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Patents United States Technology

Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates 727

BlakeCaldwell writes "CNet is reporting that President Bush signed into law the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (previously-reported). A lawbreaker can land in jail for up to three years for distributing a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet. The MPAA's president Dan Glickman applauded the move, stating he wanted to 'thank the congressional sponsors of this legislation for their strong advocacy for intellectual property rights.'"
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Bush Signs Law Targeting P2P Pirates

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  • by LloydSeve ( 672423 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:28AM (#12370671)
    The word sponsor represents what Congressman brought the act before congress. Every bill has a sponsor, or someone who introduced it.
  • by ThunderBucket ( 73081 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:28AM (#12370676)
    US law only applies to USians. If you were a US citizen in the UK, sure, you could get into trouble.

    Extradition doesn't mean you enforce foreign law on your citizens, it means you agree to repatriate foreign countries' citizens if they're wanted by the courts.
  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:33AM (#12370736) Homepage Journal
    Nothing. But the religious right are behind a key part of the bill that makes it ok to release "edits" for movies regardless of what they do to those movies without either the consent [slashdot.org] of the artist, or at least honouring the artist by allowing them to have their names removed from the edited work.

    This was covered yesterday [slashdot.org] (we have two Slashdot articles about the same thing from different sides.)

    Personally, and I know this isn't a popular view here, I don't like this bill at all. It expands my "rights" in one area where I emphatically do not want them and feel the net result is a slap in the face to artists and the concept of artistic integrity.

    In the other, it creates the danger of disproportionately high sentences for copyright infringers, which amongst other things threatens to discredit copyright (on top of the overly long copyright terms we see today and absurdities such as the restrictions on equipment we can use to access content we've bought copies of.) Beyond some extra funding of the Library of Congress, I really don't like this.

  • Re:Time Shift? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:36AM (#12370777) Homepage
    I wonder if anyone will have the balls to have this challenged in the courts. As many TV shows are distributed via bittorrent, any downloader will make "it avaliable on a computer network accessible to members of the public". It seems to me that 3 years in prison for downloading/uploading a show that is shown for free is cruel and unusual.

    It also reasons that if I run an FTP server and password protect it (jim:jim), then it isn't "accessible to members of the public".
  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:38AM (#12370805) Homepage
    So you think there is a legitimate need to distribute movies before they are released?

    No. I just don't think it warrants a possible prison sentence of 3 years.

    You can skip things that are offensive to you but not ads?

    Ads are offensive to me; problem solved.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:40AM (#12370831)
    "Beware of him who denies you access to information."
    - Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "For I have tasted the fruit"
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:43AM (#12370878)
    "Beware of him who denies you access to information."

    For in his heart, he imagines himself your master. A lesson the Americans learned very painfully in Earth's final century, but incorrectly attributed; it was UN Commissioner Lal who said that.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @09:59AM (#12371072) Homepage Journal
    The part you and the GP missed is a law explictly legalizing mechanisms for third parties to create and release "edits" for movies, the aim being for those third parties to create "cleaned up" versions of Hollywood movies.

    For example, you could buy a DVD of "Monster", download an edit into your DVD player, and the player would play the entire thing through except without the big bad rape scene at the beginning (or knowing it ever happened), which, of course, wouldn't affect how you view the film or its message at all... (<foghorn-leghorn>that last bit's sarcasm boy, sar-casm.</foghorn-leghorn>)

  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:05AM (#12371159)
    Disproportionately High scentence:
    In nevada, where I live, stealing a DVD from walmart would cost me $250 plus attourney's fees maximum. http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-597.html#NRS597 Sec860 [state.nv.us]

    I know that topic is about pre-releases, but 3 years is pretty goofy...
  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:4, Informative)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:13AM (#12371275) Homepage Journal
    Just to clarify. The law is here [govtrack.us] (skip down to SEC. 202.) It talks pretty much exclusively about "making imperceptible" parts of motion pictures. When I first read it, I wondered how general it was, but it's actually very specific, and is exclusively about filtering. I say this because I've used the word edit, and you did too, and I don't want anyone reading this to think it means The Phantom Edit type editing.

    One issue I can think of is that the tool to do the filtering still needs to be as contracted by the DVDCCA. The DVDCCA's contract, IIRC, forbids allowing users to skip through parts of a DVD marked as unskippable. So a DVD manufacturer who implements this feature needs to make sure they do not allow the unskippable parts of DVDs (such as those you mention) be "editable" or else lose their license to make DVD players capable of playing CSS encapsulated content.

    This, ultimately, could have extreme repurcussions. The better movies could become much more difficult to view because of artists not wanting their movies to be edited in this way, and so forcing the release of "unskippable" DVDs.

    Suddenly DRM is going to look a lot more attractive to artists with integrity. This is a bad thing.

  • Re:Not that bad... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:25AM (#12371443) Homepage
    (3) DEFINITION- In this subsection, the term `work being prepared for commercial distribution' means--

    (A) a computer program, a musical work, a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or a sound recording, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution--

    (i) the copyright owner has a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution; and

    (ii) the copies or phonorecords of the work have not been commercially distributed; or

    (B) a motion picture, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution, the motion picture--

    (i) has been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility; and

    (ii) has not been made available in copies for sale to the general public in the United States in a format intended to permit viewing outside a motion picture exhibition facility.'.

    Thus, for a motion picture such as Battlestar Galactica, there is a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution, but it has not been commercially distributed. It has not been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility, however, since the definition for that term is: The term `motion picture exhibition facility' means a movie theater, screening room, or other venue that is being used primarily for the exhibition of a copyrighted motion picture, if such exhibition is open to the public or is made to an assembled group of viewers outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances.

    So since only one or the other has to be satisfied, it is a work being prepared for commercial release. Willfully distributing it on a computer network (e.g. Bit Torrent) is a felony and can result in significant civil penalties.

    Is it so hard to look at the text of the law in question?
  • by Hubis ( 855360 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @10:42AM (#12371685)
    As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. Commissioner Pravin Lal "U.N. Declaration of Rights" (To be precise)
  • by jefe7777 ( 411081 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @12:24PM (#12373147) Journal
    One gets even less time if you happen to be a rep or senator.

    Average citizen steals a movie, goes to jail for 3 years.

    Senator/Representative with a known history of piss poor driving? 100 days in jail.

    "According to police, Janklow was behind the wheel of his Cadillac on August 16 when he ran a stop sign at a rural intersection about 10 miles south of Flandreau. Scott, who was riding his motorcycle home from his father-in-law's 80th birthday party, crashed into the side of Janklow's car and was killed."

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/01/22/janklow.sentenci ng/ [cnn.com]

    http://www.geocities.com/hrlygator10/Anti-JanklowP roject.html [geocities.com]

We can defeat gravity. The problem is the paperwork involved.