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H.R. 4279 Would Establish Federal IP Cops 686

MrSnivvel writes "H.R. 4279, Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, is gaining momentum in Congress. It passed the House a few days back. It would allow the Feds to seize hardware that has even one file coming from 'dubious origins,' e.g. downloaded from P2P. If passed into law, the bill would establish an Intellectual Property Enforcement Division within the office of the Deputy Attorney General. Rep. John Conyers says the goal is to 'prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government.'"
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H.R. 4279 Would Establish Federal IP Cops

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  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Psychotria ( 953670 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @05:56AM (#23744607)
    I cannot pretend to understand US politics... but I guess if something can sum up capatalism it's this story's summary.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:05AM (#23744661) Homepage Journal

      "You sharpen the human appetite to the point where it can split atoms with its desire; you build egos the size of cathedrals; fiber-optically connect the world to every eager impulse; grease even the dullest dreams with these dollar-green, gold-plated fantasies, until every human becomes an aspiring emperor, becomes his own God... and where can you go from there?"
      -- Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

        by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:31AM (#23745775) Homepage
        So the democrats in control of the house are basically in Satan's personal employment ?

        Not that I entirely disagree, but this seems a bit strong, even for them.

        Here's the roll call : []

        Here's the (short) list of "No" voters :
        Nay CA-4 Doolittle, John [R]
        Nay TN-2 Duncan, John [R]
        Nay AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R]
        Nay TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R]
        Nay TX-2 Poe, Ted [R]
        Nay GA-3 Westmoreland, Lynn [R]
        Nay AK-0 Young, Donald [R]
        Nay VA-9 Boucher, Frederick [D]
        Nay OH-10 Kucinich, Dennis [D]
        Nay CA-16 Lofgren, Zoe [D]
        Nay WI-4 Moore, Gwen [D]

        Barack Obama didn't vote, but all the IL guys voted "Aye"

        John McCain didn't vote either, but one (out of 4) of his Arizona colleagues voted "Nay". The democratic candidate for Arizona votes "Aye"

        Thought this was worth mentioning.
        • Re:Well (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:52AM (#23746031)
          Pft. Typical! Those lazy senators are always abstaining from these important house votes...
        • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

          by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:53AM (#23746041) Journal
          Well, considered that the senate hasn't voted on it yet I think I know why neither McCain nor Obama voted on it...
          • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

            by PachmanP ( 881352 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @10:15AM (#23747179)
            Good point which means there still may be time!

            Sorry to thread jack, but I think everybody needs to see this and I don't want it lost down the discussion...

            Everybody in the US of A write your senator tonight! This nonsense needs to stop, and maybe a response from the constituents would make them at least think twice in the future. Don't do what I've done in the past and get incensenced and not do anything. Don't whine on a /. write the letter. Maybe it won't do anything, but we should at least put our effort where our mouths are.

            That said try to present a reasoned arguement instead of a rant, or just be short and quick and say you're against it.

            Senate Contact Info [] to make it even easier!
            • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

              by RareButSeriousSideEf ( 968810 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:08PM (#23749175) Homepage Journal
              Very very good post.

              With a foreign war going on, energy prices spiraling out of control, a credit crisis in housing, a slumbering real-estate market... why on earth should we tolerate our congress squandering its time and committing scarce government resources to stuff like this? Creating a free stop-loss department for the entertainment industry is *not* a government priority... or at least it shouldn't be. How about we fund NASA, or Fermi, or try to defuse the Social Security time bomb?

              People's senators and reps need to know that their votes on this and similar initiatives will inform us about what their priorities are; a vote for this is a vote against [the children|education|science|social security solvency|etc.]

              Yes, of course the initiative is just plain wrong, and the reasons why are important too. Congress-critters, though, seem to think in terms more like the above. The governing class most always seems to see expanding government and creating agencies like this as a Good Thing(tm), so philosophical arguments for or against this stuff may not be as digestible to them as simply saying "hey, in political commercials next time around, a Yea vote on this will make you look like you prefer this not-so-popular thing to popular things that are short on funding."
        • Re:Well (Score:5, Funny)

          by gtall ( 79522 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:55AM (#23746069)
          Errr...just my guess but Obama and McCain didn't vote because this was a House vote and they being senators, decided it didn't involve them? Shame on them....

    • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:23AM (#23744769)
      Civil asset forfeiture laws are the antithesis of capitalism. They are a means by which the state can seize any property it wants simply by finding some nebulous connection to a crime. Did you know that YOU don't even have to be the one accused of the crime? They can do all sorts of fun things like seize your car if your friend borrowed it, while you thought he was going to the store to buy a case of beer, and he really used to it to drive to a drug user's house to sell drugs. This sort of thing is entirely Fascist in its economics (you did know that Fascism is a collectivist economic system as well as a political one, right?)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 )
        We have been teetering on the edge of old style Russian socialism for a while now. Ever since FDR got into office and created the 'new deal' its been a slow progression downhill.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wamerocity ( 1106155 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:24AM (#23744771) Journal
      Ignoring your spelling, that has to be one of the stupidest comments I've ever read. Capitalism? That's your explanation of why our elected officials are so damned stupid?! Nothing to do with with a politician's greed, lust for power, or simple pandering to the people who pay the bills? No, no, of course not. It's a market philosophy of supply and demand with competition - yes, that very clearly explains why a law with draconian limits, pushed by representatives with pockets lined from Big Media, is going to be forced on our country. Yes, it's definitely our market system. How insightful! /sarcasm
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ubrgeek ( 679399 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:12AM (#23745091)
        Seeing as we're forcing through silly laws, I think we should have one that states no representative or senator can vote on any law dealing with computers unless they take a course on - and receive their - A+. No, it's not the biggest indicator of computer smarts, but it sure is an indicator that they know more than they obviously currently do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stooshie ( 993666 )
      Not really capitalism, more protectionism.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      US politics is easy...

      Look at what laws are passed or introduced, and you can clearly see who paid for them. Laws here are not based on right and just but who was the highest bidder for them.

      Just wait, there will be laws making it illegal to skip commercials on the shows or to even leave the room during them.

      I'm not joking.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @09:37AM (#23746623) Journal
      Our politics are simple - the US is a theocracy, and the reigning god is mammon. The golden rule is "he who has the gold, rules". Our temple of worship is called a "bank" and Satan's leash, AKA "the necktie", is to us what the cross is to Christians.

      We have the best legislators money can buy.

      No rich powerful man ever goes to prison unless a richer, more powerful man wants him there.

      The corporations run both major parties and the media, so all US media is in effect state-run.

      Our national prayer goes like this:

      Our money, who art in the stock market and commodity futures, hallowed be thy name
      My kingdom come, my will be done on the entire world.
      Give us this day our daily bread, mansions, jewels, fast cars, yachts, and all the trappings of success.
      Forgive nobody, as nobody will forgive us.
      Lead us not into poverty, but deliver us from taxes
      For money is the power and the glory forever.
      let's eat.
  • Nukes, drugs? NO! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j35ter ( 895427 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @05:57AM (#23744609)
    now we know what the next war will be about...
  • hehehehehe (Score:5, Funny)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:00AM (#23744625)

    I'm so glad I live in the UK! Oh wait....

    "I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion! I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos! I want everyone to remember why they need us!"
  • Watch out WoWers! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:01AM (#23744635) Journal

    It would allow the Feds to seize hardware that has even one file coming from 'dubious origins,' e.g. downloaded from P2P

    So if a computer has anything they got from p2p, then the cops can confiscate their computers? So if, say, a cop doesn't like someone's politics, ethnicity, race, sexuality or gender and that cop knows the person plays WoW, they can confiscate the person's computer with no possible recourse for the victim? Sure a charge won't come from it, but they get to make life annoying for that person.
    • Re:Watch out WoWers! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mjec ( 666932 ) <slashdot@mje[ ]et ['c.n' in gap]> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:18AM (#23744739) Homepage Journal

      .. they can confiscate the person's computer with no possible recourse for the victim?

      Oh there's recourse. But have you ever made an administrative appeal to your state's supreme court? Let me tell you, it's a bitch. A bitch that takes lots of time and lots of money (even if you're representing yourself). And likely if you're right they'll still have legislative immunity from having to pay costs....

      At that point it's faster, cheaper and easier to buy a new PC and rewrite your PhD thesis rather than appeal against the decision.

      • Re:Watch out WoWers! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:37AM (#23745861)
        Hmm. If I lived in the States I'd think about going "thin" client. Have all data on a remote server somewhere in Sweden; the local machine is a client with nothing but a barebones OS and an obscene amount of RAM/volatile storage (something on the order of 16-32 GiB). The local machine connects to the server, downloads everything you currently want to work with onto a ramdisk and then does everything from there. Should the police seize the machine they won't find anything but the OS. Use an OS that supports encrypted RAM for additional ease of mind.

        Yes, it's ridiculous, but I wouldn't put meningful data on a machine that sits in the USA. The country simply isn't trustworthy enough.
    • by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:45AM (#23744925)
      I don't know about US law, I'm a Brit, but I do know that if the police decide that they want to make your life a living hell then they can and there's nothing you can do about it. Remember that in court it's always your word against theirs and the courts always believe the police.
      • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @09:40AM (#23746679)
        This is not correct. UK magistrates' courts may be largely populated by Johnny rich-but-dims who believe the police are there to protect them and keep the lower orders under control, but real judges know better than that. They also know about an influential young woman named Shami Chakrabarti. If you really think the police are trying to stitch you up, apply to Liberty.

        The real point about the obsessive, anal-retentive, security obsessed, tabloid influenced, illiberal and incompetent New Labour government is that it makes loud noises because it is rapidly losing influence, not because it is establishing a Stalinist state.

    • by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott,lovenberg&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @09:25AM (#23746445)
      Sure, but first they'll have to pry it from my cold, dead, hands.
  • by Quietus ( 808995 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:02AM (#23744639)
    "Specifically, federal civil law would be amended to: (1) provide a safe harbor for copyright registrations that contain inaccurate information so such technical errors would not prevent a judgment for infringement;" Excuse me? So if you lie when registering for copyright, the registration is still valid? Or does this imply that an inaccurate registration would not prevent a judgment for infringement that could have taken place if copyright was not explicitly registered at all (something that would already be the case, unless I am mistaken). The amendments to section 410 do not make it clear exactly how this will be any different.
  • ideas != property (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:02AM (#23744643) Homepage Journal
    for fscks sakes, ideas are not property!

    if you steal property, the original owner loses something.

    if you steal an idea, the original owner loses nothing.

    someone, please, get these asswipes out of office. either the ballot box or ammo box will do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drfireman ( 101623 )
      While the term "intellectual property" doesn't have an upstanding motivation behind it, you should get over it. Intellectual property is now a term that has meaning, and if you can't understand that "property" doesn't always mean exactly the same thing in every possible context, then you will have a hard time understanding virtually any sentence in English. There are many very serious and disturbing problems with this kind of legislation. But the use of the term "intellectual property" is not one of them
      • Re:ideas != property (Score:5, Interesting)

        by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:45AM (#23745361) Homepage Journal

        there are many cases in which stealing an idea costs the original owner something. If you can't think of any, then you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with the music, publishing, software, and movie industries, to name a few.
        you are absolutely correct.
        no band could possibly hope to make any money by giving away its music for free and making it back playing live shows. And having songs broadcast over FM radio without royalties being paid will destroy the music industry.

        A book would be impossible to sell without some sort of protection. could you imagine if the #1 best selling book of all time had no sort of copy protection?

        imagine if there was free software. not just free to have, but free to use and modify and re-distribute yourself. That would completly destroy the entire software industry. I predict that if there ever was some sort of free operating system that could be an alternative to windows, it would completly eradicate microsoft's entire business in less than a year.

        The movie industry would be in far better shape if no one moved out west to escape Edison's patents that prevented them from making movies. Disney would be a stronger company if they had to secure permission to use the Brothers Grim stories that their classics are founded on.

        you are right. stealing and sharing ideas can not possibly lead to any sort of good, and it certainly is not profitable in any way shape or form.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by value_added ( 719364 )
      ideas are not property!

      While I agree with your sentiments, I'm afraid you'll have to make your case to everyone from economists to business leaders to the folks in government to those working in various thinktanks to the punditocracy. Their thinking goes along the following lines:

      Because the US economy is a now a service economy (the manufacturing base having long since migrated to places like China), intellectual property is our sole asset. Ergo, the protection of intellectual property rights deserves no
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because the US economy is a now a service economy (the manufacturing base having long since migrated to places like China), intellectual property is our sole asset. Ergo, the protection of intellectual property rights deserves not only the highest priority, but also is key to the economic growth.

        When I read that, I mentally replace "intellectual property" with knowledge, or information if I'm feeling generous. Really, that's all it is. Which raises the question of the right to know things, the right to apply those things we know, perhaps things figured out independently of any "IP owner". Calling it property masks the real issue, which is putting arbitrary restrictions and repercussions on what people can do with what they know. That's the reason it's so offensive to /. regulars who's worlds revol

      • Re:ideas != property (Score:4, Interesting)

        by malkavian ( 9512 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @11:28AM (#23748413)
        The biggest problem with a service based "Intellectual Property" economy is that ideas migrate faster than industrial base products.
        Once an idea passes beyond the boundaries of those bound by the IP treaties, it can be refined far faster than it can be in the original treaty bound group.
        And when it ends up in the hands of an "unbound" country with a good industrial base, then the originator is at a massive disadvantage.

        This is the kind of process that set the US on its road to its current place of technological advantage; loose 'idea' protection enabled it to use concepts from the rest of the world, and freely adapt them without intervention from the more tightly bound Europeans. Then it built its Industrial base and had a massive rate of progress plus industry, which proved to be a massive powerhouse.

        Then Accountants discovered it was cheaper to send the majority of the Industrial base to separate sovereign countries, crippling the production aspect, and thus the general guaranteed flexibility (although increasing the theoretical, assuming that the world always works in the same way as initial conditions, which currently, it's not).

        Not having a physical product anymore, a conceptual one (ideas) is created (to the joy of the legal profession), and tightly restricted. The largest problem with this is that this only applies to countries bound by the treaty (as above), and while putting them at a flexibility disadvantage, allows vastly greater research to be conducted away from this group. Given greater research flexibility, money will eventually drift towards the unrestricted countries as they will simply end up with better tech, which will allow building of their own, more advanced industrial infrastructure (assuming it's not one of the countries currently with the great industrial infrastructure).
        Not that it'll leave the original treaty members as completely backwards.. Just behind the times, paying more for products designed and constructed abroad, and eventually bound to new treaties of trade that are decidedly one sided against them.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:03AM (#23744647)
    It is true. IP is the most important issue facing us in America. We have solved all of our problems. The oil crisis is solved, healthcare rates are affordable and healthcare service is impeccable. Its so nice to see that we really do not need alternative energy and that our economy is providing everyone a comfortable life style where only a single parent can work while the other parent raises the children. Education is more solid than ever. We are raising a nation of math wizards capable of programming in asm on the spot. Our government is finally loyal to the American citizen and corruption has been eradicated.

    NOW.. we can finally tackle the issue of downloading music and movies illegally, and impose death on those that do.

    I'm proud to be an American today. So proud.
    • You forgot: you've also won the wars on terror and drugs.
    • In the US the database of law as it applies in practice - the rulings whether a law is valid or not; whether a law can be applied to a particular circumstance - is itself a work protected under copyright.

      I can think of no better argument against copyright than it prevents citizens from knowing what the law is.

    • by mrbluze ( 1034940 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:43AM (#23744907) Journal

      I'm proud to be an American today. So proud.
      I admit, us non-US slashdotters do tend to take the piss out of you Americans a fair bit (partly because it's quite fun and very easy), but deep down I care and I'm very sad to see America go so wrong these last couple of decades.

      The knock-on effect on the rest of the first world cannot be denied. When the U.S. comes up with a ding-bat solution to IP like this, then we are all doomed together because it will filter down through international treaties and trade agreements.

      Freeing up IP is essential for making health, education and the energy market cheaper and more universal. In the last 5 to 10 years, first world governments have been 'pulling up the ladder' in this regard rather than opening up to the people. It's almost as though they are anticipating something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by symbolset ( 646467 ) *

        Freeing up IP is essential for making health, education and the energy market cheaper and more universal. In the last 5 to 10 years, first world governments have been 'pulling up the ladder' in this regard rather than opening up to the people. It's almost as though they are anticipating something

        Progress is made by shared invention. Once upon a time invention sharing was universal but progress was slow. Then we had copyrights and patents and the intent of these was to encourage investment in invention by

      • Matter assembly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:35AM (#23745829)

        It's almost as though they are anticipating something.
        In my tinfoil hatted moments, I suspect that they are anticipating the arrival of the Diamond Age... the time when a machine capable of manufacturing most consumer goods, including itself is present in every home.

        Technology like this renders matter a mere commodity ; manufacturing services will cease to be valuable, the only thing of value will be the programs it runs.

        The prospect of such a device running an open OS, and accepting production templates which are themselves open, must terrify certain entities.

        Of course, this mild attack of paranoia presumes that these creatures are actually organized enough to think of this. In actuality, their greed over existing IP is probably enough to explain their behavior, without recourse to long-term planning for a future when you can print your own food/clothes/car/plane/house/computer/pharmaceuticals.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jollyreaper ( 513215 )

        I admit, us non-US slashdotters do tend to take the piss out of you Americans a fair bit (partly because it's quite fun and very easy), but deep down I care and I'm very sad to see America go so wrong these last couple of decades.
        We Americans liked to see ourselves as the shining city on the hill, beacon to the world, an example for others to aspire to. Now we serve as a warning. Oh well, the attention whores will still be happy.
    • Move to Norway :-)

      1) Oil-crisis ? What crisis ? We export shitload of oil and are steeenking rich as a result.

      2) Healthcare costs money ? Guess so, never saw a bill (see 1) (universal healthcare)

      3) Energy ? We get 95% of our electric power from hydroelectric already, planning to be completely carbon-neutral as a country in a decade or two.

      4) Comfortable lifestyle ? Flipping burgers earns you $12/hour or thereabouts here, and unemployment is like 2% perhaps, so got that pretty much covered. (the main unemployed are -unemployabe- more than unemployed; if you are incapable of showing up at work, the problem ain't with the economy: it's with you!)

      Did I mention we've got hot girls yet ?
  • by viking80 ( 697716 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:04AM (#23744649) Journal
    from []

      Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed.

    But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes.

    The senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions, a software company based in the United Kingdom. The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website.
    • destroyed of all things ! I personally think they should explode and kill all the occupants of the premises where said hardware is located. Or maybe geotargetting coupled with a tactical nuke or so, sure the collateral damage would be large, but nothing is too much in protecting that precious IP.

      I've often wondered if an intelligence test before a vote would be a good thing and I've decided against that, but such a test administered before being able to take public office would be a very good thing.
    • by wamerocity ( 1106155 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:34AM (#23744859) Journal
      Don't get me started on Hatch. I am so tired of him as our elected official. The guy's been there for over 30 year, and that instantly puts him on my hate list because of how much I am against the principle of "Career-politicians." But he's never going to leave, because we just love our incumbents here. The guy doesn't even live in our state! He has a house in Virginia, and only comes to Utah to raise funds for re-election. What an asshole. /rant
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kuroji ( 990107 ) <> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:04AM (#23744659)
    How do you verify that a file is or is not pirated, exactly? And whatever happened to 'innocent until proven guilty'?

    For that matter, do those reps think that this will make law enforcement give one whit about people stealing albums? They already have enough to deal with in terms of real crime, and they're going to utterly ignore this anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spazdor ( 902907 )
      The thicker end of the wedge happens when 'enforcement agent' gets defined more broadly, and the mafiAA get to install some of their own mercenaries to start carrying out raids.
  • Seizing hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kingston ( 1256054 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:06AM (#23744669)

    It would allow the Feds to seize hardware that has even one file coming from 'dubious origins,'
    Every time there is a police investigation here in the UK you see them taking computer equipment as part of the investigation. Even if no charges are brought it can be weeks before people get their kit back. Seeing how reliant everyone is on their computers now, it almost looks like it is a punitive measure in itself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aussie_a ( 778472 )
      I wonder if they'd take a blind person's dog or an elderly woman's phone just as quickly?
    • by witherstaff ( 713820 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:51AM (#23745419) Homepage

      Someone I know had every computer in his home taken for suspicion of child porn. It took a few months but he finally got everything back and no charges were ever filed. They conceded nothing was found and that the open wifi hotspot of his house along a major roadway was probably to blame.

      The worse part? The feds kept saying, in his face, "We've found child porn on your computer. How do you explain it." He had been in law enforcement for years and he was shocked at the outright blatant lies told to him about this 'evidence'. No files were found, they just lied.

      If we get IP police, I won't be surprised if they take the same handbook from the child porn feds.

  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:06AM (#23744675) Homepage Journal
    I want people to know how bad copyright really is and the only way to get it through their thick heads is for the law to be enforced to the letter.

    Sooner or later the US will wake the fuck up.

  • This is bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:11AM (#23744711)
    There's no reason to seize property without evidence of a crime and a warrant. Copyright infringement is a civil matter -- but downloaders aren't even necessarily distributing.

    Good to see elected officials once again bowing to the wishes of the trabant factories.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:11AM (#23744713)
    Clearly America isn't a democracy, a republic, or any of those other pretty labels any more.

    I move for the new designation of "Corporate Plutocracy".

    Can I get a second for the motion?
  • Police State! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bartab ( 233395 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:16AM (#23744725)
    It's interesting that all the moonbats screaming POLICE STATE!!! over in the Kucinich thread are all missing from this one. Consider that the bill is sponsored by a Democrat, and has passed a Democrat majority House.

    If there's any law I've seen recently that qualifies as police state, this is one.
    • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:58AM (#23746099)
      Seriously, I'm tired of hearing "Lesser Evil", "Throwing your vote away" etc.

      At this point it doesn't matter in the slightest which party gets in, things will continue much the same way with minor differences in soundbite.

      You can "throw your vote away" because a republican or democrat will get in, and it doesn't matter which. the more people that do this, the more those scared of "wasting their vote" will realise it's not a waste at all, and that all it takes is for more people to realise what's going on.
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:20AM (#23744753) Homepage
    WHY has this become so entrenched with the upper echelons of the US Government? WHAT has this got to do with Congress, and indeed the Government in general? It's a legal issue, but not something that needs further governing by bogus departments created by the corrupt hands of the Bush era. It's sickening.
  • "PRO-IP Act"?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:23AM (#23744767) Journal
    Even if it weren't a heinous offense against decency, this bill must die for having another goddamn ridiculous acronym!
  • by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@nerds[ ] ['hac' in gap]> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:26AM (#23744795)
    Everybody get in here! [] Your senators know that every person who actually writes represents thousands of voters.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:27AM (#23744799)
    Only a lawyer could follow the logic that was used to uphold them. The judges, aka lawyers with power to determine the law's enforcement, ruled that since YOU aren't the one being accused (your property is) YOU have no due process right except to claim your property IFF you can prove that the property really wasn't used in the crime that the government is alleging. Doesn't matter if someone else hijacked your property to do it!

    Any normal human being can look at the logic of civil asset forfeiture laws and realize that it is literally a legitimization of armed robbery by the government.
  • Thought police? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dougisfunny ( 1200171 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:34AM (#23744851)
    If IP is ideas, which are thoughts.... this would make them thought police?
  • Priorities? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:40AM (#23744887) Homepage Journal
    "prioritize intellectual property protection to the highest level of our government"

    Yep, we have our priorities right. With all the famine, high energy prices, wars, natural disasters, etc, we know that IP rights must be the highest priority, to keep that money flowing into congress. Getting that pocket lined is more important then feeding people.

    Kick them all out, they are no longer serving the citizens as they are mandated to do by the constitution. Its a breech of contract of their oath of office.

  • Ok. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:45AM (#23744917)
    From now on, I'm leasing my hardware.
  • Direct violation?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by consonant ( 896763 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .n.tnakirhs.> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:55AM (#23744971) Homepage

    Is this not a blatant transgression of the 4th Amendment?? Back to the dark days of the writs of assistance..

    Copyright infringement as a criminal act - that's just wrong. And scary. Too long has this corporate fellatio been going on..

    And as an additional WTF:

    "This is a strong, common sense measure that provides new tools and resources to help protect one of this nation's most important economic engines," says Mitch Bainwol, chairman/CEO of the RIAA.
    Britney Spears/Justin Timberlake/Beyonce/Dude, Where's My Car?/Gigli are the USA's most important economic engines? Or at least, the engine's constituents??

    Goddamn. Just, goddamn.

    p.s: TFA's dated May 6th. Isn't this coming a tad late on /.?
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:57AM (#23744985)
    "The USA is a nation of laws, poorly written and randomly enforced" - Frank Zappa
  • first things first (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:03AM (#23745031)
    First the government should stop credit card fraud in the Internet. It is a mess now with all that worms, phishing, spam, etc. They should do what IS their duty.

    I am afraid to use my card to buy a song for 90 cents. Not that I do not want to pay.

    But I will not resume walking to the shops to by disks. It's like asking me to start riding a horse.

    It's gone, over. Forget about it. Move on. No more CDs. Turn the page.

  • by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:16AM (#23745123)

    The question is: who doesn't have something on their computer that infringes copyright in some manner? It's not just the P2P crowd -- they might well share some of their booty with others, maybe even providing tracks on a CD-R to friends who have slow connections, or not enough savvy to use or desire to risk torrents. If you've ripped tracks from someone else's CD, technically you're violating a copyright. (Hell, the RIAA thinks that ripping your own CDs is infringement). How many people have software of dubious origin on their machines, either by design or ignorance? (All those grey market Windows and Photoshop CDs that are ubiquitous on eBay, for example.) For that matter, what about the mass of infringing material on YouTube? Download a clip from last night's American Idol before Fox has it pulled, and now your computer is ours....mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha. Even more damning is that there is hardly a website in existence that doesn't have SOMETHING on it -- a graphic, photo, quote, musical background -- that is, by the strictest standard of the law, an infringement of someone's copyright. Just viewing the website puts those items in your cache -- voila, you are now guilty...please hand over the computer quietly and there won't be any trouble.

    Maybe this is a plot to help balance the budget. Instead of spending money on computers for all the federal agencies, they just seize as many as they need from all us hardened criminals.

  • And thus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by J4 ( 449 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @07:24AM (#23745179) Homepage
    the transformation will be complete. Just think how easy getting warrants will be now. It shouldn't take long for dead tree publishers and $manufacturing_interests to gain "equal protection".

    Thanks Retards.
  • Priorities? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperMog2002 ( 702837 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:08AM (#23745565)
    Shouldn't they be prioritizing protecting the constitution (which forbids unreasonable search and seizure) to the "highest level of our government"
  • by Skal Tura ( 595728 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @08:15AM (#23745639) Homepage
    This is how you get rid of your worst enemy:

    1) Get couple .torrent files
    2) Email them to your enemy
    3) Report to Feds
    4) Profit???

    or better yet, of "dubious origins" ... Send some joke powerpoint file as "PirateBoy" orsomething along those lines.

    Wonder do they anything to protect ISPs, say you could ru ndown an ISP by ordering a bunch of servers putting some "dubious origins" material into the servers, and report to feds, there competition gone.

    Didnt RTFA obviously :)
  • by Coreigh ( 185150 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @10:38AM (#23747537) Homepage
    Is it really the best use of gov't resources and tax dollars to protect profit margins of industries that fail to innovate and develop new revenue streams? I am all for protecting the property of the content creators but we all know that if it was about that then this would not even be on the table. It is being driven... pushed ... shoved by corporate interests not individual content creators.

    I of course have absolutely no factual research to back my statements so someone, someone credible, please prove me wrong.

  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @11:31AM (#23748467)
    Write your senators, please--this is akin to the police closing a library for six months to two years because they found a novel on the floor and they can't positively determine that it's a legal copy.

    Only, because of the internet, someone who's never even been to the library can drop it there. Furthermore, it doesn't even have to be there--if a cop says he thinks he saw one, that counts. *and*, because it's computer hardware as well as software, the overall value and lifetime expectancy of the library decreases tremendously over the time it's not usable.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein