Senator Hatch’s INDUCE Act is gaining more coverage as each day passes, though I have yet to spot anything from the major media outlets. Are you surprised? No, I didn’t think so. I’m not. Wired has posted a story this morning covering the backlash titled File-Trading Bill Stokes Fury and other sites have started to report the Senator’s plans to fundamentally change copyright law in favor of the media conglomerates. Ars Technica has also published a piece: Induce Act seeks to eliminate innovation.
Law & Government
Just a quick follow-up to my previous post about the INDUCE Act. The esteemed Lawrence Lessig has provided some commentary on the situation and added a little more information in the form of Senator Hatch’s floor remarks regarding the bill. His statements are worth a read, assuming you are up for translating politician-speak.
Mr. Lessig, also notes that “there is talk that this massive new layer of federal regulation of technology will happen without hearings — indeed, that it will be passed in the next weeks.” So, not only are we at risk of losing our rights to use media that we own in a manner we so choose, we may lose it by the whims of a small group instead of Congress as a whole. But hey, the bill is bi-partisan! We can blame these members of both parties for bowing to the will of the media industry instead of the people the are supposed to represent:
- Senator Orrin Hatch (R- Utah)
- Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont) – Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Senator Bill Frist (R – Tennessee) – Senate Majority Leader
- Senator Tom Daschle (D – South Dakota) – Senate Minority Leader
Senator Bob Graham (D – Florida)I listed the wrong Senator Graham. My apologies.
- Lindsey Graham (R – South Carolina)
- Barbara Boxer (D – California)
Isn’t it good to see our tax dollars at work…?
It’s the Hollings Bill by other means — an over-reaching new form of indirect liability that will force technology companies of all kinds to “ask permission” before innovating for fear of ruinous litigation if they don’t.
And so another front in the copyright wars opens, with the aggressors waving the bloody flag of file sharing, but really aiming at a much bigger target.
INDUCE stands for “Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act of 2004”. Go ahead, read that again. Yeah, that’s right, copyright laws, and ultimately your rights to make use of media that you have legally purchased will be directly affected by a law meant to protect children from exploitation. By hiding the new restrictions in a child exploitation law, he can try to crush the opposition by painting anyone against the proposed changes as not wanting to protect children. Utterly despicable, though not surprising coming from a politician who has received substantial contributions from the TV/Movies/Music industry, and advocated the idea that media companies should have the right to destroy the computers of people downloading copyrighted media – while his very own Web site was using unlicensed software. Brilliant.
The Act (to be proposed tomorrow by songwriter Sen. Hatch and others) amends the copyright law to say that anyone who “induces” copyright infringement is himself/itself an infringer.
“Induce” means intentionally aids, abets, counsels, or procures. So you can’t even hire a lawyer if you’re doing something risky.
If we don’t put a stop to this now, your VCR may well be illegal in the near future. I am going to follow this issue and post more news as I find it. For now here are some other sites discussing the matter: