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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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  • by DarrenBaker ( 322210 ) <darren&flim,net> on Friday December 07, 2007 @08:56AM (#21610931) Homepage
    The role of the government is to run the country per the will of the people who created the government, is it not? So at what point does public will tip the scales and cause these laws to become moot and oppressive? How legal is it to make a law that will actually cause the majority of law-abiding citizens to become criminals? What if more than 50% of the people illegally download music, shouldn't the law then be repealed? Whatever happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
  • by thomas.prebble ( 1125281 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:00AM (#21610973)
    What ever happened to state sovereignty?
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#21611079)
    If you are British don't forget that our arse-licking government has made an "agreement" where the USA can extradite anyone without showing they have a case, even for crimes committed in the UK. See here [] and here [] for details. So if a record company thinks you might have have duplicated a disk, or videoed someone singing happy birthday you could be whisked of to the states just like that.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#21611105) Homepage
    It's getting RIDICULOUS... no, it's getting MORE ridiculous!

    Before long, people will stop watching TV and movies because it LEADS to wanting to record from TV or buying a DVD which leads to wanting to make backups which leads to being a felon! But if you don't know what you're missing, you won't be tempted by the 'drug' that is the entertainment industry.

    So now I am imagining an entire future where people are afraid to hum a tune or even create their own entertainment for fear that it is similar enough to something they never heard or saw but is currently controlled by the perpetual copyright holdings of "big media" which officially merged a couple of years ago.

    Should this thing pass, darker times will be upon us... not that things aren't pretty dark now.
  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#21611137) Homepage Journal
    Pffft. Lots of luck with government enforcement, especially when just about everyone [] is doing it. Don't they get it?

    Besides, I'll bet the federal courts strike this law down as being unconstitutional.

  • Especially scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ash Vince ( 602485 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:42AM (#21611377) Journal
    The worst thing about this from my perspective is that the US has a record of refusing to follow any foriegn laws and not allowing their own officials to be extradited to other countries if they break local laws in the course of their work.

    This mean that these copyright cops will have the ability to go into a foriegn country, stomp all over the local legal system and then escape back to the US before they can be forced to account for their actions. These are not the actions of a country that wants to earn the respect of the world community.

    This will not help the US cause in the long run as it will just cause even greater resentment in the countries on the receiving end of such treatment.

    The obvious example is the pirate bay. If they really want to close the pirate bay they need to convince Sweden to pass tighter copyright laws, not go in and bust it illegally like they did. The problem now is that after that stunt it has made it much harder for them to convince the swedish people that such a change in law is neccessary. It has also made many european politicians scared on enacting said laws for fear of being accused of being a lapdog of a deeply unpopular president (Bush).

    Maybe some of this situation will change when he leaves office but at the moment no other politician wants to appear to cosy with someone who has made some very questionable decisions and is going to be out of office soon anyway.

    If the US really wants to try and encourage europe to adopt their laws, a much better start would be make some sort of concession to the european community. A good start would be allowing US troops to be prosecuted by a european criminal court for crimes they commit in Europe. We are not really that bad in Europe, we are also democratic nations who have very similar outlooks in a great many ways. If the US trusted us a little more that would most likely be reciprocated.
  • by OriginalArlen ( 726444 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:45AM (#21611403)
    Well, no, actually we all joined the WTO, which was then subverted to implement neo-imperialist rule on the globe in the name of the Great American Public. We are all very grateful, by the way, we had a real shortage of laws - thank god for the EUCD and other international laws "inspired by" the need to not get blockaded from world trade by the U.S.
  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:48AM (#21611429) Journal
    Remember, they are counting on us being too lazy and too self-involved with our shopping and HDTVs and Guitar Hero III to do anything about this stupid new proposal, as well as the rest of their idiotic/evil mess.

    As far as the destruction of evidence by the CIA, I'm starting to think that there must be a dedicated corps of decent public servants left in government, our military and in our intelligence services, otherwise, we'd never even hear about these things. Somehow, we've learned about the illegal surveillance, the secret prisons, renditions, torture, about the NIE report that Iran hasn't had a nuclear weapons program since 2003, etc etc etc. So at least we have a chance, albeit small, to do something about it.

    Now if only there was some dedicated corps of decent people in the entertainment industry, we might be able to stop or at least slow down the RIAA/MPAA and their rampant criminal activities.
  • by Ajehals ( 947354 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:52AM (#21611471) Homepage Journal
    UN membership doesn't constitute a total loss of sovereignty for any country, primarily because the enforcement powers available; levying sanctions or making war against the violator of a resolution are available to any nation at any time anyway, with or without justification, more importantly you don't have to be a member of the UN to be sanctioned / invaded.

    NATO is more interesting, but as I understand it individual countries supply forces to NATO on an ongoing or as required basis, as opposed to NATO commanders simply choosing and using NATO members troops at will.

    In any case I would suggest that sovereignty can only be lost if a country enters an agreement it cannot later unilaterally remove itself from, I would suggest that the individual states of the USA have lost much of their sovereignty but not all (they can still leave?) and EU member states are reducing their own sovereignty but are no where near having lost it. A loss of sovereignty can really only come about by losing a war and being put in a position where you no longer hold any powers of ther region that was your country.
  • Re:Cool. Another War (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:08AM (#21611609) Homepage Journal
    War on government?
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:09AM (#21611621)
    According to last weekend's Sunday Times [] the americans have already awarded themselves the "right" to take people out of other countries to stand trial in the US.

    So even staying at home won't make you safe

  • Re:Remember! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RobBebop ( 947356 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:21AM (#21611755) Homepage Journal

    What is it that prevents this also helping out small media companies, and even individuals who create copyrighted works?

    To answer that question, cost. It would cost to much to help enforce "protection" of the small guys.

    And I agree with you... the system needs to be (a) reformed, and (b) enforced. I disagree that writing to Congress-critters will have much of an effect. Instead, my recommendation it to support bands who publish their music on Jamendo [] and other "distribution-friendly" sites. There is nothing better for fans than an artist who WANTS you to listen to his music without greedily trying to grab a couple pennies every time you hear a new song.

  • A valid question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spleen_blender ( 949762 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:37AM (#21611931)
    I sincerely want to ask the question, when is it okay to revolt? They clearly do not listen to the will of the people and logic and are seemingly entrenched in lobbyist's goals and not the American people's. They are constantly chipping away at our rights and freedoms and making the world a worse place on a daily basis.

    Do we wait until they have us in lockdown during curfew with UAV's patrolling for dissenters, whose information is meticulously stored in a worldwide database?

    Do we wait until the people that are disappearing to foreign countries are people we care about?

    When do we, as not the people of a country, but humans with a sincere desire to be free, have the moral right to be able to revolt against this regime?
  • by darthflo ( 1095225 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:51AM (#21612085)

    A movie is "shit" only when you have to pay for it. Otherwise it's a justified use of bandwidth (downloading it), storage (burn it to media), and maybe even time (watching it).
    Movie on a retail DVD: $25. (Current titles ranging from some $10 after rebates to $40 full retail)

    2 GB of Bandwidth: $2. (Ranging from some $.10 volume datacentre pricing to way more; $2 seems realistic)
    DVD-R: $.50
    Movie on a selfmade DVD: $2.50

    If your quality requirement for both products is equal, I'd happily trade a used Daewoo of mine for a new Porsche of yours </car_analogy>

    (The price comparison is somewhat inaccurate because of the difficulties of factoring in any time consumed. Assuming you'd typically buy some 2-3 retail DVDs at once but 25-50 DVD-Rs should somewhat make up for the time spent starting the download and burning the DVD. The time spent watching the film was deliberately omitted because most people tend to enjoy this process.)
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:59AM (#21612213) Journal
    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.

    Uuuuh, right Wally.

    So, let's see, some multibillionaire shitbag in Hollywood wants the US .gov to send agents overseas to persecute people in other countries for dealing with objects according to their own local laws and customs.

    And this isn't imperialist fascism?

    JH Kunstler noted that when local architecture of the commons is reduced to cartoon houses in the burbs and megamalls, you no longer have places worth caring about. Who ever wept at the demolition of a WalMart? Ad when you get enough places in one country that are not worth caring about, you end up with a nation not worth defending.

    There's another kind of architecture, and its the architecture of the mind, and it's called "Media". And when enough of it is such crap that no one cares about it, and it is seen as more of a utility than a creation, then it ceases to be a culture worth defending.

    With preposterous laws like this, the USA is working very hard at becoming a nation no longer worth defending. People will simply "Walk Away" from this catastrophe of a country, or, as William S Burroughs put it:

    "(Thank you America) for being the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams."


    If you have ANY SENSE at all, you will get out of the USA as soon as possible. The second wave of mortgage failures will come in March. Once the USA sinks, things will get tough, and legislation like the above will become commonplace, even under a Democratic Administration.

    Run. Now. And when you get out, you will see what the rest of the world sees: Those people are fucking crazy.


  • by MarkAyen ( 726688 ) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:30AM (#21612617)

    In any case I would suggest that sovereignty can only be lost if a country enters an agreement it cannot later unilaterally remove itself from, I would suggest that the individual states of the USA have lost much of their sovereignty but not all (they can still leave?)
    Individual states cannot secede. That was ultimately the point of the Civil War. The slavery issue was a smokescreen; the real issue was that the national government would not allow the states that formed the Confederacy to remove themselves from the Union.

    More broadly, the entire idea of state sovereignty (i.e. enumerated powers) has been emasculated. The federal government has the powers it says it has. In the good old days, they used to use the Interstate Commerce Clause to justify Federal intervention in matters Constitutionally delegated to the states; now, they rarely even bother.

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