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Drop the marker and back away from the CD-RW drive.
July 29, 2002 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Drop the marker and back away from the CD-RW drive. Add Senator Joe Biden (D - Delware) to the list of politicians eager to put the brakes on technology, kowtow to Hollywood and otherwise stop the Earth from turning: Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense. Biden's bill is on the fast track and not getting the same press attention that Sen. Holling's CBDTPA bill had earlier this year.
posted by scottandrew (28 comments total)

 
How deliciously ironic
posted by aaronscool at 4:52 PM on July 29, 2002


that's hilarious/depressing.
posted by rhyax at 5:08 PM on July 29, 2002


They can pry my sharpie from my cold, dead hands.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:17 PM on July 29, 2002


Joe "The Plagiarist" Biden is one of the most clueless, and consequently most dangerous threats to First Amendment freedoms online. From Politechbot.com:
One I caught recently was the esteemed Sen. Biden of Delaware, trying to
explain peer-to-peer piracy and (according to the archived video file on
senate.gov) stumbling over the unfamiliar technology so badly that he ended
up complaining that illicit programs "were downloaded by websites" and
confusing software "piracy" with "privacy."
Also, from Wired: Washington: The Net Must Pay
and Death Knell For The First Amendment by John Blazemore
posted by ljromanoff at 5:35 PM on July 29, 2002


Quick, someone refresh me: What's so great about this country again? 'Cause I'm drawing a blank.
posted by Optamystic at 5:41 PM on July 29, 2002


What's so great about this country again?

Four showings of Spongebob Squarepants a day.

And, um...

Yeah, that's pretty much it.
posted by toddshot at 6:02 PM on July 29, 2002


i'm going to start a new savings account for legal fees, because someday everything i've ever posted online is going to be illegal someday.

optamystic...freedom? weather..., yosemite...some great bands...people who aren't politicians?
posted by th3ph17 at 6:07 PM on July 29, 2002


Four showings of Spongebob Squarepants a day.

Yeah, and if you're not on mary jane at the moment, that leaves absolutely nothing. Damn, this sucks. I'm down now. Gotta go watch Spongebob.
posted by benjh at 6:19 PM on July 29, 2002


That covers a LOT of ground... are they seriously proposing to throw millions of people into federal prison? The law seems unenforceable on its face.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:59 PM on July 29, 2002


From a (barely) outsider perspective, the USA is getting scarier by the day. It has reached the point where many people are seriously questioning whether or not they are even a democracy any more, let alone the shining beacon of freedom they present themselves as.

You Americans have to DO SOMETHING down there. Seriously. People didn't invent all
these
creepy dystopias just for yaks--they were trying to warn us.

And the prophecies just keep coming.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:04 PM on July 29, 2002


Yes, but it will be selectively enforceable and useful as a big stick against anyone who threatens the hegemony of the media cartel.
posted by donkeymon at 7:08 PM on July 29, 2002


The law seems unenforceable on its face.

When you remember that you live somewhere where your vote can be thrown away by your government because somebody doesn't like the ballot initiative for a time, that statement should make you laugh, quietly and sadly. Any law is enforceable when the people who own the legislators like it.
posted by GriffX at 7:21 PM on July 29, 2002


Who will win the War on Drives?
posted by BentPenguin at 8:05 PM on July 29, 2002


You Americans have to DO SOMETHING down there. Seriously. People didn't invent all
these creepy dystopias just for yaks--they were trying to warn us.


Before we get too many more Orwell-fueled hysteria fests rolling I should point out that this law has little too no chance of actually going anywhere. The House version is different enough that there's no chance of a reconciliation of the two before the session ends, even assuming Biden's bill gets and passes a Senate vote (which itself is highly unlikely.)
posted by ljromanoff at 8:07 PM on July 29, 2002


It seems that Biden would be able to pay the $25,000 fine and still have $14,324 in campaign contributions from the media industry left over.
posted by whir at 8:17 PM on July 29, 2002


Crikey, it's cheap to buy a Senator these days, isn't it? A downright bargain.

ljromanoff : Yes, us smart folks know that the Orwellian hysteria is just for dumb people, don't we? Easy way to dismiss valid and growing concerns about the furture of America, by labelling them as simple-minded 1984-as-read-by-a-highschooler hysteria, and dismissing them without making much of an effort.

Weak, very weak. Here, have a cookie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:59 AM on July 30, 2002


Fabulon7: There's some decent shit coming out of you fourteener newbies.

Welcome to the club!

Though I will say, since I'm not familiar with you quite yet, I assume you meant "prophecies" in spirit.
posted by crasspastor at 3:55 AM on July 30, 2002


Easy way to dismiss valid and growing concerns about the furture of America, by labelling them as simple-minded 1984-as-read-by-a-highschooler hysteria

Particularly easy in this case. It's an anti-piracy bill that has no chance of becoming law - get some perspective.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:20 AM on July 30, 2002


ljromanoff: It's an anti-piracy bill that has no chance of becoming law

Same way that the DMCA was a draconian copyright protection act that had no chance of becoming law?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:27 AM on July 30, 2002


Same way that the DMCA was a draconian copyright protection act that had no chance of becoming law?

Not really. If for no other reason than the timing, this bill won't get passed. It needs a floor vote, it needs to reconcile with the House version, and it needs a presidential signature. All in under 4 weeks? Don't think so.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:30 AM on July 30, 2002


ljromanoff, I'm not following you. What's to stop the bill from being passed when Congress reconvenes on September 4, or afterwards? And why isn't it conceivable that Biden's amendment would survive a conference committee intact?
posted by whir at 10:42 AM on July 30, 2002


What's to stop the bill from being passed when Congress reconvenes on September 4, or afterwards?

You're right. My error for misreading the Congressional schedule. In any event, that still only gives the bill another few weeks before the end of session in early October. Failing a successful passage, the bill would have to be refiled in the next Congress.

And why isn't it conceivable that Biden's amendment would survive a conference committee intact?

The House version only covers "physical features." I would be very surprised if the House was willing to expand the scope of their bill, particuarly since Biden's was changed arbitrarily and suddenly without any debate. I suspect, as usual, Biden really doesn't understand the legislation he himself is proposing.

Theoretically, it's possible that the bill could jump through all the hoops needed, but with the House having to recess as early as possible so that Congressmen can campaign for re-election, I don't see how this bill has nearly enough time.

I guess we'll find out.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:26 AM on July 30, 2002


Don't take this sitting down! call your senator and claim to be a wealthy businessman who is just itching to send him/her on a speaking tour of (insert favorite resort)! tell them you oppose this, and are willing to outbid whomever has them in their backpocket this week! Lie cheat, and obfuscate! use the power of "aggressive accounting" to your own political advantage! make them believe you are someone that MATTERS! someone who has a large bank account!
posted by das_2099 at 1:35 PM on July 30, 2002


It's an anti-piracy bill that has no chance of becoming law - get some perspective.

lj : I have my perspective well in hand, thanks. I couldn't care less about this little pissant chipping away at the constitutional rights of 133t h4x0rz. I agree with you that it is highly unlikely it will pass.

What bothers me is the intellectual cowardice of so many around here waving their hands and saying 'Oh, you Orwellian sillies' and dismissing arguments that America is going down the toilet at a rate of knots by labelling and dismissing the suggestion, regardless of the context.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:15 PM on July 30, 2002


intellectual cowardice of so many around here waving their hands and saying 'Oh, you Orwellian sillies'

Intellectual cowardice, or more accurately intellectual sloppiness, finds no greater example than labelling anything and everything one finds objectionable about the current administration as Orwellian. "Orwellian" is rocketing past clichehood straight into Godwinism.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:23 PM on July 30, 2002


lj: All the pieces are present for this ~~~GODWINTASTIC ORWELLIAN FESTIVUS~~~. It's just a matter of them being all put together. Perhaps, a little Machievelli will temper those who think, or rather, don't think, anything, out of all possible routes to the future of America or humankind. Twiddling of thumbs or hypnotizing one's self in front of Fear Factor keeps the amazing reality at bay, that democracy only works when it's people are engaged in that Amazing Reality. Anything else is the wide and idyllic boulevard to totalitarianism, paved and landscaped by your favorite omni-corp.

Sloppy, lazy, cowardice, it's all really the same subjectivity. However, using George Orwell's World Famous Extrapolations is an active process. That's why authors write and readers read. We share opinions and insights. Something about "standing on the shoulders of giants" comes to mind. True or not, that we are plummeting into the geo-political darkness of foreverwar, I know of nobody who entertains such thoughts with glee. Except to name a few. Far from sloppy rather, as "sloppy" is nothing more than arbitrary opinion, fear that we as citizens are losing, have lost, every power that makes my opinion, my person every bit as valuable as a fat cat, is what fuels the heartfelt concern of a growing many. Let's see if we can get democracy back on track.
posted by crasspastor at 10:21 PM on July 30, 2002


"Orwellian" is rocketing past clichehood straight into Godwinism.

Precisely my point.

Let's see if we can get democracy back on track.

A better idea I've not heard in a long time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:17 AM on July 31, 2002


"Orwellian" is rocketing past clichehood straight into Godwinism.

Precisely my point.


And why exactly do you think that is? When everything is labelled "Orwellian" the label ceases to have any meaning. Instead of some actual critique, we instead get yet another link to "1984" on Amazon.com. It's commentary without the benefit of any actual thinking.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:00 AM on July 31, 2002


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