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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame 895

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
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New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame

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  • Lamar Smith, Christian Scientist, hater of immigrants & proud possessor of one of the stupidest middle names eve (Seeligson).

    Reading Open Secret's page [] about him, you see the usual line up of Legal firms, Content & Tech companies. Just the people who stand to benefit from this legislation the most.

    I really don't understand why people vote for politicians who are bought & sold so easily (and cheaply).
  • Fund terrorism? (Score:3, Informative)

    by reldruH ( 956292 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:31AM (#15188390) Journal
    Why is it that every time a politician wants to get something passed that's obviously not going to be good, they do it because it 'funds terrorism'? Next thing you know politicians are going to fund some study saying that open source funds terrorism.

    Oh, wait... []
  • by Bushcat ( 615449 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:16AM (#15188506)
    1) Write laws that will catch everyone sometime.
    2) Trawl for lawbreakers at your leisure.
    3) Pick 'em up when it's suitable.
    Someone needs a whack with a cluestick. It's not the way to run a (decent) country.
  • Re:Amerika (Score:3, Informative)

    by bri2000 ( 931484 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:17AM (#15188508)
    I wouldn't. For all its whining about US cultural imperialism when it comes to IP law the EU will, I believe, ultimately always follow the US's lead. Since once it's passed in the US it's much easier for the IP companies to lobby and demand that the EU needs similar measures in the name of "harmonisation" and "a level playing field", and the more Americaphile member's of the EU (like Blair) are lobbied by US officials directly.

    Sure, the constitution's dead (for now, I'm sure once the French domestic situation has calmed down a bit they'll get it through somehow) but that doesn't stop our equivalent of the DCMA, the IP directive passed last year being in full force and effect. While the EU may be reeling from the blows of last year it's still very powerful and, because of the lack of democratic accountability, it's far easier for lobbyists to get their own way in Brussels even when individual nations may strongly reject specific proposals.

  • One good example (Score:5, Informative)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:09AM (#15188659) Homepage Journal
    Ross Perot got a small fraction of the vote but suddenly everyone cared about the deficit (his pet issue) and we eventually got a balanced budget.
  • by Fat Idiot ( 923144 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:22AM (#15188700)
    Small point. While there is much to despise Thatcher for, this isnt one. VAT was introduced in the UK in 1973 as a replacement for sales tax. At that time Thatcher was education secretary. She didnt become PM till 79.
  • by NiceGeek ( 126629 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:25AM (#15188711)
    Still wrong - from the TFA:
    "The draft legislation, created by the Bush administration and backed by Rep. Lamar Smith"

  • Re:Amerika (Score:2, Informative)

    by Golden Section ( 961595 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:50AM (#15188765)

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

    Most EU countries didn't have a referendum on it. Most other countries wouldn't let their citizens' view influence the politicians on their vote. A colossal exposure of the wide gap between the views of politicians and the views of voters.

  • From Wikipedia... (Score:5, Informative)

    by babbling ( 952366 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:12AM (#15188825)
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 - 28 April 1945) led Italy from 1922 to 1943. He created a Fascist state through the use of state terror and propaganda. Using his charisma, total control of the media, and intimidation of political rivals, he disassembled the existing democratic government system.

    ... sound familiar?
  • by azhrei_fje ( 968954 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:17AM (#15188834)
    Wrong acronym for the organization. Instead, it's SIIA (Software Information & Industry Association), but you're right -- Mark Webbink from RedHat is the chairman of the board! Time for me to write some letters and make a phone call or two... []
  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:20AM (#15188842) Homepage
    Maggy Thatcher introduced Value Added Tax

    Errr... nope. VAT came in in 1973, long before Her Maggiesty.
  • mod parent rubbish (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:25AM (#15188861) Homepage

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

    What exactly is a whooping country? Anyway the way I read it in the papers at the time, these were the first countries where it was put up for referendum. After they failed to accept it, there was no point in continuing. It most certainly did not pass in all other countries.

  • Good ole Philips. They musta snuck this in
    From the [] link, it lists all the stuff thats been shoved into this monstrosity. I just spotted this:

    "H.R. 4586 The Family Movie Act
    Now, the affirmative right to watch and skip parts of the content that a consumer has legally obtained only exists if certain conditions are met: no commercial or promotional ads may be skipped. ... This sets the functionality of the everyday VCR and TiVo on its head."

    So now Philips has it all set, they have that patented technology to prevent ad skipping, and this will make it ILLIGAL to skip ads. Nice.
  • Re:One good example (Score:5, Informative)

    by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:30AM (#15189090)
    19% isn't a "small fraction", particularly in light of the power that the two major parties wield.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:36AM (#15189117)
    the more favours they do when holding office, the bigger the pot they will have when the time comes to defend their seat.

    Nowadays that's called "campaign contribution", but once upon a time I remember that being called "bribery".
  • by miller56 ( 932833 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:16AM (#15189272)
    Another way to get your voice heard--send an email to the committee that is going to take up the bill: ?committee=3 []

    Have it folks, let your voice be heard instead of just ranting and bitching!
  • by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:19AM (#15189285)
    passed in 2004. PK doesn't have anything [] on the new bill.
  • I'm just waiting (Score:4, Informative)

    by Talinom ( 243100 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:30AM (#15189359) Homepage Journal
    I have found nothing on Lamar Smith's [] webpage.

    It is too new to show up on the THOMAS (Library of Congress) [] website. Oh, wait. It hasn't been introduced yet.

    H.R. 2391 [] only comes up as the Safe Communities and Safe Schools Mercury Reduction Act of 2005 [].

    That said if TFA [] is accurate then it will be something I oppose and will write to my state Rep about.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:40AM (#15189412) Homepage Journal
    But Democratic legislators do break away from the party line more often than Republican ones do. This is a simple fact, easily verified by a look at voting records.
  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @09:46AM (#15189454)

    G. W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Lamar, Cornin, Gonzales... not to mention the folks from Enron ('member, Ken Lay is connected politically to these clowns) ... the list goes on. It's gotten so you have a better than even chance if you say "Lemme guess, he's a Texan, right?" whenever you hear of some lame-brained idea coming out of a politician.

  • by aurum42 ( 712010 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:09AM (#15189567)
    Did you bother to skim through the article, or even the summary? Apparently not.
    The draft legislation, created by the Bush administration and backed by Rep. Lamar Smith, already enjoys the support of large copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America.
  • by init100 ( 915886 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:24AM (#15189666)

    I've not seen any such endorsement on the SIAA site. I'm not accusing you of spreading FUD, but I am extremely interested in verifying for myself that Red Hat, Sun, etc. are actively supporting this bill.

    It surely seems to be true:

    • The article [] mentions SIIA halfway down the page.
    • The SIIA board membership [] page lists Mark Webbink as the chair of the board.
    So it certainly seems like it. I think that phone calls to everyone I know that uses RHEL would be in order.
  • Re:From Wikipedia... (Score:1, Informative)

    by DerGeist ( 956018 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:56AM (#15189888)
    He's not "Doctor" Lawrence Britt, he's just Lawrence Britt. He is not a political scientist, he's a writer.

    He's a member of the Council for Secular Humanism [] and the article is available online []. The article in question is from Volume 23, Number 2 of the Free Inquiry Magazine [].

    This doesn't mean he is wrong, just that he's no political scientist and you shouldn't just swallow his views because they're scary. There's a good chance he's just fear-mongering as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:06AM (#15189973)
    Please note, the link provided to Public Knowledge ( []) pointed to an old bill. We've (PK) updated the information at that URL to apply to the current draft proposal.
  • Re:From Wikipedia... (Score:5, Informative)

    by LearnToSpell ( 694184 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @11:31AM (#15190137) Homepage
    Undoing mods to post this, but oh well...

    He has a Ph.D. in political science, making him, yes, both a doctor and a political scientist.
  • by verisof ( 970392 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @12:15PM (#15190506)

    I just read the bill and was disgusted by what I saw. Like most of us here at Slashdot, I work in the IT field and have had way too many brushes with Homeland Security demanding data they have no right to get just because they want it. Our civil liberties are getting gobbled up and we, as Americans, are letting them do it.

    So, everyone on here, PLEASE call Joseph Gibson, Lamar Smith's Chief of Staff at (202) 225-4236. Call him TODAY. He told me that NO ONE had bothered to call them regarding this bill. That I was the FIRST person who had actually talked to him about how heinous some of the provisions are in this bill. Make sure you actually read the Bill before you call so you can make your intelligent objections. Otherwise, we all come across like a bunch of people who just want to rip off IP from other people. And make sure you tell them that you are vehemently opposed to this bill and will raise public awareness about the loss of our Fair Use rights.

    I spent a lot of time talking to the Mr. Gibson about the Sony Betamax ruling with regard to Fair Use rights and how Business would have missed out on the multi-billion dollar video industry if they hadn't lost that case. Also, about how creating legislation to keep a monopolistic cartel (RIAA & MPAA) in a position of power is ANTI-free market. (Businesses in a free market have to adapt to survive, I certainly know that I have to play by those rules. . . .)

    Other things we can do include:

    • Sending emails out to everyone we know to contact the Congressman's office. Let's flood his office with emails, phone calls & letters.
    • Contact the news desk at your local newspapers and make sure that they are covering this item. It makes for good copy if they actually KNOW about it.
    • Do anything you make the NON-geeks out there understand the rights they lose with this bill. How would they like it if music ripping software was illegal and they could no longer put the music from their LEGALLY PURCHASED CD's on their iPods?
    • Also take the time to write a letter. Every one letter represents 1,000 constituents who have the same problems, but just couldn't find the time to write.

    Also, please Mod this reply up to make sure that people GET THE MESSAGE. Thanks!!!

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:11PM (#15190934) Homepage Journal

    Try explaining the Condorcet system to the average Joe.

    I've done it several times. It's not bad at all if you explain it the right way:

    Me: Each voter makes a list, favorite at the top, least favorite at the bottom. If more than half of the voters listed A higher than B, then A beats out B. Whichever candidate beats out all the others wins the election. And voters can vote their true feelings without worrying that they're throwing their vote away.

    Joe: But what if nobody beats everyone else?

    Me: That almost never happens, but there is a simple, sensible rule to figure out the winner even when it does. Basically, you just figure that big wins say more about what the voters want than narrow victories.

    Joe: That makes sense.

    Me: It's really clear if you look at a couple of examples.

    Joe: Nahh, that's okay.

    Actually, explaining IRV isn't significantly easier than pairwise methods.

    And *everyone* can understand approval voting without any trouble at all, and it's better at strengthening third parties and reducing strategic voting than IRV.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:05PM (#15192830)
    The rest of us - those who are keeping quiet - are making plans to leave. Know of some kind countries that allow American immigrants without alot of hassle?

    Good question. Here's some ideas:

    Australia and New Zealand - hard to immigrate to because of anti-immigration laws. But you should be able to get in with a big bankroll, or a tech job lined up. They're English-speaking, which is a big plus, and not too different from American culture. Also very underpopulated, which is nice if you want to live in the boonies. However, they (esp. Australia) seem to be America's lapdog currently, passing a lot of the same stupid laws.

    Mexico - lots of American expatriates in the southern part, esp. Mexico City. Probably more a retirement destination, since there aren't exactly a lot of jobs or business opportunities there due to the terrible economy. It used to be that you couldn't own land there as a non-Mexican, although I think this may have changed recently. You'll have to learn Spanish, however.

    Costa Rica - there's a lot of American companies setting up shop down there, and it seems to be much more stable than other Central American countries and have a decent economy unlike Mexico. I don't know much else, except you'll have to learn Spanish here as well.

    Brazil - seems to be a rising economic power. Lots of land, growing economy. You'll have to learn Portuguese.

    Canada - great place to live by most accounts, though people complain about the long waits for healthcare. Standard of living is high, though cost of living is high too. It's horribly cold in the east and central portions, but British Columbia is nice and fairly mild (and also more expensive). However, a HUGE problem with Canada is that its biggest trading partner is the USA; about 85% of its exports go there. So if the US economy collapses, the Canadian economy will go right along with it unless they fix this problem. Another big plus: you don't have to learn another language unless you move to Quebec, where you'd do well to learn French.

    Various Western European countries - you'll have to learn other languages unless you go to the UK. I'm not sure how feasible immigration is however; I know your money doesn't go nearly as far there, and you can probably forget about owning a house.

    Eastern Europe: you'd definitely have to learn a new language or two, but the cost of living is probably very low here.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous