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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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  • by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:41AM (#15478267) Homepage Journal
    Yet another reason to never upgrade....

    How are they planning to enforce this on existing setups? Oh wait... they can't!

    Shame....

    I could dance around about how im running linux etc, but the fact of the matter is even people running windows XP can avoid this, by : Yes thats right, NOT patching. I mean how do they expect to force anything on anyone using a computer?

    One day they might learn, but it seems it will be no time soon... :/
    • by Ant P. (974313) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:46AM (#15478281) Homepage
      The way I see it, this is yet another reason to pirate media instead of buying it.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:02AM (#15479047)
        "The way I see it, this is yet another reason to pirate media instead of buying it."

        What, the "I'm too cheap to pay for it and I should be able to decide whether it's worth it before I buy it even though I wouldn't have bought it anyway because it's all commercialized overpriced unoriginal crap for which the artists aren't getting paid enough anyhow and it doesn't cost them anything when it's in digital form and besides information wants to be free as in beer and it's my right to be entertained for free because the evil greedy corporations are abusing copyrights in the US and so I'm standing up for my civil rights just like people did back in the 60's by sticking it to The Man" rationalization doesn't work for you?

        • by Golias (176380) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:16AM (#15479587)
          What, the "I'm too cheap to pay for it and I should be able to decide whether it's worth it before I buy it even though I wouldn't have bought it anyway because it's all commercialized overpriced unoriginal crap for which the artists aren't getting paid enough anyhow and it doesn't cost them anything when it's in digital form and besides information wants to be free as in beer and it's my right to be entertained for free because the evil greedy corporations are abusing copyrights in the US and so I'm standing up for my civil rights just like people did back in the 60's by sticking it to The Man" rationalization doesn't work for you?

          Slashdot needs a "+1, Flamebait, But Not Wrong" mod, just for posts like yours.
          • Well, there's always the -1 Flamebait, +1 Underrated combination of mods. It just takes more than one person. But I read Flamebait at +6 anyway, since they're often humorous. To stay on topic, look at this page [house.gov] and check out the "witness list" from the oversight hearing!

            David M. Israelite
            President and Chief Executive Officer, National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA)

            Jonathan Potter
            Executive Director, Digital Media Association (DiMA)

            Rick Carnes
            President, Songwriter's Guild

            Cary H. Sherman
            Pr

      • by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:12AM (#15479105)
        The way I see it, this is yet another reason to pirate media instead of buying it.


        Things have gotten so bad, that me and others like me feel less like a criminal by "stealing" software and music vs buying it.

        I had to call tech support one time because some software was not working via the license manager, and do you know why? We paid too much for it. My user had a single user license, and then my company bought a site license, which made the individual license not work.

        The now infamous Ernie Ball being raided by the BSA incident and the removal of all Microsoft products in 6 months is another example. The guy was completely legit, and he had to pay something like $20-30k in extortion to make sure that he was really paying enough for software.

        Its safer to pirate and download music now vs being rootkitted by buying it.

        I have over $1k in software at home that I am _terrified_ to touch because of all of the dongles and online registration and whatnot. Aside from the quality of the software not being that good, the crap that I have to go through just to make it work has really made me decide that I'm not going to buy software any more. I felt the same way when I bought my first C/C++ compiler. I paid something like $140 for it, and on the same computer gcc generated code that was 2-4x faster!

        So, the media companies have really convinced me and others that free media is better. Their loss, not mine.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @01:11PM (#15481075)
          This is why you should choose Linux, BSD, or another open-source or at least free-as-in-beer solution, like Ernie Ball did after that fiasco. Even when you're legit, you can still get screwed by proprietary software vendors in any number of ways.

          I've removed Microsoft software from production at my office because a) I am not about to pay for exchanged AGAIN when we expand and Exchange 2000 CALs are no longer available b) maintenance can be fully automated on Linux without having to resort to insecure vbscripts and c) No worries about Windows Update patches breaking the info store service ever again (yes this happened last year, M$'s solution was "reformat, reinstall, and restore the IS then reconnect the mailboxes to the user accounts" - Uh, no thanks. I worked on it for about 20 hours and managed to get the IS mounted again, and immediately started evaluating Linux groupware solutions, eventually settling on free-as-in-beer Scalix). Now all we use is our MSDN licenses for development/staging, no more Microsoft products in production. I'd put the old licenses up on feeBay, only Microsoft has a habit of suing customers for reselling unused or retired licenses [applelinks.com] despite the fact that boxed software sold over the counter is actually SOLD and not licensed, as established in many prior court cases.

          Of course, I expect some Microsoft fanboy to mod my post down. Go right ahead, you know you want to. I used to really like Microsoft until they instituted anti-customer policies when they saw Linux looming on the horizon.

          You can't go wrong choosing open-source and free-as-in-beer solutions. The up-front setup time may be a little bit higher, but you can rest assured that:
            * you will always be able to access your data
            * There is a much higher chance you can fully automate maintenance
            * if the BSA comes knocking on your door, you can point them at the GPL and BSD licenses and say "here's all the info you need. Thanks, you can leave now. Don't let the door hit you in the ass."
        • by louzerr (97449) <Mr DOT Pete DOT Nelson AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:22PM (#15484270) Homepage
          A similar thought hit me one day when we ran into a duplicate license problem with Macromedia Dreamweaver (we had enough licenses, just used one twice).

          Think about it - they PAID someone to write code to make your software NOT WORK. Hmmm. Now, where did they get the money to pay this guy? Oh, from YOU!

          Now, think what software companies could do if they could get beyond all this paranoia and concentrated just on MAKING THE SOFTWARE WORK.

          Now, I'd PAY for that!
      • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @11:52AM (#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.

      • The best reason I know to ignore current copyright law is that nobody is obligated to keep their side of a broken contract. Copyright is a contract between the copyright holder and the public. The public agrees to pay the cost of enforcing the copyright for a specific length of time, in exchange for free access to the work at the end of that time. Changing the terms of copyright for new works is legitimate, but extending copyright on existing works breaks the existing contract.

        The Bono Act of 1998 not only
        • by Chowderbags (847952) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#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.
    • by Elemenope (905108) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:46AM (#15478284)

      I suppose it is, like most copyright legislation in the digital age, funadamentally unenforceable against those with savvy or those who are crafty enough to learn from those who are savvy. However, the fact remains that those two groups are a vanishingly small minority; seriously, how many XP users even think about updates? (How many just have it set to go automatically; I'm willing to bet a majority.) The danger of legislation should not be measured against those with the expertise and will to foil its provisions; a true test of the legitimacy of this legislation would be what effect it would have on those who take no special precautions or go out of their way to circumvent it. And on that standard, this legislation is very poor indeed.

      • by linvir (970218) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:50AM (#15478481)
        And they say anarchy is freedom for the strong. Things like this make me wonder if democracy really is any better.
        • That's asumming you DO live in a democracy. Remember how Bush did NOT get the popular majority in 2000 (because of the famous electoral votes)? Remember Diebold?
          • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:19AM (#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 pavon (30274) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:26AM (#15479194)
          Monarchy ensure freedom for the crown.
          Anarchy ensure freedom for the strong.
          Capitalism ensures freedom for the rich.
          Democracy ensures freedom for the majority.
          Republics ensure freedom for their constituents.
          All forms of government ensure freedom for those who are in power.

          No mechanism or form of government ensures freedom for all - the only way this is ever possible is if those in power choose to cede their capability to exploit those that are not. The great philosophers of democracy as well as the founding fathers of the US had no delusions about this. It was always understood by them that freedom for all is only obtained only by the enlightened self-interest of the law-makers, and preserved only by the eternal vigilance of the people. However, far too many members of our populace no longer understand this.
      • I don't think the argument of tech-savviness applies in this case. You don't have to know your tech inside-out to know that multiple charging for the same song is plain wrong. I would even say it makes even less sense to the technically less skilled why a song in RAM or on the network should to treated as a new copy which can be treated - and charged - as a unique file, because, after all, they see no way of "abusing" this fact. They would only see that they are charged several times for purely technical re
    • by Down_in_the_Park (721993) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:48AM (#15478286)
      Yet another reason to never upgrade....

      Sure, tell this to the average user, who buys computers with preinstalled Vista, OSX, etc. and has "automatic update" activ, because of all these virii. Or you may need a new driver (previous one stopped working, was only temp)...but you can access the driver page only after you installed a certain DRM-patch...
      • Or you may need a new driver(previous one stopped working, was only temp

        Excuse me but I am genuinely intrigued, how can a driver be "temp"?

        No, really, how is that? is that an OSX or Vista feature ? usually after I install a driver (Windows XP or Linux for me) it "drives" the hardware forever and ever. Are they making Shareware or 30-day-Demo drivers or something?
    • by quentin_quayle (868719) <quentin_quayle&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:13AM (#15478364)

      "How are they planning to enforce this on existing setups? "

      Well maybe I'm just paranoid, but maybe that is an implicit purpose of this provision. It would take something like Microsoft's "protected content path" in Vista to monitor all the copies made. And there's nothing the MP/RI Ass. of America would like better than a comprehensive DRM system required by law. And it's entirely typical of interest groups to use one bad policy as a pretext for another.

      • And there's nothing the MP/RI Ass. of America would like better than a comprehensive DRM system required by law

        and it would be a dream outcome for Microsoft... to get Linux outlawed...

    • Yet another reason to never upgrade....

      ... like i needed another reason beyond "it still works" ... ;)

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:33AM (#15478645) Homepage
      Great concept! so what are you going to run on your PC in 10 years? XP? dont think so. Linux? BSD? both of those will have caved in to the DRM monster by then as well.

      The only way to stop this crap is fighting it now. Get out and tell lots of people about this bill and that they need to call XXX-XXX-XXXX today to voice their concer to their senator/house rep/etc... you need to get the numbers for people and print out papers for them because if your friends and relatives and co-workers get distracted by a shiney object they will forget all about it. (Wonder why bush is asking for a no gay marriage amendment? it's nothing but a distraction for crap like this.)

      • The only way to stop this crap is fighting it now.

        I see that the Swedes resorted to street manifestations [theregister.co.uk] to show their support for Pirate Bay and freedom to download for personal use:

        On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators with pirate flags gathered in downtown Stockholm. In Göteborg, the country's second largest city, another 200 protesters took the streets. They demanded that The Pirate Bay's servers, which were seized on Wednesday, are given back and the investigation against the site's operators cl

      • by dwandy (907337) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:47AM (#15478966) Homepage Journal
        Linux? BSD? both of those will have caved in to the DRM monster by then as well.
        How can an OS that I can compile cave to the wishes of others?
        Especially since lots of code is still written by people who don't live in the US, and in countries where (so far!) the laws are not made by corporate interests?
        And if the worst thing that happens to my computing experience is that I run FC5 forever ...so be it.
        And if the worst thing that happens to my entertainment choices is that I stick with cc-licensed works, again, so be it.
  • Phone bill? (Score:4, Funny)

    by mtenhagen (450608) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:41AM (#15478268) Homepage
    Is this the worst bill you have ever heard of?

    Just wait until you see my phone bill!
  • by Supersonic1425 (903823) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:41AM (#15478270)
    It's no longer "the worst bill [I've] never heard of" :O
  • by Astatine210 (528456) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:46AM (#15478283)
    is "Should the legislators pass this law, how many of them would simultaneously be breaking it?".
  • distraction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pintomp3 (882811) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:47AM (#15478285)
    ahh.. maybe the resurfacing of the gay marriage issue is just a distraction for this bill. it's well known it won't go through and way too transparent to be a realistic attempt to galvanize the conservative base. sneaky lil politians.
  • What will ISPs do? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @05:55AM (#15478305)
    Considering the abundance of proxies, caching routers and so on... will they have to pay for the music passed through them?

    Another example of people making laws about things they don't have the foggiest idea about. And another example how the content industry wants to make money out of thin air. Quite literally.
    • You better believe that if the various movie and recording associations could make it to where you have to pay for 15 copies of the album or movie just to listen to it online rather than buy the physical media that they would.

      Two birds. Ensures that they can say, "But we tried that. The pirates just won't stop! Even when given a reasonable alternative" and they can fuel their outdated business model a while longer.
  • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:01AM (#15478320)
    Do any of you get the idea that Congress is now the enemy of the USA people? I've seen law after law proposed (and sometimes passed) that harms the general public of the USA to benefit some small minority that wields some power (be it politicians, industry groups, etc.) Is there any way in the USA for the people to legally take back their own government?

    If so, I think you guys should get together and do it.
    • Do you really have no idea while it is like this. Could it be that those politicians are supported by companies more than by the people? What would happen if you make negative statements about your employer? Would you not risk the change of being fired. If you have a system where politicians depend on "external" funding, would it than not be strange that they listen to those that pay them (either directly or indirectly)?
    • by Jason1729 (561790) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:30AM (#15478416)
      Yes, it's called Jury Nullification. The problem is I doubt any jury of 12 average americans will be smart enough to do anything useful.
      • Yes, it's called Jury Nullification. The problem is I doubt any jury of 12 average americans will be smart enough to do anything useful.

        it would have to get in front of a jury in the first place... the entire methodology of RIAA/MPAA lawsuits is to drag it out and make it expensive so that the other party surrenders before it gets to a jury... they know full well that any jury would throw it right out...

        Mind you, jury selection could be fun... could you ever get 12 people selected who weren't guilty of the

    • Vote. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FhnuZoag (875558)
      Don't worry. Many of these assholes should be kicked out come the elections in November.

      Whether they would be replaced by new assholes, though, remains to be seen.
      • Re:Vote. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mschaef (31494)
        "Many of these assholes should be kicked out come the elections in November."

        The problem is that there are assholes on both sides of the aisle. Fritz Hollings (D-Disney^H^H^H^H^H^HSouth Carolina) sponsored the SSSCA [wired.com], which tried to introduce some pretty extreme copyright enforcement provisions itself. Both the parties are so close together on so many issues like this, I'm not sure it matters who is in office.
  • Bah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:02AM (#15478323) Homepage
    It's times like these that I hate living in a republic. What I wouldn't give for a real democracy!
    • Re:Bah! (Score:2, Funny)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      Did you know that outside of Sid Miers Civilization, these concepts are not mutually exclusive?
      • Re:Bah! (Score:2, Informative)

        by Umbral Blot (737704)
        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.
        • Re:Bah! (Score:3, Informative)

          by Elemenope (905108)

          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.

        • Re:Bah! (Score:4, Informative)

          by m874t232 (973431) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:58AM (#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).
        • "Republic" comes from "res publica", literally, the "people's thing". It is meant to denote that the state belongs to the people, as opposed to the king (monarchy) or the rich (plutocracy) etc.

          "Democracy" in turn means "rule by the people".

          They are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, every democracy has to be a republic, as the people cannot rule a thing that is not their own.

          It's time to leave behind the 5th-grade civics textbook that incorrectly put repbulics and democracies in opposition just because it se
    • Re:Bah! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:41AM (#15478451) Homepage Journal
      Really? People in Congress are supposedly educated, and they can't write decent legislation. Do you trust the American public to really make smart decisions? Furthermore, if anything the last Presidential election showed the American public is to apathetic to vote. I don't mind the concept of a Republic. In theory it is more efficient than polling the known universe on everything. However, what we need are better leaders in Congress. They have proven time and time again they don't know what the hell they are doing.

      Occasionally a third-party candidate with a brain comes along, and the two major parties make sure they never see the light of day. Partisan politics make sure that no one cares about actual issues. The only thing that matters in DC is making the other party look bad, and swearing blind allegiances to party lines, even if you don't know what the line is, or why the line was formed the way it was.
  • by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:08AM (#15478346) Journal
    Those FBI warnings made the movie rippers sure take notice - boy howdy!

    This one should really put the kiabosh on those piracy shennanigans. Just you watch!
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:09AM (#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.
    • There's a better reason for proportional representation;

      How about a political system that allows politics ?

      The one-man districts don't allow this. They're geographical representation, not political.

      Put simply, a geographical group that is (very) popular in 10% of the USA, while being unpopular elsewhere gets about their fair representaiton, they get about 10% of the representatives. Fine.

      But a *political* group, that focuses on actual policy rather than geography, fares much worse. If they're really

  • Ie that making a copy when you install the software, and another when (portions of) it is loaded into RAM to be executed is disallowed by copyright law, and so an additional agreement (the EULA) is required to allow you to do so. Sounds like a music biz lawyer has suddenly woken up and had one of those "Hang on..!" moments.

    (Note that I'm not saying that it's right, or that even if it is required it justifies some of the terms that end up in EULAs, just that that's the justification I've always seen used)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:20AM (#15478387)
    RIAA: Give us your customer lists in full!

    Internet Radio: We're, um, broadcasters? You know, that
    whole "streaming" technology? UDP?

    RIAA: ....and your point is?

    Internet Radio: That we don't keep track of this sort of thing?

    RIAA: *Mr. Burns voice* Excellent...er...oh, not to worry my good fellow. We'll just use a conservative estimate. Smithers, gather up the census data for the number of Internet users on any given day! The rest of you, begin our next "negotiation"!

    Satellite Radio: *gulp* Umm...mommy?
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by syousef (465911) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:22AM (#15478389) Journal
    Que SIRA SIRA. Whatever will be will be. I'm not in the US you see. Que SIRA SIRA.
  • So ?

    And how many taxpayers are they willing to alienate by enforcing this bill ?
  • The Worst Bill You've Never Heard Of ..well, Mr. Gates is pretty bad, and I don't know that many Bill's..
  • by i am kman (972584) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:38AM (#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.
    • OK, so I haven't read the link. But AIUI, "the proposed blanket license..." is effectively saying "Any organisation which operates a cache for Internet access needs to buy a licence".

      They'd target the ISPs first. Then, who knows?
    • by SDF-7 (556604) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:13AM (#15478561)
      I normally hate these "me too!" style posts -- but someone mod parent up. That summary should be edited into the ./ overview and the description amended.

      From that article, it really sounds like from the Copyright Office's point-of-view (which granted, has its own bias), this is a simplification. They in fact claim that separate copies currently require separate licensing to be accounted for -- this will remove that need by allowing distributors/streamers to be covered for all transitory copies (caching/whatnot in distribution) or stream fragments. Put that way, the bill makes a lot of sense to me.

      What's much more interesting is the section on Designated Agents. If this doesn't scream "lock the RIAA into their position via legal means", I don't know what does. Agents get to use royalties collected for tangential purposes such as legislation and "industry negotiations".. sheesh guys -- why not just add in "Designated Agents will receive services from suitably nubile copyright holders at will" while you're at it. Oh and the "Agent is the sole judge of auditing whether a liscencee has underpaid an agent" is really cute too... I appreciate the Copyright Office calling these jokers out on this... let's hope Congress pays attention to them.

      One thing the summary glosses over that bugs me, though:

      Digital music services need to be able to obtain licenses to cover all the musical works that they wish to make available. The SIRA addresses this issue by including a default provision that grants statutory authority to the General Designated Agent ("GDA") to license any works not specifically represented by an additional designated agent. Since each agent is required to make available a list of the musical works it is authorized to license for digital uses and any works not affirmatively identified may be presumed to be covered by the GDA's license, a licensee is not only assured that it has the ability to secure rights to all musical works, but it also has the necessary information to determine from whom to secure rights for a particular work as well.


      Does that read to anyone else as locking those agents with "significant marketshare" as the only gatekeepers of said blanket licensing (previously established as needed for distribution in this revised model)... which makes me wonder how individual independant artists (those who don't wish to be affiliated with a General Designated Agent) would go about licensing their work to iTunes or whatnot. If they're now effectively represented by a GDA (read RIAA and the like) whether they want to be or not... then I have to read this as a powergrab by the RIAA to ensure they maintain their position as the gatekeepers of distribution (now in the digital age), with all artists having to sign with them. Maybe I've just gotten too cynical..
    • by itak.karstaag (913380) <itak.karstaagNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:09AM (#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.
  • Just a reminder, it doesn't do any good to write your congressman about anything. Congress shows pure contempt for it's constituencies. If you're not generating campaign contributions, then you're not worth anything. Our government is for sale to the highest bidder.

    If you really want to make a difference -- and it's way too late here -- you'll need a lobby. Give money to the lobbyist, pay for access, get the ear of the senator, and then you can make a difference.

  • Action to take (Score:5, Informative)

    by jsse (254124) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:50AM (#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"

  • 5th grade grammar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azav (469988) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:56AM (#15478502) Homepage Journal
    That's the way Big Copyright and their lackey's want it...

    Lackey's?

    Oh come on people. This is 5th grade grammar. The proper spelling is lackeys. There is no apostrophe on a non possessive plural.

    If you can program, you should at least know how to spell.

    As a point of reference, yesterday, I counted three spelling mistakes in an important email from our legal department to a business partner. 1) the email address was misspelled, 2) the person's name was misspelled and the plural of "technologies" was spelled as "technology's".

    Simply put, when you are a professional and you screw up on a 5th grade level, you look like a fool.

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @06:58AM (#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
    • the new compulsory license governs all nondramatic musical works and does not permit copyright owners to opt-out
      Sounds more to me like they are trying to rip off artists with this bill than end users or music services. The RIAA and associated companies are already well known for collecting royalties and not distributing them to the artists. This could let them dip into the independent artists pockets which are mostly inaccessible to them at this time.
    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @10:50AM (#15479859)
      While I am not opposed to compulsary licensing on principle, this law has several problems.

      First off is the matter of incidental copies. As you mentioned, incidental copies created during the delivery of digital files are considered by some to be in a legal grey area. This law clarifies the position by stating that these copies are covered by the compulsary license. However, this is very dangerous wording as it legitimizes the concept that a license is needed for the copies. Furthermore, as the compulsary license only applies to "nondramatic musical works", this opens the door for others (MPAA, BSA, etc) to insist that licenses are required incidental copies of thier works. Most likely this would come in the form of worsening C&D actions which are too costly to defend against regardless of the eventual legality. The area becomes even shadier in the case of p2p distribution methods (when used legally - distributing copyrighted work without permission is undoubtedly illegal).

      This "grey area" does need to be clarified, and the intention of the section is good, however is needs to be worded in a way that debunks rather than supports the idea that incidental copies may need licenses. Something along the line of this:
      Incidental copies, such as caching and buffering that are made in the process of legally distributing a work acrossed a network or any other distibution channel, are to be considered fair use, and do not need explicit licenses. Such incidental copies are valid only for the purpose of legal redistribution, and any use beyond that require a license. Any copies of legally obtained works made for personal use (no distribution takes place) including format shifting and backups are also fair use, and do not need explicit license.

      IANAL, so I am sure that this could be worded better.

      Furthermore, as the copyright office is quoted in your post, streaming is not the same as distribution and the current poor wording of the bill that would strengthen those trying to treat streaming as distribution (like cd) rather than performance (like radio).

      All in all, the intent - to clarify the law and close legal traps for online music stores - is a good one, but the way it is written creates many more traps in the process.
  • And change the rules. I mean, it's so easy! (it takes a bit of money, though. Just a bit.)

    Federal Election Commission [fec.gov]
  • Worse than http://www.fcc.gov/telecom.html [fcc.gov]

    Worse than http://akaka.senate.gov/akakabill-b.html [senate.gov]

    I think the title is a bit melodramatic. There are tons of truly wretched bills that get passed every day. As it stands, downloading music that you didn't pay for is considered illegal in this country anyway. This new bill only clarifies the existing position by making you have licenses for every version of a song you have. I think it is silly. I don't think it is the worst thing Congress has done.
  • by Kopretinka (97408) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @07:43AM (#15478687) Homepage
    Here's the link to EFF's take on this: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004721.php [eff.org]
    • 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 licen
  • Love letter (Score:5, Funny)

    by Charcharodon (611187) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @08:09AM (#15478787)
    Dear Music Industry,

    Go fuck your mother.

    Love

    Jeff

  • by unity100 (970058) * on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:08AM (#15479082) Homepage Journal
    Some historians say that fall of the roman empire started in around 100-50 bc.

    That is, when senato has become a hive of corrupt senators that exceedingly cater to the needs of wealthy elite, be it their family be it a bribing party, ignoring and debasing the public, despite many laws that are passed to calm the public down.

    Public was too annoyed with this, there was much discontent. Senato and public were at discord.

    Time and again grandeur/power-hungry prominent men tried to exploit this discontent to their ends, and one of them, julius caesar had succeeded.

    He didnt single handedly destroy the republic, he just became the instrument. Republic was already destroyed by corrupt senators.

    Well, in much resemblance to the situation at hand eh ? Just, we are at the stage of corrupt senators now.
  • by johnnick (188363) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:27AM (#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 chad.koehler (859648) on Tuesday June 06, 2006 @09:36AM (#15479272)
    I have an idea I'm pitching to the RIAA. I am going to suggest that they devise a scheme in which a seperate license is needed for every nanometer that a given sound wave travels. That should make them plenty of money, while at the same time encouraging consumers to keep the volume down low enough that no one that isn't paying will hear the music!
  • I'm not entirely sure what people were smoking when they came up with this....

    From the text of the bill:

    ... by simply filing one license application ... a legitimate music service can obtain a license to utilize all musical works 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.
    So if an artist for whatever reason happens to decide he doesn't want to grant permission to people to reproduce his works, he can be completely screwed over if they go over his head and get this so-called "global" license that applies to an unlimited number of digital works (and do you think that the artists are going to be fairly compensated for this? Fat chance)

    This bill offers do destroy the very foundations of Copyright if it passes, that is, the *EXCLUSIVE* rights of the copyright holder to grant permission to copy his or her works.

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