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Controversial Section of PRO-IP Act Cut 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-just-cut-the-other-sections dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Rep. Berman (D-CA) has removed the controversial section 104 from his PRO-IP Act. That section would have multiplied the already excessive statutory damages for infringement in the case of compilations, making the damages for infringing upon the copyrights of a single average CD rise into the millions of dollars. This change came after proponents of the amendment were unable to cite even one case where the statutory damages recovered were insufficient. But don't let the article fool you into thinking that the PRO-IP Act is no longer controversial now that this one section is gone, the act still creates copyright cops who are authorized to seize people's computers."
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Controversial Section of PRO-IP Act Cut

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  • Nothing Cryptonomicon-esque, just some s/w will do the trick. Sieze away, Mr. Gestapo. All sorts of nice 1s and 0s for you to look through.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by palegray.net (1195047)
      You could always TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] encrypt the contents of your drive to guard against seizure efforts without hampering your own use of the system.
      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        and rot in jail because it is impossible for you to prove that you have complied with the court's order to give over evidence.

        • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:31PM (#22672078) Homepage Journal
          Last time I checked the burden of proof was on the prosecution. They may have fixed that recently, so I could be wrong.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by QuantumG (50515) *
            When it comes to complying with a court order to turn over computer files, turning over encrypted computer files is not complying with the order. It's really not that hard.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              The main point of TrueCrypt (as I understand it) being that it's impossible for the prosecution to provide any evidence that what they see isn't everything you've got. No evidence you aren't complying = no leg to stand on.

              Me? I'd keep anything "they" are after on a mini-sd card (hell, they're so small you can almost legitimately claim that you lost it). If all else fails and you get a suprise warrant at 3am, you could even stick it up your ass as a last resort. As long as you don't do something stupid li
              • Sounds like a great idea, but until they come out with 128-gigabyte miniSD cards I'm going to need that goatse guy for a roommate. :(
              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by vuffi_raa (1089583)

                The main point of TrueCrypt (as I understand it) being that it's impossible for the prosecution to provide any evidence that what they see isn't everything you've got. No evidence you aren't complying = no leg to stand on.

                providing encrypted files is compliance so long as you have the decryption key provided as well or can show an attempt to provide the key- the fact of the matter though is that if all of your data is encrypted the cost for discovery in a civil case would be so high that it would be ridiculous to pay for it (that would be the burden of the litigant and not the defense- defense would only have to provide the data post discovery in compliance with the submission by the litigant (or opposing counsel) so you co

            • That is why you have two encrypeted files. One you give them the password to and it is some, *GASP* reveling photo's completly legal, but you don't want people looking at. Are they going to check the byte valus of the data verifing that you gave them ALL of the encrypted stuff? I understand with new encryption software it will prompt for a password, if A is given you get A results, if B is given you get B results. Just set up so that they see A as said above stuff to be encrypted, but not jailed over.
          • there is no prosecution in a civil case
        • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:34PM (#22672096)
          Passwords, pass phrases and keys are, for better or worse, considered to be protected by the 5th amendment.

          Unless law enforcement or the copyright holder can crack the security on it, there is no way that they can compel a person to hand over the files at this point.
          • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:38PM (#22672122) Homepage Journal
            Do you have any case law to back this up or are you just talking out of your ass? Seriously, the courts see it no different to requiring you to hand over the keys to a filing cabinet. You're free to refuse, at which time you are in contempt of court and will be spending the remainder of your life in jail, except for every 30 days, when you will be brought before the judge to be asked if you are now ready to hand over the keys.

            or the copyright holder
            Huh? What do you think we're talking about?

            • by Cairnarvon (901868) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:55PM (#22672192) Homepage
              http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9834495-38.html [news.com]

              So yes, case law does back it up.
              • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                by QuantumG (50515) *
                Are completely unaware of the difference between civil and criminal law or are you just disingenuous?

                • by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Friday March 07, 2008 @12:49AM (#22672434)
                  No, he's informed. What's your excuse?

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution [wikipedia.org]

                  "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the right against self-incrimination applies whether the witness is in Federal or state court (see Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964)), and whether the proceeding itself is criminal or civil (see McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U.S. 34 (1924))."

                  And more specifically,

                  http://www.sorrelsudashen.com/papers/Fifth_Amendment_Right_Against_Self_Incrimination_in_Civil_Cases.pdf [sorrelsudashen.com] (pdf)

                  McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U.S. 34 (1924) Privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment "applies alike to civil and criminal proceedings, wherever the answer might tend to subject to criminal responsibility him who gives it."

                  If copyright violation didn't have a criminal component to it, you might be right. But it does, particularly since the DMCA specifically criminalized copyright violations of digital material.
                • I'm always surprised at how quickly people jump to ad hominem attacks. Even if the grandparent to this post was completely wrong, which he isn't, you immediately accuse him of being a moron or a sinister plotter. All he's doing is disagreeing with you. I would hope we could still do that civilly.

              • by kylehase (982334)
                I heard this story before but if the ruling was overturned by a higher court then it would no longer hold. From the link "(Judge) Niedermeier tossed out a grand jury's subpoena" so it looks like this is quite solid. And it's very unlikely that the fifth amendment will be amended.
              • You can use the favourite trick of the Bush crew and "not be able to recall" the password. I'm going to bet this would be fine. After all, people forget their passwords all the time (all the damn time, I would know, I do tech support for a living) and you can't be forced to give up what you don't know. If you do soom looking through cases, you'll see that the whole "I don't recall," type of thing is not that uncommon. You get the feeling at times that the person is lying, but, well, you can't prove that. It
            • by nguy (1207026)
              Seriously, the courts see it no different to requiring you to hand over the keys to a filing cabinet

              Seriously, they do.

              As well they should. If a court doesn't get the keys to a file cabinet, they can break it open, settle the issue, and send you a bill. With encryption, if the keys are actually lost, there's no way to "force open" the file cabinet, and you'd be put in jail for not complying with a court order that it would be impossible to comply with.
            • by scruffy (29773)
              Isn't it part of the Miranda Rights?

              "You have the right to remain silent."

              I would think the SCOTUS would have to revisit Miranda to make this, giving up passwords, a requirement. Otherwise, I am within my rights to remain silent.
  • Good example. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <philip@paradis.palegray@net> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:04PM (#22671932) Homepage Journal
    This is a good example of the fact that both major parties play these games with our civil liberties. As much time as people spend bashing the Republican party over privacy invasion and big business backroom deals, it's good to remember that the Democrats play the same games every day. Perception is a funny thing.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're right. Both parties are in the end totally screwed. America is well on it's way to being that corporate fascist state that many have warned it would become.. One nail, one brick, ..one more law at a time.

      Keep letting it slide boys and girls... That nice warm blanket is slowly being pulled over your body.
    • by Idefix97 (725474)
      Berman is just a shill for Hollywood.
      • Didn't he remove the excessive bit? Or is it that he's responsible for the original bill, and is simply backing down a bit?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by calebt3 (1098475)

          Rep. Berman (D-CA) has removed the controversial section 104 from his PRO-IP Act.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:10PM (#22671966) Homepage
    How could statutory damages ever be insufficient when the copyright owner has the option of proving actual damages?
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:22PM (#22672026)
    Berman should be forcibly removed from office for the things he's already done. They can take Howard Coble and Orrin Hatch along with him. We the People have no use for them.
    • by Obyron (615547) on Friday March 07, 2008 @01:26AM (#22672596)
      We the People keep reelecting them. Blame California, North Carolina, and Utah. (and blame Canada)
      • Amen brother. It's hard to believe they keep electing him, although the nuts and bolts politics involved probably make it impossible for the local party to field any other candidate. He gets oodles of money funneled to his causes through various third parties (the big media corporations), neatly bypassing campaign funding laws.

        If it's a district in which electing a republican candidate is basically impossible then we do indeed have only ourselves to blame. Or the pavlov-trained monkeys living in his dist
        • by monxrtr (1105563)
          Geek Solution:

          Write a program to fight gerrymandering by randomly drawing district lines based on population dispersion. Statistician + Programmer = Solution. Let's see the results, what maps would look like, then we can force all politicians running to support it with a national marketing campaign called The Contract Against Incumbent GErrymandering (C.A.I.G.E.)
        • by Shagg (99693)
          He gets oodles of money funneled to his causes through various third parties (the big media corporations), neatly bypassing campaign funding laws.

          The (D) next to his name pretty much stands for "Disney", not Democrat.
      • by Deagol (323173)
        Don't blame *me* for Hatch -- I vote against that fucker every election he's on the ballot. I'm one of maybe a dozen blue pixels on one of the reddest states of the map. Sometimes I wonder if I should sign up with one of those vote trading sites, as my votes here are pretty much spitting in the ocean.
  • WalMart (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2008 @11:35PM (#22672098)

    making the damages for infringing upon the copyrights of a single average CD rise into the millions of dollars.
    ...and yet, if you just physically steal one, no one cares near as much. Whatever floats their boat, I guess.
  • I remember (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday March 07, 2008 @12:10AM (#22672258)
    "Yes, Billy, it's true. The United States wasn't always a fascist dictatorship. Actually, the proper term is oligarchy, but I won't bore you with all that stuff now. Anyway, there was a time when the people in office actually cared, some more than others, about the ideals that made it a good place to live. And, no, there was no invasion. Our people just gave it all away, a little at a time, by always voting for politicians who promised to make the country a safe place for children and kittens. It's safe now, Billy...just as long as you do exactly as you're told."
    • Re:I remember (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Omestes (471991) <{omestes} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday March 07, 2008 @04:22AM (#22673144) Homepage Journal
      Our people just gave it all away, a little at a time, by always voting for politicians who promised to make the country a safe place for children and kittens

      I know I'm replying to your rather flippant remark with something serious, but why are we doing this? The other democracies in the world seem to have veered in a more liberal direction (liberal, not by the American definition). What makes the Americans MORE susceptible to welcoming a tyranny with open arms? I would have thought it the opposite, being one of the most violently individualistic countries on earth.

      The average American, it seems, is the epitomy of sheep, anti-education, anti-freedom, and pro-tyranny, and not just our tyranny, but the tyranny of everyone else too. How did this happen, for a large part our founding fathers were ideal freethinkers (minus Adams), and liberals (again in the non-modern American sense), but somehow we've turned into the modern Soviets. This confuses the hell out of me.

      How the hell did Europe (and Canada) beat us at our own, original, game?

      How did France, Canada, the Nether
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hyades1 (1149581)

        Wish I could give you an answer. I'm Canadian, and I don't much like the direction my country is heading in at the moment, either.

        I've forgotten what our Prime Minister looks like, it's been so long since he pulled his face out from between Bush's ass cheeks.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moxley (895517)
        This is no accident. There has been manipulation and paranoia based behavior control.

        "We were attacked" "by evil terrorists" (the fact of who those "evil terrorists" actually are or whether it was some bullshit storybook conspiracy that completely falls apart and lacks credibility if you have half a brain OR was a manipulation in the first place doesn't matter because the effects are the same with how it is being used).

        People are being made to feel like there is danger coming at them from all corners at all
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Omestes (471991)
          I don't think the current atmosphere is to blame, though it exasperated the situation. I came of age at the tail end of the cold war, and we were still ruled by the same fear as we are today (albeit more based in reality), In the 90's, after the end of the cold war, we still managed to be ruled by wankers (Clinton, and the birth of neo-cons), but this was not fear based wankerism. Bush I and Clinton were both in a time of naive optimism, but we STILL voted the the extreme right into control.

          Really the do
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ultranova (717540)

          The fact that this country would even talk about being okay with indefinite incarceration without charge and torture (let alone actually allowing or making it fucking policy) is disgusting and unbelevable and would have never been possible without this scheme.

          Millions of slaves, many of which belonged to those very founding fathers who wrote your constitution, might disagree.

          The simple fact of the matter is that the US has always had a shining outside and rotten core. This is understandable: the reaso

      • by Greg_D (138979)
        Other countries are more politically active and have more than 2 political parties. In America, you're either for the Republicans or for the Democrats and whichever side you're on, you're convinced that the other is evil and out to destroy your rights.

        Of course, that makes you only partially right. In reality, both parties are evil and want to destroy your rights, so in the end, you're only supporting the evil bastard who has the best campaign manager.
      • by t0rkm3 (666910)
        òô

        Really, eh? UK is beating us at being libertarian? The most observed society in world where you can be compelled to offer up passwords to encrypted data is more free? Interesting conclusion.

        Canada the bastion of freedom? A place where freedom of speech is abridged regularly? e.g. the Kempling case, Westboro baptist church denied entry, and defacing the Koran is punishable by law?(Ezra Levant) Where you can be prosecuted for hate-speech for calling Americans bloodthirsty? (University of British C
        • by Omestes (471991)
          I didn't call the Non-American Western countries "glowing beacons" of freedom, did I? Nor did I claim they were libertarian, only classically liberal. I admit they have some problems, but not as many, nor on as slippery a slope as we do. We're not the great satan, nor saint, but we seem to be working on the former rather than the latter.

          What was the last country Canada invaded under flimsy pretexts and outright lies? When was the last time France broke some nations sovereignty to bomb the shit out of
    • by protomala (551662)
      When I see news like that I think: I'm glad I live in Brazil, even with all it's problems.
      What is happening with america? I know it was never that land of freedom movies talk about, but sudennly it appears people are leting all the fears take upon their brains much like in the the wall (pink floyd) videoclip.
  • Translate this into a little better english... WTF did he say? she say?
  • Oh dear, heaven forbid a few ultra rich individuals be deprived of a few cents per "stolen" song. The 4,000,000,000 people that go to bed hungry every night wouldn't need any of it anyhow. And as for the US becoming "fascist", give me a break. Go live in Cuba or Venezuela for the real deal. Although things can change, and they have, this is still a country with a constitution protecting more freedoms then most countries around the world.

    Oh sure, that has nothing to do with this discussion, right? Time = mon
  • by sltd (1182933) on Friday March 07, 2008 @03:44AM (#22673020)
    They're beginning to make compromises. With this controversial section removed, it's just that much closer to becoming a law, which is bad for everyone.
    • They're beginning to make compromises.
      Not really. It's a standard tactic.

      With this controversial section removed,
      It was born to die.

      it's just that much closer to becoming a law,
      Bingo.

      which is bad for everyone.
      Not everyone, just most.
    • by zotz (3951)
      "They're beginning to make compromises. With this controversial section removed, it's just that much closer to becoming a law, which is bad for everyone."

      Bingo! Bingo! BINGO!

      Mod parent up!

      Which is why I say we need a copyright offensive:

      http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/04/some-thoughts-on-copyright-offensive.html [blogspot.com]

      That way, after we are done compromising, we are in a better state than when we started, not in a worse state.

      Your comments very much appreciated.

      all the best,

      drew
  • Time to encrypt.

    What ever happened to that case that was to claim that the 5th amendment also covers your digital data?

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain

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