July 2, 2002
1:39 PM   Subscribe

Berman's P2P Hacking bill (mentioned last week) has caught the notice of a few people, and it's worth noting their suspicions. Cory from boingboing wonders why there needs to be a law for something that is on the surface, not illegal. Declan McCullagh's request for comments about the bill netted a handful of scary responses. Berman's clearly in Hollywood's pocket, but how far will he go to get his legislation passed? And what will happen once P2P hacking is legally permitted for big studios?
posted by mathowie (10 comments total)
I'm just wondering what Berman is really hiding. Is he is seeking a safe harbor from the confines of the DMCA? Are they planning on all out attacks against anyone on a P2P network?

This looks like it could be a really frightening piece of legislation.
posted by mathowie at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2002

I'm not sure what Berman's true motive/goal is; it could be that the industry simply wants to make sure they're legally justified in doing whatever they please.

What I do know is that p2p may be in trouble. Between this and the recent upsurge of spoofed files on Gnutella/Soulseek/WinMX, it's obvious that the labels have gone to their briefings and are beginning to get savvy as to the way music-sharing works. Once they get coordinated and determined, filesharing is going to become a whole lot more frustrating, at least for finding mainstream music. Imagine Gnutella - decentralized as it may be - filtered through several hundred RIAA-controlled supernodes, each decked to the gills with spoofed MP3s or movies. Imagine P2P when there's a 10% chance that the song you've downloaded is just 30 seconds looped, or the movie you grabbed is 75 minutes of static. And I don't think there are any easy solutions for the programmers.

Remember: the RIAA doesn't need to stop piracy, it simply needs to deter the average user.
posted by Marquis at 1:51 PM on July 2, 2002

A huge point from the politech link: "if the RIAA has the right to hack into my machine just to see if I might have a pirate copy of some films ... then, I, as a publisher of a web site, and, for that matter, as a contributer [sic] to physical, in-print books and magazines, have a right to hack into THEIR systems on the off-chance someone is tealing [sic] MY stuff."

Hey Hollywood, I love movies like they were my own children, but I swear: if you go all cracker-hacker Bronson-Heston on me, while still charging $13.50 at the cinemas, I'll never pay for a movie again.


Outraged D
posted by D at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2002

I have to agree with you, D.

I wonder how this all makes economic sense to the industry hacks. Before p2p, I rarely purchased new cd's, and would generally only buy when I had heard the whole cd at a friend's place and really liked it. (And then only when they made me give the original back. ;) ) With p2p I was buying tons of news cds because I got to hear all of the music online before I bought. Sure, I burned a few cds when I was starting, but that's such a hassle that I end up buying most of the stuff I really like. I generally only burn mix cds and cds full of mp3s of stuff I already own for at work. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most of my friends do essentially the same thing I do. With the demise of audiogalaxy and the general increase in p2p difficulties, I suspect my music buying habits will decrease proportionally. On the upside, my wallet will be a little fatter.

On a darker note, I think this bill is really dangerous. The bill would essentially legalize electronic vandalism and trespass in the name of copyright protection. What's next, RIAA packet sniffers on the backbone?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:26 PM on July 2, 2002

Bad legislation aside, is he in their pocket, or is he merely acting in the interest of his constituents? Hollywood IS his district after all...
posted by machaus at 2:29 PM on July 2, 2002

Oh, screw it. Bring on the bill!

There's not a lot of public outrage about this because (a) the meetings aren't well publicized and (b) most citizens don't really understand the issues.

Once this goes into effect, however, there are going to be PLENTY of news stories about regular, innocent folks having their computers mangled because of the actions of the entertainment conglomerates.

Will it suck for those people? Yup. But it will be far worse for Disney to be caught snooping around some kid's computer.
posted by mkultra at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2002

I predict a sharp increase in the sale of firewall software / hardware.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2002

Between this and the recent upsurge of spoofed files on Gnutella/Soulseek/WinMX, it's obvious that the labels have gone to their briefings and are beginning to get savvy as to the way music-sharing works.

Theoretically, corrupt files should get weeded out Darwin style - bad files will be deleted by disgruntled users, good ones will survive, because they are the fittest to be shared again.

Theoretically, of course.
posted by afx114 at 5:11 PM on July 2, 2002

This is a bill written by someone who does not understand what peering is (and I'm not talking about gnutella). The Internet is a trust network. If I don't trust you (not to hack my customers, gratuitously blow out my bandwidth, and cost me money), I'm not going to talk to you. And quite frankly, AOL Time/Warner cannot afford to have too many people stop talking to them.
posted by hob at 5:50 PM on July 2, 2002

I agree with Monju, I generally don't buy CD's unless I've heard them somewhere else first. Now, I admit I don't have time to go through the various P2P networks to look for stuff, but when Napster was around and someone would say to me, "Hey, I really think you'd dig BandX", I'd go look up BandX on Napster, download a couple of tracks and see if it was worth the $15-$20 dollar investment for a CD.

When the RIAA shut down Napster, and didn't provide a way for me to hear music that hadn't been ClearChannel (tm) approved...I quit buying music from any band I didn't know, hadn't heard, or hadn't had recommended by someone who brought the CD to a party or something.

I don't want to run out and burn CD's of downloaded music, but I'll be damned if I'm going to buy something that I've never heard either. If the music industry insists on presenting this homogenized boybandteenslut crap as the only musical option that they produce, well, then of course the buyers over 16 are wandering away.

And if this bill passes, I foresee a Gibsonesque rise in real black ice. If we're lucky, we'll get a revolution of real hackers who've finally had enough of the corporate bullshit on a network that was paid for by taxes.

The internet may turn into a war zone for a bit...but I predict the digerati will win. There's a lot of 30 and 40 year old hackers out there who remember how cool the net was before corporations and marketing morons got online...and they'd be just as happy to return it to those days.

So, let the RIAA try to hack...but they're rank amateurs at that game...and they have no idea about the power, knowledge and number of the legions that would rise up against them. But ya know, I could be wrong...all the broadcast Brittany could have turned everyone into little happy drones who drool at the opportunity to bend over and take one for the gipper.
posted by dejah420 at 7:59 PM on July 2, 2002

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