Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


INDUCE to vomit
June 25, 2004 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Senator Orrin Hatch introduced the INDUCE bill earlier this week with broad, vague limits on who could be sued for copyright infringement. No longer limited to just companies producing programs or those hosting programs, this bill intends to criminalize anyone that aids in copyright infringement. The EFF have produced a mock complaint against Apple for the iPod, since it can play illegally obtained mp3s just as easily as legally purchased ones. Ernest Miller has broken down Hatch's entire "for the children" speech that introduced the bill, in excruciating detail. Those who own mp3 players, TiVos, and other sorts of disruptive technologies should watch this one closely, it could get really ugly.
posted by mathowie (37 comments total)

 
this is pretty scary.

sufficiently vague bill that would have to get sent to court to find out what it really means == probably not a very good bill
posted by dig_duggler at 12:49 PM on June 25, 2004


"I'm calling to urge the Senator to vote against the INDUCE act"
"What's that?"
"A misguided effort to strengthen copyright law"
"So I should file this under 'the economy'?"
"Why don't I just send the Senator an email?"
posted by trharlan at 12:52 PM on June 25, 2004


The EFF Action Center, for all your Senator harassing needs.
posted by smackfu at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2004


dude...
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2004


dude...

Ddue, this one has sufficiently more information as well as two additional links of interest ;)
posted by The God Complex at 1:19 PM on June 25, 2004


Dude. That one was for stbalbach, since the spellchecker does seem to function here now.
posted by The God Complex at 1:23 PM on June 25, 2004


This is our government at work people. No special interest money here.

shakes head, mutters to self
posted by a3matrix at 1:28 PM on June 25, 2004


"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

- Mark Twain
posted by homunculus at 1:33 PM on June 25, 2004


Makers of paper, beware! Take steps to prevent your product from facilitating the spread of copyrighted material and child pornography or face the consequences!
posted by 4easypayments at 1:33 PM on June 25, 2004


For the period from 1995 to 2000, the tv/movie/music indutsry was the fourth largest contributor to Hatch, after law firms, pharmaceuticals, and insurance. The industry contributated a total of $180,432 out of approximately $4 and 1/2 million. Contributors included Disney, Viacom, ASCAP, the MPAA, the RIAA, Sony, and the National Association of Broadcasters. The same industry dropped to seventh amoung Hatch's contributors in the 1999-2004 period, contributing $157,860 out of nearly $5 million. This information is available at opensecrets.org.

Hatch recieved the 6th largest amount of contributions in the Senate in 1999-2000 from the TV/Movie/Music industry, behind Clinton, McCain, Kennedy, and Feinstein, and Burns.

More information on contributions from the TV/Movie?Music industry is also available from opensecrets.org.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:33 PM on June 25, 2004


Those who own mp3 players, TiVos, and other sorts of disruptive technologies should watch this one closely, it could get really ugly

As the second link points out, this law could very easily be applied to just about anybody who makes anything for the personal entertainment market. And for that reason, I would think that this bill is less than likely to make it very far - while the companies that comprise the RIAA and MPAA might like to see it, Dell, Apple, HP, Sony and others will (I hope) weigh in against it. And I'd like to think that they have some clout in Washington as well.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2004


Criminalize procreation! That'll teach you dirty copypirates and kiddie pornographers to fuck around with the law!
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:56 PM on June 25, 2004


The EFF seems upset because the bill does not explicitly state that a device having a "substantial noninfringing use" is a defense. Fair enough; it would be better if that was in there. But, this language is in there: "Nothing in this subsection shall enlarge or diminish the doctrines of vicarious and contributory liability." A reasonable reading of that would be that all the old common law defenses--including substantial noninfringing use--still apply.

EFF is doing what any good activist group should do and raising their objections to the bill in the most strident manner possible. That's fine, but don't get carried away with their rhetoric. I highly doubt that Apple is going to be (successfully) sued over the iPod if this thing passes as is.
posted by profwhat at 2:02 PM on June 25, 2004


I highly doubt that Apple is going to be (successfully) sued over the iPod if this thing passes as is.

But if this was law and the iPod was just announced, how much you want a bet it would never make it to market?

Heck, the RIAA sued the pants off the folks who created the Rio. I don't think anyone at the EFF thinks the iPod would get apple sued now, just that this type of legislation makes it really hard for technology companies to develop new tech, if that new tech can be used to watch pirate movies or play pirate music, in addition to whatever else it was designed to do.
posted by mathowie at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2004


So I'm assuming that they'll be going after say, libraries. There is usually a copy machine in the library. Seems to me that copying portions of books are an infringement of copyright law. Right?

Hell, I say we close 'em all down. Good job Senator, I've been really worried about these damn scofflaw libraries.
posted by damnitkage at 2:43 PM on June 25, 2004


Profwhat, I don't think that that sentence limits the effect of the bill: the bill supposedly creates a new category, "inducement to infringe", which is separate from vicarious and contributory infringement. (See, eg, Seth Finkelstein's post or Joe Gratz'.)
posted by hattifattener at 2:44 PM on June 25, 2004


"I highly doubt that Apple is going to be sued over the iPod"

I think you're being naive. The entire point of the bill is to outlaw devices like the iPod. And as we've seen with the DMCA, outrageous enforcement is indeed the result of such legislation. The principle that the checks and balances of the system will protect us from batshit crazy legislation no longer holds.

In today's climate there is zero chance the VCR would be legal. Big media won't be happy until you have to pay every single time you listen to or view things. And we're well on the way to that with the existing legislation, let alone this crap.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:05 PM on June 25, 2004


If we outlaw harddrives, then only...

oh, forget it.
posted by xmutex at 3:08 PM on June 25, 2004


Wow - this makes me really glad I can't afford an Ipod. (sheesh)
posted by tristeza at 3:21 PM on June 25, 2004


Does anyone really think this is going to get passed into law? Is it really a threat? It just seems like that loon who suggested blowing up people's computers is off on another midnight walk in his dressing gown and slippers, sans medication.

It would criminalise photocopiers, for christ's sake.

Are your senators really that ignorant that they'll fall for the think-of-the-children line?

[Ok, I'm not sure I want to hear the answer to that.]
posted by Blue Stone at 3:29 PM on June 25, 2004


BlueStone: They passed the PATRIOT act, didn't they? How much debate was there on that? 2 minutes? 3? :)
posted by kaemaril at 3:34 PM on June 25, 2004


"Is it really a threat?"

We're past that point. It's no longer a threat when similar legislation *has* passed, and people *have been* prosecuted.

Legitimate security research is being stifled. Rather than expect companies to take responsibility for their own security, we've made it illegal to point out huge security holes.

Now we're closing another gap in big media's business model. Rather than making companies adapt to new technologies, we're going to make those technologies illegal if they don't fit existing business models. What we're seeing here is legislation designed purely to protect buggy whip manufacturers.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:50 PM on June 25, 2004


Since I'm currently wearing a Tshirt that reads "Copyright Infringement is Your Best Entertainment Value" (thank you Negativland) . . . I believe I'd be breaking this law as the standard is:

"'intentionally induces' means intentionally aids, abets, induces, or procures, and intent may be shown by acts from which a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement."

A big problem with focusing on "acts" which might "induce" (dfn: "to move by persuasion or influence") a copyright infringement is that it leaves open this HUGE loophole for people who might be thinking about violating a copyright.

Let's not be lazy about this people--if we allow gateway thoughts to go unpunished who knows what kind of acts people might commit.
posted by donovan at 4:19 PM on June 25, 2004


The entire point of the bill is to outlaw devices like the iPod.

...from my cold dead hands!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2004


So I'm assuming that they'll be going after say, libraries.

Print publishers are going after libraries. There is movement afoot in that specific area, because publishers are pissed that books can be purchased once but read by many people subsequently.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2004


Go fuck yourself, Lahey.
posted by delmoi at 4:36 PM on June 25, 2004


This is the kind of stunt that's been pulled constantly in the "war on drugs" with nary a public complaint; now, unsurprisingly, those guns are being turned on yet another form of personal freedom. Maybe piracy will come to an end when there are mandatory minimum jail sentences for possession of a file-sharing program. But I doubt it.
posted by kjh at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2004


Five Fresh Fish, do you have more information about that? (I actually wrote a satire specifically about the library/file sharing connection but I didn't know it was actually happening.)
posted by Tlogmer at 6:27 PM on June 25, 2004


Photocopiers are pretty much already illegal in the UK: all our work ones have huge notices pointing out that we're not allowed to copy *any* copyrighted material, even a portion[1] because it'd be for commercial use. Sheesh.

[1] Except newspapers.
posted by bonaldi at 6:46 PM on June 25, 2004


Watch it, delmoi, or you'll find yourself holding on to a shit-rope. (You know what a shit-rope is, don't you? It's a rope made of shit that criminals hold on to.)
posted by dobbs at 7:09 PM on June 25, 2004


Tlogmer: 1, 2, 3.

I'm using "library association " "publishers association" copyright fair use as a search term. The articles linked should provide other terms to help refine the search.

Basically, publishers feel that libraries should be paying a continuous licensing fee. This would, naturally, greatly increase costs to the library, which IMO would rather negate the whole "public" aspect of the library, and would cause far more harm than good.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:17 PM on June 25, 2004


I'd like to mention that TPB is funded using federal monies.

Canada kicks ass.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:17 PM on June 25, 2004


Thanks
posted by Tlogmer at 7:32 PM on June 25, 2004


the bill supposedly creates a new category, "inducement to infringe", which is separate from vicarious and contributory infringement.

That is not a new ground of liability. Inducement has always been just another variety of contributory infringement. The Napster decision noted that "inducement to infringe" has been recognized since at least 1971: "Traditionally, 'one who, with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another, may be held liable as a ‘contributory’ infringer'..."

The movie industry sued Sony in the 1980s on a bunch of vicarious infringement theories, trying to stop the Betamax. I'm not sure if they specifically argued inducement, but they might of. They lost, and the "substantial noninfringing use" defense was born. VCRs lived out a happy life until they faced obsolescence. Really, courts aren't as dumb or technology-phobic as you might think. No one is coming for your photocopier. No one is coming for your iPod. There are far greater threats out that deserve your anger more than this--like, say, software patents.
posted by profwhat at 9:03 PM on June 25, 2004


If you want to know how (I think) it's going to be settled in the long term look no further and click

Canada's Levy on Dvd+-r/Cd-r and whatnot page

This levy is already effective law here in Italy and I guess in other european countries, even if with variations.
The levy is collected at wholesale level, but the usually uninformed consumer is sometimes tricked into paying it twice at consumer level (oh the honest salespeople).

For the lazy lamers, that translates into a 21cents (canadian I presume) levy on each cd-r you buy in canada, with a proposal to raise the levy to 59 cents.

The distribution of the money collected by levy is as follows:

To Eligible Authors 66.0%
To Eligible Performers 18.9%
To Eligible Makers 15.1% (maker=production company)


Obviously, I totally disagree with a law that presumes the consumer is guilty, on the grounds that the mere notion of a law founded on the _assumption_ that one person is guilty, is wrong. But at the end who cares if you get screwed, as long as the guys in power get their money. After all the consumers are passive, they don't react. So bend over please.
posted by elpapacito at 7:46 AM on June 26, 2004


Ops I forgot mentioning this is a glaring example of socializations of costs and privatization of profits.
posted by elpapacito at 7:52 AM on June 26, 2004


Those who own mp3 players, TiVos, and other sorts of disruptive technologies should watch this one closely, it could get really ugly.

This bill is a stinker, but can we talk about it without hyperbole about "disruptive technologies".
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:20 AM on June 26, 2004


« Older Little toys for big boys....  |  Should Gaelic be an official E... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments