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Other Tech the Senate Would Have Banned 264

An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago, Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch introduced the 'Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act' (COICA) bill, which was discussed here on Slashdot. The main part of the bill would allow the Justice Department to shut down websites that it deems are 'dedicated to infringing activities,' without a trial (due process is so old fashioned). Of course, in reviewing the bill, it's important to note that pretty much every new technology in the entertainment industry over the last century was deemed 'dedicated to infringing activities,' so here's a list of all of the technologies COICA would have banned in the past, including Hollywood itself, radio, cable television, the photocopier, the iPod and more."
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Other Tech the Senate Would Have Banned

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  • Don't worry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:21PM (#33714616)
    Don't worry they are now working on keeping us safe from video games.
    • Re:Don't worry (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jusdisgi ( 617863 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @03:57PM (#33715724)
      I never thought I'd see the day when a tech law would get better, more accurate coverage in the political press than the technical press, but COICA seems to have managed just that. See here. [talkingpointsmemo.com] Short story: this legislation replaces the existing federal authority granted in the 1934 Communications Act with a much narrower and better controlled authority. As such, it would pretty dramatically restrict the government's ability to shut down websites, not expand it. But hey...that's no reason to refrain from bashing the administration for being fascists, right?
  • by grub ( 11606 ) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:22PM (#33714620) Homepage Journal

    I remember reading a story years ago about cookbook publishers being up in arms when the Xerox machine came out.

    Their thinking was that the secretaries would be swapping recipes via photocopies and not buying cookbooks as a Good Citizen should.

  • I wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:23PM (#33714640)

    I wish I could have laws written to guaranty my profits, too.

    How dare you have a better product/service than me!
    Why should I listen to my customers? They have to buy it from me.

    • Re:I wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:54PM (#33715002)

      How does copyright 'guarantee profits' or prevent someone from having a better product? All copyright attempts to do is say 'if you want MY product, you get it from ME, on terms we agree on'. And make no mistake, the 'product' is the song, movie, story, etc, NOT the CD, DVD, or book it is contained on. You are perfectly free to make a 'better' song, movie, or book than me.

      • Re:I wish... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @03:00PM (#33715058)

        You are perfectly free to make a 'better' song, movie, or book than me.

        unless of course the better one is merely a massively improved version of your song, movie, or book

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          So is my contribution to your new work vital or not? If it is, is there any reason you should not get my permission to use it? If my contribution is not vital to your new work, remove it and you owe me nothing.

        • That would be a gray area to be improved in current law, rather than a reason to abolish copyright law altogether.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Except for when overly broad copyright means you are potentially infringing regardless of what you create.
        If three notes are enough to infringe upon a song, it is functionally impossible to make new, non-infringing songs. Similar arguments can be made about other fields.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I am sure you do.
      Why should I have to pay for food. It grows on trees.

      Really I do not like DRM at all but this fantasy that the cost to produce software, music, movies, tv shows, and books is pure fantasy.
      The cost to duplicate them is pretty low but the actual cost to produce them is significant.

      And you do not have to buy the content from them. You will not die without it. You are just not free to take it.

      Don't get me wrong. The cost of DVDs, CDs, and EBooks is way too high.
      But they also do not have to be

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The problem is not the people "Creating" the stuff.
        Its the people making money from it for money's sake.

        -They get laws written to extension a monopoly beyond reasonable terms. (Copyright extension act)
        -They use "Hollywood accounting" to defraud people who helped to create the "work"
        -They kill 1st-sale-doctrine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine)with DRM and time limited ownership.
        -They get the "work" broadcasted and expect everybody to drop everything to listen/watch the broadcast. We could r

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          Well several sites let you stream it with commercials for free. Hulu and TV.com
          DVDs didn't have rootkits that was CDs and I do agree DRM sucks. If I pay for the DVD I should have the option to rip it and make a backup.

          But the legal and ethical choice is to not watch it if you don't like how they are selling it.
          Just taking it show that it does have value to you. So much value that you will break the law to get it.
          That means to get the max profit they need to not drop the price but increase the penalties.

        • -PAY for iTune$/Netflick$/etc

          You're lucky, if I want to obey the law I have to use proxies to pretend I'm in the US. Of course, I suppose that might technically be breaking some US laws (from what I've gathered it's perfectly legal here in .se). Now, if the content providers would stop being dicks we might actually be able to get some video on the iTunes store which isn't the "iTunes University".

          Well, there are swedish TV shows on various channels' websites but if I am willing to pay to watch US shows I can't since the content provider

    • The one good thing (in a backhanded way) about this article is that it offers the hope that someday, this stupid bullshit they're putting us through will just be a ridiculous and unsuccessful attempt by companies to overthrow reason.

      A day when all these people have shouted themselves hoarse and have moved on to pick on someone else, or maybe have just died out of natural causes. A day when the people in charge of legislating the internet aren't in the dark about what it is anymore.

      Not that there won't stil

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:25PM (#33714664) Journal

    And certainly more useful than a "don't burn the flag" amendment:

    Amendment ___ - Strike the clause "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    Replace with "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for Two Decades to Authors and Inventors the revocable Privilege to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by airfoobar ( 1853132 )
      Alas, that clause is already optional in the constitution. Congress has the power to scale down or revoke that privilege, if they think it no longer serves its intended purpose. If Congress really cared about the welfare of the people rather than filling their pockets with lobbyist money, they'd be phasing copyright out instead of extending it.
      • by croddy ( 659025 )
        GP's diff puts a hard time limit on the protections and redefines them as revocable privileges. It's a significant improvement to the original line.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        ...they'd be phasing copyright out instead of extending it.

        I disagree. I think putting Copyright back to its original terms would be perfect:

        The first federal copyright act, the Copyright Act of 1790 granted copyright for a term of "fourteen years from the time of recording the title thereof", with a right of renewal for another fourteen years if the author survived to the end of the first term

        Source [wikipedia.org].

        It's plenty of time for one to reap the rewards of their time and effort.

        There are some people who make their living (some very good livings) from creating and I wouldn't want them to get corporate jobs:

        David Attenborough, David McCullough, Ken Burns, Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Chapelle, most of the authors for the New Yorker, and it goes on.....

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          How many of those works are still making a significant profit for their creators after 14 years? 28? With the exception of novels, and possibly painting reproductions, a creative work has a shelf life of single-digit years. And even in those two cases, the average shelf life is pretty short; the ones that continue to turn a profit for decades are few and far between. Yet we deprive the public domain of these works that might otherwise see a resurgence in popularity under the false assumption that they m

      • Lately, the entirety of the Constitution has been optional.

    • .. which would be followed by an additional 'regulation' that a 'Decade' is now equal to 100 years...
  • by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:30PM (#33714718)
    We have 2 wars, 10-20% unemployment, poverty, bad health care system, etc. But let's deal with copyright infringement for the wealthy. Everything else can be fixed later.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KillaGouge ( 973562 )
      unforutinetly the wealthy are the ones lining Congress' pockets, so of course Congress is going to do what they want. As bad as it sounds, they don't much care about unemployment because the unemployed don't contribute to their lifestyles.
      • by trapnest ( 1608791 ) <janusofzeal@gmail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:51PM (#33714954)
        But if those unemployed had jobs they'd be paying more taxes...
        • by nwf ( 25607 )

          But if those unemployed had jobs they'd be paying more taxes...

          Which does nothing to help them get reelected. People just barely making it aren't going to contribute significant amounts of money to a campaign, so they are largely irrelevant.

        • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
          Congressional income from taxpayer money is a fixed amount. They make $X per year to be a member of Congress... regardless of how good or bad the economy is doing. They get kickbacks and campaign donations which supplements their income from PACs and businesses and lobbyists.
          • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

            You seem to have a rather interesting misapprehension of how campaign finance works.

            The campaign contributions are not personal income and cannot be used as such but only for campaign purposes. For the most part, personal money is also excluded from being used for campaign purposes although every once in a while some self-funded candidate comes along and a lot of news is about how they are doing. Self-funded folks rarely win.

            • How strictly are these "campaign purposes" defined? Does pay for my:

              "Meeting with advisers" that just happened to be held at my favorite 5 star restaurant?

              My fact-finding junket to a resort? You know, a chartered jet might be needed in order for me to meet appointments for campaign stops...

              Wardrobe? Haircut?

              While it's ain't personal income, it does get me things that are VERY nice for me personally.

            • You seem to have a rather interesting misapprehension of how campaign finance ACTUALLY works.

              Where exactly does all the money go? Congressmen are apparently campaigning all the time. Even better, they "hire" family members and closely related business entities and "purchase" services from them.

              Its all complete bullshit. Our congressmen are being legally bribed all the time right in front of our faces. The faster people start realizing that fact, the faster we can outlaw all "donations" to any elect

        • But if those unemployed had jobs they'd be paying more taxes...

          As long as there are unemployed people competing for jobs, you can pay your workers much lower wages. Corporations LOVE high unemployment figures. Not to mention the military.

    • Democrat Congress:

      Same as the former Republican Congress but different corporate masters (military versus Hollywood). Either way we individuals get squashed.

    • Don't forget, they'll have to pass the bill [youtube.com] to find out what's in it!

  • when law meets technology, law bends, not technology. sure, the law can do a lot of damage, but technological progress is inevitable. at the very worst, if an insane amount of effort went into keeping society stuck in the past, even if they were somehow practically enforceable, other societies would vault ahead of the usa

    the obvious benefits of progress would be seen in the other country and become envy. the threat the technology posed would be seen as sham, and the benefits would be clear: those other soci

    • Yet nerds are always heated up about privacy eroding technologies. Not to mention weapons. And drugs. And corruption in the financial industry.

      • I wouldn't mind if I could think of some way to steal back the Money the corporations stole from the taxpayers in the first place

      • Nerds are always heated up about weapons? I must have missed the memo on that one. Now if you meant we're annoyed at how difficult it is to legally purchase a firearm in certain states then I would certainly agree...
    • All electrically powered devices are meant to infringe copyright! Ban Electricity! But wait, electricity can also be used to execute infringers in the chair, oh what a conundrum...
    • when law meets technology, law bends, not technology. sure, the law can do a lot of damage, but technological progress is inevitable.

      There is no such thing as "technological progress". As a technique becomes more effective in the setting that it is in, it inevitably becomes less effective in every other setting, which means that as the external circumstances change, which they inevitably do, the technique becomes defunct.

      "The Legal System" is a perfect example. "The Financial System" is another. The
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Stargoat ( 658863 )

      Let's not forget that Orrin Hatch makes a habit of trying to legislate against technology. This is the same douchebag that a few years ago proposed blowing up all computers that illegally downloaded music.

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:34PM (#33714758)
    In case anybody might have forgotten, Senator Hatch was a strong supporter of computer built-in self-destruct mechanisms that the music industry could have activated remotely on a whim: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/930731/posts [freerepublic.com]
    • by croddy ( 659025 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:38PM (#33714802)
      Orrin Hatch is one of the most deeply corrupt enemies of copyright reform in the history of copyright. Thankfully he has not been able to obtain a level of power sufficient to fully support his comically evil campaign of unconstitutional kickbacks to big media.
      • I would say he sold his soul to the dark forces of evil in exchange of political clout except he clearly lacks such a gift, most likely because he never had a soul to begin with.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      He is in favor of whatever his corporate masters want. They bought him with the bribes that are called campaign contributions.

  • "Dedicated to infringing activities" sounds like it should be the motto of Congress. Bring it on.
  • If anyone remembered the legal battles Diamond had to fight against the RIAA to keep the Rio PMP 300 in production, it is a miracle we have MP3 players at all.

    After the RIAA vs. Diamond fight, every player out there had some form of DRM [1], at the minimum something to keep people from copying music from the device to the computer. Some players had a proprietary application. Others encrypted the music with a key only that player had when it was copied.

    Eventually this was dropped. Creative put out version

  • A couple of years from now Senator Hatch will be history. He has been in there far too long, and is flaky on any number of issues such as this one. It is nearly a foregone conclusion that his party members in the state of Utah are going to dump him for somebody new when he is up for re-election in 2012, someone certainly more libertarian in character. Rep. Jason Chaffetz for example.

  • cable tv?? they where taking a free OTA feed and putting it on the cable line and for some people that was the way to ota as some people did not get a good ota signal and you where paying for the cable systems line and there antenna. Some people where able to get the same stuff for if they put up there own ota antenna at there own cost.

    later came the non OTA pay stuff (some area had uhf scrambled tv before areas got cable)

    also back then you where about to get C-BAND and get lots of free stuff but you had to

    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      I would have cheered any decision that eliminated the possibility of cable TV companies taking OTA signals and charging for them as was done in the 1970s and 1980s. The concept of engaging munipalities in a "franchise contract" that enforced a monopoly position of the cable company is also a somewhat silly idea.

      We are now in a situation because of this where after the digital TV conversion it is impossible to receive decent signals in many rural and semi-rural places in the US. Your only choices are satel

  • How about banning Government Institutions that hamper the exchange of ideas, commerce, and other items leading to a healthy economy?
  • Maybe they can use this to ban gawd-awful movie knock-offs...
  • by samjam ( 256347 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @03:31PM (#33715414) Homepage Journal

    the trial is the process by which they discover if the website 'dedicated to infringing activities' and not just the subject of whining or attack by commercial rivals.

  • Sad reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @03:40PM (#33715520) Homepage Journal

    It's amazing, every second story on /. is about how the government is trying to take away more and more Liberties and Freedoms that are intrinsic to the people and even those that are granted by amendments in a more specific way and I argue [slashdot.org] that this [slashdot.org] is what [slashdot.org] is wrong [slashdot.org] with the governments [slashdot.org] but over [slashdot.org] and over [slashdot.org] people fight [slashdot.org] me on this here, completely missing the point that they are less Free with every bill that the government passes, they are staring right at it and cannot see it, I do not understand this, but I understand that if even on /. this is the general attitude, then in the rest of the population this has to be even more pronounced, so basically nothing will change, people want to be controlled and punished and ruled by tyrants. People have decided this is what they need, it's sad.

  • by SirAstral ( 1349985 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @06:50PM (#33717436)

    As it turns out in a recent study the human brain can be used with the assistance of Vision, Touch, Auditory, Olfactory, and Taste organs to duplicate all manor of infringing copyrighted/patented technologies!

    We should JUST BAN THE BRAIN!

    O wait... congress has apparently already done that!

Air is water with holes in it.