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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).
    • by 808skeptic ( 943096 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:31AM (#15188389)
      I wonder if the Bush Administration realizes what its rhetoric sounds like. Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism? This is overtly Orwellian doubletalk. I'm not going so far as to say that we're in a police state, but you can justify stronger IP laws without resorting to blaming it (and everything) for terrorism. It's fucking ridiculous.
      • by reldruH ( 956292 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:36AM (#15188402) Journal
        Be careful with how loosely you throw around the 1984 references. You never know when Big Brother is watching...
      • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:13AM (#15188495)
        but you can justify stronger IP laws without resorting to blaming it (and everything) for terrorism.

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

      • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:41AM (#15188587)
        I wonder if the Bush Administration realizes what its rhetoric sounds like. Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism?

        They are simply sticking with what worked in the hysteric political climate of the recent past when all you needed to do to get a law passed was prefix the words 'anti terrorist' to every occurrence of the word 'legislation' and where you only had to accuse annoying groups of people of having 'links to Al Quaeda' or having 'Islamist sympathies' (Incidentally, what does that make the US based Christian fundamentalists? Christianists!?!) to ensure you could declare open season on them. This is probably just an attempt to see how far you can take this tactic. Fortunately people are getting wise to the ploy, it is only unfortunate it has taken so long.
      • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:50AM (#15188614) Homepage

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

        Frankly, someone in the US gov is taking lessons from the el presidente Antonio Bliar's book that any lie is OK provided that it is for the "just cause". Can we see some damn proof of at least one instance when this has happened?
      • Copyright infringement = terrorism? Marijuana = terrorism?

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

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

      • by niiler ( 716140 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:58AM (#15189197) Journal
        Q: What are you in for?

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

        Nuff said.

      • by itchy92 ( 533370 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @10:55AM (#15189879)

        The scariest part is that it works.

        personal anecdote:
        I'm getting a mattress delivered to my condo today (in Miami). Our management has a strict policy about reserving the elevator several days in advance, and will refuse any delivery not scheduled. So I was talking to the front desk security guard about it yesterday, and the exchange went something like this.

        Me: ...I know you guys are ridiculously strict about your service elevator.
        Him: Yeah, but don't you prefer it this way? I mean, we can keep track of anything coming in and out of the condos.
        Me: Not really. Frankly, how is it any of your business what I'm bringing in and out of my condo?
        Him: Well, it's for security, you know? Someone could easily bring in a bomb or something. If it happened to the World Trade Center, it could happen here. We've got families and... (all I remember is a faint buzzing noise from here on out)
        Me: (incredulous stare with mouth agape)

        ... So this guy just told me that we have to schedule our service elevators to protect against terrorism. And he compared some random high-rise condo in Miami to the World Trade Center. Whether that's his personal view, or that of the management, I don't really know or care. I was absolutely dumbfounded that this would be the reason they cite.

        And apparently it's okay to bring bombs into my condo building, as long as I schedule it beforehand.

    • by hackwrench ( 573697 ) <> on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:33AM (#15188395) Homepage Journal
      Because when your only choices are between two guys that can be bought and sold so cheaply, that's what you pick. Voter turnout is low for this among other reasons.
      • Because when your only choices are between two guys that can be bought and sold so cheaply, that's what you pick.

        Sorry - I find that argument quite irritating.

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

        Voter turnout is low for this among other reasons.

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

        Say you're a libertarian (I'm not), you feel that there is no point voting as your candidate will never get elected, but if the candidates percentage of the vote is 1% one year, then 1.2%, then 3%, etc, the major parties will notice that & attempt to make their policies closer to the libertarian (or whatever) ideal.
        • 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 Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:33AM (#15188886)
          Actually the problem runs much more deeply than voter apathy. The main reasons why the same old hands keep getting re-elected even when they are clearly selling custom-made laws to their corporate pals are:
          - Gerrymandering - Politicians get to draw the lines of their own electoral districts. It's no surprise then that using information about registered voters they draw the lines in such a way as to maximizing their chances to get re-elected. Latelly they even use computer programs to do that.
          - Incumbents have a lote more money to defends their seats than other candidates running for that seat. In the US, the candidate with the biggest advertising campaing is often the winner. This actually creates a perverse incentive for politicians to proposed/approve laws that benefict some companies: the more favours they do when holding office, the bigger the pot they will have when the time comes to defend their seat.

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

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

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

          Still, at least there's no gerrymandering or voter registration: parliement seats actual change, even if mostly it's between the same two persons and latelly some young and inovative parties have been slowly growing, even if, thanks to electoral districts, their representation in the parliement is actually only HALF of what they would get in a proportional representation system ...
      • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:02AM (#15188466)
        You guys really need to get rid of the winner takes all system and get proportional representation. The vulnerability and failings of two-party democratic systems have become obvious; it's damn cheap to buy two candidates, and the purchasers know they wont have to buy anyone else.
  • Amerika (Score:3, Insightful)

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

    Time after time you sit back and watch as newer and wackier laws are passed, each one erodes your freedoms more and more. You guys crack me up.
  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:30AM (#15188388)
    Is it me or are people, better yet, politicians forgetting what terrorism really is? Terrorism is spreading fear by inflicing selective pain to force a decision. This kind of bill does exactly that. It inflicts pain on small businesses trying to make a living, and forcing everyone to pay up to the big companies and patent/IP leeches. Probably the same leeches that sponsor this senator..

    Let me guess, everyone opposing this bill will be labelled as 'unpatriotic', 'pro-terrorism' etc?!?
    • Since 9/11 (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

  • 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 plankrwf ( 929870 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:47AM (#15188427)
      Well, obviously open source is going to help terrorits:
      imagine all the extra time they need not spend on system administration:
      obviously they would have more time actually planning terroristic attacks!

      Would be a thought though: give all the Al Quaida's of this world the newest of newest of computers
      with all the newest propriotory software, just to see them fail as a terroristic
      club seeing that they spend all their time actually getting their systems up and running.
      We would see newsitems like:
      ThisJustIn: Bin Laden proclaims next suicide hit to occur moments after Vista finally released.

  • Just one name... (Score:3, Insightful)

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

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

    Does anybody remember a case that even remotely supports that assertion? Any free-swappping IRA members?
    • Re:give me example (Score:5, Insightful)

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

      Nope, and even if you did the causality is really spurious. Real IP crime, by which I don't mean filesharing but counterfeit goods sold for profit, is a way to earn money. Terrorism is as far as I can tell a money sink, it costs money. Even if you find some case somewhere that says "Pirate funded terrorism", is it more common than "Regular worker funded terrorism out of his paycheck" or "Pirate funded luxurious lifestyle"? I think not.
  • Terrorism! (Score:4, Funny)

    by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:32AM (#15188394) Homepage
    How can I put this in a way politicians will understand?

    Misinformed articles fund terrorism!
  • More benefits (Score:3, Insightful)

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

    Oh, and against overweight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:44AM (#15188421)
    " Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage...."

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

    • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:18AM (#15188685) Journal
      Force through treaties on trade partners, desparate measures are called for to prevent the USA economy from collapsing the way the Soviet Union did when it spent too much money.

      Yes, lots of similiarites. USSR was actually bankrupted in the 70's by Nixon and Carter. Reagan did nor bury USSR, but kept them going by restoring such things as grain trading. What is interesting about this, is that the argument can be made that had we allowed the USSR to fall in early 1981, then it would have been very bloody (perhaps for us). But Reagan's massive giveaway to USSR allowed them to survivie while decaying slowly.

      I have wondered if that is what is happening to us. Basically, China and Middle east are propping up Regan and now Bush's outrageous deficts (all of Poppa Bush's and Clinton's efforts was wiped out). Sooner or later, China will have the other nations dependant on them and we will be in the way. At that time, I suspect that all the funding will be pulled and we will tumble as hard as USSR or will elect to start a war.

  • Anybody else upset. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:52AM (#15188443)
    That Red Hat is on the board of directors of some
    organisation (SIAA) that supports this bill. I know
    I will now be recommending any other linux vendor for
    enterprise support.
  • by Bomarc ( 306716 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:54AM (#15188447) Homepage
    From the article:
    "Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else. "
    Now one can not make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess computers, as they are the primary tool for anticircumvention. (Copyright infringement). I've always wanted to sell software somewhere, available for download. If someone isn't authorized to download it (and does), contact MS and tell them that they are selling software that violates the DMCA, (by selling software the circumvents copy protection) and to stop selling all copies of Windows.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:08AM (#15188480) Homepage Journal
    Kill a man, you get 20 years in jail. 'Steal' 20 bucks worth of software, you get 10. People should be made pass an iq test before being admitted into congress or legal services. It is apparent that many of the 'lawmakers' do not have any tint of the sense of 'proportionality'.
    • People should be made pass an iq test before being admitted into congress or legal services. It is apparent that many of the 'lawmakers' do not have any tint of the sense of 'proportionality'.

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

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

      I pity you Americans. Your country is going down the drain.
    • by ArsenneLupin ( 766289 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:30AM (#15188547)
      Kill a man, you get 20 years in jail. 'Steal' 20 bucks worth of software, you get 10.

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

      • Crime & Punishment (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Venner ( 59051 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:10AM (#15188663)
        >>Solution: kill the man who saw you steal that 20 bucks worth of software, if you think you have a 50% chance of not getting caught.

        Although that sounds funny, I'd like to point out that is exactly what happened during the Dark Ages. The classic example was when stealing bread was punishable by death, rather than the desired effect of deterring crime, the murder rate increased dramatically. If you might die for stealing, you might as well kill the person too and decrease your chance of getting caught.

        Punishments have to fit the crime or they serve no valid purpose.
        • by Garse Janacek ( 554329 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:55PM (#15191242)
          Exactly. It bothers me when people excuse these ridiculous punishments under the justification of "Well, if you choose to break the law then you can't complain about the punishment." Yes you can. A just society should always have punishments appropriate and proportionate to the severity of the crime.

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

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

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

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

  • by omeg ( 907329 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:16AM (#15188504)
    It seems that according to the US government, everything that opposes the benefit of the few is ultimately one of the many forms of terrorism. This is the regime that the people you voted for are upholding. It bothers me that they can get away with it, but I guess that it's not possible for America to start using a pluriform multi-party system which I firmly believe would help keep the amount of insane propositions like this one at bay, like it effectively does in the Netherlands.

    I guess that at this point there is not much pouting is going to do to help!
  • 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.
  • Scare Tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zaguar ( 881743 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:25AM (#15188532)

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

  • by Shohat ( 959481 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:28AM (#15188542) Homepage
    Not IP , or child porn , lack of prayer or homosexuals .
    WarMongering Idiots on one side and Religious Fundamentalist Psychos on the other cause terrorism .
    So how about the WMI&RFP restriction Act ?
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @05:47AM (#15188604) Homepage
    ...and introdouce this "justice" system [] and get it over with. Five years, ten years, death penalty... Seems to me that Congress had watch too much TNG and think that'll make the world happy and crime-free.

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

    There's always been a good principle in law enforcement that the penalty should fit the crime. In the US, it seems to me that the current idea is "Ok so we got a million criminals and only catch hundred, but we're going to make up for it by making those hundred pay for it." as if that would make things just. That's not justice, that is simply revenge, even if it's incorporated in law. Because you can't reach those you want to reach, you lash out at those few you can. That still doesn't make it just for those that get away nor for those that get caught.
  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:01AM (#15188634) Homepage Journal
    It's not about Intellectual Property rights. It's not about Patents. It's not about copyrights. It's not about Digital Rights Management.

    It's a tax grab.The government has found a way to create taxable value by fiat. The value of currency in modern capitalist states is by fiat. The creation of value by way of IP and Patents and DRM is by legislation, by fiat.

    Maggy Thatcher introduced Value Added Tax, in Canada in the 80's the Conservatives introduced the GST. In America the federal government has created taxable value in IP. Remeber the /. article last week about a merger wherein the parties are underinvestigation because they undervalued the IP?

    You can argue about civil liberties and the government will join in happy to count the number of angles dancing on the head of a pin.

    When I was in grade school during summmer vacation I had to put in 2 weeks working on my grandparents farm. I was told it would build character. It build muscle mass if nothing else. One summer on the farm my uncle decided to butcher a pig. That side of the family is pioneer stock and has farmed the same area for 7 generations. They can make anything they need, including good German sausage. I'd never seen an animal butchered. The pig was tied to corral posts by 3 legs. One rear leg was left free. My uncle slit the pigs jugular and the pig kept kicking his one rear leg, obligingly pumping his blood out. The fuss being kicked up about the laws and civil liberties is the pig's back leg kicking furiously. The tax income is the blood.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:36AM (#15188737)
    Alberto Gonzales is a terrorist. He, along with congress, the senate, and our president are terrorizing our own people with fear and nonsense.

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

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

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

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

    Vote for a fucking third party candidate dam it!

  • by arafel ( 15551 ) * on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:58AM (#15188777)
    I like the way Slashdot carefully arranged "New Congressional Bill Makes DMCA Look Tame" and "Social Networking From Your Cell" next to each other. I had to read it twice before I realised it was a story about phones...

  • by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:58AM (#15188779) Homepage
    Cause, let's face it: the GOP is nothing but a fucking money racket.

    The GOP is dedicated to grabbing every non-member of the 1% by the ankles and seeing what falls out of their pockets.

    The upside? At least this isn't as bad as the shit they did on behalf of Jack Abramoff. 5_08_07.php#006266/ []

    Wait a second! Yes it is!

    The recording industry is largely run by the mafia anyhow. So... It's just the same as the Indian gaming scandal.

    I'm no big fan of either political party, but the Republicans are bad news.

    Corruption-wise, this is the ugliest America has been since the end of the 19th Century.

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:00AM (#15188786) Homepage
    It seems to me that the actions of the RIAA against suspected file sharers are an act of terrorism. Demanding payment under the threat of a lawsuit, just because your underage child downloaded music is simply a shakedown. This law will make it much easier and less costly for the RIAA to extort the single mothers, because they don't have to sue any longer - they just threaten to call the cops. That's a pretty efficient process, and greatly increases the cost-to-income ratio. Enough to afford to buy.... Say.... A congressman.

    So how do you stop this? Perhaps all the Slashdot readers in Texas could:

    1. Call and ask his staff why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    2. Then call your local news station and ask why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    3. Then call your local newspaper and ask why he wants to send single moms to jail?

    Let's see if there's a Slashdot effect on the local media. Three phone calls is all it takes. []

    Call Rep. Smith at (202) 225-4236

    If you're willing to bitch about it, how about makeing one or more phone calls?
  • by ArbiterOne ( 715233 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:03AM (#15188795) Homepage
    Here we go. Under current law, Section 1201 of the law generally prohibits distributing or trafficking in any software or hardware that can be used to bypass copy-protection devices. Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else. Like debuggers? []
  • 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 layer3switch ( 783864 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:20AM (#15188846)
    If someone is downloading copyrighted material for free (after all, stealing is to get it for free, no?), how the fuck in the world does that fund anyone?

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

    Shit like this should be on Al-jazeera.

    *note to self: Hack voting machines and elect Nader and show those politicians what real terror looks like. :^O
  • by Xeth ( 614132 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @07:38AM (#15188903) Journal
    ...that every penny of profit that The Pirate Bay takes in goes straight to Al-Qaeda.
  • 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.
  • by golodh ( 893453 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:26AM (#15189070)
    Interesting excerpts from the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @08:38AM (#15189126) Homepage Journal
    Pretty soon if you're convicted of a IP violation you'll become ineligible for federally backed student loans. Same type of war, different players.
  • 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 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 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 BobSutan ( 467781 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @01:47PM (#15191178)
    "New legislation passed into law. Theft rates skyrocket."

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

    My point is punishments need to fit the crime. This legislation proposes punishments that are grossly excessive, as is the case for many punishments related to computer crimes that were brought forth by the content industries--I'm looking at you RIAA and MPAA. When the punishment of doing physical harm and ACTUAL theft is less risky of making a mere copy of electronic data, the world is in a sorry state of affairs, which is a symptom of the greed and corruption ruining this country.
  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Monday April 24, 2006 @02:09PM (#15191364)

    That computer is a hacking tool. Hacking is illegal.

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

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Three Years Later...

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

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

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

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake