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Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005
November 23, 2005 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005. In a speech given on November 10th, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales introduced proposed legislation [pdf] that would go one step further in criminalizing copyright infringement. The RIAA thinks its a good idea.
posted by ND¢ (35 comments total)

 
1. Sorry if everyone knew about this already, it was news to me.
2. I don't mean to be alarmist and imply that cops will burst down your door every time you download a song. I realize that this is targeted at commercial entities.
3. I am by no means an expert on copyright law, but despite the fact that there have been criminal prosecutions in the past, I always thought of copyright infringement as more of a private cause of action, rather than a crime. This seems like a (proposed) large step in the other direction.
posted by ND¢ at 8:51 AM on November 23, 2005


So, let me get this straight. Soon, ripping a CD and sharing it with my friends has the potential to land me in jail. This law would divert police and law enforcement away from investigating actual crimes, instead forcing them to waste time on this kind of pointless bullshit.

America sucks more every day.
posted by wakko at 8:53 AM on November 23, 2005


America :: The New China
posted by IronLizard at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2005


I was really glad to find the following answer, to a question I was about to ask, in the above link (namely. what constituency does the RIAA claim to represent?):

The Recording Industry Association of America is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.

But seriously.
posted by phaedon at 9:11 AM on November 23, 2005


Actually not like China at all. One of the things that makes America so attractive to investors and business is strong IP laws. China has pitiful IP laws, as do most countries.

I do think we should make concessions like Sweden has in the hopes that looser IP laws allow for "better mousetraps" and don't limit artistic endeavors such as mash-ups. The patent system meeds to be overhauled to only allow truely innovative ideas, among other things.

My point being that we should not knee-jerk into thinking any IP laws are bad. I skimmed through this and found a few things that I flagged as 'oh geeze', but haven't had a time to read this thick legalese the day before Thanksgiving. Also to note, when will the RIAA learn that laws supporting anachronistic distribution systems are not good for the economy or long-term health of the industry? Geeze..
posted by geoff. at 9:12 AM on November 23, 2005


1) Gonzales can suck my balls.
2) The RIAA can take over when he's on his break.

Seriously, when did the law enforcement structure of the US become a corporate police force? How did copyright enforcement become more compelling than, say, preventing torture?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:15 AM on November 23, 2005


It's curious, more law to make user's life miserable , but no laws to make Sony's life as miserable as they so richly deserve ?
posted by elpapacito at 9:19 AM on November 23, 2005


So... anyone got enough tin foil on them to draw a connection between this and the ever-expanding privatized prison industry that needs an ever-increasing influx of prisoners to remain profittable?

Oh, wait . . .
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2005


I hear stuff like this and I have to wonder who the government represents anymore. None of the people want this kind of law.
posted by 517 at 9:30 AM on November 23, 2005


Wow, it's like all the worst parts of the drug seizure laws combined with reactionary copyright protection. Don't get me wrong, I rely upon copyright law -- but this is out of control! Who's fighting it?
posted by bclark at 9:34 AM on November 23, 2005


bclark: historically the guys most involved in defending any user rights are at EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) which has been around since 1990.
posted by elpapacito at 9:38 AM on November 23, 2005


wakko: you must be one of those terrorists. Why do you hate America?

But seriously, this is an atrocious idea.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:48 AM on November 23, 2005


The government is becoming more and more an entity to protect corporate interests, and less and less an entity to protect individual rights and freedoms. Anyone remember Brave New World? Perhaps soon we will have to worship the corporate gods as well, not just tithe to them in the form of purchasing their wares.
posted by birdhaus at 9:52 AM on November 23, 2005


elpapacito: I know, but was saddened to find nothing at all on their site yet about this proposal. Parsing through the proposed legislation itself is always a pain in the ass (given that the removal of commas or the introduction of short phrases can read so innocent but have major implications.)
posted by bclark at 10:25 AM on November 23, 2005


Such things should really be called "intellectual monopoly" not "intellectual property".

Patent and copyright should be restricted to 5 years from the date of "hitting the market" (publication, etc.), with the caveat that anyone infringing before that date may continue to infringe. Both should require full disclosure of "source" when "going live" (hitting the market), i.e. no copyright unless you publish the source code, no patent protection unless you publish the chip scematics, etc. In principle, even a rock band ought to be required to publish the guitar tabliture & lyrics too.

In addition, patents should be required to be published 6 months before going live. Anything compeditors might rip off in 6 months won't be a very good patent anyway.

Clearly, damages awarded to patent and copyright holders should not exceed the *profits* made by the infringer.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2005


Corporations are individuals in the eyes of the law. About the only right they don't have is the right to vote... directly.

The USA (and much of the "democratic" world) is moving towards Plutocracy. What is right for the rich, is right.

Protection of wealth. Protection of wealth generation streams. Protection of ideas for wealth generation schemes. Basically, protection for those who are already wealthy and entrenching the maintenance of their lifestyle for their offspring, forever.

Stifle innovation. Stifle creativity. Stifle dissension.

Please pass the soma.
posted by C.Batt at 10:40 AM on November 23, 2005


when did the law enforcement structure of the US become a corporate police force?

In 1868 with the passage of the 14th amendment:

"1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

More specificially, in the 1870's when the SCOTUS ruled that "person" could mean "corporation."
posted by bardic at 10:56 AM on November 23, 2005


Long point short, corporations are granted the same rights as individuals under American Constitutional law.
posted by bardic at 10:57 AM on November 23, 2005


I think solutions like Jeffburdges's go too far, but I do think that IP laws are already a hinderance to innovation. When the Economist starts advocating looser IP protection as a way of protecting innovation in the US, you have to know something just might be wrong with the current trend.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:00 AM on November 23, 2005




Did anyone else think it was...outlandish...for Bush and Schwarzenegger to visit China and ask the Chinese government oppress their people even more?
posted by wah at 11:34 AM on November 23, 2005


From Wired:

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill
posted by ND¢ at 11:42 AM on November 23, 2005


The government is becoming more and more an entity to protect corporate interests, and less and less an entity to protect individual rights and freedoms.

Monied interests, to be more precise, it would seem, and under the auspices of property interests. Which we should be certainly be about, but it often seems that some of our leaders, in a haste to worship Markets and Mammon, have forgotten to balance those with the principles providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare.

The problem, I think, is the conception that the only properly managed resource is the private resource (hence the push to privatize and propertize even *ideas*) and that the only effective mechanism for determining value is a market (a corollary of the idea that monetary/economic value reflects real value).

Or the problem may just be flat out greed. I don't know.
posted by weston at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2005


wah:

I was just thinking about that. KCAL9 here in los angeles did a short expose on his trip. turns out schwarezenegger has been anti-piracy for a very long time, qua both governer and actor.

he teamed up with jackie chan in hong kong, and made the very reasonable point that, while we may not often consider the piracy of music as life-threatening, the illegal manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceutical knock-offs certainly can be. i think it is reasonable to apply pressure (through public condemnation) to the leaders of a country whose relatively lax attitude/laws towards intellectual property has created that reality. especially when your state does so much business with that country.

are you reading between my lines?
posted by phaedon at 11:49 AM on November 23, 2005


My last three links are about a previous fight against a copyright bill that was not entirely successful [pdf].
posted by ND¢ at 12:03 PM on November 23, 2005


An article from C-net about the current proposal:

Justice Dept. pushes stiffer antipiracy laws
posted by ND¢ at 12:09 PM on November 23, 2005


Possible Solutions: (1) boycott RIAA record companies, (2) Just get Fruity Loops and make your own damn music.
posted by j-urb at 12:41 PM on November 23, 2005


Fuck Sony. er.. sorry, is this the right thread?
posted by Hanover Phist at 1:02 PM on November 23, 2005


RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.

Huh. Guess if I make a sound recording then there is a 10% chance such a recording is 'legitimate'.

in the 1870's when the SCOTUS ruled that "person" could mean "corporation."

Did they? Or was that a summary by some court clerk?

Possible Solutions: (1) boycott RIAA record companies,

Where you spend your money and how you spend your money is the only 'vote' you have. Now...does anyone have a good list of websites for helping make that vote work?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:03 PM on November 23, 2005


Fuck Sony. er.. sorry, is this the right thread?

Yes. Fuck Sony. Any thread is the right thread for that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:44 PM on November 23, 2005


Well, there is one other real way to fight this.

Creative people who create stuff for huge media conglomerates need to just stop. Go on strike. Stop selling them your songs, scripts, ideas, drawings, etc. etc.

If they have no intellectual property to copyright, they won't have anything to sell.

Of course, this won't happen, because there are so many "creatives" desperate for fame, adulation and potential riches, that there will always be someone craven enough to sell themselves out.

It doesn't have to get that extreme, of course. Creators can simply refuse to sign copyright to their work over to the publishers wholesale. They should instead license it to them for specific fees and profit cuts, for specific lengths of time. Copyright only goes to a big corporation if the people who do the actual creating sign over their rights to it, usually via a work-for-hire agreement. Copyright in any creative work rests with the person who created it, until transferred by written contract.

Ah, wouldn't that be nice.

Disclosure: I am an artist at a video game company, and I get paid quite well to do work-for-hire artwork.

Games and film are somewhat different from music in that there's a much larger collaboration going on. Also many game company employees share some ownership or profit in the company.

Anyway, Fuck Sony and all the rest of them. Though let's be fair here, it's only the content divisions that should fuck off. We like the consumer electronics, as long as they're not crippled with shitty DRM.

This law won't work, too many people are breaking it. They can't lock up 40 million more people.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:19 PM on November 23, 2005


We like the consumer electronics,

Really? The VAIO laptops are non-standard in a few ways and Sony has had a history of not helping open source.

And Sony have been paying for the laws like the DMCA and the DRM standards for disk drives.

Giving them ANY money means some of it is used to buy the laws like the DMCA which beat you later.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:31 PM on November 23, 2005


The recording industry has made huge amounts of money using monopolizing technology that is now widely availeble to everyone.

I like to compare this to the "Icebox". Here's the story.

Many moons ago, companies made money by delivering blocks of ice to peoples homes to put in their "Icebox" ( an archaic technology) to keep their food cold. You see, these companies controled the mysterious and costly technology of refridgeration and made a tidy profit.
Then one day "Refridgerators" were created. "Make your own ice!" they said and slowly they began to replace the "Icebox", decimating that business.
Just picture it! Hundreds of ice delivery men out of work, the whole ice making industry destoyed, chaos!! Well not really. They all got new jobs and the world's still turnin' baby!

You see they didn't create laws banning new technology, they just evolved.

The moral of the story is this: Sure record companies are loosing money, but my internet provider is making a mint. Mayby record companies should get into the refridg-errr... I mean internet buisness. ; )
posted by indifferent at 5:02 PM on November 23, 2005


Of course, this won't happen, because there are so many "creatives" desperate for fame, adulation and potential riches, that there will always be someone craven enough to sell themselves out.

Or perhaps they have a need to eat without resorting to farming?
posted by IronLizard at 8:26 PM on November 23, 2005


They can't lock up 40 million more people.

The idea of locking up 40 million more people in his buddies corporate-run prisons gives Gonzales a stiffy.

In the near future, we'll see SWAT teams getting to use their shiny new gear provided by Homeland Security to break down doors and arrest somebody's grandmother for muting commercials.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:59 AM on November 24, 2005


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