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Congress Creates Copyright Cops 533

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000 for infringing upon a $0.99 song, Congress is proposing new copyright cops in the "'PRO IP' Act of 2007, specifically the creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws. MPAA boss Dan Glickman praised the bill saying that, 'films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year,' though Ars points out that it allegedly costs the studios only $6 billion."
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Congress Creates Copyright Cops

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  • A Bigger Picture (Score:5, Informative)

    by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:03AM (#21610991) Homepage
    I'd like to point out that Ben Franklin said we should have a revolution every few years just so we could weed out these helpful sort of Congress/Senate criminals legislating to line their pockets.

  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:25AM (#21611169) Journal

    Actually, UN is only a loss of sovereignty for nations that do not have veto power on the security council. I know you were kidding, but I just had a 3 hour debate on this yesterday with a friend. So the ideas are clear in my mind. Sovereignty is not lost unless the overseeing administrative unit has enforcement power that the (more) local administrative unit cannot legally stop. The only enforcement power that UN has is Article 7 security council resolutions. They are the ones whose violation authorizes enforcement (as in use of weapons) by member nations. Since US has veto power over all security council resolutions, US sovereignty is not lost to the UN. But all the nations outside of the 5 permanent members have lost their sovereignty.

    A better example of loss of sovereignty is probably NATO. Because the NATO supreme commander (as far as I understand -- don't quote me on it) has the power to order actions by armies of member nations.

    If we were to ever enter into an international treaty that gave some overseeing administrative unit a clear power to veto our laws and was combined with an alliance that gave some supreme commander unequivocal power to order our FBI or military around, then we would (pretty much by definition) lose sovereignty. As it stands, we may still have the power to say "No" to a decision of any international organization that we've joined.

  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:26AM (#21611183)
    H.R.4279 []
  • by FreakyLefty ( 803946 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:27AM (#21611195) Homepage
    Also, look at the numbers they're using. Choosing a random album from the charts, I put Led Zeppelin's Mothership into Isohunt, and got back just shy of 1,500 seeders and leechers, every one of whom is technically "making available" the entire album, which consists of 24 tracks.

    At $9,250 per track, the RIAA seems to think they're owed nearly $315,000,000. From just one album, and just the results on Isohunt.
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:33AM (#21611249)
    Perhaps there would be less frivolous legislation proposed if the bill drafters would maybe compare their bill against the US Constitution. There seems to be a rather basic conflict between confiscation of property and the "due process" clause of the Constitution.

    Not to mention that other countries tend to have laws and Constitutions and claims of sovreignity over their land and inhabitants.

    Just a little advance reading could spare a us a whole lot of floundering and discussion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:46AM (#21611413)
    The one-sided extradition agreement sucks, and should probably be struck down under European human Rights law if correctly challenged, but the offences you describe do not fall under it. It is confined to criminal charges carrying at least 12 months imprisionment under *UK* law. Small scale personal non-profit copyright infringement in the UK is still a civil offence.
    The cases cited in the links you provide relate to fraud, terrorism and hacking into US govt computers. If you want to be really paranoid, I suppose you say that the US could make up some terrorist charges and then drop them and subsitute copyright charges once they had you; but I think they would recognize that this would definitely finish the extradition agreement if it was *that* badly abused, or it would only happen once because UK courts would not extradite anyone else on that fraudulent basis.

  • This [] and this idea of copyright cops will not end well.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:30AM (#21611865) Homepage

    Since US has veto power over all security council resolutions, US sovereignty is not lost to the UN. But all the nations outside of the 5 permanent members have lost their sovereignty.

    That is completely untrue. Nobody has lost their sovereignty. Period. Should the security council decide they need to take steps of enforcement against a country (difficult since you can never get the US, China and Russia to agree on anything), then that country might have its sovereignty stepped on.

    A better example of loss of sovereignty is probably NATO. Because the NATO supreme commander (as far as I understand -- don't quote me on it) has the power to order actions by armies of member nations.

    Only to an extent. If a member country decides to put limitations on the use of their troops, the NATO commander can't really overrule those.

    There are numerous countries in Afghanistan who have placed strict limits on where there troops can be sent and what they can do (eg, only in the North, and in non-combat operations) -- The Dutch and the French, for example.

    There is no loss of sovereignty implied in NATO membership.

    Neither the UN nor NATO are routinely going around trumping domestic governments. The UN is the only way we have to get countries to try to work together. Before that, it was the League of Nations, which after WWII the US decided was ineffectual and pushed to create the UN. It's a framework to get people to try to work shit out through diplomacy and consensus.

    And, for the record, the US Constitution says that any treaties you enter into become the law of the land. So, again, it's not about giving up sovereignty -- it's about sticking to your word.

    But, there is NO treaty that ANY country has agreed to which allows for an external entity to come in and start bossing about their police and military unless that countries leaders have completely decided to go off the rails and do things they've promised not to, or you're in the middle of a genocide, or a war of aggression against another country. This is a uniquely American belief that someone might come in and take control of your country without a damned good reason, and agreement by almost every other country who was prepared to back it up with force.

  • Sponsors (Score:5, Informative)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:43AM (#21611985)

    What you really want to know is the status of the bill. This one has just been introduced and passed to the Judiciary Committee, from the looks of it. But here's a helpful link to the list of cosponsors of the bill [].

    • John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) (sponsor)
    • Howard Berman (D-CA)
    • Steve Chabot (R-OH)
    • Steve Cohen (D-TN)
    • Tom Feeney (R-FL)
    • Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
    • Darrell Issa (R-CA)
    • Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
    • Ric Keller (R-FL)
    • Adam Schiff (D-CA)
    • Lamar Smith (R-TX)
    • Robert Wexler (D-FL)

    If you are represented by any of these people in Congress, you have a special duty to write and explain how poorly-represented you are.

  • by Chryana ( 708485 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:03AM (#21612249)
    I think a better example of something that causes lost sovereignty is some of the trade agreements such as NAFTA. One example I think of specifically is the dispute between Ethyl Corporation and Canada [], in which Canada was basically forced to remove a ban on a fuel additive despite evidence of it being harmful to humans, and to pay to Ethyl corporation 13 million dollars in legal fees and lost profits. (I am aware that the link I gave is quite biased, but I just wanted to point out the result of the legal battle I am speaking of). Further down, the article reads "... Canada remains one of the few countries in the world where MMT is blended into automotive fuel.". If that is not an example of lost sovereignty, I don't know what is.
  • Re:Remember! (Score:3, Informative)

    by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @12:12PM (#21613279) Journal
    I agree except for the required explicit registration. Every time you make a new blog post, you have to register? Every time a live sports broadcast is on TV they have to register? Before the game happens, when there's no footage to copyright? Or do thy register after it's transmitted, and therefore can't protect it because ti wasn't under copyright when it was broadcast? Or maybe we just wouldn't get live games on TV any longer.

    Besides, the US is a signatory country on the Berne Convention. That requires copyright upon entering into a fixed format.

    I might also consider 30 or 40 years fair, but not 120. People do tend to live a bit longer these days, and there's a lot more media available so waiting 30 years instead of 20 won't hurt the commons that much. 120 is ridiculous, though.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.