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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame 895

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the things-that-make-you-go-hmmm dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Representative Lamar Smith is sponsoring the Intellectual Property Protection Act. The new bill is designed to give the Justice Department 'tools to combat IP crime' which which are used to 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Among the provisions is lowering the standards for 'willful copyright violation' and increasing the corresponding prison term to 10 years." More information is also available at publicknowledge.org.
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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame

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  • Amerika (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bazmail (764941) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:29AM (#15188387)
    What are you americans going to do about this? You are always bleating on about how free your contry is, but you always seem to let stuff like this happen. What gives? No other country in the world is as repressive in this regard.

    Time after time you sit back and watch as newer and wackier laws are passed, each one erodes your freedoms more and more. You guys crack me up.
  • by 808skeptic (943096) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:31AM (#15188389)
    I wonder if the Bush Administration realizes what its rhetoric sounds like. Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism? This is overtly Orwellian doubletalk. I'm not going so far as to say that we're in a police state, but you can justify stronger IP laws without resorting to blaming it (and everything) for terrorism. It's fucking ridiculous.
  • Just one name... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Intosi (6741) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:32AM (#15188392) Homepage
    I'll give you just one name to remember: McCarthy.
  • give me example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:32AM (#15188393) Homepage Journal
    IP crime' which which are used to 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Does anybody remember a case that even remotely supports that assertion? Any free-swappping IRA members?
  • by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:33AM (#15188395) Homepage Journal
    Because when your only choices are between two guys that can be bought and sold so cheaply, that's what you pick. Voter turnout is low for this among other reasons.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:33AM (#15188396)
    but you always seem to let stuff like this happen.

    Don't worry. Just wait two years, and the same kind of law will be passed as an EU directive.

    Remember, EU is the place where "Intellectual Property" without restrictions was to be protected by the new constitution on the same level (or rather: above) more usual constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech and right to live.

  • More benefits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plankrwf (929870) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:34AM (#15188400)
    And there are even more benefits to the new bill: not only it is good against terrorism,
    it also helps against child pornography.

    Oh, and against overweight.

    Roel
  • Since 9/11 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:40AM (#15188410)
    anyone trying to pass a contraversial bill uses the spectre of terror to stifle dissent. The relevant quote is

    During a speech in November, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorsed the idea and said at the time that he would send Congress draft legislation. Such changes are necessary because new technology is "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft," Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."

    What's being suggested is that MP3 downloaders are directly responsible for suicide bombings! We know how rediculous this is but...

  • Because when your only choices are between two guys that can be bought and sold so cheaply, that's what you pick.

    Sorry - I find that argument quite irritating.

    You have plenty of choice. A vote for a third candidate does not throw your vote away - even if that candidate is not elected, an increase in other party's showing sends a message to the incumbrents.

    Voter turnout is low for this among other reasons.

    Voter turnout is low because of stupidity & apathy. People need to understand that you do not have to get your party voted in to make a difference

    Say you're a libertarian (I'm not), you feel that there is no point voting as your candidate will never get elected, but if the candidates percentage of the vote is 1% one year, then 1.2%, then 3%, etc, the major parties will notice that & attempt to make their policies closer to the libertarian (or whatever) ideal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:44AM (#15188421)
    " Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage...."

    You decide your economy will be 'knowledge' based, rather than making and selling things.
    You create a bunch of artificial rights, that concentrate money in the hands of a few companies and remove them from everyone else.
    But it doesn't work, your economy becomes uncompetitive, runs up a huge trade deficit. The companies become fat and lazy and the world doesn't buy their shit products.
    Your currency can't sustain it and starts to fall.
    You have to grab assets, oil! Iraq here we come, oil can save us.
    But there isn't enough oil in Iraq and they don't elect the leader you chose for them.
    What can you do to make this knowledge based economy work? Try bigger penalties, more spying on the population, 10 years in prison for minor infringement. Force through treaties on trade partners, desparate measures are called for to prevent the USA economy from collapsing the way the Soviet Union did when it spent too much money.

  • by ColonelClaw (744934) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:44AM (#15188423) Homepage
    just when i thought american politicians couln't sink any lower... guys, how on earth can you put up with such a bunch of lying scheming bastards controlling your country? using 'terrorism' as an excuse to do how they please makes me absolutely sick to the bone
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:50AM (#15188436)
    I wonder if the Bush Administration realizes what its rhetoric sounds like.

    Wrong question.

    Right question:

    I wonder if the Bush Administration cares.
  • Re:give me example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:51AM (#15188440) Homepage
    Does anybody remember a case that even remotely supports that assertion?

    Nope, and even if you did the causality is really spurious. Real IP crime, by which I don't mean filesharing but counterfeit goods sold for profit, is a way to earn money. Terrorism is as far as I can tell a money sink, it costs money. Even if you find some case somewhere that says "Pirate funded terrorism", is it more common than "Regular worker funded terrorism out of his paycheck" or "Pirate funded luxurious lifestyle"? I think not.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HuguesT (84078) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:54AM (#15188450)
    Sorry, where did you get this "information" ?

    Anyway, the old "new" constitution is dead in the water right now thanks to French and Dutch voters. ATM the EU is seriously annoying Microsoft over its overly militant use of IP to squash competition, whereas we all know how it worked out in the US.

    I wouldn't count the old EU out just right now.
  • Yes and no (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:00AM (#15188460)
    Is it me or are people, better yet, politicians forgetting what terrorism really is?

    People often forget what terrorism really is: Useful for politicians.

    But politicians never forget.
  • by Znork (31774) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:02AM (#15188466)
    You guys really need to get rid of the winner takes all system and get proportional representation. The vulnerability and failings of two-party democratic systems have become obvious; it's damn cheap to buy two candidates, and the purchasers know they wont have to buy anyone else.
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:08AM (#15188480) Homepage Journal
    Kill a man, you get 20 years in jail. 'Steal' 20 bucks worth of software, you get 10. People should be made pass an iq test before being admitted into congress or legal services. It is apparent that many of the 'lawmakers' do not have any tint of the sense of 'proportionality'.
  • Re:Fund terrorism? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:13AM (#15188494) Homepage
    Yes, but either child porn causes terrorism or terrorism causes child porn, so they obviously lead to the same thing.
  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:13AM (#15188495)
    but you can justify stronger IP laws without resorting to blaming it (and everything) for terrorism.

    You can. You can resort to blaming it on child pornography [slashdot.org] instead. Works just as well!

  • People should be made pass an iq test before being admitted into congress or legal services. It is apparent that many of the 'lawmakers' do not have any tint of the sense of 'proportionality'.

    Wrong. They're smart and know very well what they're doing. The problem are the uninformed, uneducated masses who rush to vote for them as soon as any proposed new law has either "terrorism" or "children" attached to it.

    They're taking advantage of this, and there's nothing you can do to avoid it, other than informing and educating as many people as you can. Do you think it's a coincidence that the education budget in the US is being cut?

    I pity you Americans. Your country is going down the drain.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:1, Insightful)

    by lendude (620139) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:21AM (#15188521)
    To paraphrase a Lou Reed lyric:

    "...stick a fork in their ass and turn 'em over - they're done"

  • Re:Amerika (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:25AM (#15188531)
    .. but... it was voted down,

    Unfortunately, it was only voted down in two whoopping countries. It passed in almost all others.

    as was software patents.

    Yes, but softpats were only voted down after years of huge efforts by the FFII and others. During the same period, we couldn't concentrate on other, similar issues (IP Enforcment, EUCD), which passed. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough resources to fight several battles at once :-(

  • Scare Tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zaguar (881743) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:25AM (#15188532)
    OH NOES!! TEH TEROORISTS IS COMING!!!one1! WITH PIRATED DVD'S

    Sorry about that, but this is going too far. Terrorism and child pornography are bad, yes, but attempts to prevent them are not worth the loss of our rights. In the other story about this kind of thing, I forgot who said it, but it went something like this - "Terrorism and Child Porn are the root passwords to the constitution". It's a sad time for the land of the free.

  • by Shohat (959481) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:28AM (#15188542) Homepage
    Not IP , or child porn , lack of prayer or homosexuals .
    WarMongering Idiots on one side and Religious Fundamentalist Psychos on the other cause terrorism .
    So how about the WMI&RFP restriction Act ?
  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:30AM (#15188547)
    Kill a man, you get 20 years in jail. 'Steal' 20 bucks worth of software, you get 10.

    Solution: kill the man who saw you steal that 20 bucks worth of software, if you think you have a 50% chance of not getting caught.

  • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:36AM (#15188567)
    Still wrong.

    It was introduced by a Congressman.

    Let me go ahead and repeat that for you, since nobody ever understands that.

    A CONGRESSMAN.

    The reason that "the Bush Administration" gets away with this is because you're looking in the wrong place. This is called "the legislature," and it really hasn't got a damn thing to do with who is the President.

    Want to fix this situation? Blame the right people.

    It sounds almost like Congress has this double talk thing worked out as well.

    "Everything that we do that pisses people off" = "The Bush Administration"

    These people can get away with it as long as the voters blame everything that they do on Bush.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:40AM (#15188584)
    I'm sorry, but 1% or 1.2% is not going to make a dent in the conviction of the larger parties. As long as you don't get up to double digits you ARE throwing your vote away. But I don't see anyone waiting 40 years to get there!!

    What you need to understand is that voting for either of republicans or the democrats is the REAL waste of a vote.

    The two parties are IDENTICAL except for a couple knee-jerk issues that make good sound-bytes but have zero to do with the day to day operation of the government.

    I know nobody who is willing to wait that long when things need to change NOW

    And by voting for either major party NOW, they guarantee that there will be no significant changes EVER.
  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:41AM (#15188587)
    I wonder if the Bush Administration realizes what its rhetoric sounds like. Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism?

    <rant>
    They are simply sticking with what worked in the hysteric political climate of the recent past when all you needed to do to get a law passed was prefix the words 'anti terrorist' to every occurrence of the word 'legislation' and where you only had to accuse annoying groups of people of having 'links to Al Quaeda' or having 'Islamist sympathies' (Incidentally, what does that make the US based Christian fundamentalists? Christianists!?!) to ensure you could declare open season on them. This is probably just an attempt to see how far you can take this tactic. Fortunately people are getting wise to the ploy, it is only unfortunate it has taken so long.
    </rant>
  • Re:Amerika (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:44AM (#15188594)
    2. Intellectual property shall be protected.
    Hardly something I'd say would be offensive.

    It is patently offensive (no pun intended), if you compare it with the corresponding paragraph in the US constitution [cornell.edu]:

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
    You note that the US text severly limits scope of intellectual property:
    • it is limited in time
    • it should only be upheld if it helps foster progress
    Both safeguards are lacking from the EU constitution. The sentence about Intellectual property is incredibly short and blunt, without any ifs and buts.

    The IP article in the EU constitution paves the road to perpetual copyrights and software patents.

    Most other stipulations in the EU constitution have all kinds of exceptions where the rights granted should not apply. Not so intellectual property (which is not even defined! ... and so could conceivably be redefined in the future to include all kinds of corporate rights of which aren't even yet included into today's nightmares...)

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:47AM (#15188604) Homepage
    ...and introdouce this "justice" system [wikipedia.org] and get it over with. Five years, ten years, death penalty... Seems to me that Congress had watch too much TNG and think that'll make the world happy and crime-free.

    First age long prison sentences, then "convicted felon", "sex offender"... I'm sure it won't be long before they invent a "pirate registry" too. I read in the recent discussion about kiddie porn about a woman who had been convicted at 10 for "molesting" her younger siblings and had to stay on the sex offenders' registry until she was 37. I call that "fucked for life", why not put a horrified little ten year old girl in the chair while you're at it.

    There's always been a good principle in law enforcement that the penalty should fit the crime. In the US, it seems to me that the current idea is "Ok so we got a million criminals and only catch hundred, but we're going to make up for it by making those hundred pay for it." as if that would make things just. That's not justice, that is simply revenge, even if it's incorporated in law. Because you can't reach those you want to reach, you lash out at those few you can. That still doesn't make it just for those that get away nor for those that get caught.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:50AM (#15188614) Homepage
    Err...

    Unless I am mistaken, this is not retorical, it is a clear statement that piracy is being used to fund terrorism.

    Frankly, someone in the US gov is taking lessons from the el presidente Antonio Bliar's book that any lie is OK provided that it is for the "just cause". Can we see some damn proof of at least one instance when this has happened?
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:52AM (#15188617) Journal
    In an enormous number of cases, the difference between winning an election and losing it can come down to 1-2% of the voters. If throwing some libertarian policies into their platform gives a republican/democrat candidate the chance to gain that 1-2% who voted libertarian last time, then it can win them the election.

  • Voting at all guarantees that there will be no change ever. We need a war here peoples, or a shuffling of feet, a constitutional convention, a nationial strike, or something. Pretending that the current way of doing things is in any way legitimate is what results in there being no change ever. Casting a vote is just pretend.
  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:02AM (#15188638) Homepage
    If throwing some libertarian policies into their platform

    You should read:

    If throwing some libertarian policies into their campaign (and throwing it away just after)
  • Re:Amerika (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HuguesT (84078) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:03AM (#15188641)
    I think you are deluding yourself if you think the US article has any teeth.

    The EU paragraph doesn't say *how* the IP shall be protected, I'll grant you that, however the corresponding paragraph in the US constitution, while nicer on the outside, has been shown in effect to be just empty words.

    Software patents in particular in the US have not been shown to foster progress, and copyrights on the other hand have infinite terms for all intents and purposes, so the ifs and buts serve strictly no purpose. If you start quaking in fear because some sentence leaves the door potentially open to some invented evil, soon your only option is to live in a cavern for fear of your own shadow.

    Recall that the EU software patents are still illegal. The "offending" broad sentence in the EU constitution is not a blank check to suddenly making them legal and never would have been. The constitution should be a simple text defining broad principles. No one in their right mind would like IP rights not to be protected. The EU constitution says that they shall be, and leaves it to the democratically elected institutions to work out the details. Potentially these can change with time. In my opinion this is how it should be.

    I'll remind you that last year these democratically elected EU institutions worked extremely well to defeat a remarkably well orchestrated attempt by lobby groups to impose US-style software patents in Europe. There were enough alert people to cry foul on all the dirty tricks and ATM the lobbyists are licking their wounds. They'll be back, but for the moment I'm not convinced they will necessarily win.

    I'll take debate and a functioning democracy anytime over nicely worded sentences in arbitrary constitutions. Supposedly the old USSR constitution was a model of enlightened principles. Look how it turned out. It didn't prevent the gulag.

     
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:03AM (#15188642)
    That is not an obvious conclusion. The obvious conclusion - at least to any reasonable adult - is that the only way to change is long and slow - that voting for 3rd parties for a few decades is the only thing that can make a difference.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shenanigans (742403) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:09AM (#15188658)
    It's because most americans have very strongly ingrained hopes and optimisms regarding their country. A sort of implied attitude is "We survived Vietnam, we survived watergate, we will survive Irak and Bush, nothing REALLY bad is going to happen."

    In these kind stories you always see a lot of comments along the line of "oh those crooked politicians" and "Bush is the worst president ever", and similar when discussing the DMCA, Irak, the patriot act, the budged deficits, TIA, gitmo, etc. But I never (or seldom) see any discussion of the long term ramifications of these things (just "they are bad"), and litte (realistic) discussion of the future. Ask yourself, where is America in 20 years?

    Perhaps most americans just have no reference point in history to relate these event to. Perhaps it's because most americans have never experienced fascism and oppression in their life time (or their grand parents life time) like most of Europe has. Perhaps they believe that the US economy will always prevail in the end. Or perhaps most americans just think the whole world is in a backslide, while in reality it is for the most part just the USA. And that might actually be a harder pill to swallow. I don't know.
  • "Reasonable adult" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:14AM (#15188674) Homepage Journal
    I have yet to encounter such a creature. In order for true changes to occur, you can't beg politicians to make them, you'll get nothing. You have to do it yourself.
  • by Elemenope (905108) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:21AM (#15188693)

    For the most part I agree that blaming the congressmen for acts of congress is more politically productive, but I would submit that your view that this is separate from the executive's legislative agenda (and rest assured, it has one) is simplistic at best.

    Part of what makes the Republican party so scary (besides the wacko puritan crazies that overran it about 25 years ago) is that it boasts a strong party loyalty amongst members of congress in a system that franly doesn't encourage it. Admittedly there are outliers like Ron Paul in the House and Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe in the Senate but they are truly anomalies in an otherwise placid sea of party line voters. Part of that loyalty comes directly from executive strong-arming, particularly threats of not helping to fundraise for reelection (which can be crippling for a congressman). To say that Bush and his team bear no blame for the legislation coming out of their congressional colleage's collective asses is missing the forest for the trees. Especially when Mr. Gonzales is quoted in TFA as relating this legislative agenda to combatting terrorism. He's an executive officer, no doubt about it.

    There is something to be said about politicians being bought and paid for, and particularly with legislation like this the largest pressure comes from industry lobbyists, but when you follow the money it also inevitably leads back to party and president (for the ruling party).

    Now, ultimately, you are right in that focusing on Bush takes the attention off of some Members of Congress who richly deserve some democratically-imposed term limits, and because the picture is more complicated than you make it out to be, many of them will slip thorugh the cracks looking cleaner than they ought to. And that is a tragedy.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to the immigration debate just dismantling this political regime as many MCs find themselves in a damn'd if ya do/dam'd if ya don't situation. It seems like the first time in a while that the republican stranglehold on the politcal consciences of its own MCs is breaking as they look to their own necks first.

  • Pity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:21AM (#15188696) Homepage Journal
    Yeah well, not enough to help us escape to other countries and rebuild our lives... Oh, I forgot, the other countries are as bad off as we are. This whole forsaken planet is... well, it's forsaken! Everyone is one step away at being at each other's throats... no, that would be an improvement!
  • by Bin Naden (910327) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:22AM (#15188698)
    Unless I am mistaken, this is not retorical, it is a clear statement that piracy is being used to fund terrorism

    So when is oil becoming illegal?
  • Re:Amerika (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:23AM (#15188704)
    You note that the US text severly limits scope of intellectual property:
    it is limited in time
    it should only be upheld if it helps foster progress
    It does. But nobody seems to take any notice of it, which is why people are able to patent business processes, naturally ocurring organisms and the wheel.
    Both safeguards are lacking from the EU constitution. The sentence about Intellectual property is incredibly short and blunt, without any ifs and buts.
    I agree it doesn't say they're limited. But it doesn't say they're unlimited either. In fact, it doesn't really say much at all.
  • by sy161e (615745) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:29AM (#15188722)
    To quote, 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (in reference to copyright infringement).

    Attorney General Gonzales was appointed by W. Bush, so it is entirely appropriate attack the Bush administration's doubletalk.

    "Terrorism" is the new red scare, where a blanket term applies to anything unpatriotic and antigovernment.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:34AM (#15188732)
    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, works for the Department of Justice, in other words, The President. You may remember him as the assclown who, thanks to cronism, was nominated and subsequently approved by the REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE. You may also note from the chapters you didn't get to in your civics lesson, that the President, is generally at the head of their policital party. Call it a perk of the most powerful office in the land. So, yes, it is his fucking fault. He, through his personally dictated policy and those individuals who serve at HIS PLEASURE, equates the RIAA mistakenly subpeoning grandmothers, those without computers, the dead and children with rooting out terrorism.

    Is Bush every asshole? No. He's just their King, and Soveriegn. When HIS Attorney General equates burning a copy of a cd for you car, or a friends car to "helping the terrorists win", Bush is making that equivocation. He is bemoaning the limits of his power to give any shitty idea that might occure to his shiftless, cancerous cronies the force of law.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:36AM (#15188737)
    Alberto Gonzales is a terrorist. He, along with congress, the senate, and our president are terrorizing our own people with fear and nonsense.

    I suppose they couldnt have said "Intellectual property laws are to protect our children from child pornography and sexual predators", without making folks say "You're a fucking tool Albert"

    So logically, its terrorists who are benefiting from copyright infringement.

    How many want to bet that The Bush girls have illegal tunes on their ipod, or have used the old napster in their lifetime? How many want to bet that if ever caught, they would not be subject to the same laws that you and i would.

    Alberto can go fuck his mother for all i care. This countries just about done.

    Vote for a fucking third party candidate dam it!

  • by barefootgenius (926803) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:00AM (#15188788)
    It has to do with buzzwords and time allocated to a story in the media. Basically someone is sitting in Washington D.C. telling the politicians what the current emotive words are. Things that scare people (terrorists, child pornographer, drugs) are good, or things that make people feel proud/good/safe (patriot, homeland, security, freedom, etc...).

    Because the media only allocates a short amount of time to a story, its all a game of getting what you want by saying as many of these emotive words as you can in as short a time possible whilst camouflaging the fact that you are doing it. That, along with the indoctrination that we get as children, pretty much serves to keep people doing what the government wants.

  • by ArbiterOne (715233) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:03AM (#15188795) Homepage
    Here we go. Under current law, Section 1201 of the law generally prohibits distributing or trafficking in any software or hardware that can be used to bypass copy-protection devices. Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else. Like debuggers? [gnu.org]
  • by clydemaxwell (935315) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:09AM (#15188814)
    No, they want you to throw them around more. It weakens the effect it has on us.
    fewer people freak out when they hear that we live under big brother, now.
  • Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism?

    I'd always thought the money chain for Al Quaeda funding was reasonably clear, with most coming from donations to "charitable" organisations such as the Muwafaq ("Blessed Relief") Foundation. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4963025/ [msn.com]

    That was pretty much how the IRA got their money too, so it's not like this is a novel concept. Why not introduce laws banning anonymous donations? It'd be more efefctive than this crap.

  • by layer3switch (783864) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:20AM (#15188846)
    If someone is downloading copyrighted material for free (after all, stealing is to get it for free, no?), how the fuck in the world does that fund anyone?

    [-] profit = [+] fund criminals/terrorists ???
    What mathmatically challenged Zeus's anus hair thought of that idiotic formula?

    Shit like this should be on Al-jazeera.

    *note to self: Hack voting machines and elect Nader and show those politicians what real terror looks like. :^O
  • penalties (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:21AM (#15188850)
    so if someone can get 10 years for copying an mp3
    are the "wise" kids going to twig on that if they go down the street
    and mug people , then use the money to go to the shop and buy the mp3's

    as that carries a lesser penalty so therefor must be more socialy acceptable

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:28AM (#15188870)
    I really don't understand why people vote for politicians who are bought & sold so easily (and cheaply).

    Because they all are? It's kind of hard to vote for the politican who doesn't operate in self-interest when they all operate in self-interest.

    The US government of today dwarfs the US government of only 100 years ago, not only in revenue but power over the people. (The growth rate of the US government has been simply incredible -- look it up sometime.) Did you think this occurred by chance, or better yet, because voters have been voting for the wrong politicans this entire time?

    The indisputable fact is that the power elite works in self-interest, just like you, me, and every other human being on this planet -- the difference is that they hold the unique "right" to employ coercion as a means to an end, and we don't. That is why every year, there are thousands more laws on the books than the year before, and thousands more ways for the power elite to exploit the existence of power -- not because voters have been voting for the "wrong" politicians.

  • Further... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CptnHarlock (136449) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:30AM (#15188877) Homepage
    In an enormous number of cases, the difference between winning an election and losing it can come down to 1-2% of the voters.

    This is an interesting observation which both amuses and depresses me. One may wonder how come the elections in the USA normaly end up this way. Also in Europe we are seing the same tendencies (last Italian election Berlusconi vs Prodi [bbc.co.uk]).

    Tha answer is that if you give a large group of people two very similar choices, like for example in te Pepsi/Coke chalanges, you end up very close to 50/50 ratios. If you let someone choose between eating a pizza and and a rotten rat - the results are way, way higher. So the "choice" we're given is not a real choice, it's more of a farce and an excuse to call the system a democracy. Thare is a nice saying for this in Swedish: "It's like choosing between Plague and Cholera".

    What does this tell us then?
    <SARCASM> That two-party politics (USA) is 100% improved one-party politics (USSR)!! </SARCASM>

    Cheers... :|

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:33AM (#15188886)
    Actually the problem runs much more deeply than voter apathy. The main reasons why the same old hands keep getting re-elected even when they are clearly selling custom-made laws to their corporate pals are:
    - Gerrymandering - Politicians get to draw the lines of their own electoral districts. It's no surprise then that using information about registered voters they draw the lines in such a way as to maximizing their chances to get re-elected. Latelly they even use computer programs to do that.
    - Incumbents have a lote more money to defends their seats than other candidates running for that seat. In the US, the candidate with the biggest advertising campaing is often the winner. This actually creates a perverse incentive for politicians to proposed/approve laws that benefict some companies: the more favours they do when holding office, the bigger the pot they will have when the time comes to defend their seat.

    The result was that, in 2004, 95% of incumbents managed to keep their seats. It's hard to believe that only 1 in 20 politicians turned out to not be the best choice to represent their constituency ...

    Honestly, seen from the point of view of someone who lives in a country where politicians get elected via proportional voting (Holland), the political system in the US looks far from being a real democracy. Not only do different votes have different weights (a person voting Democrat in an electoral district with 70% registered Republicans - or vice-versa - has precisely ZERO chance of changing the outcome of the vote) but the whole registered voters thing provides countless oportunities for social manipulation.

    I've also lived in a country that not so long ago (32 year ago, tomorrow) went from dictatorship to democracy (Portugal) and were members of parliment are elected via electoral districts. This resulted in the same 2 parties alternating with each other as winner of the elections. After some decades of this the end result was:
    a) Both parties have pretty much the same policies. In front of the cameras politicians criticise the other party, but in practice both parties do the same things.
    b) There was an increase in career politicians. The kind that go to politics for money and power, not because they want to improve the country.
    c) A "political class" was born (politicians actually use this expression). They stopped being representatives of their constituents and instead were pretty much just representing themselfs. This can clearly be seen in a number of laws designed to protect/benefict politicians (and lawyers).
    d) An environment of unaccountability has installed itself. Those politicians currently in power do their best to cover the backs of those that were in power before them (as in, for example, burying legal investigations into corruption) because they know that when they change places the other ones will do the same for them. (thanks to the free press, at the moment there's a bit of a backslash against corruption)
    e) A lot less people vote nowadays. Unless you're voting for one of the two parties that are always in government, you know that your vote counts for little. Voter turnout is now often below 50%, while in the years after the revolution it was more than 70%.

    Still, at least there's no gerrymandering or voter registration: parliement seats actual change, even if mostly it's between the same two persons and latelly some young and inovative parties have been slowly growing, even if, thanks to electoral districts, their representation in the parliement is actually only HALF of what they would get in a proportional representation system ...
  • Re:give me example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:44AM (#15188927) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for finding this. Did you also actually read the link you provided?

    Citing from your link:

    Specific examples:
    Northern Ireland:
    It is unknown how much of the money generated by these counterfeiting operations goes to terrorist groups and how much is retained as criminal profit.

    No examples.
    Kosovo
    It is suspected that funds generated from IPC benefit both criminal organizations and extremist groups.

    No examples.
    Chechen separatists. Russian officials = unreliable source.
    North African radical fundamentalists terrorists in Europe.
    Sympathizers and militants of these groups may engage in a range of criminal activity including IPC.
    And whole bunch of similar generic handwaving.
    Al-Qaeda.
    The investigation into a shipment of fake goods from Dubai to Copenhagen, Denmark, suggests that al-Qaeda may have indirectly obtained financing through counterfeit goods.

    Basically every software pirate in any Arabic country by definition is an al-Qaeda supporter. (a) he is a counterfieter = bad guy. (b) he is an Arab (which is bad per se) (c) bad + Arab = al-Qaeda.

    Hizbullah. Again, modality of language speaks for itself.

    Main source of any "terrorist" activity are sympathisers as, by the way, correctly pointed out in the cited Interpol report. Any activity that involves undetected cash could be used. If you want to suppress funding of any illegal activity you have to go to the main root: shadow economy. Every business should be transparent. Countries should adopt rigorous independent auditing procedures for the business operating from their territory.

    I suspect that intellectual property rights violations are very minor portion of the support of illegal activities.

    Best way to stop RIAA, MPAA and others is very simple: boycott. Do not buy and do not use what they are selling. It will lead to two results (a) you will be no longer a criminal (b) RIAA, etc will have to change.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xeth (614132) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:44AM (#15188929) Journal

    That which is built decays, that which is loved endures.

    The United States Constitution is a wonderful document. It struck a careful balance, and made explicit protection against specific fallacies that seem to be cropping up lately ("You have no constitutional right to X..."). The problem is, nobody seems to give a damn. No matter how cleverly worded it was, it won't make a difference if the people don't read it, understand it, and force the government to abide by it.

  • by replicant108 (690832) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:46AM (#15188936) Journal
    It's been said many times, but it bears repeating:

    Child Porn is the root password to the US Constitution.

    Terrorism is the alternate password.
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:59AM (#15188978) Homepage Journal
    People seem to have wrong impression that they can influence something in "democratic" countries. It is illusion. They can change minor things.

    The only thing that can change situation is when people are ready to fight to death for what they believe in. With government or whatever force is threatening their way of life.

    Early American pioneers had guns and were ready to die defending their homes from the enemies. European nobles had their pride and their kings were only first among equals. Real roots of democracy are honour, dignity, self-respect and self-reliance.

    Average American voter is dependent on too many things to be called a democratic constituent (wages, employers, sewage infrastructure...). In modern society everything is too much integrated, so people do not have real independence. As a result they are easily scared or manipulated by dictators or demagogues.

    Real action always requires sacrifice. Writing to the congressman does not involve that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:00AM (#15188984)
    That's not justice, that is simply revenge, even if it's incorporated in law.

    The US justice system has long been a tool for revenge; just look at the death penalty. It's value as a deterrent has long been discredited, which belies it's true purpose--to make true patriotic god-fearing folk feel nice.
  • by eric76 (679787) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:18AM (#15189046)
    It was introduced by a Congressman.

    Yep.

    It sure was introduced by a Congressman. That doesn't mean that the Congressman wrote the bill.

    The President cannot introduce legislation himself. It takes a Congressman to do that.

    Even though the Congressman introduced the legislation, the legislation was drafted by the Bush administration.

  • by babbling (952366) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:23AM (#15189059)
    ... selling stuff DOES fund terrorism whenever the seller is a terrorist and is making a profit!

    Teddy bears fund terrorism.
    Books fund terrorism.
    Chocolate funds terrorism.
    Jewellery funds terrorism.
    Cars fund terrorism.

    Notice a pattern here? Business funds terrorism. If there was no money, then nothing could fund terrorism.

    There is only one conclusion to draw from all this: Alberto Gonzales is a commie!
  • by golodh (893453) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:26AM (#15189070)
    Interesting excerpts from the article:

    (1) "The 24-page bill is a far-reaching medley of different proposals cobbled together. One would, for instance, create a new federal crime of just trying to commit copyright infringement. Such willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison."

    (2) "Jessica Litman, who teaches copyright law at Wayne State University, views the DMCA expansion as more than just a minor change. "If Sony had decided to stand on its rights and either McAfee or Norton Antivirus had tried to remove the rootkit from my hard drive, we'd all be violating this expanded definition," Litman said."

    (3) "copyright holders can impound "records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in" infringements"

    (4) "boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The NET Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000"

    Well ... this starts to look like the laws in good old England last century. Where paupers could be sentenced to things like banishment to the Colonies (or an extensive jail time) for something like stealing an apple.

    ad (1) It does seem a bit over the top punishment-wise.

    ad (2) Just what we need! Congress has surely got its ear to the ground on this one.

    ad (3) Makes sense ... just think of all those weblogs that ISP's are so loath to give up. Grabbing the weblogs and suing people wholesale on basis of it may yet become an important source of revenue for copyright holders.

    ad (4) What are the going rates for manslaughter? And for aggravated assault? And for murder? Repeated copyright violation in excess of 1000$ is apparently the moral equivalent of murder and is rated higher than manslaughter or aggravated assault. Interesting point of view. First the War on Drugs and now this. We're going from strength to strength.

    Watch the good old US of A wage War on Crime. Copyright violations are so bad for society that they merit firm jail sentences. Bad news perhaps for teenagers who use p2p software, but the good news is that this might be just what's needed to secure our lead in people jailed per 1000 (see http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/countries -by-highest-prison-population-rates.html [mapsofworld.com]) which is now only threatened by Russia and a few banana republics. We lead the world inthis area (except perhaps for countries that don't release statistics such as North Korea).

    Just a thought ... those jails we have are awfully expensive per inmate. Wouldn't it be an idea to give offenders a choice: jail time or a tour of service in Afghanistan or Iraq? To err ... atone for their misdemeanour? Just a thought.

  • by hotspotbloc (767418) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:38AM (#15189126) Homepage Journal
    Pretty soon if you're convicted of a IP violation you'll become ineligible for federally backed student loans. Same type of war, different players.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:43AM (#15189145)
    You hit the nail - I hope that people in the USA will realize this better sooner than later.
    Another (more fresh) example is "V for Vendetta" which suits better than Orwell's 1984, because the former society lives in a faked democracy and the latter is a clear totalitarian system.

    Free people should not allow for such a demagogy, where:
        "someone I do not like/stands on my way" = "terrorist",
    and:
        "terrorist" should be jailed forever without any trial,
    and:
        "any foreigner" = "a potential terrorrist", unless he proves otherwise.

    J.tar (Sorry, still as anonymous).
  • by DigDuality (918867) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:52AM (#15189177)
    I feel that you're both right and wrong here. While you are correct, the cries of the "blame Bush first" crowd get tired and old, just as the "blame Clinton first" crowd did, we have to understand that this administration, like the Reagan administration has set the tone in terms of business deals. Now democrats are no saints and plenty of Dems are pushing for crap like this as well, but we wouldn't be seeing the merger we are, the bills protecting corporate interest only that we are, among a plethora of other things, if there wasn't a corporate Republican in the white house, a high incumbency rate in our Republican led Congress, and a shake up to tilt things even more towards conservatives in our Supreme Court. No Bush isn't directly responsible, yes people are looking in the wrong place, but yes we are in an atmosphere where the ton has been set by Bush & Co.
  • Re:From TFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker.gmail@com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:53AM (#15189183) Journal
    Most likly it was actually someone in the RIAA or MPAA. The Bush administration probably approved it as well. But I doupt the president or his men sit around and think up new copyright law..
  • by niiler (716140) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:58AM (#15189197) Journal
    Q: What are you in for?

    A: Programming, owning a computer without Windows, and thinking about Making something instead of Buying it.

    Nuff said.

  • Ipod squad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:58AM (#15189199) Homepage Journal
    Just wait for a 'police force' to wander around looking for people wearing an ipod.. " against the wall " .. " prove you have licensed this content".. Then they haul your ass off to prison since you copied a song.

    What the hell is this world coming too? 10 years for a song, but 6 months for raping someone..

    Id say write your congressmen, but they dont care..

  • Regional? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hackwrench (573697) <hackwrench@hotmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:18AM (#15189282) Homepage Journal
    Like people have that much similarity based on what region they live in anymore.
  • by Lucractius (649116) <{Lucractius} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:19AM (#15189291) Journal
    *seconds the compliment*

    time people realised that "post-911" is the biggest pile of garbage ... we are experiencing not some kind of ungodly "terrorist age" ... its an age where big fat goverment thinks it can keep pissing people off... and thats whats causing the terrorism... address the cause not treat the symptoms people
  • by The_DoubleU (603071) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:21AM (#15189306)
    Is the H.R. 4586 The Family Movie Act for real?
    I mean, are they going to make it illegal to skip ads?

    Public Knowledge.org, it is a fun site right? It is just something like The Onion, yes? Please?
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:28AM (#15189339) Homepage Journal
    After reading through 350 posts twice, why has no one blamed the real problem behind laws like this?

    It has nothing to do with Republicans (Democrats have always voted for anything that expands the power of government).

    It has nothing to do with campaign finance (most campaign finance laws were written to either keep incumbents powerful, or limit the financial activity of 3rd parties).

    It has nothing to do with protecting the artists (as copyright grew from 7 year to lifetimes, the power was offered to fewer and fewer people, leading to a cartelization of the distribution avenues).

    It has nothing to do with terrorism (one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The US has killed more people with car bombs than any militant organization).

    It has nothing to do with money. Money can be gained for the politician already through the massive spending bills -- just title the law in a way that the people don't read it but love the name and you can extract almost any amount of cash for your friends, family and other cronies.

    It has to do with power. Congress, the Executive Branch and the Supreme Court all have taken way too much power into their hands since FDR. The slide started with Lincoln. Nothing will stop these power-mongers, no voting, no campaigns, no third parties, no phone calls. Until the individual states realize that they're weaker from promoting such a large centralizing government, nothing will change. Every third party is just a fundamentalist version of one of the two big parties, and every third party candidate that wins ends up being no different than the regular politicians.

    The taste of power is enough to corrupt anyone, and there is no hope as long as we continue to let these politicians take over more and more management of a country that was better managed when states competed with one another for the best citizens.
  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:33AM (#15189373)
    It's hardly as simple as you would make it out to be, sir.

    Ever burn a mix CD for your SO?

    PIRATE!

    Ever record something off of internet radio or FM?

    PIRATE!

    Ever time shift a TV program and bypass the commercials?

    PIRATE!

    I could go on, but I think you get the point.

    It's easy to slap on a label and criminalize some basically innocuous behavior to the benefit of those that already have all the benefits (you did know that corporations enjoy more rights and protections than you, Mr. John Q. Public, right?).
  • by sirrobert (937726) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:35AM (#15189379)

    I'm not a huge fan of this kind of legislation myself, but your summary is ridiculous. The claim isn't that "Copyright infringement = terrorism" or "Marijuana = terrorism" but that these are "industries" in which terrorists operate in order to fund terrorist activities. Now here's where you (yes, you at home!) can draw a Venn diagram: Make a circle and label it "Copyright Infringers." Now make another circle and label it "Terrorists." Make sure that the two circles overlap in such a way as that the CI circle has some hangng out the side, and the T circle has some hanging out the side.

    Good! Now, careful analysis of this diagram will show that they aren't calling Copyright Infringement the same as Terrorism or even calling Copyright Infringers the same as Terrorists.

    What it is saying is that since the "Copyright Infringement 'Industry'" has no legal checks and is "free" to operate outside the law (obviously), that it's a prime place for terrorists to work to get funding, without having to pay taxes on it (and thereby identify themselves in a traceable way) -- or if they do (laundered), not to leave a paper trail that leads back to the person himself. It's also a very-low-capital-for-fairly-high-profits business. It's the same as saying that lots of terrorists are getting into the medical profession because it is very lucrative and they can fund terrorism well with it. But if this is the case, why not crack down on it, since they are facists? Oh, because it's not illegal to be a doctor so that's just one of those "private choice" things that someone can do with their money. But copyright infringement is illegal. So they can stop some of the terrorists there (in theory).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:39AM (#15189407)
    You don't understand.

    Congress makes the laws. Congress is made up of corrupt politicians who get their money from lobbyists (many from the drug-infested, bribery machine that Gingrich & DeLay & Ney et al. tuned on K Street -- the bribery machine was there before them, BTW -- they only tuned it to try to make the bribes all go to Republicans only). Congress is made up of corrupt career politicians who want to get reelected.

    It serves their interest to punish newcomers, to encourage no turnover. So they will never want to abandon the current system of seniority that punishes newcomers and keeps power to long-term career seat holders.

    It serves their interest to lock out any third party, so they will never want to change the "winner take all" non-representative electoral college.

    That is to say, you cannot reform the corrupt Congress by hoping that Congress reforms it.
  • I'm all for it. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:41AM (#15189418)
    Just as soon as the RIAA uses the laws they already have.

    Once they go after the President:
    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/prez-a-m usic-thief-according-to-riaa-167611.php [gizmodo.com]
    http://www.boingboing.net/2006/04/16/gw_bushs_ipod _contai.html [boingboing.net]

    And they go after the serving military members who have illegal MP3's and videos.

    THEN let them have their new laws.

  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:50AM (#15189478)
    The biggest victory for "content cartels" is not the bill itself, it's the title. It would mark the first time that the phrase "intellectual property" appears in a US law. It's a very important first step in realizing the transformation of copyirghts, patents, and trademarks into real property. Eventually, photocopying pages from a book really will be theft.
  • by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:50AM (#15189480)
    Seriously, if this passes look where we stand. Perhaps this one bill is not the end in and of itself, but it shows the direction we're headed. We're fighting for our rights and, unfortunately, we're losing. I think our only hope is the upcoming elections. We need to vote in a Congress that is not already in the pocket of the corporations/Bush administration so that we can at least slow down what is happening. Then, in 2008, we need to vote in an executive branch that will actually fight with us. If we get another Congress and executive branch like the one we have now, I'm not sure the 2012 elections will ever happen.

    In a way, I feel like I'm going way overboard here. Imagining everything in this country could fall apart so fast still seems ridiculous, but the more I see the less ridiculous it looks. Hardly a day passes without seeing something take away more of our freedom, and it just keeps coming. It's like there's no end. Maybe it's just me, but this is depressing. I've seen these restrictions pass over and over, but I've always had hope that someone will stand up against them and have at least some measure of success. That hope still exists, and there is still a chance to save this country, but it's all fading much faster than I ever thought possible.

  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:54AM (#15189505)
    Q: How about you, what are you in for? A: Murder, got 7 years, out next month.
  • by Mr. Ghost (674666) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:01AM (#15189538)
    Part of what makes the Republican party so scary... This actually applies to both of the political parties. Both parties are only loyal to the party not to the American people, both parties have rogue elements but the vast majority of each will always tow the party line.

    I have finally gotten so fed up with the whole thing and am now going to vote for the Constitution Party [constitutionparty.com] whenever possible and after that I will probably vote Libertarian Party [lp.org] and lastly on my list will be those Republicans that still believe in limited government because the vast majority of them no longer care about this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:07AM (#15189559)
    "Terrorism" is the new red scare, where a blanket term applies to anything unpatriotic and antigovernment.

    True that. But I think what you mean to say is that "terrorism" is the blanket term applied to anything someone wants to portray as unpatriotic. I think I'm just as entitled as anyone to lay claim to being a patriotic American, but I despise attempts by protectionist media oligarchies to curtail my rights as a citizen.

    Who's terrorizing who around here?
  • by masdog (794316) <masdog@gmaMENCKENil.com minus author> on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:14AM (#15189590)
    But a 5% showing for a 3rd party candidate will have an effect. Ralph Nader didn't even need those numbers nationally to get noticed by the Democratic party or the media.

    The problem is that when a 3rd party candidate gets popular, one or both of the major parties will resort to keeping that candidate off the ballot by any means necessary. In the last US election, the DNC successfully went to court in several states to keep Nader off the ballot because they feared he would take more votes away from their candidate.
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <(tms) (at) (infamous.net)> on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:15AM (#15189595) Homepage

    For some years, as the rhetoric of the RIAA and MPAA grew hotter, I've been predicting a "War on Copying" similar to (and about as successful as) the "War on Drugs".

    In a few years, look for guys selling copy-protection busting software on the streetcorners next to the heroin dealers.

    (Hmm, but then, this could be an opportunity for code geeks to make drug-dealer cash, to live that romantic cyberpunk outlaw hacker lifestyle...)

    Just once, I'd like to make a pessimistic prediction about the United States government and be wrong.

  • by Chowderbags (847952) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:16AM (#15189602)
    That might be good, except that most of what this is directed against is the noncommercial copyright infringer. If they targetted this bill towards those making a profit off the works through sale of the material, then maybe I could understand (except that large scale pirating operations that could help terrorists would almost certainly be done overseas...).
  • by ichimunki (194887) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:29AM (#15189695)
    It's the classic divide-and-conquer approach that America has been using since Day One. In this case the divide being created is between the artists and their audience. Guess which side wins... Bzzt! Neither. The media corporate execs are the only ones winning in this game (OK, so they do create a few multi-millionaire "artists" that serve the same function as lottery winners: keeping the suckers playing).

    The execs are the only ones in a no-lose position. Or at least that was the case before computers and the internet. It's time for a whole new paradigm. But to get there, consumers and artists are going to have to work together... hence the sick beauty of the divide-and-conquer approach. The longer artists and audiences are kept from reaching mutually satisfactory solutions, the longer the media corp execs can line their pockets.

  • by BalanceOfJudgement (962905) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:36AM (#15189740) Homepage
    Is not a devil with horns.

    It is the desire to kill freedom and subjugate all of humanity.

    There was an interesting question posed on the most recent episode of Doctor Who:

    Is a slave, still a slave, if he doesn't know he is one?

    The answer is yes, and anyone who says otherwise has something to gain from enslaving people.

    There is only one solution to the coming subjugation of the human race...

    Revolution.
  • fewer people freak out when they hear that we live under big brother, now.

    It's because America is lazy now. Change requires work, and America is just lazy. It's easier to bitch over coffee how Bush wiretaps then it is to actually do something - even as simple as writing your representatives.

    People, as a whole, are sheep. It's the very thing that shows the likes of the Simpsons and Family Guy show - mob mentality rules, people are sheep. The majority usually complains about indescressions for a week, then accept them.

    Take the RIAA for instance. There was a huge web backlash when they first filed their 1.7 billion john doe lawsuits. Since then, /. is about the only place that continues to hold hate for the RIAA - everyone else just buys their music, no matter how many 80 year old grandmothers they bankrupt.

    Same for public survellance. You're videotaped hundreds of times a day. Initially it was uncomfortable, but now people just ignore and accept it.

    To use another Simpsons analogy - take the time Apu was on Homer's lawn looking in the front window and Homer wanted him to leave:

    Homer: Will you get off my lawn!?
    Apu: Why don't you make me!
    Homer: Why!?! Aw... I give up...

  • by lesleymac (954512) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:49AM (#15189837) Homepage
    But you're talking about Russia, where copyrighted DVDs and CDs share shelf space with knockoff pirated media and no one cares. It's not like that happens here.
  • That said, the past few years we have been dealing with an increasingly aggressive leadership only interested in helping big businesses, christian morals, and themselves.

    You make the same mistake everyone makes - assuming the leadership give a shit about Christian morals. Religiously, this country does everything it can to bend over backwards for everyone except Christians.

    The reason that government seems to support such Christian thought patterns is two-fold:

    1. The Bible-Belt represents a huge, huge amount of votes
    2. Many donators with deep pockets demand it.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking that leadership themselves care about a Christian utopia. Just those who control money (and thus control politicians) do.

  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7&kc,rr,com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:19AM (#15190052) Homepage
    And we all thought that corporate run govt and law inforcement was the stuff of science fiction. Its nice to know that copying madonna's new cd is more of a crime than agravated assault. Based on current federal sentencing guidelines this will rank "copyright violation" somewhere between violent rape and child molesting. Whats the lesson to be learned in this? I guess if your just dying for the latest cd's your better off robbing a music store you will do less time.
  • by pclminion (145572) on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:46AM (#15190256)
    The two parties are IDENTICAL except for a couple knee-jerk issues that make good sound-bytes but have zero to do with the day to day operation of the government.

    As I mentioned in another comment, I've done some very extensive data mining of the Congressional voting records over the past 15 years. The statement that the parties are practically the same is completely ludicrous. However, what is even more important than your party affiliation is who your friends in Congress are. One of the most interesting revelations of my research was that congresspeople form very well-defined cliques and voting is extremely consistent within these cliques.

    Yeah, yeah, we all knew that, but it's good to see it borne out by some real statistics.

  • by JWW (79176) on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:47AM (#15190273)
    Oh, come now. The President's always been able to ask lawmakers to introduce legislation for them. That's nothing new.

    Its just that this particular law is a pile of crap, no matter who wrote it.
  • the past few years we have been dealing with an increasingly aggressive leadership only interested in helping big businesses, christian morals, and themselves.

    Go ahead and say it: The past few years we have been dealing with a Totalitarian Regime that aspires to be a dictatorship - and they are winning, mostly (imo) because no one will say it out loud. The fact it's a dictatorship that calls itself "Christian" (instead of "Islamist") doesn't make it any less a dictatorship, and doesn't make it less Wrong.

    The "Kingdom of Heaven" ("Kingdom of God"/whatever) may be paradise, but it's still monarchy - not a democracy, or even a Republic - so what do your Christian ideals tell you about Democracy - that it's Evil, or that it's good enough until Jesus gets back?

  • by feral_wombat (890146) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:08PM (#15190444)
    Screw that. Criticize early, criticize often. Some moron introduced a bill that will probably pass unless a huge amount of people rally against that. Frankly, the chances of that happening are pretty slim, but that's the only hope we have. So outsiders, please do criticize us loudly, early and often. Don't wait until it is too late.
  • Riiight (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:09PM (#15190451)
    "The new bill is designed to give the Justice Department 'tools to combat IP crime' which which are used to 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales."

    No, terrorism is 99.9% funded at the gas pump. For every fraction of a cent Osama might get from "IP crime" (assuming that he actually does), he gets a buck from your fill-up. Where are the laws limiting gasoline consumption to "fight terror" and "save the children?"

    If Gonzales is going to make statements like this, he damned well better have the evidence to back this up. If he "knows" that "terrorists" are making money from it, then he should have an idea how much money is being made from it and how it is reflected in terror's budget overall.
  • by ??? (35971) <<k> <at> <kobly.com>> on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:15PM (#15190511)
    Interesting thought... I would argue that the issue is not taxation at all, but molly-coddling of an industry that keeps the current-account deficit from being recognized as a truly disastrous occurrence. IP-related areas are one of the few areas where the US trade balance is still on the export side. This is about keeping the world's eyes off of the mismanagement of economic and monetary policy in the United States.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:51PM (#15190797)
    That's not the President's job nor is he supposed to be allowed to do so.

    He can draft a bill, just like anyone else can, and submit it to Congress. Voting into law, that's what he's not allowed to do.
  • by BobSutan (467781) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:47PM (#15191178)
    "New legislation passed into law. Theft rates skyrocket."

    "When the police asked a man caught stealing DVDs and CDs from the store, he said the risk was a bargain compared to downloading the same content online. Now he'll only get a fine, a few days in jail, and be on his merry way. If he'd used a computer to do the same thing he'd be financially ruined, spend up to a decade or so in 'pound me in the ass prison', and be marked for life as a felon. To him the choice was simple."

    My point is punishments need to fit the crime. This legislation proposes punishments that are grossly excessive, as is the case for many punishments related to computer crimes that were brought forth by the content industries--I'm looking at you RIAA and MPAA. When the punishment of doing physical harm and ACTUAL theft is less risky of making a mere copy of electronic data, the world is in a sorry state of affairs, which is a symptom of the greed and corruption ruining this country.
  • by Garse Janacek (554329) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:55PM (#15191242)
    Exactly. It bothers me when people excuse these ridiculous punishments under the justification of "Well, if you choose to break the law then you can't complain about the punishment." Yes you can. A just society should always have punishments appropriate and proportionate to the severity of the crime.

    An example of this principle that is often misunderstood in modern times is the Old Testament rule of "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This phrase is associated with brutality and revenge, but actually it is a limit on the severity of punishments that for its time (and for most times and places since then, unfortunately) was quite merciful. It explicitly rules out the example you give of executing someone for stealing bread, or even for stealing something much more expensive. By this standard, the penalty for "stealing" copyrighted material should be comparable to the value of the material stolen. The law right now is so far beyond that it's scary.

    And there are the other objectors who say "Yes, but if the penalty was that minor then it wouldn't be enough of a disincentive to copyright violators" -- but the primary purpose of just laws is not to serve as a disincentive to bad behavior (let alone that more severe punishments doesn't even correlate directly with less crime, as in your example). Even if, by instituting an instant death sentence for copyright violation, we were able to lower copyright violation to 1% of its current levels, this would not be acceptable, because death is not a proportionate punishment for that crime. Similarly, 10 years in prison, though a good deal more lenient than death, is grossly disproportionate to the offense that will yield it.

    Does such a punishment deter crime? Not as much as you'd think. But who cares? The point is that it is an immoral punishment. The ends do not justify the means. People should be punished because of the wrongs that they committed, not as an example to scare other people out of misbehaving. People who break laws are still people, not some "criminal" class that becomes subhuman and is therefore unworthy of justice. And "justice" doesn't just mean "bad things happen to people who break laws." It should mean that those who break laws will receive a punishment appropriate to their specific actions, and it is poor sympathy for fellow human beings to ignore what happens to them because "they broke the law, so they had it coming."

    Alright, rant over for now... suffice to say... I agree with you ;)

  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:09PM (#15191364)

    Authorities
    That computer is a hacking tool. Hacking is illegal.

    Hacker
    No, you're confusing "hacking" with criminal acts. "Hacking" just means that I'm using my computer in a manner not consistent with its original design to solve a problem in an imaginative manner.

    Authorities
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Look, sir--some laws are just unenforcable, and we know that everybody's been breaking them for a long time. Hell, I used to, too. That's over now, but we're not locking people up for it yet. The people in the TCPA did the best they could to protect their rights and preserve as much of yours as they could tolerate. After that, legislatures simply let the technology define the rights.
    The law has changed: What you're doing falls outside the scope of the TCP System. You could have bought an approved computer. The courts understand that there's really only one reason you didn't. know there's only one reason you didn't. We don't have to prove you did anything else illegal--the presence of the unlicensed computer is a crime, now.

    You have a good job. A decent house that you're going to own in twelve more years, good credit, the respect of your peers, and peace of mind. You eat dinner with your kids and your wife. And what's your misery? Your kids are a couple of smart-mouth little shitheads? Great. Think about it. Don't be stupid. That's your worst problem? It's just a computer, fer chrissake. Just pay the fine; it's not going to break you.

    Nothing else in the house I should know about, is there? Sign here. It says this computer you're giving me is the only illegal item in your possession. I'll sign as witness. See, it says "under penalty of perjury", and you signed it. I trust you. Look, sir, I'm trying to help you out here. You seem to be a decent guy and folks like you really don't belong in jail. I'll be in the neighborhood following up in about a week--you can ask me any questions then. County dump's public property, by the way. Can't say what came from who or when in there. Yeah--next Saturday. We'll be doing this side of the street in the afternoon.

    One more thing--After I leave, I go to Best Buy or Wal-Mart and get yourself a legal computer, register it, and start using it. Use the number on the bottom of the form.

    No, seriously. Go buy a decent computer. You're going to need one, and it's not going to put your Visa over the limit. Look, your hard drives get yanked & scanned into the database. Whatever you were using your computer for before---if don't start doing it on a licensed computer, the court assumes--Yeah, you got it.

    Terrified hacker
    Sorry. Here's the computer. Where do I sign? Can I pay the fine with Visa? No, I don't mind a 3% fee; that's what--only another fifteen bucks?

    Three Years Later...

    The fully engaged citizen act: Federally mandated taxpayer subsidized minimum internet access for everyone. Partially or fully subsidized (check your tax return to see if you qualify) computers for everyone. They're not very powerful, but they're enough to vote, file your taxes, and pay your fines.

    And we really, really expect you to take advantage of this program. Why wouldn't you? It's basically free, and the only way you can vote, renew your drivers' license, apply for an apartment, sign up for electric service. Give all that up? Why? No, seriously, why? Sure, you can opt out of the program, but we'd really like to know why. I'll wait until you get it filled out. Can we go inside an sit down?

    No, you misunderstand the word. Privacy is what's violated when the neighbors peek at your daughter in the shower.
    A pattern of secretive behaviour, on the other hand, is evidence of a crime. No, of course, not you. You've done nothing wrong at all.
    No, you don't qualify for the subsidy. But, hey, lemme see what I can do. Just sign up today, and I'll see you get the latest model--it'll

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:48PM (#15191723)
    The two parties are IDENTICAL except for a couple knee-jerk issues that make good sound-bytes but have zero to do with the day to day operation of the government.

    In the past I would've agreed that there was no substantial difference between the parties, but the past 6 years of Rupublican rule has put the lie to that. The parties are NOT IDENTICAL. The previous administration, for all it's flaws, did a significantly better job with the 'day-to-day' operation of government. Just consider: FEMA then (run by people qualified in disaster management) , FEMA now (run by cronies), fiscal policy then (balanced budget and surpluses) and fiscal policy now (the current administration has borrowed more money than every previous American administration combined.) Foreign policy then (not great, but approached with diplomacy, a willingness to work with other nations and an understanding of potential long term consequences)...foreign policy now (torture). Science then (respected, used as a basis for decision making), science now (the researchers are 'biased', scientific information is censored in government reports, the 'internets')
    It will take decades to recover, and I for one can't wait for the return of government by grown-ups with some grip on reality.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:24PM (#15192007)
    "It's because America is lazy now. Change requires work, and America is just lazy. It's easier to bitch over coffee how Bush wiretaps then it is to actually do something - even as simple as writing your representatives."

    The problem is exactly the opposite...Americans are TOO BUSY!
    Do you wonder why you see people in the middle east out protesting (like with the cartoons) in the middle of the week?
    It's because they DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO!
    They don't have jobs!

    It's hard to be politcally active after working 60 hours/week, then dealing with your kids/wife/friends/whatever.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:30PM (#15193599) Homepage
    1. Create draconian laws to deal with "terrorism". Suspend the constitution, create secret prisons and torture chambers, kidnap thousands of people. Hooray for us against evil terrorism.

    2. Redefine terrorism to whatever pisses the government off.

    3. Police state achieved.
  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:56PM (#15193978) Homepage Journal
    To quote, 'quite frankly, fund terrorism activities,' according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

    For the benefit of readers outside the US, we should perhaps note that in American political speech, "frankly" is a code word meaning that what follows is an intentional lie. The phrase "quite frankly" means it's a damned lie.

    It's sorta the Washington equivalent of "wink, wink; nudge, nudge" for you Monty Python fans.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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