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The Worst Bill You've Never Heard Of 630

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the double-dipping dept.
AWhiteFlame writes "IPAction.org is reporting on a section of the Reform Act of 2006 that's very shocking and surprisingly not that publicized. From the article: 'This will be a busy week in the House -- Congress goes into summer recess Friday, but not before considering the Section 115 Reform Act of 2006 (SIRA). Never heard of SIRA? That's the way Big Copyright and their lackey's want it, and it's bad news for you. Simply put, SIRA fundamentally redefines copyright and fair use in the digital world. It would require all incidental copies of music to be licensed separately from the originating copy. Even copies of songs that are cached in your computer's memory or buffered over a network would need yet another license.'"
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The Worst Bill You've Never Heard Of

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  • Re:Bah! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:06AM (#15478335) Homepage
    go read: http://www.chrononhotonthologos.com/lawnotes/repvs dem.htm [chrononhotonthologos.com]
    A republic is mutually exclusive with democracy. In one version the people vote on laws, in the other they vote on representatives. You can't have it both ways.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:09AM (#15478347) Homepage
    Rep. Bob Goodlatte epitomizes what is wrong with Congress. He used to be my congresscritter when I was still in VA's 6th district. He runs unopposed. Literally. He's the only guy on the ballot. He represents a mostly rural district, but makes copyright issues his side issue. He's also passionately anti-hacker culture. The man is a scumbag to the nth degree because he takes large amounts of money from interests from outside of his district and pursues them from the safety of a district with no competition. He's actually what convinced me of the need for proportional representation.
  • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Elemenope (905108) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:22AM (#15478393)

    There are hybrid systems that allow parallel legislative paths, which include both legislative representatives and direct democracy. Witness, for example, the binding referendum, which is a direct democracy tool in many (mostly mid-western) American states. Now, whether their existence is a good idea or not, that's another thing entirely.

  • by gazz (101967) <gazNO@SPAMschmoo.me.uk> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:24AM (#15478402) Homepage
    Don't you mean Wii..?
  • by i am kman (972584) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:38AM (#15478443)
    Jeez - the link seems like a pure political rant against SIRA. While it's an important issue, I would've hoped slashdot might have linked to a more intelligent article that actually discusses the bill.

    Here's a much more thorough discussion of the bill:

    http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat051606.html [copyright.gov]

    This article counters a number of the rants on the extremely biased link slashdot provided.

    For instance, the slashdot political link claims "It would require all incidental copies of music to be licensed separately from the originating copy. Even copies of songs that are cached in your computer's memory..."

    However, the link above specifically says:
    "the proposed blanket license covers all intermediate copies (e.g., server, cache and buffer copies) necessary to facilitate the digital delivery of music and applies to streaming and limited downloads."

    I'm not arguing that it's a good bill (and I'm pretty sure it sucks), only that the initial link is so blatantly political that it's hardly an objective source for ANY information and is easily proven wrong by a casual read at the facts. Shame on you slashdot for posting such biased and political crap soley to incite a flamewar.
  • Action to take (Score:5, Informative)

    by jsse (254124) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:50AM (#15478482) Homepage Journal
    I bet majority of you don't read the fine article, and you'd miss something very imoportant:

    "Don't let Big Copyright legalize double dipping. Fight SIRA today.

    The House is going into recess for the summer at the end of this week, so you have a unique opportunity to kill this legislation. If we can stall SIRA now it would effectively kill it for the reminder of the year, giving us more time to prepare an offensive.

    Please call the Members of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property and voice your opposition to this legislation.

    Republicans:

    Honorable Lamar S. Smith, 2184 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-4236

    Honorable Henry J. Hyde, 2110 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-4561

    Honorable Elton Gallegly, 2427 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-0523, (202) 225-5811

    Honorable Bob Goodlatte, 2240 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-5431

    Honorable William L. Jenkins, 1207 Longworth Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-6356

    Honorable Spencer Bachus, 442 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, 202 225-4921

    Hon. Robert Inglis, 330 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-6030

    Honorable Ric Keller, 419 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-2176

    Hon. Darrell Issa, 211 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515

    Honorable Chris Cannon, 2436 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-7751

    Honorable Mike Pence, 426 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-3021

    Honorable J. Randy Forbes, 307 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-6365

    Democrats:

    Honorable Howard L. Berman, 2221 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515, (202) 225-4695

    Honorable John Conyers, Jr., 2426 Rayburn Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-5126

    Honorable Rick Boucher, 2187 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-3861

    Honorable Zoe Lofgren, 102 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-3072

    Honorable Maxine Waters, 2344 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-2201

    Honorable Martin T. Meehan, 2229 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-3411

    Honorable Robert Wexler, 213 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-3001

    Honorable Anthony Weiner, 1122 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, (202) 225-6616

    Honorable Adam Schiff, 326 Cannon House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515, (202) 225-4176

    Honorable Linda T. Sanchez, 1007 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, (202) 225-6676"

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:58AM (#15478510)
    First, let me say that I am very anti-stupid-copyright/patent etc and against the whole trend we've been seeing from RI/MPAA and congress to remove our longstanding fair-use rights and damage the public domain.

    That said, I took a look, and this Act doesn't read to me the same way the submission is characterizing it. The link is here: http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat051606.html [copyright.gov]

    I could be wrong, but from what I've read, the Act actually tries to do the opposite of what is claimed in the article submission, as to the seperate licensing of cached/buffered/etc copies of content.

    Here is an excerpt from the linked page above:

    "First, by simply filing one license application--or in the case of multiple designated agents or a change in digital uses, a limited number of applications--a legitimate music service can obtain a license to utilize all musical works(4) in the digital environment, rather than having to locate the various copyright owners of those works and clear the rights with each of them. Requiring the license to be available to all comers and deeming it to be automatically granted upon the filing of a proper application makes this licensing processing as instantaneous as possible. A key component is that the new compulsory license governs all nondramatic musical works and does not permit copyright owners to opt-out, which would otherwise jeopardize the efficiency of the entire blanket licensing structure. Additionally, we note that the SIRA appropriately does not preclude a copyright owner from entering into a direct licensing agreement with a particular digital music service, thus preserving multiple licensing options for copyright owners and licensees.

    Second, the proposed blanket license covers all intermediate copies (e.g., server, cache and buffer copies) necessary to facilitate the digital delivery of music and applies to streaming and limited downloads.(5) Presently, there exists much confusion and controversy as to whether these copies and uses must be separately licensed, which the Office understands can result in protracted negotiations and delays. By resolving these issues, the SIRA clears the way for the legitimate music services to focus on rapidly delivering music to the consuming public and developing new technologies to make delivery even faster, regardless of whether such technologies involve additional intermediate copies or not.

    Based on the foregoing and our involvement in discussions on these issues over the past several years, we anticipate that the blanket licensing approach would be welcomed by, or at least be acceptable to, the various interested parties. Furthermore, we note that blanket licensing has proven successful with respect to the section 114 compulsory license for sound recordings, and would expect it to function similarly in the section 115 context.

    However, the Copyright Office strongly urges that the SIRA not characterize streaming as a distribution or as a form of "digital phonorecord delivery," or DPD. A stream, whether interactive or noninteractive, is predominantly a public performance, although the various reproductions such a transmission requires makes it appropriate to address in section 115. A stream does not, however, constitute a "distribution," the object of which is to deliver a usable copy of the work to the recipient; the buffer and other intermediate copies or portions of copies that may temporarily exist on a recipient's computer to facilitate the stream and are for all practical purposes useless (apart from their role in facilitating the single performance) and most likely unknown to the recipient simply do not qualify. Similarly, a stream should not be considered a DPD as that term is presently defined by 17 U.S.C. 115(d), because it most likely does not result in "a specifically identifiable reproduction by or for any transmission recipient of a phonorecord." The Office recognizes that the SIRA proposes to amend the definition of DPD to specif
  • Re:Bah! (Score:4, Informative)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:58AM (#15478511)
    The page you point to is bullshit.

    The term "republic" is simply a term that arose historically to signify that a nation was not a monarchy or dictatorship. Far from being mutually exclusive, all democracies actually are republics. Democracies in which the people vote on representatives are called "representative democracies"; most democracies are of that form these days because nothing else is really practical.

    The US used to be a republic (no monarch) but probably shouldn't be considered a democracy during its first century or so (too limited representation). These days, the US is a representative democracy, not much different from European democracies.

    Contrary to what that article says, democracy is not tyranny of the majority; protecting minority rights is an essentical part of democratic government (but not of all republican government, in which historically large parts of the population weren't represented at all).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:21AM (#15478592)
    http://action.eff.org/sira [eff.org]

    he law implies that licenses from copyright holders are needed for every digital copy made in the transmission of digital media -- including cached copies on servers or on your hard drive, and even temporary copies in RAM.

    This Bill kinda seems to make everything digital pretty much illegal - I guess its time to start building analogue computers
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:28AM (#15478625)
    Another example of people making articles about things they don't have the foggiest idea about. Please don't flip out.

    This legislation is actually needed. As things stand, net broadcasters can be hit twice, once for a public performance and again for distributing a copy. This will clear that up, along with providing for a simple blanket license for them. It will also help the songwriters to actually get a little money from the licensing for online broadcasts of their works. It appears there is some loophole that lets the record labels collect money for digital copies without paying the songwriters/songpublishers.

    see http://www.nmpa.org/pressroom/showrelease.asp?id=1 16 [nmpa.org]

    Of course there are problems with this draft bill. The US Copyright Office has identified some, including the foggyness on server copies... http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat051606.html [copyright.gov]

    iPac looks like another fledgling advocacy group fanning flames trying to get some attention. a little short on clue methinks... look for their misuse of hacker stereotypes in 'Hollywood Hackers' :(

  • by Kopretinka (97408) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:43AM (#15478687) Homepage
    Here's the link to EFF's take on this: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004721.php [eff.org]
  • Re:text of bill? (Score:2, Informative)

    by elmo1618 (955720) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:57AM (#15478748)
    The text of the bill is available here http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat051606.html [copyright.gov] If I'm understanding the terms of the bill the "no opt-out" phrase means that individual copyright holders must agree to give their copyrights to whatever group that is in charge of the "limited number of applications". It seems that the record industry is not just aiming at consumers but the artists as well
  • by itak.karstaag (913380) <itak.karstaag@gm a i l . com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:09AM (#15479089)
    i am kman, thanks for the alternate link - it provided some insight into how this bill is regarded amongs those who might actually have some say in its design.

    From the link, 9th paragraph, lines 14-16:

    Characterizing streaming as a form of distribution is factually and legally incorrect and can only lead to confusion in an environment where the concept of distribution by means of digital transmission is already the subject of misguided attacks.

    It would seem that some interested parties would like to include streaming media in the definition of a physical, reproduceable copy of media. I'm sure most of us are aware, however, that streams are not entirely impervious to recording, but the Copyright Office would seem to know this as well, and they take a much more logical stance (par. 9, 4-8):

    A stream does not, however, constitute a "distribution," the object of which is to deliver a usable copy of the work to the recipient; the buffer and other intermediate copies or portions of copies that may temporarily exist on a recipient's computer to facilitate the stream and are for all practical purposes useless (apart from their role in facilitating the single performance) and most likely unknown to the recipient simply do not qualify.

    From what I gather, the Copyright Office is of the belief that streaming media over the Internet is the equivalent of yesteryear's radio (I'm dating myself, I know). This, the opinion of the Copyright Office, is just exactly the kind of unbiased view we need. Now while I'm sure they are indeed biased in some form or another (we all are), this Statement that they have issued would seem to take an objective view on this matter.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 @ g m ail.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:10AM (#15479094) Homepage
    See Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution:

    "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

    Meaning that if a law is passed today making a certain activity illegal, one cannot be retroactively prosecuted under that law.

    Insightful? Com'on folks, high school civics.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:19AM (#15479146) Journal
    Bush wasn't the only president elected with the electoral college at odds with the popular vote.

    But you are correct. We Americans don't live in a democracy. In fact, we never have. We live in a sort of Federal Republic that has evolved into a more direct Republic. Some have called it a "representative democracy" but that really just describes a kind of republic in which the delegates are elected.
  • by johnnick (188363) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:27AM (#15479197)
    The linked website seems to be shouting FUD from the rooftops.

    I read the Copyright Office comments and the bill as posted on the discussion draft link, and I'd appreciate some help in understanding where you're coming from.

    As I understand it, the bill deals with the relationship between Digital Music Providers and Copyright owners. It does not deal with the relationship between Digital Music Provider and end users (other than to define a DMP as an entity that provides digital music to end users).

    The basic purpose of the bill is to create a compulsory licensing scheme for digital music, so that digital music providers can buy a single license (in the way that ASCAP and BMI license their portfolios today on behalf of the content producers). The compulsory licensing scheme enables digital music providers to avoid seeking out individual copyright owners and getting a license from each of them, and prevents copyright owners from refusing to license their works.

    The bill appears to include caches and other incidental copies to prevent copyright owners from claiming that those are separate copies requiring a separate license. The bill specifically includes those incidental copies in the compulsory license granted to the DMP.

    The retroactivity provision enables DMPs that have been providing digital music without the appropriate license to pay for their use dating back to 2001 (or whatever the date was in the bill) and thereby escape any claim that they violated the copyright owner's rights. This protects the DMP from liability.

    So, if anyone has a reason to object to this bill, it's the copyright owners, not the end users.

    While this is all based on a quick skim of the bill and the Copyright Office's comments, I'm really not sure how this bill creates the slew of horrors that have been posted on this page.

    For the record, and in the interest of avoiding some of the low s/n ad hominim attacks that I've alrady seen launched in some of these comments, I don't work for the music industry, any entity associated with the music industry, and the comments are entirely my own. I distrust and generally despise the RIAA and MPAA, but I just don't see the harm to end users here. Perhaps that's ignorance on my part, so I'd appreciate it if someone could actually explain (preferably with references to the actual text of the bill) how this bill causes the problems y'all are fearing.

    John
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:27AM (#15479204)
    From: das at doit.wisc.edu
    Subject: Incorrect information about SIRA?
    Date: June 6, 2006 8:21:46 AM CDT
    To: fred at eff.org
    Security: Signed


    In your post [eff.org] you say:

    SIRA's main aim is clearing the way for online music services by revising the current mechanical compulsory license set out in Section 115 of the Copyright Act to accommodate "full downloads, limited downloads, and interactive streams." So far so good, but the devil is in the details. This license specifically includes and treats as license-able "incidental reproductions...including cached, network, and RAM buffer reproductions."

    By smuggling this language into the Copyright Act, the copyright industries are stacking the deck for future fights against other digital technologies that depend on making incidental copies. Just think of all the incidental copies that litter your computer today -- do you have a license for every copy in your browser's cache?


    But, the "Blanket Licensing" section of says:

    First, by simply filing one license application--or in the case of multiple designated agents or a change in digital uses, a limited number of applications--a legitimate music service can obtain a license to utilize all musical works(4) in the digital environment, rather than having to locate the various copyright owners of those works and clear the rights with each of them. Requiring the license to be available to all comers and deeming it to be automatically granted upon the filing of a proper application makes this licensing processing as instantaneous as possible. A key component is that the new compulsory license governs all nondramatic musical works and does not permit copyright owners to opt-out, which would otherwise jeopardize the efficiency of the entire blanket licensing structure. Additionally, we note that the SIRA appropriately does not preclude a copyright owner from entering into a direct licensing agreement with a particular digital music service, thus preserving multiple licensing options for copyright owners and licensees.

    Second, the proposed blanket license covers all intermediate copies (e.g., server, cache and buffer copies) necessary to facilitate the digital delivery of music and applies to streaming and limited downloads.(5) Presently, there exists much confusion and controversy as to whether these copies and uses must be separately licensed, which the Office understands can result in protracted negotiations and delays. By resolving these issues, the SIRA clears the way for the legitimate music services to focus on rapidly delivering music to the consuming public and developing new technologies to make delivery even faster, regardless of whether such technologies involve additional intermediate copies or not.


    So it would seem that SIRA is trying to do the exact opposite from what is being alleged in various "calls to action" regardingm SIRA.

    Regards,

    Dave Schroeder
    University of Wisconsin - Madison

    ----

    There's a reason we've "never heard of" this bill: it's not trying to do any of the evil things the submitter or TFA say it is. Yes, it may suck in other ways and probably does, like pretty much any proposed law will in some respect or another. But it's not trying to enforce separate licenses for cached, buffered, and incidental copies of digital works; it's trying to eliminate all of the ridiculousness with regard to that and allow one license to cover all of the incidental copies that might pop up in digital distribution. It sure would be nice if people actually read it [copyright.gov].
  • by Skippyboy (978787) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:44AM (#15479348) Journal
    The US is a democratic REPUBLIC. (Unfortunate how pathetic our educational system is - nobody seems to remember this from school.) In a democracy - the people rule. In a republic, a small group rule. In our democratic republic, we elect the small group to rule. In theory it seems like a very good system. In practice - people screw it up.
  • by tbannist (230135) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:48AM (#15479386)
    No, the people who trot that line out are just reminding you that while "Democracy may not work well", it tends to work better for most of the people in it, than any other system yet devised. This doesn't mean that the American "Federalist Republic" is good in any way, shape or form. However, there are a lot of other countries who's democracies seem to be working quite well. Your problem is not democracy but a two-party system where democracy is merely a convenient label. Your country is essentially an oligarchy.
  • by NekkidBob (807988) <jason@purebsd . n et> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:57AM (#15479448) Homepage
    No, the electoral voting system has been in effect since the forming of our fourth (and current) government, that's how Washington was elected. Fourth if you count the 1st and 2nd continental congresses as governments of our country. The states directly control who is an electoral voter, however the rules on how they're chosen varies per state. The governor of a state could put in people he knows will vote for whoever he wants, and if the state constitution allows the governor to control who the electors are, it's all perfectly legal for a governor to do that, and there's not a god damn thing anyone can do about it. The states control who is president, not the people.
  • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@@@castlesteelstone...us> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:18AM (#15479605) Homepage Journal
    In fact, wasn't the President simply elected by the House of Represenatives at first?

    Yes, but not in the way you think. The pre-Constitutional Colonial Congress (issued the Declaration of Independence, started the revolution, et al) elected its own President, which was the first time Washington got the job. And the Articles-of-Confederation Congress elected its own executve, who wasn't even called "President."

    But the strong Article 2 executive we have as the President was never elected primarily by the House. Only in the event of an indecision by the Electoral College does something like that happen -- such as what should have happened in 2000.

    FWIW, when you vote for president you vote for an elector in your state, and essentially all states have a "winner take all" implementation of the election law. Your state has the same number of electors as members of Congress -- at least 3, one for each senator and one for the House representative.

    Oh, and there are states that want to have either a different voting system for their electors, or that want to split their electors. The biggest argument against this is that it would let national campaigns marginalize low-population areas. Which, somehow, is better than marginalizing citizens who live in high-population areas.
  • by GeekyMike (575177) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:04AM (#15479991)
    The US Government is not a Democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. There is a huge difference. And the reference to the US as a democracy is a common mistake many people make.
  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:52AM (#15480392) Homepage
    You'll get off the "content industry's" cultural grid completely. Go to creative commons [creativecommons.org], legaltorrents [legaltorrents.com], "etc. [magnatune.com] and build up your collection of DRM free music.

    It's not that hard. In afternoon you can obtain 20-30 CDs' worth of music. Give it a listen. Any of it that floats your boat, let someone know.

    Nothing would please the free culture movement more than to see "piracy" and RIAA record sales both plummet to zero. Now.

  • by geoffspear (692508) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @12:56PM (#15481480) Homepage
    The Senate acts to protect the interests of the smaller states. Without the Senate, the smaller states would have been stupid to join the union in the first place, and they're certainly not going to consent to amending the Constitution to abolish the Senate (neither will the Senate itself, for that matter).

    The imbalance in power that the Electoral college should create by assigning electoral votes based on number of members of Congress is statistically significant, but not really all that bad. The imbalance of power that the winner-take-all system of electoral voting creates, however, is enormous. Especially when combined with the incredibly stupid system of primary elections which gives voters in many larger states absolutely no say in who their party's presidential candidate should be.

  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:00PM (#15482564) Homepage Journal
    In either case, every time you buy CD-Rs or any sort of digital audio "recording machine", you have compensated the copyright holders.

    Incorrect. There are special "Audio CD-Rs" that do include the fee. If you own a dedicated audio CD recording device (something designed to sit in your stereo cabinet, not a computer), they're built to require these Audio CD-Rs for exactly this reason. however, the plain old cheap CD-R you buy to stick into your computer aren't charged this fee. The reality is that almost no one purchased these special CDs; most people burning audio CDs are just buying the non-compensated data CDs and burning them on their computer.

  • by Chowderbags (847952) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @03:40PM (#15482819)
    While I agree with you that the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension act was a heinious piece of legislation that is sickening to anyone but the copyright holders, you are factually mistaken in some points. The Bono Act didn't put expired copyrights back into effect, though it was retroactive back as far as it could go (January 1, 1923). It also will only hold those works till 2019.

    None of this justifies the extension, and quite honestly I wouldn't mind a huge contraction of the number of years. Quite honestly, though, the way this country is going, it'll take more than just voting out some politicians to change things.

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