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Embed a Video, Go To Jail? 314

An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago, Slashdot had a post about the new bill in Congress to make streaming infringing videos a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail if just 10 people watch the video. As more details come out, the bill keeps looking worse and worse, as it appears that the definitions used in the bill would mean that merely embedding or linking to an infringing YouTube video could put you on the hook for jail time. Obviously, supporters of the bill insist that's not who will be targeted with this bill, but just the fact that they could be should be worrisome enough. We've seen other laws 'misused' in the past."
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Embed a Video, Go To Jail?

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  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:36AM (#36319176)

    Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

    Is this the new War on Drugs or something?

  • by Tsingi ( 870990 ) <graham.rick@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:41AM (#36319252)
    What it boils down to, is they can send you to jail if they want to. This is just another hook to let the man fuck you over if you not play the game like a good little plebe.
  • by plunderscratch ( 2169382 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:41AM (#36319266)

    Whatever happened to our Constitutional protection from cruel and unjust punishments?

    Is this the new War on Drugs or something?

    er, I think you allowed successive elected representatives to gradually erode any form of constitutionality in the name of capitalism, which is now being protected by the big corporations who fear that their monopoly may be at risk.

    Drugs and piracy are just bad ok, so please just accept what you are told, do what 'the man' says, be a good citizen and don't forget to inform on your neighbour if you think they are up to no good. They might be terrorists you know!

  • by Issarlk ( 1429361 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @09:46AM (#36319342)
    maybe the US could get pointers from North Korea on how to put 200 milions american to work in camps.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:03AM (#36319588) Homepage Journal

    I think you allowed successive elected representatives to gradually erode any form of constitutionality

    How did I allow it? A lot of these bills became law before I became old enough to vote, and most of the time since then, the candidate for whom I voted lost the election.

  • by Script Cat ( 832717 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:34AM (#36320124)

    Selective enforcement needs to be a crime in its self. It happen all the time. This is incompatable with rule of law.

  • Absurd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @10:49AM (#36320316) Journal
    Consider This Scenario

    I want my friend to see a really funny movie from 20 years ago, but they're not convinced it's worth their time. I search YouTube and I find a video of some highlights, so I send my friend the link to the video. I assume the clips fall under fair use because otherwise YouTube would have pulled them, right?

    My friend watches the video, likes it, goes down to the store and buys the DVD and thanks me for introducing him to it.

    The MPAA "piracy squad" spends all its time searching YouTube for copyrighted videos. It sues YouTube for its records, the logs show that I used their "share" feature to share the link with one person, and that person watched the video twice. The piracy squad watches the video 8 more times and then sicks its lawyers on me. Since I did indeed link to the video, and it was watched 10 times, I am guilty and convicted of a felony []. I lose the ability to vote, the ability to work at many jobs, the right to possess firearms, ammunition and body armor, eligibility for welfare, eligibility for federally-funded housing, and the right to serve on a jury. I no longer have any influence in society and am reduced to flipping burgers by day and scanning retail inventory by night to scrape together enough money to live, which presumably keeps me sufficiently occupied to stay out of trouble.

    Meanwhile, the MPAA gets a fee from the sale of the DVD that my friend would never have bought otherwise, they tip the balance of power in government further toward themselves by taking one more voter out of commission, and they strike fear in the hearts of anyone who even thinks about doing anything with video. The only previews you will get to see are the ones they force you to watch every time you pop in a DVD you bought from them.

    Perhaps we could counterbalance this bill by adding language that makes it a felony to disable the FFWD or MENU button on a consumer's remote control. It's at least as criminal an act as linking to some YouTube video: millions of people are forced to watch 30 seconds to 5 minutes of previews every time they want to watch the movies they paid to "own" in their own homes. Sure, you could pop the movie in 5 minutes before you're ready to watch it, but the amount of productivity and electricity this needlessly wastes on a global scale is staggering. That's criminal.
  • by uglyMood ( 322284 ) <> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @11:07AM (#36320558) Homepage
    The problem with this line of thinking is that any loss of revenue is immediately attributed to piracy, regardless of the facts. Case in point: the music industry. They've mostly been putting out autotuned garbage for the past 15 years, and when sales slumped because nobody wanted to pay twenty bucks for identical vocals that sound like they come out of a kazoo it was blamed on those darned music pirates. The entertainment industry needs piracy to cover for the fact that it's cheaper to produce utter crap no one wants than to produce quality work. A few arrests here and there merely reinforce the illusion that piracy is having a major impact on their sales.
  • by LordofWinterfell ( 90845 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @11:11AM (#36320606)

    By making this a criminal instead of civil issue - its not about locking you up - its about getting the government to prosecute copyright infringements instead of the corporation.

    By making linking into a criminal law, now largescale content owners can harness the raw power of the taxpayer dollar - the governement is now the plaintiff, and government laywers are prosecuting on behalf of the corporations. Just like they have done with IP and piracy, by linking their profit protection to criminal matters (the Pirates are stealing our product and selling it on the streets!) they get to defray the costs of protecting their profts, and sic the government on anything they don't want to see happening, like sharing passwords or sharing content, when they could be making profits off of those interactions.

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @12:15PM (#36321456) Journal
    Lately 'Law' is the only goal. Justice used to be the goal. This is what happens when lawyers are placed too high on the pedestal. What we need is a good old fashioned pogrom against lawyers. Starting with IP lawyers. Take your pick where you want to start next.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."