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Anti-P2P Law Looms over the Horizon 560

Adrian Lopez writes "MIT's Technology Review has a piece by Eric Hellweg about pending legislation known as the Intellectual Property Protection Act. According to Hellweg, IPPA could make it illegal to skip past commercials and could 'criminalize the currently legal act of using the sharing capacity of iTunes, Apple's popular music software program.' More information on IPPA is available at the Public Knowledge website."
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Anti-P2P Law Looms over the Horizon

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  • International? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:30PM (#10874845)
    The internet is international, how will this be enforcable?
    • Re:International? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:45PM (#10874943)
      I don't think they really care about that. This is all about controlling consumer base in the "land of the free".
    • Re:International? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by krymsin01 ( 700838 )
      Why don't you ask the Chinese?
    • ... here in the US we will be paying high prices to cover the creation of the intellectual property (R&D in drug company parlance) while the rest of the world gets to use the product for next to nothing.

      In fact, I predict that some countries will eventually start to complain about the cost of the bandwidth needed to enjoy all the free stuff that is out there.
    • Trade blocks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:55PM (#10876005) Homepage Journal

      The internet is international, how will this be enforcable?

      It won't be too difficult. The standard thing that the US does in this situation is to say "implement our laws or we won't trade with you, we'll tell everyone else not to trade with you, and we'll make it even more difficult for your citizens to travel via or into the US".

      It's surprisingly effective, because they only need to actually have it enforced in western countries, and such countries typically rely on trade with the US either directly or indirectly.

      It's really not so surprising that corporates (most obviously Microsoft) get away with what they do in the US, because the Federal Government leads by example. The essential foreign policy of the United States is to use its power/monopoly in one region to lock everyone else out of another region.

      Having said this, I come from a smaller nation (New Zealand) that has decided to not support the US on several occasions, including various nuclear issues and the Iraq invasion. The result is that our government is now pursuing a Free Trade Agreement with China, because the US won't speak to us. I'm not sure which is worse.

      We are comparitively lucky in many ways out here, though. I won't forget that.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:31PM (#10874850) Homepage Journal

    Senator John McCain stated his opposition to this bill, and specifically cited the anti-commercial skipping feature: "Americans have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials for 30 years," he said. "Do we really expect to throw people in jail in 2004 for behavior they've been engaged in for more than a quarter century?"

    Your jails are full of fellow citizens that dared to smoke pot. That "crime" has been on the books far, far longer Senator.
    • I believe if individual cities/counties/states wants to legalize public marijuana smoking, that's the local government's business. I think there should be fines for people smoking pot in public areas, particularly areas where people are going to be all the time (city streets, parks, etc.). However, I think whatever the fsck you want to do in your own home is your business. If someone wants to sit on their property and smoke pot all day, so be it unto them.
    • well, I guess that now is the time to declare war on P2P networking.
      That'll put a stop to it.
    • OK, so I think that the entire idea is ridiculous, and spoke out against it []. BUT: bypassing the networks sponsors is not QUITE a victimless crime, as the networks are losing money by it. I mean, it's fine to point out that the revenue model is outdated and will no longer work, or say that the advertisements should be moved to placements in the shows, but calling it victimless and comparing it to smoking pot is, well...

      I guess you could say it's typical of thinking on Slashdot. Never mind.
      • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:52PM (#10874984)
        bypassing the networks sponsors is not QUITE a victimless crime, as the networks are losing money by it.

        And damn you if you don't read every ad in your newspaper. If people did, the paper would get paid more for them. You selfish bastards.
      • "but bypassing the adverts is not QUITE a victimless crime, as the networks are losing money by it"

        "Not gaining money from it"
      • So, if I go to the bathroom during a commerical break I am now stealing?

        Perhaps you need to fully think that over.
      • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:51PM (#10875338)
        As a Tivo owner I have a special perspective on commercials.

        When Im forced to use a "hostile television" I notice a few things:

        1. THe SAME commercial gets played over and over. I was watching the Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle live and saw the same truck commercial five or six times. Same with the rest. So skipping something you've seen is hardly costing anyone money.

        2. Commercials have zero information quantity. That is to say they are all emotion and no logic. Whats the MPG of that truck? What is its safety ratings? I dunno, all I know is a busty woman is leaning on it on a backdrop of some colorado mountain scene with a flag somewhere on the screen. Or as Dr. Rappielle says "It appeals to the reptilian brain." [] I'm not a reptile and I like making informed consumer decisions (usually).

        I guess the term "victim" here is what is being debated. A market shift to different modes of operation isn't victimizing its the future! Its why we have free markets. So companies can adapt. The old advertisers will be replaced with the new.
        • So skipping something you've seen is hardly costing anyone money.

          You've clearly underestimated the power of repitition.
          You've clearly underestimated the power of repitition.

          Sure, it may not work on everyone, but it works on a lot of people. It's just like memorization, but they want us to remember that truck, not someone else's.
        • The problem with your analysis is that you(along with every single web advertiser in the entire universe) have forgotten what makes advertising work.

          The purpose of advertising is not to cause you to immediately buy a product. Its purpose is to increase your desire for a certain type of product and far more importantly to make it so that when you start looking for that type of product, you think of them first. To do this they need to repeat the ad enough times to get it into your subconscious.

          Now personally,

        • 1. THe SAME commercial gets played over and over. I was watching the Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle live and saw the same truck commercial five or six times. Same with the rest. So skipping something you've seen is hardly costing anyone money.

          Repetition is the whole idea. The advertiser wants to pummel your psyche with the same image, repeated over and over, until it registers with your unconscious mind. Years of advertising experience has proven the effectiveness of this technique, even with those

    • Your jails are full of fellow citizens that dared to smoke pot. That "crime" has been on the books far, far longer Senator.

      Your comparison seems flawed. You're comparing making a behavior we've been doing for a long time that may be made illegal to a behavior that has been established as a crime for quite some time (sine hte 20s or 30s I believe)
    • Just for the record, very VERY few people actually go to jail for SMOKING pot in the US. Perhaps for a few hours to post bail, but most cities make you pay a fine, and even under the worst situation, its a years probation. Everywhere in the US, smoking pot is a misdomeanor, not a felony. Yes, the laws on pot are very stupid, but lets not blow it out of preportion.

      Now, federal sentencing guidelines REQUIRE that a person who GROWS pot (even a few plants) must get a 5 year minimum sentence, so remember, it
  • mcain is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:32PM (#10874853)
    We have been fast forwarding through commercials for years. This legislation is a joke. Consumers are not required to read the ads in magazines or newspapers. I really see no difference.
    • The only difference is ...

      The times, they are a changing, and the cheese is a moving.

      In other words, markets are desperately trying to keep today exactly like yesterday.

      -- The Dude
    • Consumers are not required to read the ads in magazines or newspapers.

      Just wait until next year.

      I really see no difference.

      That'll be the arguement they use.

      I don't even know if I'm being insightful or funny (I hope funny!).
    • by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:47PM (#10874958)
      Wait till the law against using the bathroom during commercial.
    • I don't watch television, which means I'm bypassing all kinds of commercials. I don't need a Tivo or some TVR to avoid an advert. So does that make me a criminal for willfully dodging ad spots? I'd have all kinds of counts against me in a 24 hour period if that was the case. I'd love to see that go to hearing or trial. I'd get every person I knew, media or otherwise in on that event.
  • crimethink

    Orwell is crying right about now.

  • Enforcement? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Iftekhar25 ( 802052 )
    How do they hope to enforce this law?
    • Re:Enforcement? (Score:3, Interesting)

      1. Connect to bittorrent tracker
      2. Determine that the .torrent in question points to protected intellectual property
      3. "netstat -an"
      4. Record all connetions to 6889
      5. Subpoena ISPs
      6. Litigate
      7. Rinse and repeat

  • WOW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jackb_guppy ( 204733 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:36PM (#10874879)
    We are creating the old USSR, right here in America.

    We have lost parts of the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendment. Bush's 2000 win gutted any of 10th that was left.

    The police can now search your home and "finincal" records with court oversite with informing you that it even happened and barring all from talking about it.

    So why does anyone think that removing Fast Forward button would not be another freedom lost?
  • by freedom_india ( 780002 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:37PM (#10874887) Homepage Journal
    ...if Edison invents the lightbulb today; there would be atleast huge protests on 7 PM News by candle and gaslight makers union; atleast 3 lawmakers would speak against lightbulb and how it is dangerous due to its explosive nature; 10 states would pass laws banning usage of lightbulbs...
  • by Malicious ( 567158 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:38PM (#10874891)
    Further along the horizon is legislation that will require all citizens to actually buy the products that the see advertised. Being exposed to an advertisement and not purchasing it is a breach of contract, punishable by large fines or death.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:38PM (#10874895)
    We need some kind of bill-watch section. That way when this gets voted on, we can have an article saying which way it went. Most of the bills that are brought up on slashdot are totally forgotten about afterwards and never posted about again.
  • by johnjaydk ( 584895 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:40PM (#10874909)
    I think we are missing an important part of the puzzle.

    The gameplan is: Lump some eight laws together in a package. Make one of them outrageous stupid. The stupid one gets all the flak, is pulled from the package and the rest sails straight trough congres.

  • Dammit (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:41PM (#10874911) Homepage
    This is the third article on /. in a week that totally misreads the proposed addition to 17 USC 110.

    It does NOT make it illegal to skip commercials.

    It just says that this new exemption doesn't apply to skipping commercials. If there is an EXISTING exemption (or if the manner by which the commercials are skipped isn't even prima face infringement) then those still remain in effect just as they do now.

    This is little more than a clarification.

    That said, it is a bad bill overall, since there are a lot of other provisions attached with this one which suck, such as criminalizing copyright infringement even more than it is now, permitting the government to file civil suits for infringement, further gutting registration formalities, etc.

    But this is one of the only halfway decent parts of it -- as it would tend to remove any doubt as to the legality of what Clean Flicks has been doing, and would permit other creative uses of EDLs, such as to edit Jar Jar out of Star Wars movies -- and so it annoys me quite a lot to see people's outrage arising out of a misreading of the bill. Be outraged at the rest of the bill, dammit.
  • by diqmay ( 773248 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:42PM (#10874917)
    While I understand Seantor McCain's remarks, I guess I wonder as how legislation would affect my right to disable images in websites and thus ignoring banners, or even using other software that does not render the ads at all? Does this mean I have to load and all website ads, lest I be judged a criminal, and if I scroll past an embedded add in an article does this mean I'm "fast forewarding" that add. This seems incredibly restrictive and amazingly unenforceable. Diq - spelling is no object
  • Wouldn't this also ban Adblock from Firefox? From the sound of it, it would, and if ads are forcibly viewed, it sounds like they'll forcibly allow adware and spyware soon too.

    • by Stevyn ( 691306 )
      It also sounds like the world is coming to an end in 8 days if you listen to the crazy guy shouting on the street corner. I'll take both with a grain of salt.
  • From TFA:

    Jonathan Lamy, spokesperson for the RIAA: "(...) Intellectual property theft is a national security crime."

    Soon we'll see P2P users referred to as terrorists ;))

  • Fascism (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
    Fascist corporate governments require consumers to consume their prescribed advertising. Every citizen is required to consume propaganda that innoculates against antisocial tendencies, like dissent, conservation, and critical thinking - or any thinking at all.
  • ... of this type of "law" that I have seen proposed so far are driven by the need to protect commerical intellectual property, they all appear to dismiss the benefitis of sharing intellectual property that is designed to be shared - educational content for example - making it impossible to do either.

    One I understand, but the bi-product is too costly on society...
  • how? (Score:2, Funny)

    by nmec ( 810091 )

    How do they hope to enforce this law?

    Simple. the RIAA (just because they like to do these kinds of things) will dispatch a legal representative (and secretary [at your expense of course]) to each and every home with a VCR or DVD recorder, then whenever you fast-forward they will have the power to hand you a press-play-and-desist order. Failure to respond to this will result in the immediate seizure of your remote control, whereby the lawyer will tow your VCR to the impound and force you to make an ove

  • I remember when "they" won against Napster. I was just sitting there thinking how alike Napster was to IRC DCC, while I was asking in channels what was being offered. I don't see how you can stop someone from using something like GNUtella or IRC or Usenet or Bit Torrent, especially if it is international.

  • Keep it coming (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This kind of legislation will only result in further crippling of the failing US economy. A once great economic empire will collapse under the weight of its own fear and paranoia. I say let it happen. It is just a form of Darwinism and it will allow burgeoning empires such as the EU to thrive.
  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:57PM (#10875015)
    "Intellectual property theft is a national security crime. It's appropriate that the fed dedicate resources to deter and prosecute IP theft."

    Whoa thar. Time out. Game penalty. Chill.

    The sharing of the Anarchist's Cookbook would be a national security issue. IP theft of weapons technology, air defense systems, domestic utility and transportation infrastructuce are national security issues.

    But P2P of ENTERTAINMENT is a "national security crime"?!?

    That's the most flawed stretch of reasoning I've ever seen. And I don't even engage in P2P.

    And if this bill becomes law and my fast forward button is outlawed,

    • then my DVD player goes in the trash and I will never buy another DVD again.

    It's a sad day when laws are passed to perpetuate outdated business models.

    • But P2P of ENTERTAINMENT is a "national security crime"?!?

      You're making a common mistake: imputing human characteristics such as shame on lawmakers. It's called "anthropomorphism." Don't feel bad, some people even make this mistake for lobbyists.

      Seriously though, they've been using this excuse ever since it became an excuse. Just look at what else they're trying to do this week:

      Citing national security concerns, some Republican members of Congress are trying to limit the personal financial information t

  • In a couple of years we'll get sued for singing a song in the shower or re-enacting a movie scene without paying royalties.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:00PM (#10875034) Homepage Journal
    interactive. The biggest losers in the whole TiVo thing have to be scripted pre-recorded shows. News shows quickly lose a lot of their value after they are aired. Aside from a few select games, almost all sports shows lose their value after the game is over, the only shows that don't are shows such as sitcoms etc.
    Hopefully, people will see the insanity of this law and not pass it, which will mean that the distribution methods for scripted shows will either have to evolve or die. I personally hope they evolve into distributing the shows directly to the public via an iTunes like service. That way I no longer have to pay for cable just to see the few shows that I enjoy; I can purchase them directly. The producers of these shows no longer have to be encumbered by the increasingly draconian regulations of the FCC. Just imagine what South Park could do if they weren't worried about being fined.
  • by dantheman82 ( 765429 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:02PM (#10875039) Homepage
    OK, I'm going to record an MP3 reading of the Intellectual Property Protection Act (all 200,000 pages) and intersperse commercials in support of the bill throughout the MP3. I will share it on my network (there's no place like and present you with a dilemma. You can stream the reading off my network and break one part of the legislation. Or, you can choose not to listen and thus disregard my commercials and break another part of the legistlation. Don't worry, it's not supposed to make sense, unless your IQ is less than the average Hollywood filmmaker.
  • Presumably, the proposed law doesn't allow iTunes-type sharing only without the permission of the copyright holder .

    Apple must have negotiated that permission from the labels when they created the feature, along with the burning and iPod sync limitations. It may be true, however, that such a feature might become illegal in other products.

  • by adjuster ( 61096 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:08PM (#10875074) Homepage Journal I can't expect anybody actually went and read the fucking article. Here's [] the Gooogle cache for the article at Public Knowledge. Take a minute and read it.

    Once again, the intellectual property cartels are lobbying thru legislation that seeks to further limit and erode the rights of consumers. We all seem to be laboring under the idiotic assumption that the current system is "just how things are". Copyright and patent protection comes from the People, and is a social contract. This contract is supposed to benefit both parties-- the creators of intellectual property and the People.

    Write your Senator. Vote. Make intellectual property a campaign issue for future elections. Tell other people about how their rights are being taken away and encourage them to do the same.

  • I'm soooo scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScooterBill ( 599835 ) * on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:08PM (#10875075)
    I remember the former Soviet Union outlawed all sorts of things. Did it stop people? No, it just pissed them off until...well we all know what happened.

    I have to chuckle everytime I see a law or technology attempt to suppress the desires of the people. First we had Napster, then Kazaa, now Bittorrent. The geeks will always win.

    Now what worries me is the effects of all this in the interim. The message of freedom being spread throughout the world is spoken by those who consistently attempt to pass laws controlling what we can and can't do.

    If you're Exxon, you'll get an exemption for pollution. If you're Joe Blow, you'll get put in jail for fast forwarding through a commercial. What's wrong with this picture?
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      I remember the former Soviet Union outlawed all sorts of things. Did it stop people? No, it just pissed them off until...well we all know what happened.

      What? Stalin's purges? Yeah, we're screwed.
  • and feel the shame of having put these "people" in power (or been incapable of keeping them out of power)

  • by Free_Trial_Thinking ( 818686 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:15PM (#10875118)
    I'm a little concerned that the EFF and other groups like are not helping organize opposition to this bill.
    It's common knowledge that the government is slow and us internet folk are fast. Yet here we are seeing the opposite, the government is being fast, and freedom organizations of the internet are slow to pick up the fight.

    Perhaps this suggests groups like EFF, et al need to re-examine how they react to legistlative bills. Not to sound over-dramatic, but I think they need an "army" of concerned citizens ready to start calling/writing their legistlators within 24 hours notice. Sort of like the minute-men of the American revolutionary war. Perhaps we even need a figuritive watch-tower to monitor congress and catch these bills in the very earliest stages.

    In the bigger picture I'm an optimist and I hope to see over the next few years that the internet will help people get organized and bring strong pressure to bear on governments. We see how powerful the open-source model is, I'm waiting to see a similar phenomenom with politics. We see beginings of this with the Dean campaign and things like Groklaw but again I'm hoping this is just the begining.

    I just wish there were more I could do personally.

  • Business as usual (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maximilln ( 654768 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:22PM (#10875159) Homepage Journal
    First let's examine where the Feds think they derive the authority to even debate these issues. It probably comes from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8,"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    Note that the language includes "promote the progress". It does not include provisions for deterring competition. Note also that the language includes "authors and inventors" and makes no provision for the corporate empires which manage to back authors and inventors into a financial corner to induce them to sign away all ownership.

    As always, without anything in the Constitution to specifically address P2P, fast-forwarding of commercials, or regulation of content and viewing, we must defer to the 10th Amendment,"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

    To preempt those communists in the crowd who would like to interpolate their favorite part of the Constitution to include their pet issue of the week I would like to remind everyone of Amendment 9,"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    So, there you have it. As always our federal politicians are wasting our taxpayer money debating issues which they have no authority, responsibility, or legal jurisdiction over. As always they will come up with mandates which will tax us further, hamper manufacturers, and prevent the consumers from getting what we pay for.

    Don't blame me. I didn't vote for any of the current politicians. I also do more than my fair share attempting to educate those who don't have any clue what real freedom or liberty is.

    Bring on the trolls.
  • Had Enough? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slam smith ( 61863 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:36PM (#10875242) Homepage
    I realize that this hasn't passed yet, but you got to ask yourself. Have I had enough of big government yet? As long as the majority of citizens keep saying "There ought to be a law". We will continue to have these problems. A law needs to be more a last resort and not a first.

    A law against murder. Sounds great

    A law against burglary. Good idea

    A law against smoking pot. Now we are pushing it. If you are going after the DWI aspect of it, sure, otherwise... (Though on a personal morality basis I think it's wrong. I really don't believe I should impose my views in a personal arena like this. Because of course what is to prevent someone else doing the same to me when they are in the majority.)

    A law against fast forwarding through commercials. Ok senator, the good people of your state think you need to look for a new line of work

  • weird stuff (Score:5, Informative)

    by latroM ( 652152 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:37PM (#10875247) Homepage Journal
    from Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

    "Intellectual property theft is a national security crime. It's appropriate that the fed dedicate resources to deter and prosecute IP theft."

    Since when were you able to steal "creations of the mind"? I don't like this word game which intends to make copying stuff morally relative to stealing. If you are against corporations tightening the copyright law, don't use the term "intellectual property". The word "property" distorts and oversimplifies the whole idea.
  • Letter to my senator (Score:5, Informative)

    by ortholattice ( 175065 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:38PM (#10875255)
    I wrote a letter [] to my senator. May I suggest others do the same.

    People ought to be asking themselves, seriously, a much broader question: Should Congress to be passing laws that the majority of people don't want? A case can be made for such laws in the case of individual rights of minorities. But I don't see that a corporation merits any consideration whatsoever with respect to any law that restricts our freedom.

  • Ditch the TV. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:59PM (#10875379) Journal
    It's quite simple - vote with your wallet; get rid of the TV.
    The Internet is far more interesting than television anyway.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @02:37PM (#10875577) Journal
    It was about a school somewhere in america, I think New York but am just guessing. The story was about the increased occurence of private companies subsidising parts of a school in exchange for advertising.

    This has been an issue for a long time around the world and every single time it is done the powers that be insure us that it will not go out of control.

    lucky for the dutch we are several years behind the rest of the world so if we want to see the future we take a ticket to the US of A.

    Far from the cafeteria being run by McD or books on economy being printed by Wall Street the docu saw a far far worse case.

    Students were made to watch simple commercials on tv. Don't watch the commercials and you can't attend classes.

    So for those worried about ordinary tv forcing you to watch commercials, you are a bit slow. Far worse has already been tried.

  • by El Bromo ( 663141 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @02:58PM (#10875693)
    We here on Slashdot tend to be too cynical, too willing to accept the fact that bad laws will be passed and there's nothing we can do about it. We need to write to our elected officials and let them know how we feel. We can actually help make a difference on issues if we simply take out a few minutes to let our feelings be known.

    Teddy Roosevelt once said: "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." So, make your letters well-written, well-reasoned arguments combined with impassioned pleas for your senator or representative to listen to logic, instead of a hate-filled diatribe as to why these bills are the root of all evil and they are just part of the machine dragging us further and further downward. Otherwise, we'll all be bystanders as this entire class of legislation is forced upon us.

  • P2P is not bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ( 213219 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:01PM (#10875706) Journal
    P2P is a tool, like a saw, a hammer or yes, even a gun. Don't blame the tool when some human uses it in a wrong way. Over the years many tools have been used to commit crimes - even the lowly rock can be used to murder.

    It seems to me that history would teach us that when a popular activity is outlawed, that activity doesn't go away it moves underground. Look at the roaring 20's and the temperance movement that caused prohibition. Outlawing alcohol didn't make it go away, it just drove it underground and made common criminals wealthy and willing to protect their enterprise with guns and a little enterprise called "Murder Inc."

    A similar corelation can be made with illicit drugs today; Crack, crank, heroin, and pot are all available on street corners in every major city! Those gangsters also protect thier illicit interests with guns and murder.

    One has to wonder if the drug situation were dealt with a little differently, if things wouldn't be better? Please note I am not being pro-drug here. But I have to wonder if cocaine and other drugs were available to adults in controlled stores if we wouldn't have less crime and about the same number of adicts? If that was the case, wouldn't it be a success? Our prisons would be less crowded and we would probably have less crime.

    By now some of you are thinking I'm a lunatic, that P2P software is different from drugs. Please believe me when I say I understand that. But regulation brings with it unanticipated and often disasterous consiquences. It makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens and, it puts the country that regulates it at a competitive disadvantage to the countries that don't. All in all, I see this kind of conservitive over regulation as a "bad thing."

    Also, FTP can and frequently is used "peer to peer," so are IM programs: Are all of these going to be legislated away because of some short-sighted law? Is this really appropriate legislation - aren't there already plenty of laws that address copyright violations? I can't see how true American's can't agree!

  • This is just one more stupid thing that may or may not be added to the unbelievable Rube Goldbergian catastrophe-waiting-to-happen that is the American legal code. Something's going to give soon. Frankly, there are probably SOOOO many mutually contradictory laws on the books by now that it's virtually impossible to not be a criminal somehow.

    The inefficiency, corruption, and general incompetence of the American government is at the moment staggering. And it is happening because we the people have let it happen. Say what you will, this government is still absolutely bound to the will of the people because we can vote it out of office come every two years.

    The problem is that the American people are becoming apathetic and uncaring. Nixon irretrievably broke the faith of millions in their government. Even if they hear about these bullshit bills, they have no idea what to do and form their opinion soley around what the magic picture box says.

    And do you know what the problem is? We're allowed to escape basic education without even being able to recite our nation's founding documents. Twelve, thirteen years of schooling before high school graduation. We were never required to so much as read the Constutition or the Declaration of Independence.

    Personally, I think it's an outrage that the founding documents of our nation aren't required reading in every single high school in the nation. Being able to recite the first two articles of the Declaration, the meaning of the first ten amendments, and being able to enumerate in no unspecific terms the powers of all three branches of Government set forth in the Constitution should be a requirement for high school graduation.

    And you can make that possible. Obviously, there are certain politicians don't want you to read material that tells you that it's your duty to rebel against an unjust government and that all rights not specifically granted to the Federal government are reserved by the states or the people, but if the people create enough of an outcry and vote out representatives who oppose it, it will happen if only because the remaining representatives will act out of self-preservation. And note that I didn't say ALL politicians. Heck, I've got a copy of the Constitution in front of me that was sent by my representative in the House.

    Now stop staring at the screen. Go out there and make a ruckus.
  • by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:11PM (#10875767) Homepage
    Check out the full text of H.R. 4077, [] the one that says: "To enhance criminal enforcement of the copyright laws, to educate the public about the application of copyright law to the Internet, and for other purposes." the abstract.

    Okay, now: skip all the text, and jump right to the bottom- "TITLE II--MISCELLANEOUS." Section 201, the designation of national tree.

    "The tree genus Quercus, commonly known as the oak tree, is the national tree."

    Can someone more informed in the ways of law tell me what this is all about?
    • by wk633 ( 442820 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @04:15PM (#10876146)
      It's a lot easier to add a rider to an existing bill you think will pass, than to write a new one.

      It also creates all sorts of back-room deal making. Basically, "I'll vote for your bill if you add this pork for my local constituancy". It'a also why attack ads can say "So and so voted against mothers and apple pie!". What they really voted against was some other thing the bill, the "mom and applie pie" was added on.

      It's really really stupid, and it's very American.
  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:13PM (#10875777) Homepage Journal
    They're going to criminalise P2P, are they? Interesting...Software piracy has been a crime for probably as long as I've been alive, yet I don't see IRC carrying warez movement going anywhere any time soon. The problem for WIPO and the rest of the associated idiots is that such laws are largely unenforceable...possibly 5%-20% of the people involved in such activities are prosecuted, tops.

    These laws are utterly futile...and they are futile for several reasons. For one thing, they are completely dehumanising...they are counter to human nature and human desire. For another, because they are largely unenforceable, they rely on the laughable expectation that they will be willingly obeyed.

    As I've said earlier, we keep getting more and more evidence that we are now genuinely in the Aquarian era, and it ain't going to be how the song from that stupid musical Hair described it. Initially anyway, we are in for a period of truly mammoth conflict. Uranus and Saturn, or to use imagery which people are more familiar with...the elderly vs the young and the new...Science, intellectualism, altruism, and the desire for genuine freedom colliding with tyranny, willful ignorance and stupidity, commercialism and fear...Smith vs Neo.

    Unfortunately for Ashcroft, Hatch, Vilenti and the other Smith wannabes of the world however, although they may do some damage in the short term, long term they don't have a prayer of getting anywhere with their ambitions. They're too stupid, too greedy, too fearful, and therefore largely self-defeating. At times I pity them, because if they could learn to change their own mindset and behaviour they also could benefit from the future that the rest of us are busy creating.

    If you step in chewing gum, it will cause your shoes to stick to the ground to a minor degree, but not ultimately enough to cause you anything more than inconvenience. Also, despite how tenacious said chewing gum may be in remaining on the soles of your shoes, it can and will be eventually scraped off...and then you continue walking. Humanity is still going to ultimately get where it wants to go...Bush and his friends might try and set up roadblocks, as have other such individuals throughout history...but ultimately all they amount to are potholes.
  • by nusratt ( 751548 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:50PM (#10875965) Journal
    Well, OK, it shouldn't, but I'm hoping that it does, with all of the most absurd and excessive provisions retained.

    A deplorably large portion of the public is oblivious to what's been happening in the IP wars.
    It's about time that something happens to wake them up, to get them to take these issues personally.

    I think that passage of this law would have the beneficial effect of causing wide-spread public disregard and contempt of such laws (and their promoters), as happened with the 1920s Prohibition-era attempt to ban alcoholic beverages.

    For a quite a while, I've harbored a fantasy of organizing a mass demonstration in Washington, during which the participants stand in front of the Capitol and Justice buildings (and IP lobbyists' offices), collectively engaging in open violation of IP laws which are enforceable only by massive and embarassing government over-reaction --
    e.g., playing hand-held PVRs and skipping the commercials, using encrypted WiFi to exchange files bearing names of copyrighted works, etc. --
    i.e., massive civil disobedience.

    I'm hopeful that this law would also have the effect of opening the eyes of the masses to corporatist corruption of the legislators who support such bills.
  • Burn everything. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @04:34PM (#10876255)
    No no no no no... They should call this the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FREEDOM ACT. It will make it ILLEGAL to create, possess, use, traffic in, or otherwise have anything to do with intellectual property in any form. It will be the LAW that every intellectual property in existance must be DESTROYED. Books will be burned in huge bonfires. Same thing with paintings, music and movie recordings, film, software, documentation, and even people, because their brains contain intellectual property. When there is NO intellectual property in existance, there will no longer be any piracy, and then the problem will be SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111
  • by MichaelCrawford ( 610140 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @05:38PM (#10876646) Homepage Journal
    Reading this article, and also about how internet porn is more addictive than crack [], it makes me think that somehow the USA is going to collapse in on itself before we have the opportunity to elect our next president.

    My country has so many problems, so many terrible problems that really deserve attention from legislators. Is the fact that some people skip commercials while watching TV one of those problems?

  • by DroopyStonx ( 683090 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @07:46PM (#10877384)
    Perhaps the internet was the beginning of the end.

    They don't like people having all this access to information.

    Now legislation created BECAUSE of the internet is leaking over into real life (can't ff commercials).


    This country is fucked, and so are the people in it.

    They expect me to respect copyright laws when they turn around and create this bullshit? Hahaha no. Sorry, doesn't work like that. Stuff like this makes me download even MORE.
  • by john_uy ( 187459 ) on Sunday November 21, 2004 @10:52AM (#10880608)
    making p2p illegal is like making the internet illegal? i mean the internet now does transfer files to one another whether be it html, gif, jpg, mp3, wmv, etc. my question would be what is the differentiating factor for this case?

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly