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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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  • Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theCoder ( 23772 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:21AM (#25176603) Homepage Journal

    This is outrageous! I don't think I can vote for the Senator running for president that voted for that bill that goes completely the wrong way on copyright reform, so I guess I'll have to vote for

    The Senate vote was unanimous


    I wonder if any of the third party candidates opposed this bill...

  • Term Limits (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:34AM (#25176655)
    Yes, its off-topic, but its not.

    Its time we start organizing a push to get Term Limits pushed into law.

    6 terms for the House (12 years total)
    3 terms for the Senate (18 years total)
    Then once they are done, get OUT of politics, or find a new office to run for (President, etc.) I'm a Conservative... and I see the need for this on *both* sides of the aisle.

    Maybe if we start cycling the people in there, we can rid ourselves of some of the imbeded morons who lose touch with real people, real life, and force them to, oh, I don't know, get a real job and not expect us to support them for the rest of their lives.
  • A few of the problems with the U.S. Congress: 1) Insufficient understanding or caring about the issues. 2) Hidden agendas. 3) Blatant corruption. 4) Passing laws quickly, without allowing debate. 5) Writing laws so that it is difficult to understand their implications. 6) Combining good legislation with bad, so that the bad will pass. 7) Providing descriptions that present laws as different from their true purpose.

    An example of number 3 was removing the regulations that required banks to have assets similar to their liabilities, with the understanding that taxpayers would pay for the resulting bankruptcies.

    Another example of number 3 was removing the regulations that required savings and loan [] organizations to have sufficient assets to cover their loans, with the understanding that taxpayers would pay for the resulting bankruptcies.
  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j AT ww DOT com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @08:57AM (#25176737) Homepage

    If you don't know who runs the USA after today then you're simply blind: Corporations are the real government.

  • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stupido ( 1353737 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:03AM (#25176763)

    Given that the US economy is moving away from the production of physical goods, and embracing IP production more and more, it should come as no surprise that the state got more involved in policing IP "theft".

    I bet this is going to get advertised as another law to "save the US economy".

  • Re:Huurah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:05AM (#25176777) Journal
    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.
  • by bogjobber ( 880402 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:08AM (#25176783)

    Thankfully this isn't that terrible of a bill with that ridiculous idea stripped out, but it was completely unnecessary. Our country is falling down around us, and they're worried about copyright infringement.

    The only thing Democrats and Republicans can come together on is selling their constituents' rights for a few pennies.

  • by Kilz ( 741999 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:14AM (#25176807)

    "So while the method sucks... isn't this actually a reasonable place for government action, you know, in enforcing the law?"

    The simple answer is... NO. While it is a good idea to punish commercial exploitation of copyright. Punishing end users only makes matters worse. That so many people are breaking this law points to the fact that it is unjust. Unjust laws should be removed, not reinforced. An example of this is Prohibition. Consuming Alcohol was against the law, but no one followed the law. The government saw eventually that the law was unjust because so many broke it, and it was removed.
    Should they have lined up all those that drank a beer and shot them and took their homes?

  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:27AM (#25176899) Homepage Journal

    It won't matter, because the ones that get voted in will still be Republicans & Democrats. I swear mainstream voters are *just* like abused spouses who just keep coming back for more beatings. It'd be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.

  • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:29AM (#25176913)

    I prefer to call it data rather than IP. It draws attention to the fundamental nature of the product.

  • Re:Huurah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @09:59AM (#25177073)

    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.

    You wish. Every time any nation ups the ante with a more restrictive and draconian copyright law, everyone else (except China) jumps on the bandwagon to "harmonize". Nothing brings out the spirit of "international cooperation" like Disney Dollars.

  • We are screwed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:10AM (#25177125) Homepage Journal

    Yet more proof that government is for the corporation, not the people. Too bad by the time the average joe is effected by this it will be far too late.

    I will be willing to bet this is not the only thing that slips thru the side door while everyone watches the banking fiasco. ( like the automotive bailout...)

  • Done Deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:11AM (#25177141) Homepage Journal

    No, but its pretty damned close. And if you don't try to do anything about it today, it might as well be.

  • by wellingj ( 1030460 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @10:45AM (#25177339)
    Doesn't that make the obvious solution to legislate against those undesireable actions? As far as I'm concerned all these nanny laws should just go away. If you can do something without hurting another person righty, body, or property (or government property) then I say there is not crime. Preventative laws restrict the freedom of the individual and alway punish every one for undesirable action that might occur. It's that undesirable action that "might occur" that should be legislated against, not any other action that could lead up to the undesireable action.
  • Re:Voting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by strabes ( 1075839 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:02AM (#25177431)
    I hope your comment isn't serious and I wasted my time writing this comment, because if it is, nearly everything in it is entirely wrong and bass ackwards.

    First, your comment about âoewe'll do laissez-faireâ but penalize you and tax you, blah blah blah, is ridiculous. Clearly taxes, quotas, and tariffs are not laissez faire.

    The arguments against outsourcing and for protective tariffs are a total joke. They necessarily rest on the faulty mercantilist assumption that there is a fixed amount of labor in the world and when a company outsources labor to another country, US consumers are just that much worse off. I'll address that imaginary problem of eliminating âoeinternal jobsâ later. Regardless, when one argues that outsourcing is bad and tariffs are good, one is unquestionably arguing that it is 1) better for US consumers to pay higher prices for their goods than they otherwise would, and 2) that US workers should work in less-productive jobs than they otherwise would. Both of these will be explained and argued against in the quote from a book I have copied below.

    The two largest reasons why people like yourself favor ridiculous economic legislation like high tariffs are that 1) you only look at the immediate consequences of the legislation, and 2) you clearly do not have a background in economics. Sure, tariffs help prevent foreign competition in US markets. This is good for the US producers of the product. However, it also keeps prices higher for US consumers, and keeps people employed in underproductive, less-than-competitive firms.

    Every dollar over the world price that US consumers have to pay for a product is another dollar that they don't have to buy other items. For example, say China was producing sweaters for $25 and the US sweater industry produced them for $30. There is a protective tariff on foreign sweaters to allow US producers to compete. Now suppose the tariff is repealed. I'll quote directly from Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson:

    "The tariff is repealed; the manufacturer goes out of business; a thousand workers are laid off; the particular tradesmen whom they patronized are hurt. This is the immediate result that is seen. But there are also results which, while much more difficult to trace, are no less immediate and no less real. For now sweaters that formerly cost retail $30 apiece can be bought for $25. Consumers can now buy the same quality of sweater for less money, or a much better one for the same money. If they buy the same quality of sweater, they not only get the sweater, but they have $5 left over, which they would not have had under the previous conditions, to buy something else. With the $25 that they pay for the imported sweater they help employment-as the American manufacturer no doubt predicted-in the sweater industry in England. With the $5 left over they help employment in any number of other industries in the UNited States. But the results do not end there. By buying English sweaters they furnish the English with dollars to buy American goods here. This, in fact (if I may here disregard such complications as fluctuating exchange rates, loans, credits, etc.) is teh only way in which the British can eventually make use of these dollars. Because we have permitted the British to sell more to us, they are now able to buy more from us if their dollar balances are not to remain perpetually unused. So as a result of letting in more British goods, we must export more American goods. And although fewer people are now employed in the American sweater industry, more people are employed-and much more efficiently empoloyed-in, say, the American washing-machine or aircraft-building business. American employment on net balance has not gone down, but American and British production on net balance has gone up. Labor in each country is more fully employed in doing just those things that it does best, instead of being force to do things that it does inefficiently or badly. Consumers in both countries are better off. They are able to
  • Re:Voting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orasio ( 188021 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:03AM (#25177437) Homepage

    Then you don't think you need a truly free economy. You just want the regulations to be where you like them. And want to remove the regulations that do not affect you, or that you don't undestand.
    I also believe that if my government didn't spend so much money on health, they would have the money to give me a nice gift at the end of the year.

  • Copying Madonna (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:21AM (#25177543)

    doesn't cause two cars to crash.

    Talk about extreme hyberbole.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday September 27, 2008 @11:23AM (#25177549) Journal

    And let us not forget these laws are being made up by the same folks who say ripping your purchased cd to your iPod is illegal []. You see,this isn't about "teh evil piratez",this is about getting you conditioned to pay over and over and OVER again for the same crap.

    I'm sorry I can't find the link from the studio head(I believe BMI) who said music should be pay per use,just like the old days of jukeboxes. Sadly,the guy was actually serious. Is that what you really want,a CC slot in your iPod so you can pay every time you want to hear a song? Maybe add a CC slot to your radio too? And don't think it can't happen,because our "How much money? Really?" whores in congress would sell out their own mothers for a fat enough check.

    If EVERYONE is breaking your law then the law needs to be changed,PERIOD. Or did that "We,the people" part get changed to "We,the corporation" while I wasn't looking? Of course now that they are privatizing prisons this could turn into a win/win for the corps. They can rig the laws for themselves all they want,and when the people naturally break them because they are oppressive,they get paid by the state to warehouse them. Must be good to rule everything.

  • by DaveWick79 ( 939388 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:01PM (#25177749)

    The only people that seem to be horribly affected by this is the people who seem to think it is ok to share copyrighted materials with as many people as want them, and they want to be immune from being prosecuted for their activities. This bill doesn't necessarily affect the legality of what they are doing, it stiffens the penalties.

    In order to sidestep the entire issue, the recording industry should lower prices on all the various forms of audio and video media, make them more affordable to the general public and more available via online services. They would sell more, keeping profits rolling in, while lessening the widespread consumer file sharing because of the affordability. Sell mp3's for 15 cents each and CD's for $5. Alot of people do this because it's simply too expensive to buy all of their favorite music. How much would it cost to fill up that 4GB Ipod with legit CD's? Assuming you could fit somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 songs on there, that's $800 at Itunes. What if you could do it for under $100? I think alot of people would go for that.

  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:14PM (#25177831) Homepage

    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.

    No, it was Carter, who lifted rate caps and and upped FSLIC coverage to 100% for the S&L's...

    No, wait... it was Nixon monkeying with the gold standard....

    No, it was Johnson mortgaging our future with uncontrolled government spending...

    Hold on.... I think I've spotted a pattern....

    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.

    Damn straight!

  • Re:Voting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @12:17PM (#25177863) Homepage

    A free, unregulated economy above a certain size is almost guaranteed to degrade into monopolies. This is not just my assessment, but that of Adam Smith, founder of a lot of the principles of free-market capitalism.

    Take for example the privitization of water in Argentina. The capital outlay is heavy enough that nobody else can afford to do it, or if they did they would have little chance of recouping. However, the water company in Argentina is by far one of the most profitable institutions in the country, nearly doubling monthly fees since their tenure. If there wasn't government regulation, that company could then enter into new markets with the hook that "if you sell anything other
    than our beef, we won't provide water." This is exactly the tactic that Microsoft took in the mid 90's to prevent computer manufacturers from working with the other (many times superior) operating systems on the market at the time.

    Taking it a step further, a "Truly Free" economy is indistinguishable from the anarchy that exists in a power vacuum, and which quickly degrades into feudal warlordism.

    Oh, but you'd have regulations against use of force, improperly leveraging monopolies, properly labeling items, adhering to contracts, etc, etc, etc. And that of course all requires regulatory bodies, police force, civillian treaties for non-lethan enforcement, additional regulatory bodies to form and enact those civillian treaties, etc. As orasio mentioned, you can't have a "Truly free economy" without a hell of a lot of regulatory institutions. Otherwise, what would prevent me from saying "I'll insure your house against hurricanes," taking all of the money for personal use, and abandoning everyone when the first hurricane came along? Or becoming the head of an established bank, taking everyone's deposits, and heading for the Cayman islands?

    As my father liked to say (in more colorful language), we're no longer arguing about if you're a communist, but just haggling over degrees.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday September 27, 2008 @04:54PM (#25179549)
    I prefer to call it data rather than IP. It draws attention to the fundamental nature of the product.

    It draws attention away from the true nature of the product.

    WALL-E does not begin as a pre-existing stream of numbers but as the collective effort of about 400 artists and craftsman working on a budget of $180 million dollars.

    That does not happen - that never happens - unless the studio and its financial backers see a reasonable expectation of profit.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) * on Saturday September 27, 2008 @04:59PM (#25179593)
    This stuff should be really obvious to you. I don't even know why I'm wasting my time posting this on slashdot, because I know you're all going to hate it.

    It is obvious. The problem is, short-sighted individuals such as yourself don't have the bigger picture, don't seem to grasp the reason copyright was implemented in this country (although the Constitution lays it out in pretty clear English), and most of all don't realize that the power of copyright has been conscripted to benefit the few over the many. That is diametrically opposed to both the Founders' intentions and Constitutional law ... if you can't see that then I have no choice but to believe you're either ignorant of the topic, or a paid shill. Regardless, you're right about one thing: we're all going to hate you.

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