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US Senate Passes PRO-IP Act 212

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Senate has passed the PRO-IP Act. While they stripped out the provision to have the DoJ act as copyright cops, it still contains increased penalties for infringement, civil forfeiture provisions, and creates an 'IP czar' to coordinate enforcement. Even though the civil forfeiture provisions are ostensibly intended for use against commercial piracy outfits, history indicates that they will probably get used against individuals at some point. Worse, because they left out the only part of the bill that Bush threatened to veto, it is expected to pass. It is going back to the House where they're expected to pass it on Saturday, after which the President will probably sign it. So, if you want to contact your representative, hurry." An anonymous reader notes that DefectiveByDesign.Org is mobilizing to fight this legislation. The Senate vote was unanimous. We've been following the progress of this bill for quite some time.
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US Senate Passes PRO-IP Act

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  • Re:Huurah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by nipoez ( 828346 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:34AM (#25176939)

    I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA. It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.

    I presume, then, that you missed the portion of the law creating five positions for "International Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinators"? Their sole goal will be convincing other countries to adopt similar legislation.

  • Re:Voting (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:44AM (#25176983)

    The Senate vote was unanimous

    Not exactly true. It was passed by unanimous consent, which means that nobody who might have decided to vote against it actually cared enough to participate in the process.

  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:45AM (#25176997) Journal

    I'm not an expert on the subject, but it looks like the summary doesn't match the article.

    The summary says the new bill leaves out a section that might have brought a presidental veto, but the article says that the part that the president might take issue with, the creation of a "Copyright Czar" within the White House, was left IN the bill but that a veto is unlikely.

    The summary also says that the bill has passed the senate, but I can't find a record of that in THOMAS [loc.gov] anywhere, just that the AMENDMENTS to the bill were unanimously approved and that the bill itself is scheduled to be voted on soon. Nothing has passed anything yet; there's no congressional voting record available.

    This is an important piece of legislation, I know it is, but the summary makes it sound like this is a done deal when it's absolutely not. Some rudimentary fact-checking would've killed ya?

    (and no, I'm not new here.)

  • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:55AM (#25177049)


    Sorry, eh? For what? At least it makes it easier for me to know who to disagree with: they start out by apologizing. The Constitution give Congress the power to legislate copyright and patent laws to encourage useful arts and sciences. I can't see how this law will result in increased artistic and technological production and innovation. So I guess you don't get much respect from me either -- oh, and "sorry". Now go cry like a toddler yourself.

  • Re:Voting (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:14AM (#25177155)

    The problem with a "truly free economy" from what I have gathered is that when people start discribing how to set up such a system, they do not take into account that as economic entities increase in stregth, they also increase in governmental influence, directly and indirectly. And, will inevitably, begin to "regulate" the market in their favor and to the detriment to any possible competition, no matter the merits and viability of that competition.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:42AM (#25177331) Homepage Journal
    It's not your guy, it's every guy! Reagan really started the ball rolling on the deregulation that is one of the reasons we're in this mess now. But the Democrats have been more than happy to suck at the teat of the taxpayer while enriching their own cronies. Get rid of them all is what I'm saying.

    Sure it's most likely that a democrat or republican will get in behind them, but the longer they stay in Congress the more corrupt they get. A lot of the freshmen congressmen go in with the idea that they will somehow change things. After three or four terms they're getting their share of the pie, just like everyone else. Keep rotating them out before we get to that point and we'll be better off. Give some third parties a shot and getting in there and we'll be better off. I'm not saying we should vote with any party affiliations. I'm saying that we should vote against the guy in there, even if he's our party. And we should keep doing that until Congress serves us again, not the other way around.

    As for the presidential candidate this time around, I don't think either of the two major parties really deserves my vote, though I'm absolutely terrified of the idea of Sarah Palin being one stroke away from the presidency. If it weren't for that, I'd cast my vote for a third party.

  • Re:Huurah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:45AM (#25177341)

    I'm fine with it as long as this sort of thing stays in the USA.

    It'll just make other countries relatively more competitive.

    Depending on which country you're in, you may or may not be fine.

    Europe will probably enact similar legislation 5-10 years down the line as a European law. Expect corresponding laws in EU member states to ratify these on a per-country basis after another 2-3 years.

    For many parts of Africa, "being less competitive than the US" is the least of their problems.

    For the middle East, any countries the US considers even remotely likely to become an economic threat may expect diplomatic measures and/or cluster bombs. If there's oil involved, you can confidently expect the diplomatic bit to be bypassed.

    Regarding the far East, many countries are already far more competitive than the US and the US is buying so much from there that they can neither bomb you nor enact economic sanctions without causing themselves more harm than good.

    In terms of major areas, this leaves South America, Canada, Australia and the poles. I don't know enough about any of these regions to comment.

  • by Tatsh ( 893946 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:51AM (#25177371)

    and all I got was this stinkin'...

    Anyway, here is the real letter:

    Please vote no on the 'PRO-IP Act'. This act is nothing but a provision to protect businesses who cannot adapt with our 'digital age' and will not accept that they need to create new products and not 're-hash' the same content every 10 years.

    Consider the film industry. What are they up to now? They keep moving formats, each time simply because one may contain a better form of DRM. Both new formats for physical media, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, have DRM (digital rights management, a scheme to protect content from easily being copied by the average person) built-in that was stronger than DVD's protection. Regardless, as citizens, we are asking for our fair use rights back more than anything else, and the repeal of the DMCA. Now the MPAA as a whole has switched to BluRay in the hopes that such DRM will keep the money 'flowing in'. I, and many others, refuse to buy such a media even if we like the content. Secondly, we refuse to watch the content at all.

    Every other industry is now similar, and they are simply placing the blame on 'pirates'. EA Games has implemented a DRM scheme where we may purchase their game, but only install it a total of 5 times, and each time will be accounted for because the installations will be verified on-line. After that, especially when such a product is not on the shelves any more, what is a fully law-abiding citizen to do?

    It is nothing but a waste of tax money to have more resources in the government trying to keep these failing business models alive. Good businesses would adapt to the market properly, making new products, better products, understanding the customer needs, and certainly NOT treating the customers as criminals before they have even done anything 'illegal' (this is what they assume, since they use DRM so unwittingly and hardly give consumers warning).

    Most citizens are going to agree that so-called 'street pirates' should be given punishment, including myself. That is the large difference. This bill has a provision for that, but it seems as though it could easily be used for individuals who are not making any money from 'pirates', who I cannot see as doing anything that is hurting these industries.

    If RIAA head Mitch Bainwol has called the legislation "music to the ears of all those who care about strengthening American creativity and jobs," he really means that it will further allow the RIAA to enforce more DRM on their potential customers, while most are far too undereducated on the topic to know what is really going on. They buy a CD that may contain protection, or download a music file from a store, but what is almost NEVER labelled clearly is that such a medium is protected from fair use (i.e. making a backup copy).

    What is here to replace the failing business models? Non-failing ones. We have the Internet, a place where people can publish their music (charge money or not) without ever having to go through a major publisher such as Warner. And same for films. While many will say much of Youtube is a waste, many people are gaining recognition. Monetary? Hardly, but they are happy with being known 'out there', just as a film star celebrity.

    Tell the industries who want this law passed that they need to handle their business in ways that help and strengthen their relationships with their customers, not weaken them, just because a law says that they can do so, and please vote no under all circumstances.

    Thank you

    Everyone else please contact your Congressman/Congresswoman! Even a sentence or two can make the difference between not writing anything at all.

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