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House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act" 235

An anonymous reader writes "This week the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the 'Informed P2P User Act' and has sent it along to the full House for consideration. The bill, which appears to have heavy support on both sides of the political fence, simply states that P2P software must not install extra software or prevent users from removing it, in addition to being 'clear and conspicuous' about which files are being shared and getting user consent to share them. 'Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the powerful committee chairman, opened the markup session by warning about "the danger of inadvertent sharing of sensitive information through the use, or misuse, of certain file sharing programs. Tax returns, medical files, and even classified government documents have been found on these networks. The purpose of H.R. 1319 is to reduce inadvertent disclosures of sensitive information by making the users of this software more aware of the risks involved."'"
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House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act"

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  • Spill the beans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:15PM (#29618719)
    Ok, so who funded this bill and why?
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:16PM (#29618733) Homepage Journal

    Do sftpd and Windows File Sharing count? The bill better be carefully worded or the law of unintended consequences and vendors screaming "waitaminuteididn'tknowmyproductqualified" will be the end result.

  • Mod parent up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:17PM (#29618741) Homepage Journal

    Yeh, that's the important point. Why not just ban spyware, period?

  • by exabrial ( 818005 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:26PM (#29618883)
    I guess the bill shows the fundamental lack of understanding of who makes these programs... But since we're making a wishlist, I think they should consider amending the bill to also:

    Outlaw neighbor's kids on your lawn
    Calling of mean names during recess
    Impose regulations on which kids may be beat up on the bus, replacing the current "smallest kid" freemarket system.
    Legalize marijuana and outlaw Light Beer.
    Outlaw poverty, unhappiness, debt, bad driving and excessively loud cheering at football games.

    did I miss anything?
  • Re:Spill the beans (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:29PM (#29618935) Homepage Journal

    I'd like to know why an "informed P2P users act" doesn't do anything to inform the downloader if the material is ok to download. There are literally hundreds of songs named Scatterbrain. Some are RIAA-label copyrighted, some are indie copyrighted and you have permission to share, some are GPL, and some have been put in the public domain. Of the three kinds of songs only one is illegal to share. So if I ask for "scatterbrain" and it returns five hundred instances of "scatterbrain.mp3", I should have the right to know which 3 out of 4 files is OK to download.

    With me it's a moot point, as on the rare occasions I download a song it doesn't go into a shared folder, so it's not going to be re-shared, but if I use a torrent I really don't have this protection.

    Technologically infeasable, you say? Then simple, make all noncommercial copying to be non-infringing. Make the record companies stop pretending to "sell" music and go back to selling physical objects: CDs with cover art and liner notes with a higher sound quality than MP3s.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:36PM (#29619035) Journal

    So is spyware is already "banned" by privacy laws, why do we need this separate P2P legislation? Sorry I can't help being skeptical. The Patriot Act included things nobody knew about, and discovered later after passage, and I'm wondering if this P2P bill has similar "gotchas" hidden inside of it. Like:

    - "We caught you P2Ping the latest Linux distro. Per U.S. law we are required to suspend your account until you agree not to use P2P." - MSN

  • Re:Ummmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:36PM (#29619039) Homepage

    Just because you have multiple problems, doesn't mean you have to tackle them one at a time. Several of the early file sharing apps were intentionally vague, because they figured more content == popularity so they tried to let users share as much as possible with as little effort as possible, hidden away in defaulted checkboxes or EULAs. As usual the legislation is very late though, this might have been useful around napster, kazaa and edonkey but these days most tools are a lot more serious. Not to mention torrents, that don't really have the problem at all. I guess it's just another way of trying to kill off the authors of P2P tools to kill P2P, not that it will be more successful than the last 34234 attempts.

  • Re:Ulterior motive? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:46PM (#29619155)

    This is of course, only possible if the writers of P2P software actually give two hoots about the bill.....

    Yeah, it's like expecting a terrorist to care his car bomb is taking up two parking spaces.

  • Re:Liar, Liar. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:11PM (#29619495) Homepage Journal

    Translation: Installers should come with uninstallers. We need a law for this?

    Since installers DO need uninstallers and many software houses either don't provide an uninstaller, or provide one that doesn't work, I'd say HELL YES. The law should not protect me from myself, but it SHOULD protect me from YOU.

    Anyone try uninstalling Norton Antivirus lately?

    I think a lot of folks would love to see their CEO and board in jail. If a law mandating effective uninstallers were passed, you'd see an easily removable Norton in record time.

    Can I expect federal pound me in the ass prison time for all the Norton executives? No? Why -- oh, right... they're rich.

    Then stop voting for candidates funded by the rich (i.e., Democrats and Republicans) and start voting for candidates from the other three major parties. And tell al your friends, relatives, and drunks at your neighborhood bar. Wringing your hands and saying "oh noes" isn't going to change anything.

  • Aimed at Freenet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acid06 ( 917409 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:42PM (#29619843)
    Apparently, this bill is actually aimed at things such as the Freenet Project [].
    On Freenet, you actually don't know what is stored on your own computer (and thus, what you're sharing) as everything is encrypted.
    Apparently, this effectively outlaws Freenet.
  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pinckney ( 1098477 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:31PM (#29620365)

    IANAL, but I don't think it applies because Freenet isn't a "a program, application, or software that is commercially marketed or distributed to the public."

    Furthermore, my understanding is that Freenet stores the shared files in a single, encrypted file. Shared files are not stored within the host filesystem, correct? Then it need only notify the user that the encrypted file it uses will be shared, without necessarily notifying the user of the contents. Uploads to Freenet are accomplished with independent software that requires initiation by the user, and is therefore not covered by this law.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury