's own, but who is the RIAA really repersenting? Their targeting seems to be off a bit
  • by Patrik_AKA_RedX ( 624423 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:46PM (#9530921) Journal
    Even pen and pencils are ilegal then. Those can be used to copy written IP.

    Like things are going I expect to see Americans, Canadians and Europeans seeking refuge in Cuba.
  • by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:49PM (#9530948) Homepage Journal
    The repeal of Prohibition, passed February 20, 1933, ratified December 5, 1933
  • by bgeer ( 543504 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:52PM (#9530973)
    I was reading this and I got to thinking...

    "Senator Orrin Hatch today introduced a bill that supporters say would prevent software companies from profiting from Internet piracy. But opponents say it would outlaw legitimate technology, possibly even VCRs. Orinn Hatch's campaign received contributions from the bill's industry supporters in his last election."

    Sounded like a Headline News blurb until the last sentence huh? Just imagine if news outlets were required to report on Politicians' conflicts of interest when they were mentioned in connection with legislation that would benefit their backers. Just imagine how much effect that little disclaimer would have on the mind of people listening to the story. We could do a better job of controlling campaign influence than McCain-Feingold does without limiting free speech at all. Whores like Hatch and Boxer would be exposed on a regular basis. IANAL though, so what do you guys think?

  • by Kurt Gray ( 935 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:58PM (#9531056) Homepage Journal
    The way I read the text of the INDUCE Act that offending "activity" would have to clearly be intended for infringement and "...including whether the activity relies on infringement for its commercial viability" so this is not describing any software or device that facilitates piracy but rather software or devices that clearly have a purpose of nothing other than piracy *and* the creators of said tool are using it as a revenue source. So I'm not sure how this would apply to cases where a kid writes a crack tool and releases it for free... since there's no revenue, no commercial viability, does this not apply?
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:58PM (#9531058)
    No need. Everything can already be used to break copyright if you try hard enough. iPods, VCRs? Pffffft! Tip of the iceberg. Here, let me give you a concrete example of using a device to infringe upon a copyright:

    Three rings for the elven kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for mortal men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    RUuuuuh roh, Rasro! AMD, ASUS, Addtronics, nVidia and NEC have now all induced me to infringe upon a copyright.

    The printing press that made the book I copied it from could itself induce copyright infringment. A pen, a charred stick, both induce copyright infringment. The pen is used for such all the time. A Q-tip can be used as a pen. All artist supplies can infringe both visual art and literary art.

    I can take this 10 mm box wrench and use it to scratch "Three rings for the elven kings" in the dirt or on a concrete wall.

    The prosecutorial scope of this bill is infinite. It isn't a "loophole" when anything can be used as a copyright infringing device, it's an "Everybody goes to jail free" card.

    Here, let me give another example, although I can't do this one directly, so you'll have to imagine the scene:

    Here I am, standing in a large empty space, I have no impliments and only have on as much clothing as is necessary to make the image palitable to you, now -- I beging to recite. . .

    Three rings for the elven kings. . .

    My parents have just become illegal.

  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday June 25, 2004 @02:58PM (#9531060)
    The simple fact of the matter is that the existance of the Internet has made unlimited digital sharing a reality. The genie's out, people love getting free stuff, and nothing short of a police state is going to stop it.
    Exactly. I would take it further toward basics. One of the fundamental design purposes of a digital computer is to copy information perfectly. This is what data storage and retrieval is all about! Right now you're sitting at a desktop machine, the result of billions of dollars of research, all to ensure reliable and efficient data duplication/processing. Trying to restrict actions (like media copying, format conversions, data uploads) is just plain silly when you've got math and physics against you.

    What we're seeing is a conflict between the desires of a corporation and the realities of modern digital computing infrastructure. Digital computing is going to win, because we need it.

    Here's an analogy. In India, multinationals have tried to enforce patent rights on seeds to prevent locals from sharing crop seeds as they have always done traditionally. But a seed grows when it is placed in the ground, and plants reproduce -- this is nature's design. The people decreed that they will plant and swap seeds despite what law tells them to do.

    And soon that's what we will do too (in the digital context) because things are approaching sillyness.
  • by Kphrak ( 230261 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:03PM (#9531108) Homepage

    When watching a movie like Fahrenheit 9/11 can make your blood boil, and still people don't do anything.

    Umm...offtopic, but I still feel constrained to reply: Fahrenheit 9/11 is a "mockumentary". It is not real life. It is a carefully collected montage of video clips designed to preach to the choir. The people who listen to Michael Moore and Al Franken and take them seriously are no different than the people who listen to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter; they're listening to what they want to hear.

    There are a lot of good people to listen to on both sides of the fence, and you can usually find them because 1. They don't resort to childish insults and ad hominem attacks, and 2. They acknowledge the other side's viewpoint and might even agree with some points. Watching Fahrenheit 9/11 might get a chuckle out of some, but your blood isn't going to boil.

    And actually, the fact that we have people whose blood will boil over an extremely biased presentation of exactly what they want to hear is the reason why we get such crummy elected officials. People thinking, "Well, he's basically the same as Bush...but...he's not Bush! He says so all the time! I'll vote for him!" or "He's crazy and he spends most of his time fellating the record industry...but at least he's a Republican! I'll vote for him!" will hurt us even worse in the years to come than they are already doing now.

  • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:12PM (#9531214) Homepage
    The goal of this attack on consumers^W^W^W law is to close the very loophole you describe. In the Sony vs. Betamax case, the Supremes ruled that a device was legal so long as it had "substantial non-infringing uses." This law would overrule that decision by saying that anyone who created a technology that "induced" people to copyright infringement should be held responsible for the infringement.

    I worry about Senator Hatch. He just doesn't seem to give a rat about whether the laws he proposes are sane, or constitutional.
  • That's actually an interesting point. In science, you have to go through lengthy disclosures about any potential conflict of interest. If they exsist, they must be disclosed in any publication or presentation you make. It doesn't restrict what you can submit for publication, but putting it out there that AstraZeneca funded your research puts a big grain of salt into your claim that Nexium is clearly superior to Zantac.

    This kind of thing is not limited to any small number of Congressmen; it's ubiquitous. They all need to have their laundry aired on a regular basis.

  • by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:25PM (#9531401) Homepage Journal
    By citing Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and others, I believe our esteemed Senator has himself comitted an act of infringment.

    Further, since he is no doubt aware that the Congressional Record is mandated, by law, to publish such proceedings, he is clearly inducing our government to commit an act of infringment too.

    We should be rejoicing; in the proverbial puff of logic, he has just outlawed our government.

    err, or something like that...

  • DRM and copyright (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spreer ( 15939 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:27PM (#9531421)
    I think that it is clear from this piece that Pournelle has conflated two different arguments in his head. One is the one that Doctorow has made against DRM, saying it is at its core unworkable and bad for all those involved. The other is the one made so often by P2P users that they should not have to pay for copyright works.

    Somewhere Pournelle seems to have jumped to the conclusion that giving up on DRM means giving up on copyright altogether. That is not the case.

    So what we are really saying here is not do individual authors and composers have a moral right to dictate how their creations shall be distributed, but do they have rights in the legal sense that will be enforced by laws and both civil and criminal courts?

    Doctorow and his group say "not really." He also chooses his examples carefully, most of them out at the extremes; but everyone knows that hard cases make bad law, and while the law has to deal with extreme cases, it isn't normally written with only those cases in mind.

    Imagine, for example, that Apple talked the RIAA into allowing them to remove DRM from songs sold via the iTunes Music Store. What kind of effect would this have on music piracy? Not much, I would argue. All of those songs are already available as mp3s on the P2P networks. The cat is already out of the bag. Adding more (legit) copies of those mp3s will not contribute substantially, partially because people who use the legit services are less likely to use P2P networks.

    There is a point that Steve Jobs made when he announced the iTunes music store. The core of it is this: if you make a legal option that is superior to the free options (easier to use, more convenient) most people will chose it. Current technology has made infringement much easier, and you will never be able to stamp it out entirely. What you can do is provide options that more people will want to use.

    Well, what if I built an illegal free iTMS? I don't think there is a way to do this. Anything centralized can be busted, and anything distributed will most likely be less reliable.

    It is still be the job of law enforcement to try to keep large-scale infringment from happening. Technology makes infringement that much easier, but DRM does not really make it much harder. This doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and give on copyright. But it doesn't mean DRM is the right answer either.

  • by sowth ( 748135 ) * on Friday June 25, 2004 @03:38PM (#9531535) Journal

    Except 90% of the things are behind the scenes. The average person won't understand why they can't even copy their own files. They will either believe the propaganda that DRM is "security" or just think their computer is "acting up."

    For at least a decade most computers have been buggy as hell and virtually no one does anything about it. They just say "computers are that way, nothing can be done." In fact, many of them demand Microsoft software because they think their computer won't work right without it, but it is the worst.

    Don't expect the general public to understand what is going on or try to do anything about it if they do.

  • by canfirman ( 697952 ) <pdavi25&yahoo,ca> on Friday June 25, 2004 @04:01PM (#9531801)
    (Preface: I am not a lawyer, but here's my $.02):

    Even if this did make it into law, it would still have to be proven in court. I would think that most "defendants" under this law would try to prove the legislation in it's current form is too broad in scope, as virtually anything can be used to infringe at least something that's "copyright protected". I'd be willing to bet that some judge looks at this and dismiss the case.

    If I remember correctly, American law is unenforceable outside of it's borders, but it'll be interesting to see if other countries (e.g. Canada) follows suit.

  • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Friday June 25, 2004 @04:15PM (#9531949) Homepage Journal
    and when ordinary people start getting busted for doing utterly benign things, there will be a backlash.

    ahhhhh... but therein lies the key... You're right that a law that starts being used to bust everyone will soon be repealed.

    But when an unreasonable law is rarely applied, and therefor publicly accepted/ignored, then everyone becomes a criminal, though usually thy're not prosecuted. Think of stupid 55 mph speed limits. Everyone (in my area) drive at 60-80 miles an hour, and 99% never get a ticket, so they never lobby to get the unreasonable law repealed and the limit raised. But for those who do get caught, they have no recourse in court, and the argument "everyone else was driving 80 mph" never proves to be an effective defense, since the law was so clearly broken and teh speeder was so clearly guilty.

    Thus, instead of keeping people safe by making people drive more slowly, selective enforcement gives the law enforcers broad, imbalanced powers. They can pull over just about anyone on the entire highway, since very few people drive at 55 mph or lower. I'd bet that statistically 95% of people drive at least 5 mph over the speed limit on the highway. So if they don't like the way someone looks, or they want to meet a cute woman, or any other reason, a police officer can pull over anyone at any time, because they were "speeding".

    This new Copyright Inducement law will now be applied to everyone who it could be applied to. It will be applied selectively. Most people, unaffected personally, will not be motivated to get it repealed. Congresspeople will see hat it's not a majority concern in their district, so they won't pay attention to it. And, like the 1% of highway speeders, a few unlucky bastards will find themselves undeniably guilty under the law with million dollar court cases against them.

    So thats why it's up to activists and watchdogs to get this legislation stopped before it gets passed.
  • Drug prohibition has been going full strength since the 70's, and it hasn't showed any signs of slowing. It's responsible for jailing people that arn't real criminals, just as prohibition did, and it's certainly contributed to crime, just as prohibition did. Not to mention the havoc in third world governments that illegal drugs are netting. Drugs havn't been made legal, and I doubt they will be. Corporations didn't have nearly as much power over the government back in the early 20th century, but they do now. Don't expect a turn around of the DMCA in 10 years, it's not likely to happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2004 @07:09PM (#9533358)
    Yeah, those soldiers have parents, families, friends. If millions of people took to the streets screaming bloody murder. You don't think that some soldier in some tank in downtown Metro, USA ordered to fire on a crowd of people isn't going to be thinking that their own family and friends could be in that crowd of people. I sure as hell wouldn't do it. People forget how much power the working class can potentially wield when it acts with unity. Devide and konquer[or]. We are the consumers, etc. The system doesn't work unless we're all obedient submissive slaves. As long as we're always at eachother's throats over trivial nonsense they'll continue to rule and they will only tighten their grip.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire