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Senate Takes Aim At P2P Providers 869

thejoelpatrol writes "The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by everybody's favorite senator, Orrin Hatch, is moving to outlaw P2P entirely by making it illegal to produce such applications. Hatch says such firms 'think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal. Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises of "free music."' So, when was the last time that Kazaa told kids to steal music? Shouldn't the parents be the ones looking out for their kids? The RIAA is (surprise!) in favor of this, while P2P groups are (surprise!) opposed."
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Senate Takes Aim At P2P Providers

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  • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:09AM (#9630503)
    So P2P applications will only be written by people outside the US. If he wants to stop P2P, he should try outlawing possession of a P2P app.
  • Madness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:10AM (#9630508)
    This is just ridiculous. Compensating failed business models through rigorous legislation. Did anyone ask for more proof the US is run by big business? If so, you've just been served.
  • Uh Huh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deutschemonte ( 764566 ) <lane.montgomery@ g m> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:12AM (#9630519) Homepage
    So are they going to pass a law that prevents the labels from illegally enticing people to buy CD's that have built in copyright protection?

    Their argument is that DL'ing copyrighted works is violating the rights of the artist and copyright holders.

    I say they are violating the rights of the people by placing undue restrictions on our property!
  • by dekeji ( 784080 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:12AM (#9630524)
    It will be interesting to hear these people come up with a definition of "P2P" or "software that encourages children and teenagers to infringe copyrights". Any definition I can think of would include most Internet software and, for that matter, Microsoft Windows.
  • As with Guns. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jjholt1213 ( 784390 ) * on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:13AM (#9630527)
    Guns don't kill people, people kill people. P2 has many legal uses they've been posted here many times before so I won't repeat them now. Maybe we should ban the sale of car's people break the law in them all the time so they must be bad aswell. or ban razor blades and OTC pain killer's 100's if not 1000's of people attempt sucide using them. See It gets alittle out of hand doesn't it.
  • I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orin ( 113079 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:13AM (#9630528)
    Gun manufacturers are not responsible for the actions of the people that use their products, but P2P vendors are?

    Both products, of course, can be used without breaking the law.
  • by gotroot801 ( 7857 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:13AM (#9630529) Homepage Journal
    Why, Sen. Hatch, I can download illegal MP3s through my web browser! GASP! Better shut down the WWW.

    Oh, no! Now there's this FTP program people are using! Better shut that down, too.

    Zounds! Someone just e-mailed me a song! Bye-bye, e-mail...
  • by wulfwulf ( 262315 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:14AM (#9630534)
    Or maybe we should start early in kindergarten and eliminate the part where we teach children how to share. Timmy might be a bully now, keeping all the juiceboxes for him, but 15 years down the road he'll be a law abiding citizen.
  • Gun Control (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:14AM (#9630537)
    If only some of this energy could be directed in a more useful direction. How about s/p2p/guns/g:

    "The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving to outlaw guns entirely by making it illegal to produce such products. The Senators say such firms "think that they can legally profit by inducing children and adults to kill. Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises." ...but only in my dreams, unfortunately.
  • The Bill Itself (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Karrde712 ( 125745 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:15AM (#9630541)
    Can anyone post a link to the text of the Bill itself? It might be prudent to examine the letter of the law before pre-judging its merits and faults.
  • by thentil ( 678858 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `litneht'> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:15AM (#9630543)
    Other firms known to 'induce' copyright infringement: Any audio recording device. Any video recording device. Libraries. Any cd, vhs, dvd copier. The Internet. Ban it all, let God sort it out! *sigh*
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:15AM (#9630547)
    Remember, how could we defind a P2P app: anything that can transmit data from one person (source) to one or multiple people over a digital source. So if you outlaw P2P apps, wouldn't, say AIM, FTP's and even email be illegal? Wow, there just went the internet, o well, at least the RIAA is happy!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:16AM (#9630553)
    The senator's wording is obviously trying to imply some insidious element corrupting your child s morals with promises of pleasure, read drug dealer. Such alarmist propaganda is only caused by big business influencing a Senator to make such bombastic statements. That's the scary insidious element in our lives, not P2P.
  • Certainly. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:17AM (#9630557) Homepage
    I'll give you my telephone number, and you can ring me and tell me what tunes you want. Then, I'll drive round to your house with a tape. Maybe he should outlaw cars, telephones and tape recorders. Or even ears. Maybe if I drove round and sang the songs, he'd outlaw me singing. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing.
  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:19AM (#9630575)
    Don't worry, P2P will not die that easily. Isn't all new software development outsourced to India, anyhow? And, sure, they *can* outlaw possession. It has worked wonders for drugs, hasn't it? Look out for new India-Colombia joint ventures. Both production and distribution taken care of.
  • by Raindeer ( 104129 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:22AM (#9630603) Homepage Journal
    Could someone please tell those in charge that the basic premise of peer to peer (and modern networking as a whole for that matter) is not to cheat somebody out of his/her rights. Peer to Peer is the holy grail of modern networking. Everybody who has ever thought about networking has been wondering how to build a network in such a way that all nodes can connect with all others, without having the need for a central switch/server controlling all the aspects of the communication.

    In the lower network levels you see these kinds of networks in wireless setups. They tend to have problems with scalability. In the higher network layers it has turned out to be possible to create networks that are not in need of a fixed central node that controls communications. However you do see the advent of supernodes to improve communications.

    Illegal stuff generally ends up on the most efficient network setup. It used to be BBS, then FTP and now Peer to Peer. However in the end, Kazaa, Gnutella and Bittorrent are all modern answers to the question: How do we build an FTP-system without the need for a central server that will run out of its bandwidth the moment it is announced on Slashdot.
  • Re:As with Guns. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:24AM (#9630609)
    But a big corporation is "loosing" money on P2P, cars MAKES money for corporations. Unfortunately, it really is that cynical.
  • Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:24AM (#9630614)
    There's no way this will happen. They'd essentially have to make the internet illegal since every application written for the internet is about transferring data in one form or another. This is just stupid. Even if congress passes a law, I have no doubt the Supreme Court would strike it down, even THIS Supreme Court. I doubt Scalia or Thomas would help, but most of the rest have some basic sense of law and the bill of rights.

    And as we saw in the Slashdot post yesterday, file sharing is clearly destroying the movie industry. Not! The only thing hurting the music industry is the music industry. They're putting out crap music and they're suing their customers. If they changed these two things, they'd probably be back to record (pun not intended) profits.

    Not only am I not buying today's music, I'm not downloading today's music. Because it sucks. Britney, please don't do it again! Quit. Go home. Please!
  • Re:Madness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kick the Donkey ( 681009 ) <[kickthedonkey] [at] []> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:24AM (#9630618) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I think the problem is more that law-makers feel the need to create laws to make it harder to break existing laws. Pure bull shit. The existance of P2P software is not bad. There are some very legitimate uses for it (we use it at work for large document sharing). But its already illegal to trade in copyrighted material without the copyright holders consent (as it should be).

    This is just like so-called open container [] laws. It is already illegal to drive drunk. But, the very act of having an open bottle of booze in my car is illegal. Why? By itself, there is nothing wrong with it. The only problem is when I, as a drive, start drinking from it. But then I'm breaking an already existing law!!!

    How about we just start enforcing the laws we already have before we start writing new ones.

  • What about Skype? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Rev ( 18253 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:25AM (#9630625) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't Skype [] prove that there are legitimate uses of P2P that aren't even about sharing files?

    It's a technology. This is insane!

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:25AM (#9630626)
    Guess what, Europe (and Australia . . . and Canada . . .)? You're next. Don't think for a second that storebought government officials are unique to the US.
  • by RC_Car ( 778076 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:28AM (#9630642)
    Would this stop the development of BitTorrent? I was never sure if BitTorrent was really a P2P program or just a new way to transfer files that shares bandwidth and helps out sites that have high bandwidth consumption when they release new products (didn't Mozilla offer a BitTorrent download once?)

    How is a P2P program classified? Couldn't just about any data sent from one computer to another computer be considered P2P?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:28AM (#9630648)
    Short list of things that can "induce children to commit copyright infringement" that this law will make illegal:

    - personal computers
    - operating systems
    - almost all software
    - printers
    - xerox copy machines
    - cameras
    - VCRs
    - blank videotape
    - CD/DVD burners
    - blank CDs/DVDs
    - DVD players
    - camcorders
    - cassette tapes and players
    - protocols such as FTP, HTTP, SSH, TCP/IP
    - iPods and any other HDD-based mp3 player
    - libraries
    - all musical instruments
    - pens
    - ink
    - pencils
    - paper
    - paint brushes and paint
    - rusty nails (a child could scratch text from a copyrighted book onto a table surface or wall)
    - human vocal cords (a child could sing the lyrics of a copyrighted song)

  • Re:Next Year... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by basingwerk ( 521105 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:30AM (#9630658)
    It would be odd if America put up an iron curtain so soon after the one in Europe fell.
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by forgotmypassword ( 602349 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:31AM (#9630665)
    Handguns have a functional purpose other than to kill human beings?
  • by eofpi ( 743493 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:31AM (#9630666) Homepage
    ...and outrageous where it's not.

    Luring people with false promises of legally free music is false advertising. Last I checked, this was already illegal.

    They might have had a leg to stand on about easy access to pr0n, if it wasn't for the equally easy access to it on the rest of the internet. And besides, there are already plenty of (iirc, mainly state and local) laws regarding the accessibility of pornography. Last I knew, those laws were still in effect.

    Which brings us to the part that's outrageous. Based on the premises behind the previous two paragraphs, they aim to make p2p software illegal, because it PERMITS these activities.

    This is akin to making it illegal to make cars capable of exceeding the speed limit, on the off chance that someone speeds. But that would never fly. It's called personal responsibility. If I speed, I get a ticket (or have at least earned one, whether or not a policeman was around to give me one). I know this. You know this. Lots of people do it anyways, but they know they're taking a chance. P2Ping is no different (the rare instance of legal usage excepted).
  • by dunstan ( 97493 ) <dvavasour@iee. o r g> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:32AM (#9630670) Homepage
    Repeat after me: "Illegal copying is not theft, it is illegal copying".

    The equating of illegal copying with property theft is now so widespread that it doesn't attract comment: this is bad. Those who misuse the language in this way should always be corrected.

  • Re:Madness (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:32AM (#9630676)
    It's not stealing. It's copyright infringement. They are two totally different things.

  • by Peaker ( 72084 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .rekaepung.> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:32AM (#9630678) Homepage
    One step further in the actual enforcement of copyright is one step further in its abolishment.

    People will not stand for copyright when it actually enforced.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:34AM (#9630687)
    Inducing children to start smoking is not a big concern to senators, it seems. This music thing is what kills the nation.
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RayBender ( 525745 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:38AM (#9630717) Homepage
    Gun manufacturers are not responsible for the actions of the people that use their products, but P2P vendors are?"

    Yeah, but what good will P2P do you when the King of England starts pushing you around? Well? That's what I thought.

    Actually, as any experienced grass-roots activist, political dissident, resistance fighter, insurgent, terrorist or law enforcement officer knows, the key to successfully opposing those in power is a secure communications network. Encrypted P2P comes pretty close to that. That may be part of the reason it's being outlawed.

  • by Allen Zadr ( 767458 ) * <Allen DOT Zadr AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:38AM (#9630722) Journal
    Agreeing with you, but why stop there...

    "...those who a "reasonable person" would believe "intentionally aids, abets, induces or procures" copyright violations."

    Why stop at copyright violations then? Timmy's mom should have the right to sue gun makers for "inducing and procuring" gunshot wounds. That way if Timmy get's mad when someone makes him share his juiceboxes - his parents can sue the Gun makers. It obviously isn't Timmy's fault.

    I could have sworn that it was already illegal to aid, abet or induce any crime. A completely useless law.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:42AM (#9630743)
    Gun manufacturers are not responsible for the actions of the people that use their products, but P2P vendors are?

    It seems to me that the gun nuts may actually have a use here.

    If computer hardware can be restricted under munitions export laws, then computers are weapons.

    If computers are weapons then they come under the Second Amendment.

    If computers come under the Second Amendment then all this godawful stuff about federally-mandated DRM is unconstitutional. You'll take my general-purpose programmable computer from my cold, dead hands!

  • Plan ahead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by G-funk ( 22712 ) <> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:43AM (#9630754) Homepage Journal
    Call my a cynical old prick (well don't bother, I know already), but I say it's inevitable that in 10 years you won't be able to legally run any p2p in the US or its "do as we say or we bankrupt your farmers" states such as Australia. So instead of jumping up and down and pretending two hundred thousand nerds can change shit, we need to start focusing on what we'll do to get around it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:43AM (#9630761)
    "Don't think for a second that storebought government officials are unique to the US."

    True, but;

    1) We know the range of Iraq's missiles and ignore the whole 'they've got nukes' bit of the state of union address.

    2) We mostly vote according to the record of the MP rather than their advertising.

    3) We think that freedom of speech also means stuff that's unpopular, irrational and sometimes off colour.

    4) We rarely think that government should be protecting us against ourselves.

    5) We didn't allow the growth of an evangelist christian superbloc with direct ties to government, then stick by the claim that our church and state are separated.

    6) We use democracy as a method of changing policy because we don't have access to armour-piercing bullets.

    7) We _have_ to get on with our neighbours.

    And finally;

    We haven't yet redefined words such as 'mercenaries' into 'private security contractors'.

    Hope that helps.
  • by Dashing Leech ( 688077 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:47AM (#9630783)
    I'd go a step further. Instead of just eliminating teaching children to share, we should instill in them the instinct to not share what is theirs as a means of protecting their property rights. We can also re-define "bullying" as "property rights enforcement".
  • Re:Senator Hatch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tdemark ( 512406 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:50AM (#9630805) Homepage
    excuse me? You're saying that unless you're a politician, you shouldn't get involved in politics?

    No, I think he meant "If you don't understand how P2P and the Internet works, then you really shouldn't be trying to change it".

    'Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises of "free music."'

    That's an interesting statement. But, couldn't a similar argument be made about the auto industry: "Many companies have commercials showing how fast their cars are. One even shows their car going faster than sound. Obviously, these are false promises of how fast you should be able to drive. Therefore, we should legislate that no car should be able to go faster than 65 miles per hour. Yes, there are some areas where it is legal to go above 65, but, for the greater good, those areas will be removed."

    Incidentally, unlike speeding, no one was ever killed by someone using a P2P application to break the law.

    - Tony
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:57AM (#9630860)

    Basically, it seems that they're trying to restrict the law in a very reasonable way. The law states that in order to be in violation, it has to be proven that the P2P application's only method of commercially viability is by inducing copyright violations.

    The thing is, it's logically impossible to prove that somebody is guilty in this way. To make the law in any way effective, you would have to assume guilt and require people to prove their innocence.

    Kazaa, on the other hand, really doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. Perhaps if they didn't have a built-in MP3/Video player in the client, they might have gotten away with it, but they specifically built the GUI so as to make it easy and convenient to download illegal songs and movies.

    "download illegal songs and movies"? The only type of file I can think of that is illegal is child porn, and I don't remember a child porn tab in Kazaa.

    Did you mean "illegally download songs and movies"? Once more, I don't remember any setting that Kazaa has that says "ignore public domain and freely licensed media". You are aware that people give away audio and video files freely, aren't you?

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:59AM (#9630869) Homepage Journal
    [A]re they going to ban FTP since you can distribute copyrighted material over FTP as well?

    Probably. And they'll also ban SMB file sharing, since that clearly enables copyright violation.

    Of course, this will make Windows boxes a lot more secure, so maybe it's a Good Thing.

    And who'd have thought that Orrin Hatch would be the one that would finally force Microsoft to remove a major security hole from their software?

    Actually, when you consider that unix-like systems are multi-user systems with a file system that encourages shared files and enables cooperative development, I'd wonder whether this bill would ban unix file systems.

    Maybe what we should do is check out the computers in use by Hatch's political organization, and demand that they remove all software that enables copyright violation, starting with their email software. Maybe that would get the message across.
  • by Lochin Rabbar ( 577821 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:10AM (#9630970)

    At least stealing is not automatically wrong, it's just the act of obtaining something surreptitiously. My son steals music all the time, he borrows my CD's without telling me, and I steal them back. I'm fine with this, as long as he doesn't thieve them. Theft is wrong and as you say copyright infringement is not theft. Children should be encouraged to steal music so that the can learn about it, and broaden their knowledge. A child that listens only to music they have bought and payed for, or that the media conglomerates see fit to broadcast is a child that is deprived of the riches of our culture. A society that tolerates such deprivation in the pursuit of corporate profit is truly decadent.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:10AM (#9630974) Homepage
    Well, if you're downloading things that you know are freeware but are just not available from the original site (for any number of reasons), then it's not infringing.

    Just because a large number of people use P2P services to download movies or music does not mean that everything that gets downloaded is copyrighted or infringing. (I know of at least one person who used KaZaa to find an old video card driver he needed.)

  • Re:Madness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:12AM (#9630994)
    But its already illegal to trade in copyrighted material without the copyright holders consent

    In your country.

    (as it should be).

    I don't think so. There are many legitimate uses of copyright material that don't need the copyright holder's consent: I can borrow a book from the library. I can photocopy parts of it. I can quote parts of it in my own work.

    In Canada, I can make a complete copy of a music recording for my own use. [] This is as it should be, because I pay a levy on recording media which goes to the recording industry.

    This is a *much* better system than the "no copying without consent" system you have. Yes, it's unfair to the people who use recording media for other purposes: but it doesn't criminalize the reasonable practice of making a copy of a recording.
  • by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:13AM (#9631002) Homepage
    In fact, the bill [] doesn't even mention technology:
    'intentionally induces' means intentionally aids, abets, induces, 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.
    That goes straight to the First Amendment, and even any discussion about "fair use" (such as on Slashdot) would be deemed copyright infringement.

    Assuming that copyrights are first reduced to "limited times" as spelled out by the Constitution, an inducement law might be appropriate -- to prosecute (rather than reward with millions of dollars) people like Shawn Fanning of Napster who actively solicit infringement of specific copyrighted titles. But this bill is not that because it is overly broad.

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:15AM (#9631028) Journal
    ...or rather Godwin's Rule perhaps. Invoking the magic words "The Children" as a justification of your own cause, should automatically result in you losing the argument, and the closing of the discussion.

    Incidentally, I'd love Godwin's Rule to be adopted in politics. For a very good reason: when someone makes a comparison to Nazi's or feels a need to protect The Children, you can be sure that the rational part of the discussion is over, and that all that's left is emotions and name calling.
  • by portnux ( 630256 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:16AM (#9631047)
    Why stop there, why not just eliminate children altogether? Then the entire country could eventually be populated by short-sighted OLD FARTS like Orrin Hatch who could sell out the country without those nagging and inconvenient issues like "What effects are my corrupt actions going to have on future generations?".

    Orrin Hatch is just one member of my list of people that would make the world a better place by simply changing location to roughly six feet closer to its center.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:17AM (#9631048)
    0.02% of millions is still a lot.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:21AM (#9631086)
    I hear Senators do illegal things too, perhaps being a senator should be made illegal for the sake of our kids.

    Senator Hatch may find p2p offensive, but what i find offensive is our government. First off the guy's party lied to our country in order to profit from the take over of another country. He obviously is getting greased by the RIAA and others who are out to control the market.

    This isnt about p2p, its about whoever is paying Hatch money under the table to keep things as they always were for those who control distribution.

    Finally the consumer has a voice, and the market is in terror!

    During the big Internet boom, corperations were scrambling to figure out what to do with the net. They quickly threw up their corperate sites... We can see Mcdonalds menu online, order pizza hutt online, or download movie trailers...

    But they cant control the net. Until now. They're finding ways to weasel their leverage on the internet.

    They have absolutely no right to dictate what you code (say)

    People talk on P2P networks. People trade recorded TV shows, personally footage. I once knew a website that hosted videos of Wu Shu competitions (Martial arts), and due to the overloading bandwidth on his site... he decided to just host them through WinMX to help ease the burden. He informed everyone through his website, and folks helped by sharing the bandwidth burden.

    P2P and SERVERS are a BIG free speech issue. Currently all cable/dsl broadband subscribers are not allowed to run servers. Their Terms of Service clearly state that you can not run servers.

    They're taking away the right to contribute to the net at the pipe.

    Why? The corperate excuse is.. "Cable cant substain that upload traffic" or "we do not provide dynamic IPs" etc. Whatever the truth, its becoming the standard. And if we allow this to continue, the net will be nothing more than just another corperate marketing tool.

    USERS are considered CONSUMERS... and as we know Consumers have very little rights by design.

    P2P first... servers next. Why not make FTP illegal? IRC? WWW ? NEWSGROUPS?

    Its all about control.

  • by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:27AM (#9631137)
    P2P has obviously become strongly associated with music swapping, so it's easy to see why Senator Hatch and his sponsors seem to think that stopping the technology will stop music swapping. But he's sadly mistaken, and this would seem a very poorly considered piece of legislation.

    Is there an important difference between P2P networks and, say, everyone running a copy of Apache and having Google index every machine? Yeah, sure, it's a little different, but the effect is the same. Every copy of MacOS X includes Apache, and if all P2P software went away tomorrow, I'll bet Apache would be put to service doing the same sorts of stuff.

    Is there an essential difference between P2P networks and distributed file systems like AFS? Not, I think, when it comes to providing an ability to share information.

    So as soon as you start legislating against certain technology to try to stop some social misbehavior, you're into a great big game of Whack-A-Mole. And the more you keep at it, prohibiting first one technology and then several others, the more damage you do. What's more, if you go after the vendors, you can really only succeed in driving the technology underground and making criminals out of all the people who are smart enough to understand it and want to tap into its power.

    But there are two sides to this story, and those who swap music illegally are as guilty of ruining things for the rest of us as Hatch and the RIAA. By flouting the law, illegal music swappers make existing law seem ineffective and force copyright owners to look for new ways to protect their copyrights.

    If you find yourself rationalizing the trading of copyrighted music over P2P networks, you are the problem. If you're trading stuff that someone else owns over the net (or anywhere else) then you are a criminal. If you don't like the way the law is written, then do something about it. But if you just go ahead and break the laws you don't agree with, you're the reason that we keep getting more stupid laws (and laws that are more stupid).
  • As long as the U.S. falsely believes in its own security above all else, it will continue to be a criminal police state populated by hypocrites and irresponsible drones, run by the insane.

    Every nation considers its own security above all else. To do the opposite would be to commit suicide.
  • Re:Next Year... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:29AM (#9631155)
    All that these new P2P bills really do is shift the responsibility of enforcement from the record companies to the state and federal governments. If a company is inducing people (or children, to make it sound more dramatic) to violate the law, they can already be sued. The RIAA must have realized that its lawsuits are getting expensive and sees laws like this as a way of transferring the enforcement costs to the taxpayers.
  • Re:As with Guns. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:30AM (#9631169)
    the fact remains that the 12 year old girl was sharing copyrighted music.

    continuing the gun analogy, if a 12 year old kid shoots someone its still murder.

    (although i do disagree strongly with this bill)

  • Re:Madness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bgeiger ( 42769 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:34AM (#9631198) Homepage Journal
    But if they have an open container of alcohol in the car, what possible reason could that have other than that they've been drinking from it?

    Did you stop to consider that maybe, just maybe, a passenger was drinking from that container? The driver could be (and usually is) cold sober.
  • Re:Next Year... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Keruo ( 771880 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:54AM (#9631358)
    it is freedom wall, but on which side are you standing?
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @09:58AM (#9631408)
    Except that not all weapons come under the second ammendment. In fact, lots of people would argue that allowing rednecks guns doesn't come under it either ("militia" hardly suggests self-defense - kind of tenuous claim at best). The second ammendment is so anachronistic it's unbelievable.

    Something else to think about... most gun owners are white, and politically right-leaning.

  • by Allen Zadr ( 767458 ) * <Allen DOT Zadr AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:01AM (#9631440) Journal
    The sky is not yet black, yet the 'gnutella' spec has already been written for "Super Nodes" (translates loosely to [dynamically allocated] designated servers) to get around firewall issues.

    UPNP can be a useful technology in the SOHO, however, because of the inherant security risks of being able to configure a firewall remotely (even if from a "trusted" interface), UPNP support on firewalls is "disabled" by default on most firewalls. The help item for UPNP is usually something like this - "ALLOWS DYNAMIC REMOTE CONFIGURATION OF THE FIREWALL - IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE SECURITY IMPLICATIONS, LEAVE THIS FEATURE OFF."

    Again... you are expected to be a genious to use these technologies.

    Finally, I predict that port blocking will soon go away... Port blocking is funny. Ports are arbitrary numbers that are standardized on "designated servers", yet there is absolutely no requirement for individual servers or computers to follow the port guidelines. P-to-P software has long been known to "port jump". Of course, this will likely be replaced by protocol aware proxy firewalls that simply won't let traffic through that it doesn't recognize.

  • Or even better... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) * on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:02AM (#9631443) Journal
    Or even better, we could start eliminating kids that are likely to code such appliations in the future!

    That isn't a new idea. Frighteningly, it used to even be one that was explicitly stated. When a bill was proposed to introduce public libraries, there was massive opposition from the Tories (closest equivalent in the US being the Republicans). Favourite quote from one being: "the people have too much knowledge already: it was much easier to manage them twenty years ago; the more education people get the more difficult they are to manage."

    Education equates to being difficult to control. Always has, but it's necessary for the health of society - the eternal dilemma of the ruling classes.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:07AM (#9631491) Homepage Journal
    Let's just cut to the fucking chase and outlaw music altogether.

    That sounds great, moral hypocrisy drives me nuts. I hate companies that advertise to children. I especially hate companies that promote such bad morals as seen in "popular" music. Self-indulgence, theft, murder, promiscuity and mindless demand for material goods of all sorts are what most music companies promote. Is it any wonder their customers "steal" from them? Most of all, I hate corporate welfare when it sponsors all of the above.

    What the feds give, the feds can take away. The problem only exists because government intervention in the market has created a worldwide cartel of five music publishers. If it were not for the FCC and FTC, the RIAA would not exist. If the airwaves were cleaned of commercial smut and music were treated like tobacco, alcohol or the porn that it is, the RIAA would shrivel and die.

    The music industry does not need Federal protection, it needs to be set free. P2P is not the problem, the industry is. Most independent music publishers have enough confidence in their product to ignore the kind of "theft" they consider advertising. Excessive regulation of the airwaves, created by a temporary technological need, has not given the public educational and entertaining programming, it's created an immoral monster that now threatens freedom of the press.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:12AM (#9631552) Homepage Journal
    Without outlawing communication. If we'd had this climate 20 years ago, the Internet would never have been developed (In the USA Anyway.)
  • by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:21AM (#9631624)
    which is why the republicans on this side of the pond are busy trying to dismantle "public education" here...
  • by TiggsPanther ( 611974 ) <tiggs@m[ ] ['-vo' in gap]> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:24AM (#9631669) Journal
    People will not stand for copyright when it actually enforced.

    Worse. It's sending us well on the slippery slope to anarchy. Or, at least, to general disregard of inconvenient laws by the the majority of people.
    And I'm not sure they see that.

    They're creating laws that corporations love, but the mojority of society in many countries do not like. Are they persuading people to stay within the letter of a law they don't believe in? Probably not in a lot of cases. instead people just dismiss the Law as an inconvenience. This is not going to end well.

    yes, sometimes laws probably need tightening up to stop rampant law-breaking. But each law really should be looked at case-by-case.
    Why was the law created?
    What was society/technology like at the time?
    What are things like now?
    Does $ACTIVITY$ really need protecting/prohibiting now as it did back then?

    Copyright law probably needs wholesale revision, but not automatically in favour of (large) corporations.
    Currently they're wanting to restrict more things, and impose bigger sentences. What people see, though, is them being faced with out-of-proportion punishments for something that's not perceived as a serious crime.

    Copyright needs reworking. Allow more stuff, decrease restrictions, don't penalise for what should these days be allowable, reduce copyright periods and allow things to hit the Public Domain within the public's lifetime, and don't make breaking the law seem more attractive than obeying it.
    Conversely, what's left as illegal should be serious breaches that really do look like criminal activity and make them the ones with teh heavy punishments. Mass bootlegging factories of DVDs, and making a profit for someone else's work does seem to warrant heavy punishment. People sharing MP3s doesn't seem to warrant the same level. But the **AA (and local equivalents) want to make it so, and people can't understand that thinking.

  • by UnrepentantHarlequin ( 766870 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:32AM (#9631741)
    Let me get this straight:

    For years, the music industry has claimed, in Congressional hearing after Congressional hearing, that the creators and distributors of music that encourages its listeners to behave in an anti-social fashion bear no responsibility when those listeners follow along. (I agree with them, by the way, but that's not the point at the moment) They have gone to court over and over again to prove that they have no liability when they tell children to kill, to rape, to use drugs, etc., and those children do so.

    Now they want to criminalize the act of writing computer programs which could be used for copyright infringement because that is "inducing" children to break the law.

    Now, wait just one cotton-pickin' minute here. If selling music that glorifies committing crimes, and in some cases has a clear and direct call to commit such crimes, is not "inducement" to commit such crimes, then how is writing computer programs which may be used to violate copyrights, among many other legal uses, "inducement" to violate those copyrights? They want to have it both ways.

    Ooooh that smell ... Can't you smell that smell ... Ooooh that smell ... The smell of hypocrisy surrounds you ...

    And let's not even get into the gun industry. By Orrin Hatch's logic, since guns are used in crimes, the gun industry is "inducing" children to hold up liquor stores. Handguns in particular should be banned, since their overwhelming use is to either kill human beings or practice killing human beings. It follows the same logic. So how come Hatch is so worked up about copyright infringement but he doesn't care about murder?

    Ranting on Slashdot is fun, but it doesn't change anything. We need to be active. We need to vote. We need to get our friends and relatives to vote. And we need to do it now, before "inducing" people to vote against the party in power becomes a crime, too.
  • That'll stop it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:33AM (#9631753) Homepage
    Just like Orrin Hatches' (suuport for) laws against Sodomy stopped Sodomy! In fact, when the Supreme Court ruled the laws unconsitituional, hundreds of thousands of folks said "Hurrah! now I can be a Sodomite!"
  • by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:36AM (#9631778)
    Are you insinuating that the democrats actaully built worthwhile public education??

    If you are really concerned about public education get involved at the LOCAL LEVEL. No amount of federal money (not even an infinite amount) can solve the problems of public education. The only solutions worth a damn that will bring any positive impact are all local inititives, like getting parents involved, knowing and talking to your kids teachers, knowing the material they are teaching with, helping your kids learn, and supporting you local school (through taxes, donations, or both). Federal money always has too many strings attached or a hidden agenda, or both.
  • Re:Plan ahead (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:47AM (#9631922)
    The thing is when they start coming after people, it won't be two hundered thousand nerds, it will be tens of millions of file sharers.

    There are orders of magnitude more file sharers then there are drug users violating the drug laws. Just put it this way about 50 million people elected the president in the last election. It has been estimated that that many people have used p2p for file sharing. The politicians schilling for the RIAA are playing with fire. A voter backlash on this issue could be enourmous.

    I know that even though I am a conservative, I have very strong libertarian leanings. There is no way in hell that Hatch would ever get my vote. The Republicans have to be very careful with this, there are a lot of closet libertarians in their midst who do not like this kind of legislation.

    And since when does a private company get to use the government's resources for its own civil suits? No citizen would be allowed to do that. It is so costitutionally wrong it makes me sick to think that some scumbag senator actually though it up. Do those idiots even read the constitution?
  • THE BOTTOM LINE (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:48AM (#9631928)
    The Internet _IS_ P2P at its core.

    PPP, which has been in use by people with modems to access the internet for more than a decade, and more recently also with DSL and PPPoE, stands for Peer to Peer Protocol.

    Make no mistake about it, the internet is and always has been, a large peer to peer network. To suggest that P2P needs to be banned, is to suggest that the internet should be considered a failure and ended.

    This is just another case of Democrats and Republicans putting aside their differences (if there are any) to screw the American people and grant wishes for big businesses. Three cheers for America's broken 2 party system!

  • Re:Madness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Inebrius ( 715009 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:50AM (#9631958)
    P2P is just a tool. While it can be used for copyright infringement, it also has a greater public use for freeing information. Not all information, news, and media should be controlled by corporations.

    I see a potential use, where important news, like the videotape of the Rodney King beating, could be distributed in its entirety, not just the few seconds the major sensationalism based media shows. There are plenty of examples where the media reports matters of public concern in small, biased bits and pieces, where the public really wants to see more. P2P can be used for distributing pictures, audio, video clips, custom maps from a favorite game, recipes for cooking, etc.

    Cars, crowbars, guns, knives, xerox machines, and VCRs all have legitimate uses, even though they can be used to commit crime or break the law. P2P is not the problem here. P2P is just starting to grow to its potential and there are those who wish to cut its head off and squash technology which has many other benefits.

    Outlawing P2P will only serve to benefit the profits of a corrupt industry that has shown they care about 1 thing at the expense of our rights and freedoms. The music industry has shown they can break laws (price fixing/collusion), bend them (not paying royalties to artists, market manipulation, deceptive contract practices), or get the laws changed to benefit them (copyright extension, $150,000 per infraction).
  • by gearmonger ( 672422 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @10:53AM (#9631991)
    ...of getting so far out of balance between innovation and protectionism that we risk never being able to recover from the damage legislation like this does to US industries, inventors, and technology consumers.

    It's enlightening to think that this entire mess is related to the failure of campaign finance reform to adequately accomplish its goals; reason #1 why geeks should care about politics.

  • Re:Madness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caiwyn ( 120510 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:01AM (#9632084)
    Your e-book example is relevant, but I don't think it's the lack of a quality filter that's holding them back. The real trouble is promotion.

    With the exception of a microscopic minority, the vast majority of people using p2p use it to search for material they already know. On rare occasions, they may try out something that has been recommended by a friend, but this is a similar concept. Ultimately, people don't really discover new music using p2p applications, and that's where the analogy falls down.

    The music labels aren't afraid of losing power. They're afraid of losing money. As broadband connections get faster and advanced compression makes files smaller, it won't be long before you can quickly and easily get a lossless copy of a CD without paying for it. When this happens, they lose money, even moreso than they are now. They are trying to keep that from happening.

    Personally, I despise their actions, as they treat their honest customers like criminals and degrade the quality of life for everyone with their lawsuits and their lobbying. The potential destruction this bill can do to the internet itself is outrageous. But I understand and sympathize with their motives.

    It's one thing to download music via p2p as a way to test the quality of an album, or even to try something new. But if you keep that music and choose not to buy the CD or compensate the publisher in some other way, you are effectively stealing. Pay for what you want to keep, or delete what you've downloaded and move on.
  • by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:02AM (#9632098)
    first - in the interest of full disclosure, i live in one of _the_ best public school districts in PA. period. no exagerration.

    the major problem with public education is the funding mechanism, i.e. local property taxes pay for local schools. poor neighborhoods dont pay a whole heckuva lot of prop taxes, and therefore have crap schools.

    i'm interested in what just happens with the "gambling bill for prop tax relief" that just passed in PA.... it promises to even out funding, and reduce local prop taxes. i'm sure that it wont....

    as for getting involved... look mate, i was seriously propositioned to run for boro council 4 days ago. i am involved.
  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:03AM (#9632107)
    The law states that in order to be in violation, it has to be proven that the P2P application's only method of commercially viability is by inducing copyright violations.

    No it doesn't. In fact, that's the current legal situation, and why Napster ended up being shut down (its only technically viable use was to distribute music, of which such a large majority was copyright violation that it was deemed to be the only viable use) while Kazaa was allowed to continue running (largely due to the reasonably large number of legally distributed pron videos on the system...).

    What this does is change it so that it doesn't have to be proven that that's the only way it can be viable, but rather that the author's intent in developing it was that it would be used for copyright violation. And this doesn't have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, either, merely enough evidence to convince a 'reasonable person' (a rather interesting legal fiction, IMO) that it was the case.

    This kind of legislation makes me glad I don't live in the US.
  • Re:Next Year... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Soul-Burn666 ( 574119 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:14AM (#9632213) Journal
    Actually that's much more correct than what you meant.

    The origin of the word "Firewall" isn't a wall made of fire, but rather a wall that can block fire. Like "blast door" isn't a door that blasts everyone that tries to pass it, but rather a door that can withstand blasts.

    Therefore a "freedom wall" is a wall that blocks freedom.
  • Re:THE BOTTOM LINE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by autocracy ( 192714 ) <> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:19AM (#9632271) Homepage
    Yes, he's wrong... it's point-to-point. But each point is equivalently considered a peer.
  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:20AM (#9632280)
    That isn't a new idea. Frighteningly, it used to even be one that was explicitly stated. When a bill was proposed to introduce public libraries, there was massive opposition from the Tories (closest equivalent in the US being the Republicans). Favourite quote from one being: "the people have too much knowledge already: it was much easier to manage them twenty years ago; the more education people get the more difficult they are to manage."

    If the copyright laws of today had existed in the past then public libraries would have been impossible in the first place.
  • by marnerd ( 3934 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:24AM (#9632321)
    Sounds reasonably fair to me. It's not an end-all "P2P is evil and must be stopped" bill. It's a method to keep out the more dangerous offenders. For example, BitTorrent should be immune to prosecution under this law because its main intended purpose is to lighten the hit on the download of new versions of legal software, specifically Linux distributions.

    This bill could easily kill BitTorrent, or more specifically ruin the lives of the people who developed it. And probably will. Here's the scenario:

    The RIAA/MPAA first goes after Kazaa and other software and services of that sort. Once they take out the easy targets, they will inevitably start going after the more innocent software. They more or less have to, or the users booted from Kazaa will just use the next easiest system. Eventually, they are bound to get to BitTorrent.

    Now, BitTorrent has plenty of non-infringing users; certainly a higher percentage than Kazaa. But there would be sufficient grounds to bring a case, and a judge is probably not going to throw out a case that hinges on what a "reasonable person would find". That's exactly the sort of decision that it, in theory, best made by a jury. Once it makes it to a jury trial, the developers start to run into real legal costs and probably go broke even if they win. And winning is not a foregone conclusion; counting on a jury to reasonable apply a reasonable person standard is definitely a crapshoot.

    Come on, we have seen this dozens of times. The big fish don't have to win the lawsuits they bring to crush the little fish. Previously, BitTorrent's protection came from case law decided when a big fish went after, say, a medium fish that fought back and won. If this bill becomes law, it will nullify that protection. I hope the BitTorrent developers aren't from the US!

  • Re:THE BOTTOM LINE (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:27AM (#9632337)
    Right. It has been a while since I read up on these things. TCP has always been considered a "peer to peer" protocol. And TCP is more fundamental to the internet than PPP. I guess with my mistake, my argument has only strengthened :)
  • by Doctor Faustus ( 127273 ) <[grO.dnalevelCmailliW] [ta] [todhsalS]> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:46AM (#9632547) Homepage
    That's great for getting *your kids* educated, but it doesn't do much for overall social improvement.
  • Re:Plan ahead (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @11:57AM (#9632670)
    Well, IP laws on the whole operate under (or it might be better to say "were created under") basically the same precedent. That is, government/public resources used to protect private business ventures.
    Only as a means towards a public end. The minute that the law subordinates the public interest to the artificial monopoly carrot, the law becomes unConstitutional.

    If the public's long-term interests would be best-served through shorter copyright terms, or through anti-DRM provisions ("if you use DRM, you lose copyright"), then those are the directions that the Congress should take.

  • by nomadicGeek ( 453231 ) * on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:03PM (#9632733)

    The proposal is not to make the software illegal. It is to make it easier for corporations to sue you for producing the software. There is a difference. The article goes so far as to spell it out

    The bill doesn't set up new criminal or civil penalties for those who "induce" copyright violations, but it creates a new class of people who can be sued or prosecuted for copyright infringement -- those who a "reasonable person" would believe "intentionally aids, abets, induces or procures" copyright violations.

    The headling says: "outlaw P2P entirely by making it illegal to produce such applications."

    I guess that in addition to RTFA we need to have UTFA, Understand the f**** article.

    While I am not all that impressed with the proposed legislation, being served papers because the RIAA is suing you for producing a P2P app is certainly much different from federal agents kicking down your door and arresting you because you just wrote a new Java app to share files on the internet for your programming class.

    If you are going to get pissed off, at least understand what you are getting pissed off about.

  • So, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Run4yourlives ( 716310 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:15PM (#9632862)
    I guess hatch would support a bill allowing victims to sue gun makers then?

    After's pretty much the same thing, if you discount the small fact that copyright infringment never killed anyone.
  • Do your part. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScytheBlade1 ( 772156 ) <> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:19PM (#9632904) Homepage Journal
    Do your part. []

    Tell Orrin Hatch that A) This law will change nothing (I thought we had legislation to stop spam...), B) He's a US senator, and has no control over the spread of P2P apps oversears, regardless of where they come from, and C) He'd also be opening up a lawsuit vs. many, MANY legit companies. (ICQ to name a prominent one).
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:49PM (#9633198) Homepage Journal
    Heh. I'd love to see a Jonathan Swiftian white paper on this subject.

    But seriously, every major tech company in the world is going to come out against this because there isn't a single one that doesn't have some piece of peer-to-peer technology. Without P2P, modern computing couldn't exist. As far as home computing is concerned, it started with AppleTalk in the 1980s---a self-configuring supernet on top of an existing network. We now have similar technologies for finding out about printers and servers on your network. Do you want to go back to having to manually plug a single computer into a single printer? Then vote for this bill.

    And then there's FireWire. It's an entirely peer-to-peer communications standard. If it weren't, you couldn't plug a firewire camcorder into another one and copy your home movies. Want to go back to anlog video? Vote for this bill.

    Let's not forget iChat's Rendezvous support. Want to stop using that LAN chat software? Vote for this bill.

    Don't forget Microsoft. They have zeroconf networking, though they call it uPNP. That would be illegal. So would your wireless router.

    And what about the internet itself? Border Gateway Protocol? Illegal. RIP? Illegal. Your collection of Cisco routers? Illegal. I guess it's back to manually maintaining router tables for the entire internet. But wait.... The internet itself is an example of a peer-to-peer network by its very nature. Two computers talk to each other without going through a central server. But I'm guessing Mr. Hatch uses AOL anyway, so he won't notice the difference except that the Internet went away....

    And lest we consider going back to what we had before the internet, Bitnet is the same way, and UUCP doubly so. In short, if a bill like this were to pass, technology as we know it would cease to exist.

    Hell, your telephone is a peer-to-peer mechanism, as is the U.S. Mail. Two people talking to each other are engaging in P2P communication. Guess Mr. Hatch will have to kill all the people on Earth and let God sort 'em out, because that's the only way he can really eliminate peer-to-peer communication. Or we could just lock Orrin Hatch up in a rubber room and tell him that peer-to-peer communication was outlawed. He would perceive roughly the same effect, and in anyone's book, it's certainly a good start.

    It's nice to see such enlightened senators. I remember one time when senators couldn't spell the word Internet. Now they can spell "P2P". Baby steps, one letter at a time, I know. Maybe one day they'll be able to spell words like freedom. Until then, does anybody know of cheap apartments in Canada?

  • Re:Madness (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:50PM (#9633209)
    Gun control advocates still seem to believe that restricting gun ownership someone makes it harder for criminals to get guns. Past experience be damned.

    Ask them if they know anyone who wants marijuana or even cocaine but hasn't been able to acquire some. That's after 100% prohibition for the better part of a century. Ask them why they think gun control would work any better.

    Ask them why prominant gun control advocates seem to think it's OK for their own bodyguards to be armed, why they think it's OK for government agents to be armed, and why they think that none of those guns would ever find their way into criminal hands, even given otherwise perfect gun control.
  • Brilliant idea! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @12:59PM (#9633295)
    How about instilling moral fiber in your kid? Teach him that stealing is stealing whether it is low hanging fruit or not. That's what my parents did and I don't steal music, despite the fact I am a very competent programmer and networker. I could hide my trail easily using other people's proxies, but don't engage in such activity.

    I know a lot of people that have a "take whatever you can, because you have a right to whatever you can take" attitude, including several of my relatives. If their parents taught them right from wrong, without being hypocrites, things might be different.

    But we live in an fscked up world with a lot of parents who like to dodge responsiblity because they are selfish, or are simply too screwed up to have a meaningful family relationship. Too bad the kids ultimately pay and end up just like their parents.

    Losers beget losers. Of course no one takes any responsibility for themselves or their actions, and most don't even realize they are perpetuating the problem, so nothing will ever change.

    This is why laws are created, because some asshole(s) figure out how to screw someone without breaking any current law, or engange in some new very dangerous activity that hurts others, so a new law must be created. Unfortunately this penalizes the 75% of the populace who possess common sense/morals, and would never do such a thing.

  • by Allen Zadr ( 767458 ) * <Allen DOT Zadr AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @01:14PM (#9633448) Journal
    That plays directly to my point.

    For the republican gun interests, it's O.K. to make guns, but not weapons of copyright infringement.

    They want to have it both ways.

  • Re:Madness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#9633703)
    This is definitely a big problem in politics - I think it just represents intellectual laziness on the part of the public. People either get caught up in the "right vs left" game, or else they shrug and say "all these guys are liars, they're all the same". Both approaches avoid a thorough and open-minded assesment of the real issues at hand; after all, an such an assesment would actually require effort.
  • by kerika ( 574943 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @01:49PM (#9633779)

    It's my impression from reading the article that peer-to-peer software is not going to be made illegal, per se, but that is will be okay to sue the creators of any P2P 'wares that can be used for the illegal sharing of copyrighted material.

    A fine point, you say? Perhaps, but I'm sure that the legislators would argue that as long as the software creators are being conscientious (read: being good little lapdogs of the RIAA) and including some kind of blocking scripts that scout for some kind of watermark on any potentially shared file, then they would become immune from suit. It would be wrong to read this legislation as an attempt to destroy P@P technology; more likely, this is a concerted attempt by the RIAA and its backers to bring all P@P software under a certain standard.

  • by ElForesto ( 763160 ) <elforesto @ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @02:07PM (#9633949) Homepage

    Why don't you see if one of your senators is on the committee []? Write them and let them know what a bad idea this is. Unfortunantly, many senators will not accept correspondence from someone outside their state, so bear this in mind when you get ready to use your pen.

  • by Caiwyn ( 120510 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @02:21PM (#9634090)
    Lots of talk here about the unfairness of corporate entities like the RIAA lobbying for bad laws, but no one has really touched on the fact that they're using today's big taboo to sell it to Congress: children.

    The scope of the law is nothing new, but the way it's being presented certainly is -- Hatch is arguing that p2p applications induce children to break the law, to become criminals. P2P is sullying the lives of our children. Won't somebody please think of the children?

    This disgusts me. I have to agree with George Carlin that children are the new taboo in the United States. Heaven help you if you say anything against the children, and may God have mercy on your soul if you so much as depict a child in a dangerous situation in a movie (thank you, Mr. Spielberg, for ruining E.T.).

    Now we have a legislator trying to use the emotional value of the children to sell a bad bill to the rest of Congress. These are similar to the tactics that were used to pass the USA PATRIOT act. Let's hope that Congress has learned its lesson and is paying more attention this time.
  • by AaroneousMaximus ( 766141 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @03:00PM (#9634429)
    Oh absolutely. Remember, P2P is merely the bastion of Terrorists and Pornographers everywhere. The irony of course being that while Kazaa is full of Porn, the pornography industry is more or less in the same boat as the RIAA. But I guess the religious right is too much of a political ally for the RIAA to also-(pardon the pun)- be be in bed with the Pornography industry .
  • by Jim Starx ( 752545 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .xratSJ.> on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @03:56PM (#9635001)
    I personally don't feel I should jump through the RIAA's security hoops if I want to share information. Because that's what P2P lets you do, share information. It doesn't matter if that information is a song or a book or kiddy porn or a funny picture or a program or my homework or whatever. The current interpretation of free speech includes the transfer of information even if it's not spoken.

    This law is trying to let people sue the company for the actions of the customer. I don't care if it's a gun maker, the guy who sold you a duel tape deck, it doesn't matter. The customers actions are the customers responcibility.

  • childish bickering (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nusratt ( 751548 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @04:11PM (#9635127) Journal
    so much of this thread has been,
    "Stealing is Wrong!" "It's not stealing." "yes it is!" "no it's not!" "shut up!" "no, YOU shut up!"

    Those people are missing the point.
    It's not about p2p / stealing being right or wrong.
    It's about someone trying to make it illegal to OWN OR SELL OR MAKE hand-tools, merely because they can be used to commit burglary.
  • by One Childish N00b ( 780549 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @04:24PM (#9635238) Homepage
    This might be a little offtopic, and this might be a little bit of an old point (or two), but it needs to be made. Not all P2P is criminal activity or takes bread from the mouths of 'starving artists'. I think we're all collectively tired of corporations, 'associations' and politicians treating everyone like a criminal.

    - Some people don't mind distribution of their material via P2P. Hell, a lot of stuff that goes over P2P networks is public domain anyway.

    Case in Point: My band (admittedly small) would be perfectly OK with everyone downloading our material over the latest and greatest P2P app all they want - simply because it's nice to know that as 'artists' (not trying to sound artsy about a hobby here) our art is being appreciated enough that people will take the time to download it. If people want to buy it, sure, that's great, but download all you want. I'm sure we're not the only band who thinks this way, either.

    - Do these people know just how many people buy CDs after hearing a song or two via P2P? Here's something people like the RIAA don't seem to believe exists: I *like* owning the albums of music I like - I'm a collector at heart, really, and no real collector wants cheaply-made fakes in their set. My gf is an avid classic-comic collector, and she wouldn't settle for downloading and printing off the pages when she could buy the original, even if it did cost a lot of money to buy - While it's not strictly the same thing, I would much rather own the real CD than some burned copy I downloaded off the net.

    I'd say around 2/3rds of the CDs I've bought in the last three years have been by artists that I first heard downloading songs via P2P. Sure, there have been bands I've downloaded MP3s of and haven't liked, but that's not a 'lost sale' - I wouldn't have bought it anyway - I don't buy what I don't like. (I think one of the things they hate about P2P is people can sample a band before they buy their album, rather than just buying what the record co.'s say is great).

    What they've *gained* is a *lot* of ACTUAL sales from me due to P2P, and I'm sure I can't be the only one.

    I'd like to say I'm glad I don't live in the US, as I'd hate for your erosion of freedom to happen here, but unfortunately I live in the UK, so I know whatever you guys pass, I'm going to get rammed down my neck in a few months time - but at least I have time to brace myself!

  • by dekket ( 786557 ) on Wednesday July 07, 2004 @08:09PM (#9637535)
    Did you even read the article? It doesnt say precisely that we should outlaw p2p - it says we should outlaw the applications that benefit from it by inducing "children" into the art of stealing. Yea, right. The children in this matter, is everyone I guess. There's not a living soul on this planet (with an internet connection, that is,) that hasn't atleast tried P2P to download *whatever*.
    But that wasn't my point... I get the hypicrisy on this, just like you do - but you took it to the somewhat extreme. Like the article said, its a "narrow" focus - which will expand after a while, I'm sure. But not so far that it would actually hurt companies like MS - unfortunately.
    True though, P2P is a part of todays perception of freedom. I recently got a letter from Telia, saying I had been serving the movie "Secret Windows" - which I havent. However, a friend of mine hooked his laptop up to my net a few weeks ago, and he might have. I donno. Pisses me off though that I'm not able to use whatever protocol I want without being scanned.
    Being a free world (right...) and all, should we discuss invasion of privacy? Because I could probably go on for ages... Why do I feel like reading a senators email...
  • P2P is inevitable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @01:55AM (#9639524)
    Or more precisely, encrypted, fragmented, redundant, auto-roaming, self-healing, auto-coalescing, smart-data stores are inevitable. If you want to call that P2P, so be it.

    The point is, CONTENT will be DIVORCED from LOCATION! It's as inevitable an advance as the very "interweb" itself was.

    Can we handle this level of freedom and info-anarchy as a society? Who knows but we're going to be faced with it. Some puny US senator
    (or senate or whatever) or two ain't going to stop it.

    Architecture is politics. Politics can't control the info-architecture. The P2P architecture of the near future is an emergent system. A meme with its own self-replicating power. It's like trying to stop the common cold.
  • Re:I'm confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost@sybCO ... minus cat> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @02:53PM (#9645425) Homepage
    Handguns have a functional purpose other than to kill human beings?

    That's not even their primary use. It's not even in the top three.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell