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July 17, 2003 5:43 AM   Subscribe

Bill Would Put Internet Song Swappers in Jail. This is the story of the middle man that doesn't want to die.
posted by the fire you left me (22 comments total)
Who's Bill.
posted by seanyboy at 6:01 AM on July 17, 2003

The Conyers-Berman bill would operate under the assumption that each copyrighted work made available through a computer network was copied by others at least 10 times for a total retail value of $2,500.

Is it legal to make this type of assumption? I understand the idea of setting a minimum penalty of 2500 per song but it is the idea of assuming something has happened that troubles me. I thought you were innocent until proven guilty.
posted by Stynxno at 6:11 AM on July 17, 2003

Ditto Stynxno. What happens if you can show that only three people copied a song from you? Besides, I'm a little confused—is there already a statute that determined that each copy of any song has a "retail value" of $250? How did that happen?
posted by dilettanti at 6:23 AM on July 17, 2003

And really, where are they going to put the 10 million people who are 'guilty' of this?

If you think the government serves you and not the corporations, then, well, go back to sleep.
posted by eas98 at 7:02 AM on July 17, 2003

Yeah, the way I figure it, a CD is around 15$ (more or less) and usually contains 10 songs more or less.

Therefore, each song traded should get a value of around $1.50. Where are they getting $250?
posted by bshort at 7:17 AM on July 17, 2003

What a great way to piss off the voters. Create a bill that automatically assumes they're criminals. My head hurts from reading this.
posted by Be'lal at 7:24 AM on July 17, 2003

Where are they getting $250?

From wherever they can justify it so that only "criminals" have to pay. Where do you think the "street price" of banned substances seized during drugs busts comes from?
posted by walrus at 7:28 AM on July 17, 2003

Here's Bill.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:36 AM on July 17, 2003

You can watch the committee hearing on the subject today at 1.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:41 AM on July 17, 2003

eas98 - that's what all those alleged secret internment camps around the US are really for: imprisoning 10 million file swapping college students! ( who will then be "re-educated" by representatives of the RIAA and forced to write 10,000 times "I will not steal music...I will not steal music...I will not steal music...I will not..." )
posted by troutfishing at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2003

And really, where are they going to put the 10 million people who are 'guilty' of this?

Good point. Perhaps it's time to petition the government that since they're "by the people, for the people," they should be bending to the people's will. Nevermind that what 10 million people are doing is illegal; ours is a government where the majority rules.

I guarantee that if 10 million people started flooding senate and house offices with phone calls, letters and faxes, they will bend. We speak out with our votes during an election year, but right now it will take a flood of opinion and strong pressure from the people to incur change to the current system.
posted by schlaager at 8:41 AM on July 17, 2003

Now, to get 10 million people to move in formation.... sounds like a job for the Internet!

Oh, wait...
posted by jon_kill at 9:04 AM on July 17, 2003

I think the most terrifying part of the march of copyright legislation is its shift from being a civil/financial matter to being a criminal matter. I was afraid of the DMCA most for that reason, and theorized that this would lead to imprisonment. Sure enough.
posted by namespan at 9:58 AM on July 17, 2003

Now, to get 10 million people to move in formation.... sounds like a job for the Internet!

Sure. Maybe the next version of Freenet would allow you to specify your relevant Rep information. And everytime you download something Freenet would send an email and a fax and a page and whatever to your Reps saying, "One of your constituients just stole something. Guess who."
posted by yerfatma at 10:17 AM on July 17, 2003

This hearing is labeling P2P networks as havens for hacking and privacy invasion. They're not only trying to criminalize the P2P sharing of copyrighted materials, they're using it as a method to instill fear of the big mysterious danger that is P2P.

Their witnesses today, FWIW:
  • A FBI representative
  • Chairman of a Photographers Org, representing photographers who have their pictures scanned and copied
  • An embroidery expert who had her patterns copied and shared via eGroups
  • Maren Christensen, Vice President, Intellectual Property Counsel Vivendi Universal discussing The Hulk
posted by Hankins at 10:43 AM on July 17, 2003

I knew Howard Berman was The Representative from Hollywood ... but what the hell is my congressman (John Conyers) doing pushing this crap?

I feel an e-mail to my representative coming on. Not that it will do any good, alas. Conyers has that seat for as long as he wants it (he won with 83% last November).
posted by pmurray63 at 11:01 AM on July 17, 2003

conyers a michigan democrat. 'scuse me while i hang my head in shame and prepare a cream pie with his name on it.
posted by quonsar at 11:02 AM on July 17, 2003

I'm not sure if schlaager was being serious or not, but it's an excellent point-- not so much the idea of legalizing copyright theft, but let's face the facts: there's a new form of technology here that one powerful lobbying agency is having trouble dealing with, so they want to legislate it away. Doesn't work that way-- you have to adapt to changes or fall by the wayside.

The same sort of flap was made over VCRs twentysome years ago. Yeah, that new, evil technology has really crippled the movie industry.
posted by nath at 11:03 AM on July 17, 2003

These people are crazy in the coconut.
posted by walrus at 11:06 AM on July 17, 2003

This hearing is labeling P2P networks as havens for hacking and privacy invasion.

And, of course, child pornographers. Now who can argue with that? Shut it down, they are all criminals!!
posted by eas98 at 11:27 AM on July 17, 2003

Interesting idea from Dave Farber's Interesting People list: Any online work that you create (ie a MeFi post) are copyrighted by their authors without filing paperwork, so transmitting them would be illegal.
posted by turbodog at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2003

I use P2P networks to transfer files from my home computer to my work computer and back. Some of these files are mp3s, ripped from my personal paid-for CD collection. I don't download any other files and I don't share my files with anybody but my work computer. Under this law I guess I'm a criminal. Better start investing in soap-on-a-rope.
posted by fatbobsmith at 7:52 PM on July 17, 2003

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