Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2004-04-02
  Bought government hiding behind rhetoric
While Canada just blew off the RIAA and pointed out that having files accessible over the network isn't piracy (like having a photocopier in a library); our US government remains the well bought lapdog of the music industry. Its working on a new law, the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 (hr 4077) which makes sharing copyrighted material punishable by three to ten years in prison.

Despite how stupid this sounds, just on the surface, the lawmakers dig an even deeper hole for themselves, defending the proposed law with the following:

A main reason for the bill is to curb the increased occurrence of child pornography on peer-to-peer sharing, say subcommittee members.
Huh? Is this just a smokescreen for a worthless law on the basis that you can't argue against their noble goal? Or is it an excuse to bring the FBI in? They further justify their actions with the following report:
The measure cites a General Accounting Office study that finds "when searching the most popular peer-to-peer service for keywords known to be associated with child pornography, 42 percent of the returns were associated with images of child pornography."
And this is related to copyrights how? Just to make it worse, the American Library Association points out in its analysis that:
The bill does not distinguish between unauthorized copying that is legal from unauthorized copying that is illegal.
I haven't seen idiocy like this since the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which was unconstitutional before it was even signed, and Congress knew it, but they said, "we need to be doing something about the problem."

[links]
Copyright Policies Clash, PC World

This thing is so wrong, I used the ALA site to send a letter to my congressman (Rick Renzi):

This law erodes existing rights and brings the FBI into an already nasty situation. The FBI is not an educational organization. The RIAA is attempting to make sharing music second only to terrorism. There are far worse crimes going on today than the sharing of music files. While I am against piracy, I am also against harassment of people who record TV shows and share the tapes with their friends or time shift music on digital radio.

Kids have always shared music and made copies on tapes. I used to tape music off the radio when I was 14 (having close to no income at the time). Now I have a massive CD, Laser Disk, and DVD collection. I still check materials (CDs and DVDs) out of the library first, as the quality of product put out by the industry varies quite a bit. This is just another example of legitimate uses for file sharing.

Lets not criminalize my kids when they get older and start listening to music. Lets not hide behind the rhetoric of kiddie p*rn either, that stuff is already illegal and has no legitimate copyright owner.

Please vote no against HR2517 HR4077 if it comes up for general vote.

 
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