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Software Firms Lobby for Stronger Copyright Laws 428

Spy Handler writes "According to an article on CNN, the Business Software Alliance went before the Congress yesterday and lobbied for stronger copyright protection. Their key point: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks. I guess they feel that the DMCA is too lax for them to be allowed to carry out RIAA-style raids on college students."
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Software Firms Lobby for Stronger Copyright Laws

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  • by CygnusXII ( 324675 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:51PM (#11297676)
    Guess the BSA and all concerned learned a lesson from the RIAA, go to the source and change the laws, if they do not work for you. Sounds like the NET Act all over again.
    • by Leomania ( 137289 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:19PM (#11297894) Homepage
      [snip] go to the source and change the laws, if they do not work for you.

      Yes, that's exactly how it's supposed to work.

      I think the protections the ISPs are asking to keep (namely to have the BSA or software companies file lawsuits to reduce the number of frivolous information requests) is reasonable. This will make the costs higher to prosecute an individual, but if that individual is found guilty then they pay a higher penalty for having engaged in the illegal activity. I'm fine with that.

      Nevertheless, it is completely within reason for the BSA to ask for easier access to information from ISPs; it's up to us to protest any bills that are put forward to allow it if we feel it's an unnecessary proposal or excessively invasive. That's how our government works, and it's how we participate. I'm not saying it's perfect, or that an individual's protections aren't trampled upon by various laws, but at least we have some method of making our thoughts known.

      - Leo
      • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:36PM (#11298005)
        That's how our government works, and it's how we participate.

        You seem to forget that we each need to have a $50000 cheque included with our protests; clearly we don't each have that, but the BSA/**AA do. That's also how things work.

        • You seem to forget that we each need to have a $50000 cheque included with our protests; clearly we don't each have that, but the BSA/**AA do. That's also how things work.

          You seem to forget that most of the people the big media corps have been going after lately have been breaking the law, often on a massive scale for an individual, and relying on the fact that the law could not be effectively enforced to get away with it. The personal losses now being suffered by everyone as a result of changes in the

          • by Dashing Leech ( 688077 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @05:35PM (#11299390)
            "Many of the arguments we see around here are from people who were genuinely breaking reasonable law..."

            Here's where your reasoning falls apart. Yes, the (U.S.) law is being broken and quite often, and existing laws make it difficult to prosecute. There are several responses to this:
            (a) Make it easier to enforce the law, which generally requires a reduction in freedoms or protections for the public.
            (b) Modify the laws that are being broken so that the activity isn't illegal anymore, which generally requires a reduction in protection or control for the businesses.
            (c) Modify the products or services such that people are more likely to obtain them through legal channels.

            You say that the laws are reasonable, implying (b) is an inappropriate response. Many would disagree. IP laws don't exist as inherent rights, they exist as a balance and they have tilted too far one way and are being used in ways never intended.

            Lobbying for changing laws is certainly a valid method and there are certainly a number of groups trying to do that in favour of more sane IP laws. But it isn't the only valid method. There is no faster way to instigate change than to force the issue by large scale violation of a law. It may be risky in that it (a) leaves people open to prosecution, and (b) may drive those with a "there's no excuse for violating the law" attitude towards the other side, particularly those who make the laws. But it forces the issues into the open and if the lawmakers are reasonable, they will look at both sides and find a compromise. It also provides a clear example of what can happen if the people aren't happy with the law they end up producing -- people will just violate it anyway. Either the law will have to become reasonable or it will have to become more of a police state to enforce them.

          • ...relying on the fact that the law could not be effectively enforced to get away with it

            If the law cannot be effectively enforced, then what business did the legislature have making the law?
      • by SirChive ( 229195 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:54PM (#11298131)
        I disagree. I don't think it's reasonable for the BSA to lobby for certain laws. In fact, I don't think that groups like the BSA and the RIAA shoud ever exist.

        They are monopolistic by nature. Capitalism is predicated on competition. If every major company in a given industry gets together and forms an organization like the BSA and then the that organization lobbies for all those companies it effectively creates a trade cartel.

        This is another example of how we no longer have anything resembling an open capitalist economy. It's decayed into an oligarchic form of crony capatalism. All the chummy companies get together and form the chummy trade group which then lobbies the appropriately chummy committee of congress where someday the chummy congress scumbags hope to get rich in the chummy industry that they supposedly regulate.

        Under this system if you aren't one of the chummy in-crowd (meaning all of us) you are screwed.
        • You don't think separate entities with common goals and interests should be allowed to pool their resources and remove inefficiencies in simultaneously advocating said goals and interests? Darn, I guess now we have to disband the FSF, EFF, etc.
          • You don't think separate entities with common goals and interests should be allowed to pool their resources and remove inefficiencies in simultaneously advocating said goals and interests?

            You really believe the BSA is anything other than the lobbying arm of Microsoft? Funny.

    • Yes, unfortunately many slashdotters refuse to learn the same lesson. Instead, they just rant about it here, and demonize anyone who suggests what they are doing is illegal.
      • by CygnusXII ( 324675 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:51PM (#11298107)
        So. I guess the subversion of the Original Copyright Intentions, by biased legislators and coporate America, are fair as well? Or how about having a digital flag attached to your hardware, and then to your legally recorded media content is flagged because a corporate entity wants it that way. These things brought about by corporate lobbyist. Rights are for Sale, whether you like it or not, or admit it.
        Benjamin Franklin "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety...

        Also "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

        "Sell not...liberty to purchase power.

        Here is one of his key qoutes.
        "History affords us many instances of the ruin of states...the ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy...An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy...
        • So. I guess the subversion of the Original Copyright Intentions, by biased legislators and coporate America, are fair as well?
          I don't recall saying this, but yes it is. Why not? The point of a representitive system is to represent the people. Just because you don't agree with other people, doesn't make the system broken. Sure, some of the legislature is corrupt and doesn't look out for their constituents. Whose fault is that? Thats right, the peoples for voting for them. Corporations can donate as much mo
          • No what I am pointing out, is that this is a moot point, because it is a tainted process. It is just a matter of time, before every aspect of our lives a controlled, or legislated in one form or fashion. I am not arguing for sake of justifying piracy, or infringment. I am stating that the erosion of personal freedom has already begun, and this is, simply an extension of that erosion. Also on the face of your statement that Corps' cannot vote is true, in that they have to pay the leslator, or represenative t
      • Our elected representatives already know what public opinion is on this subject. THey already know that most citizens do not approve of the BSA et al, buying laws from congress. But our elected representatives go ahead and do it anyway. They know that we have no real power. If we throw the bums out of office, they just go to their corporate masters to get a fat payback for doing their bidding. So, if they already KNOW that we do not like what they are doing, and if we vote them out of office, they can t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:52PM (#11297684)
    In case you hadn't noticed, several ISPs have told them no, they can't have the names, and the courts have backed them up.
    • by Noctrnl ( 110574 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:59PM (#11297738)
      The stance of ISPs is that they need the extra step (suing for the logs, etc) in order to protect the privacy of customers. They contend that if the RIAA, MPAA, or whoever can just call up and get records, that it'll become frivilous. Obviously, that's going to incrue cost for the ISPs as well as make basically everyone's net habits available on a whim.

      I'm glad at least some companies still have some sense.
      • The stance of ISPs is that they need the extra step (suing for the logs, etc) in order to protect the privacy of customers.

        I wonder how much of the ISPs complaint is because they don't actually have the logs? I'm not sure how much things have changed, but I know 5 or 6 years ago it was pretty common for the smaller dialup ISPs and telco owned ISPs to log FAR less than their privacy policy would lead you to believe.

        I know one local company doesn't even delete your account when you cancle.. they just stop
      • by macdaddy ( 38372 ) * on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:52PM (#11298116) Homepage Journal
        Even worse, assume for a moment that a disgruntled ex-husband calls up Hotmail, claims that user X is infringing on his copyrights for ficticious product X, and demands to have the contact information of that user (his ex-wife). He then uses that contact info (probably her current ISP's email account) to again allege a copyright violation and demand her contact and billing information. Now he has her credit card info and mailing address. He goes to the address, kills her, and takes their child (that the mother had full custody of and a protection order against the father). Or take the same scenario but this time apply it to a female celebrity and her website. This time use a mentally unbalanced stalker instead of a disgruntled ex-husband. Perhaps the celebrity sent the bills to her secret, private (unpublicized so the paparazzi don't find it) condo in Montana. Of course since noone knows about the condo but her family and closest friends the security will probably be much more lax or even non-existent. Opps. Now this mentally unbalanced stalker has her private mailing address. How many female celebrities have been confronted, assaulted or killed by their deranged stalkers? Lets count just who we can easily recall:

        Sheryl Crow - confronted by Ambrose Kappos

        Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis - confronted

        Gwyneth Paltrow - confronted by Ron Galella

        Rebecca Schaeffer - MURDERED by Robert Bardo

        Barbara Mandrell - confronted by Edwin John Carlson

        Madonna - confronted by Robert Hoskins who was ultimately shot (not killed by one of her bodyguards.

        Olivia Newton John - confronted by Michael Perry who was found camping behind her house. He wasn't charged though and was sent home to his family, which he ultimately MURDERED.

        Jodie Foster and Ronald Reagan - John Hinckley Jr. shot President Reagan to impress Jodi Fostter, whom he was stalking.

        This doesn't only happen to female celebs. It happens to male ones too:

        John Lennon - MURDERED by Mark David Chapman

        Michael J. Fox - confronted by Tina Ledbetter

        Scott Bakula - confronted by Tina Ledbetter

        Steven Spielberg - confronted by Jonathan Norman

        David Letterman

        Rebecca Schaeffer, Theresa Saldana, Cher, Olivia Newton-John, Sheena Easton, Barbara Mandrell, Maddona, Michael Jackson, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman, Sarah McGlocklin, Belinda Carlisle, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Vanessa Williams, Sharon Gless, Brad Pitt, Monica Sales, Nicole Kidman. Jeri Ryan, Meg Ryan, Mel Gibson, Anne Murray, Sonny Bono and even Steven Spielberg are just a few of the celebrities who have been stalked.

        A law change to allow anyone to allege copyright infringement to gain personal data is absurd and will be a boon to stalkers everywhere.

  • by kompiluj ( 677438 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:55PM (#11297711)
    In the news.com.com.com.com article [com.com] you read:
    The white paper also suggests tightening the rules under which patents are issued to allow both proposed and issued patents to be challenged more easily.
    This is very, very funny, indeed... emphasis mine.
    • In the white paper, the policies suggested include:
      To ensure that patent litigation remains a last resort used only rarely, patent administrative procedures should provide the ability for third parties to challenge a patent application, obtain post-grant review, or oppose a granted patent.

      I'm sure they are talking about improving the existing mechanisms and are aware of 37 CFR 1.99 [uspto.gov] which begins with:
      "A submission by a member of the public of patents or publications relevant to a pending published applic

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:56PM (#11297718)

    The US needs a Canadian style privacy commissioner [privcom.gc.ca] who acts on the behalf of the people rather than a government that acts on behalf of big business.
  • Oh well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sly Mongoose ( 15286 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:57PM (#11297725) Homepage
    Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks.
    There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

    • Re:Oh well... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sangreal66 ( 740295 )
      You're right. I guess we shouldn't go after people who may have commited a murder either. Presumption of innocence doesn't apply here, this is about getting you into a court where you are presumed innocent. Noone along the way is expected, or required to believe you are innocent. Otherwise noone could be charged with any crime because it would accuse them of being guilty.
      • Except that in the case of murder, it is the police that want information about the perpetrator, and not some unaccountable corporation.
      • Re:Oh well... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by uncoveror ( 570620 )
        Comparing copying things to killing people with malice, forethought and a motive? Now that't not comparing apples to oranges, that's comparing apples to rocks. It's ridiculous.
        • Simply calling my argument stupid does not refute it. Please explain how they are different in relation to the debate at hand. You can replace murder with any crime you wish and my statement remains the same.
      • Re:Oh well... (Score:3, Interesting)

        I guess we shouldn't go after people who may have commited a murder either.

        That's right, we shouldn't.

        I think the fourth amendment says it best;

        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        Getting a warrent isn't

        • Getting a warrent may seem like a pointless formality, but it's not.
          I completely agree. I don't support the BSA's proposed legislation. I was simply attempting to provide the reason behind the use of the word "may". Getting a warrant does not change the fact that someone only may have commited a crime. It simply means there is a justifiable reason to believe they have.
    • That concept died in the 80s...

      Now everyone is assumed to be guilty of something.. So actions are being taken accordingly.
    • Re:Oh well... (Score:2, Insightful)

      There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

      Isn't that reserved for the trial? How could you have an investigative phase if you'd have to prove the case first?

      As far as I know, and at least over here, the cops can search your home if there's a "reasonable cause" for it. Such a cause might be you smoking pot on the balcony and your neighbours reporting it, or that someone posts kiddieporn on the usenet using your (forged) IDs.

    • There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

      Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't stop (and shouldn't stop) a legitimate investigation.

      If you have evidence someone is stealing your property, the LEAST you can do is find out their name.

      • the problem is being overlooked.

        For them to get name they need to have proff that it is being stolen(or what ever you want to call it)

        and to force them into givign the names, that is what the governemt should do, once the government has been shown proff.

        It already exists a way for them to inforce it. What they want now is a way for them to enforce it and proffit from it.
  • Well, there are some differences between the two products: in the case of music files, they are passive chunks of data that can be recorded from radio too. In the other case, the software itself may be able to give information in a spyware-esque way to the vendor... wouldn't that make more sense (for them)?
    • But spyware treads close enough to the wrong side of wiretapping laws that real software companies don't want to risk having it thrown out of a case that hinges upon it, nor being forced to reveal in court the fact that they spy on their customers (which could leave them wide open for countersuits from the defendants and class-action lawsuits from legitimate customers, not to mention the enormous amounts of bad PR it would generate).
  • weak link (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @01:59PM (#11297735) Homepage Journal
    The phone company should be liable for the crimes plotted over their wires, and the credit card fraud charged, too, along with the P2P copyright violations over their DSL. Why stop at the ISPs? Oh, because they're not in the room with the lobbyists to defend themselves.
    • They are not asking to make ISPs liable. They are asking to make it required for ISPs to provide information about people who may be infringing on copyright. So the proper analogy would be the phone company being required to give information about someone doing something illegal.
  • ma-nure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gravyfaucet ( 759255 )
    If the giant corps can still afford large teams of high-priced lawyers to file thousands of lawsuits and high-power lobbyists to blow congress, then piracy is obviously doing little to hurt the bottom line.
    • Except what about the non-giant corps that are getting shafted because people "borrow" their software (with stolen credit cards) and then post it on the web? What incentive is there to buy something when you can get it for free?

      End result, there are no more non-giant software companies, just the giant ones.

  • Even if they do get it passed there will still be "sharers." They can be arrested but there will be more. eventuall there will be jails full of sharers whome people will notice. And of course all the poor people who get sued and get their life ruined because of it. They will have to become criminals to pay for living since they have no money left. In other words it will do nothing.
    • That argument didn't work very well for stopping the War on (Some) Drugs.

      The problem is, noone with any credibility wants to see it go down the tubes because they came out against a badly-done band-aid on a purported problem, and noone who can do anything about it will listen to those who don't have much (or any) credibility.

      It'd be nice if it's different this time, but it'll take an awful lot of grandmothers and 12-year-olds going to jail over it to get the attention of Joe Sixpack.
  • The Business Software Alliance, a lobbying group whose members include Microsoft Corp. and Apple Computer Inc.

    It would seem that judging by Apple Computer's recent lawsuit [com.com] that the current laws are sufficient for them.
  • And so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by October_30th ( 531777 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:04PM (#11297784) Homepage Journal
    distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks.

    And what business would these people have distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks in the first place?

    If it's illegal, as the author readily admits, then why should not the law crack down on such activities?

    • Re:And so? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilroy ( 155262 )
      From the parent poster:

      And what business would these people have distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks in the first place?

      If it's illegal, as the author readily admits, then why should not the law crack down on such activities?

      From the actual article:

      [The BSA] said Internet service providers like America Online should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing copyright software through "peer to peer" networks like Kazaa.

      Internet service providers have argued

    • Lots of things are illegal. By your logic, we could install video cameras everywhere (normally private areas too). Because, after all, why should the law not crack down on these illegal activities? The point is, there should be a presumption of innocence. Right now, they have to go file a John Doe lawsuit to be able to subpeona the records from your ISP. This cuts back on the number of frivolous claims, because there is cost involved with filing the lawsuit.
    • Re:And so? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:52PM (#11298118)
      Lets say you put a file named windows.zip on Kazaa. Turns out it has nothing to do with Microsoft, however with the way some of these anti-piracy searches go, they may catch that and want to go after you.

      As of right now, to figure out your identity, they have to file to get that information from your ISP. What they are proposing is they can just pick up the phone and say "we think this person is doing something bad, give us all their information."

      It would be scary enough if the government could do that without going through the proper legal channels, but this is proposing that coporate america get these kinds of power and unlimited access.

      Yes...the law should crack down on illegal activities, but it should not allow businesses to be able to hurl an overwhelming number of lawsuits at people just based on thinking it's illegal and having instant access to the client information. Just like the law - they should have to do all their homework and make sure they have a decent case before hauling you into court, not just a bunch of conjecture. With this change, it'd be too easy for the BSA to haul any average joe into court and accuse them and draing their financial resources in a heartbeat - before they could prove they didn't do anything wrong.
  • Equal protection under the law, as long as you're a limited liability company.

    If the BSA ever comes to my door, I will make soap with their bodies, and wash my balls with it.

  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:09PM (#11297814) Journal
    The last time I checked, all people were supposed to be equal under the law. Here, we have natural persons vs corporations, it seems. Now, would somebody show me where the corporations are assuming the same responsibilities as natural persons?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of copyright enforcement (as a GPL user). However, I'm also all in favor of equal rights and equal responsibilities. And it seems like the corporations are trying to gain "more-than-equal" rights here, without accepting the responsibilities. When was the last time you saw a CxO pay the same kind of penalties that a regular person would?

    • When was the last time you saw a CxO commit the same kind of crimes that a regular person would. The reason the punishments are usually different are due to the nature of the crimes. Corporate crimes are generally civil matters, leading to cash settlements/judgments. On occasion, they are criminal, and executives get jailtime (enron, adelphia, etc).
  • by spywarearcata.com ( 841806 ) * on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:12PM (#11297838)
    It's not about "Stronger Copyright Laws" but in reducing the rights of the invidividual to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • and nobody hears him.

    They always do thius before they give up.
  • That is beginning not to care?

    Im about to the point that i really dont care what laws they buy.. Im going to do what ever i have been all along.

    Once they manage to make it too difficult to function, then they loose another paying customer. Just as the RIAA and MPAA have done.
  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:19PM (#11297895)
    Businesses lobbying Congress in their own interest isn't exactly news, is it? The Reuters piece at the link isn't useful: What specific legislation is involved, and how? My guess is that CNN chopped the story to fit.

    In any case, the key word is "may". I'm a copyright supporter, but don't have much use either for the entertainment industry or folks who argue that copyright doesn't exist. Acquiring the name of someone who's illegally distributing copyrighted material -- on the net or elsewhere -- ought to require a subpoena issued only after presentation of convincing evidence linking a specific, but unidentified, person with specific copyrighted material.

    No one should be able to go on a fishing expedition with ISP's, any more than they can go on a fishing expedition with printing press operators.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <[moc.talfdren] [ta] [tkram]> on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:20PM (#11297901) Journal
    Not that I'd be particularly interested in seeing it happen, but if they were serious about it, they could end wide-scale P2P in the USA virtually instantly.

    All they need to do is make it legally required for any ISP which offers service to residential customers in the US to put all those customers behind a NAT with absolutely no port forwarding of any kind... only communication sessions that are initiated by the home PC will go through, meaning that regular web use can continue uninterrupted (for web sites that are not hosted on residential computers). Sessionless packets like UDP can also be rejected unless they are directed at a port from which the designated computer had recently sent an outgoing packet. This might kill certain services, but none that would be liable to adversely affect the typical residential customer.

    Of course, this would mean that residential customers would be unable to use their home PC's as servers of any kind, which I'm sure would tick off more than a few people... people who are highly inconvenienced by the change would have to upgrade their ISP accounts to "corporate" levels, paying a higher fee.

    • Nah....it'd just force a mild evolution in the p2p programs. A bunch of nodes in some other country that the p2p program would contact on startup thus ensuring that initial pack going out.

      Remember, the internet routes around censorship :)
    • This might kill certain services, but none that would be liable to adversely affect the typical residential customer.
      Are you nuts? It would kill bi-directional VoiP (such as Vonage [vonage.com]), which requires certain ports, and a lot of them. Vonage has over 400,000 customers as of 01/05/05; a lot of them will be pissed if their service was unusable.

      people who are highly inconvenienced by the change would have to upgrade their ISP accounts to "corporate" levels, paying a higher fee.
      Let's think about this: if p
  • by dmayle ( 200765 ) * on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:21PM (#11297906) Homepage Journal

    I've been waiting for just such an article as this to point out something that I've recently come to realize. Everytime there's a copyright article on Slashdot, there is the inevitable discussion on "piracy", "copyright infringement", and "stealing". In going over all of the arguments, I've come to realize that it is stealing, only everyone's got it backwards, the *AA, et al, are stealing from ME...

    The U.S. constitution makes it clear that works protected by copyright belong to the public, and granting of copyright should apply only to authors and inventors to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

    Well, each time Congress extends the length of copyright or strengthens patent law, they're stealing from me, they're stealing from you, and they're stealing from each person in this country who could gain anything from that work, even if it's just 90 minutes of enjoyment from watching an old movie for free. I, for one, am outraged, and now that Congress has turned to looting from me for the benefit of the few who are wealthy and powerful, I will feel no remorse when I download music, or copy DVDs.

    It's high time we started taking back our country, and if you think that control of information isn't the most important thing we have to fight for, then you've never studied oppressive regimes. So, copy a DVD for your family, download some MP3s, and help to start a revolution (in thought)...

  • Encrypted Networks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syukton ( 256348 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:28PM (#11297954)
    So why don't we just encrypt everything (including filenames) so nobody can tell who is downloading what? It sounds like big business wants an ISP to track suspicious activity and report back if they see anybody transferring copyrighted materials. Well if everything was encrypted, only the people who are supposed to know what's being transferred will ever know that it is actually BEING transferred.

    • This is already common practice. I am taking the GREs soon, so I went to eMule and found 2 ISOs called Kaplan Higher Score Gre Gmat CS Lsat Deluxe Edition 2003-Eatiso-Cd1-Eng.iso and Kaplan Higher Score Gre Gmat CS Lsat Deluxe Edition 2003-Eatiso-Cd2-Eng.iso. Waited anxiously as the files transfered bit by bit. Took about a week. Finally, I was went to DAEMON Tools and tried to mount them. Windows says: Inaccessible disk. Tried to burn them - nothing. Finally today I was booted into Fedora so I thought "wel
  • This is just what I never understood about Copyrights. Basically anything declared copyrighted becomes copyrighted. Where does the line get drawn?

    "0" Copyright 2005 by Skraut

    "1" Copyright 2005 by Skraut

    So now I have copyrighted 0 and 1. Can I now legally sue the **AA for having billions of copies of my copyrighted work on their websites?

    • So now I have copyrighted 0 and 1.

      You can't copyright numbers. Or mathematical equations. Sorry.

      You can copy an individual expression of those numbers, but posting them on a bulletin board effectively voids your hold on them anyway.

      Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

      1. literary works;
      2. musical works, including any accompanying words
      3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
      4. pantomimes and choreographic works
      5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
      6. motion

  • by bgs4 ( 599215 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:36PM (#11298002)
    Groups such as the Business Software Alliance spend however many millions of dollars every year on lobbyists only because they get many more millions in return through their influence on government.

    Using money to influence government in this way is, in its end result, bribery. But it is different than bribery in that it does not require corrupt politicians-- it requires only politicians who are not all knowing. Even intelligent, well-intentioned people can be convinced of something if only one side of an argument is heard. This is especially true for a topic as complex as government policy.

    Professional lobbying, because it is effectively bribery, needs to be outlawed-- it should be illegal to pay someone to speak to a government representative on your behalf. Instead of hiring lobbyists, companies can ask their employees and shareholders to contact, in their spare time, their representatives. If that is not sufficient, companies can, through advertisement, raise public awareness of their concerns. In this way, the influence of money will move one more step away from government.

    Public interests groups, such as groups opposed to overreaching copyright and patent laws, will have little problem recruiting volunteer lobbysists, as many of them already do. Such lobbyists, since they are unpaid, would be perfectly legal. Not only will public interest groups be able to lobby almost as effectively as before, but they will also no longer have to compete with highly paid professional lobbying firms.

  • by i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @02:57PM (#11298146)
    It takes money to get laws passed. Lobby groups have tons of money and they can easily get laws passed in their favor. When it's business vs. business, it's still ~somewhat fair because their respective lobbying groups counteract each other.

    But when it's lobby groups backed by the industry as a whole that lobby for laws that go against everyday people, how can we compete? How are we going to stop the billions of dollars of lobbying money that the industry has? This is a very lopsided match here. The companies can get laws passed almost unimpeded while the average citizen just has to sit there and live under those new laws. Some of these new laws, such as ones that favor patents and IP have the effect of stomping out anything open source or free (since it takes loads of money to get your ideas patented and if you're not working for profit, you won't have the money to get your ideas patented).

    I'll use an example just to give you an idea of what I mean. Let's say there was an "open source" pharmaceutical effort that came out with a drug to cure xxxx disease. That drug would never be allowed to be sold. Being open source, you wouldn't have the money to "convince" the FDA to approve your drug, and you wouldn't have the money to defend yourself against the bully lawsuits that the big rich established pharm companies would surely throw at you. Even though your product would help mankind, it wouldn't generate the money needed to defend itself. Instead, a company which generates lots of money by selling a product to *treat* the disease instead of curing it would have the money (and therefore political power) to stifle you.

    Big Money rules the government in the US. Non-profit can no longer compete with for-profit, and that's a bad thing when the point of the organization was to donate their time and skill to give to the community. When you look at the net effect of all these laws as a whole, they basically amount to you *having* to give companies your money.

    I'm sorry for the long post but I see where things are going and this is getting out of hand.
    • But when it's lobby groups backed by the industry as a whole that lobby for laws that go against everyday people, how can we compete?

      Corporations cannot vote. Remind your Representatives/Senators of that in your personally written letters to them on topics which concern you. Even a single letter can get them wondering how many other voters think the same way.

      We still get to decide whether they keep their power or not.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) * on Saturday January 08, 2005 @03:10PM (#11298224) Homepage Journal
    Copyright infringement is just the current and topical reason this is coming up. But the more general question is: should IP addresses be anonymous xor accountable?

    I would prefer that society deal with and answer that general question, rather than just make a special case or limit the decision to just situations where copyright infringement is suspected.

    My opinion is that pseudo-anonymity just isn't worth much, and that we should go one of two ways:

    1. Anonymity is guaranteed: ISPs are required to maintain customer anonymity, not keeps logs except for billing purposes, and this information should not be available to third parties by any means, including court orders.
    2. Accountability is guaranteed: ISPs should be required to maintain logs for a reasonable period, and automatically furnish information about who was responsible for an IP address as of a given time (within a reasonable window into the past).
    Right now, we're sort of in between those two situations, where the ISP has discretion. This makes everyone a loser. Nobody can count on anonymity, so perceived anonymity is of dubious value (e.g. you can't really spread samizdat against your own government, if they can just order that you be exposed). Nobody can count on accountability, because there may be prohibitively expensive legal requirements to getting desired information, and even then, you don't have a guarantee that the ISP ever maintained a log (e.g. Joe-open-wireless-access-point didn't even know he was an ISP until he got a letter from a lawyer).

    Going either way would be fine with me. Each has problems, but also, each is better than an in-between situation.

  • Does That Mean (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @03:28PM (#11298363) Homepage Journal
    Open source projects would find it easier to supoena source code of companies suspected of infringing on the GPL? Becuase there's an awful lot of source code just sitting around, and I suspect that a lot of corporate programmers find it tempting to "borrow" some of that code. I wonder how many of the BSA's clients are committing copyright infringement of their own...
  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dom1234 ( 695331 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @03:59PM (#11298663) Journal

    Don't you think one of the reasons why Windows is so popular is that many people can get a free illegal copy of it without any consequences ?

    If Windows users really had to pay for Windows, maybe more people would think more about real free solutions for home computing.

  • Strangle hold (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @04:40PM (#11298970)
    Taken by itself, the request for additional copyright protection may seem like a reasonable request. However, when you consider that the copyright period has been extended to life+infinity, this is clearly an attempt to enhance the strangle hold that's already being imposed. This has nothing to do with "enforcing copyright." It's about "enforcing consumer behavior." When they start forcing content down your throat, you won't like the term "consumer."

    The BSA is one of the worst offenders where "presumption of guilt" exists. If you start a new business, as soon as you get your state license you can expect a postcard from the BSA offering to "help" you make sure there's no improperly licensed software on your corporate lan. They'll even install software to periodically check. The BSA may lick my left nut. The sheriff doesn't come in without a warrant. Why would I let these self-appointed asshats in?
  • by Pendersempai ( 625351 ) on Saturday January 08, 2005 @05:45PM (#11299455)
    This is ultimately what is wrong with copyright law. There are large, monied interests with large, monied incentives to see law swing against public domain, but the public domain has no one to defend it.

    Contrast this state of affairs with patent law, where the public domain has generic drug makers fighting for it, and note the difference in term limits. (copyrights last 70+ years today; patents last twenty-something.)

    I don't know what is to be done about it, but that is the problem.
  • Backlash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuantumFTL ( 197300 ) * <justin DOT wick AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday January 08, 2005 @06:27PM (#11299757)
    Has anyone considered the possibility that businesses going too far with laws like these might actually be a good thing? I mean, in the short run it will suck but perhaps the public will backlash against them and we will finally have a reasonable copyright/patent system.

    I'm sure that if anyone who downloaded illegal music/games/porn/whatever on the internet got smacked with a $100 fine today, those laws would be fixed so fast you'd swear we had a functional government.

    Right now the corporations are getting their way - but they are also quite greedy. Perhaps that is their weakness?
  • Software firm? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <charleshixsn AT earthlink DOT net> on Saturday January 08, 2005 @10:47PM (#11301306)
    I resent the characterisation of the BSA as a software firm, it's a (probably) legal extortion operation. The only thing that makes it's tactics legal is that they, being representatives of large corporation(S?) are able to get the local police (and courts?) to go along with their demands for breaking and entering. (I'd suggest suing the local police for malfeasance but, 1, it's not a good idea for a business to get on the wrong side of the police, and 2, I think only a DA can bring charges of malfeasance [or even misfeasance, but this would clearly be malfeasance].)
  • Define ISP please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@nerdshaBOYSENck.com minus berry> on Saturday January 08, 2005 @11:00PM (#11301403)
    I've got my little home server that provides wired ethernet access to three others in our house. Am I an ISP? After all, I do provide internet service to those computers.

    Now suppose I were to run cat5 to my neighbors (some of whom have DSL too), and specify their IPs as alternate routing addresses to my own gateway. Using IP6, we all give ourselves internal static addresses and have servers that act as external gateways. Are we all now ISP's? Suppose our little private network continues to expand, with people on the periphery plugging in and adding new external links, more bandwidth, etc. Eventually, we end up with an actual mesh network like the internet was meant to be!

    (Also suppose, out of curiosity, that no unneeded ports are opened, that all known RIAA/MPAA/BSA IPs are blacklisted, and that the servers don't keep logs of any kind. If they want info, they can't get here and there's nothing to get ANYWAY)