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Infringement 'Detrimental To the Public Health, Safety' 348

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has declared that copyright infringement 'substantially interferes with the interest of the public in the quality of life and community peace, lawful commerce in the county, property values, and is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare of the county's citizens, its businesses and its visitors.' You might laugh, but that means they can close up a property for up to one year for violations of the anti-infringement ordinance [PDF] and the owner can be fined $1,000 for each infringing work produced on site. Not to mention the penalties in the PRO-IP Act, which just sailed through the House."
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Infringement 'Detrimental To the Public Health, Safety'

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  • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Friday May 09, 2008 @12:31AM (#23346484) Homepage Journal
    How many companies who currently violate the GPL and LGPL can these new laws be used against?

  • by explosivejared ( 1186049 ) <hagan,jared&gmail,com> on Friday May 09, 2008 @12:48AM (#23346578)
    Dude what are you talking about!? The MESSIAH himself, Obama peace be upon his name, is all-knowing and can at the bat of an eyelash bring about such a transformative change that the whole intellectual property system will be at peak efficiency!

    Kidding aside, Obama does speak about reforming the whole intellectual property system (especially patents, which I do realize are different from copyrights and trade marks), albeit with sort of vague language. It's hard to quantify what exactly he means when he talks about reform, but hey at least he realizes something is wrong with the way we're going. Don't take my word for it, though. [barackobama.com]

    I've looked at the other two candidates statements and again find nothing definitive. So I see it breaking down like this. Obama talks about rewriting intellectual property, writes some dream bill, only to have it obliterated in Congress due equally to his lack of commitment and Congress's general distaste for effective legislation. McCain and Clinton would probably be open to reform, but would jump at the chance to think of the children and gravitate towards anything that hurts filing sharing due to the whole child pornography thing.

    In the end, there just aren't enough people that care. Now if we could find some way to relate copyright reform to gasoline prices, we might have a shot. People don't realize how important competent legislation is when it comes to an economy that becomes more dependent on the rapid share of information every day. The legal morass doesn't end with the MPAA and RIAA. We have patent trolls and perpetual litigators making things worse for everyone.
  • Re:That's funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Friday May 09, 2008 @12:59AM (#23346636)

    "copyright infringement...is detrimental to the public health..."

    I don't type "WTF" much, but WTF?

    It looks like Tim Ball was right when he wrote, "For years I wondered what extremists provide to any debate. I've learned it is to define the limits for the majority. By taking extreme positions they cause the majority to say, hold on, now you are going too far.".
  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @01:08AM (#23346676)
    OFC a carismatic democratic president could go to a democratic congress and say "hey how about you suggest this?" and they will say "how high?"

    Now, if you really want to blame this on somebody, I hear your congressmen takes letters. Mine does, but he ignores them.
    The trick is in the subject, I rekon you might be more successful if you address them all "private and confidential from AC.inc, important information regarding campaign finance" either that or "NAKED PICS OF [insert congressmans fetish here] INSIDE"
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Friday May 09, 2008 @01:37AM (#23346798)

    So the United States was serving a smaller group when women got the vote? When minorities got the vote? And when poll taxes were eliminated?

    Yes, actually, for several reasons:

    • Making the system more "democratic" pleases the proles, both from the warm fuzzies they get by feeling as if they have a voice, and by enabling to vote themselves bread and circuses.
    • It leads the proles to disregard the elite's authoritarian schemes (E.g., "How can they be power-hungry autocrats when they just gave us sufferage?"). What the proles don't realize is that voting doesn't matter when the elite chooses who gets on the ballot. Voting is an illusion of choice.
    • It dumbs down the political process so that leaders can maintain power via emotional appeal instead of rational debate. That's good for the elite because it means they don't have to defend themselves against outsiders with good ideas.

    Of course, the issue (at least in the case of the U.S) isn't that simple. You also have to consider the effects of the gradual failing of federalism, etc.

  • by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @01:41AM (#23346820)
    You're only looking at this from the consumer end, which is hardly surprising given that this is /.

    But in Los Angeles, as someone else noted, you have the center of the movie industry, and one of the centers of the music industry. If it is correct that the fact that millions of people are distributing tunes and movies for free is depriving the folks in LA County who make music and movies of their income, then, yeah, I'd say there is a big impact on the LA economy. If movie companies and recording companies start hemorrhaging money, then they stop not only paying fat salaries to studio heads, but also start laying off janitors and secretaries, and, since those CEOs will be forgoing their bonuses, the number of Lexuses and plasma TVs sold will also go down, and a bunch of car and Best Buy salesmen are going to lose their jobs or take pay cuts.

    Of course, the conventional wisdom here on /. is that the "if" clause above is nonsense, and that it's intuitively obvious that online distribution of music and movies for free has no effect whatsoever on the sales for real money of that music and those movies.
  • by Tuoqui ( 1091447 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:01AM (#23346900) Journal
    Like some dumb legislator said... If intellectual property is property then there should be property tax on it.
  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:07AM (#23347418) Journal
    Those of us who find offensive and stupid stuff tedious, and enjoy listening to serious and intellectual discussion, may be tempted to disagree with you.
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @06:10AM (#23347954) Homepage
    the elite chooses who gets on the ballot.

    Damn candlyland optimists (* footnote).

    The problem isn't a few powerful evil elites.
    Who do you think chooses who gets on the ballot? The typical general public, in the party primaries. It is reasonably easy for pretty much anyone to get on the primary ballot if they really want to - as Stephen Colbert demonstrated as a gag.

    No, the problem is people.
    People are stupid irrational short sighted selfserving herd animals.
    All of us are stupid irrational short sighted selfserving herd animals.
    *I* am a stupid irrational short sighted selfserving herd animal.
    Even the best of us are merely slightly less stupid, slightly less irrational, slightly less short sighted, slightly less selfserving, slightly less herd-oriented than the abysmal average.

    THAT is the problem.

    (* footnote) I mean that "insult" playfully, to highlight the deep cynicism of my own post by contrast to the more modest cynicism of your post.

  • Re:perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

    by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @06:58AM (#23348156) Homepage

    There's a hundred things in front of it that are more important. It's not like you'll die if you can't download videos for free. You've got to keep things in perspective.

    Let's put things into perspective then....

    The reason you have such a big uproar and draconian "IP" legislation being presented in the first place is because it is the only thing the US has left of its industry. Everything from steal to food production has been outsourced to the maximum extent possible. The dregs that are left behind are the service industries like McDonalds. The only thing in the US bigger than government grant of monopoly is government contracting which is another form of monopoly I won't go into here.

    That's why you see term extensions on the monopoly grant. That's why you see legislation proposing criminal prosecution instead of civil.

    A little off topic but related was the BRAC Commission hearings. I never saw so many congress critters crawl out of the woodwork as I did when they were proposing the closure of military bases. Again, it comes down to the US not having any real industry. Close the bases and watch whole towns dry up. It's the same with "IP".
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @09:41AM (#23349102) Homepage
    This is yet another means to "criminalize anyone". It's not about being able to
    pirate things, it's about the threat of accusation being dangerous enough to be
    used as an effective form of control and oppression.

    This is just the latest in a long line of similar measures like RICO, drug
    enforcement and non-crimes they use to grasp at someone they can't otherwise
    convict of some real crime (Capone,Stewart).
  • by KarmaOverDogma ( 681451 ) on Friday May 09, 2008 @10:09AM (#23349454) Homepage Journal
    "Look at how many politicians take money from anti-abortion groups in full knowledge that they can rant and rave about abortion, but the law is unlikely to change."

    I'm not sure you've looked at the makeup of SCOTUS, and their decisions, recently. They've moved in significant ways to the Right. Don't take my word for it - read for yourself:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/supreme_court/index.html?inline=nyt-org [nytimes.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States#Political_leanings [wikipedia.org]
    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42160 [ipsnews.net]
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Supreme_Court [sourcewatch.org]

    Many people seem to think laws are immutable. Often this is not the case, and if you think the abstract concept of "abortion rights" is set in stone, you may be in store for some surprises over the next 20 years.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.