Friday, June 18, 2004
Antipiracy bill targets technology
A forthcoming bill in the U.S. Senate would, if passed, dramatically reshape copyright law by prohibiting file-trading networks and some consumer electronics devices on the grounds that they could be used for unlawful purposes.
..."It's simple and it's deadly," said Philip Corwin, a lobbyist for Sharman Networks, which distributes the Kazaa client. "If you make a product that has dual uses, infringing and not infringing, and you know there's infringement, you're liable."
The Induce Act stands for "Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act," a reference to Capitol Hill's frequently stated concern that file-trading networks are a source of unlawful pornography. Hatch is a conservative Mormon who has denounced pornography in the past and who suggested last year that copyright holders should be allowed to remotely destroy the computers of music pirates.
Foes of the Induce Act said that it would effectively overturn the Supreme Court's 1984 decision in the Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios case, often referred to as the "Betamax" lawsuit. In that 5-4 opinion, the majority said VCRs were legal to sell because they were "capable of substantial noninfringing uses." But the majority stressed that Congress had the power to enact a law that would lead to a different outcome.
"At a minimum (the Induce Act) invites a re-examination of Betamax," said Jeff Joseph, vice president for communications at the Consumer Electronics Association. "It's designed to have this fuzzy feel around protecting children from pornography, but it's pretty clearly a backdoor way to eliminate and make illegal peer-to-peer services. Our concern is that you're attacking the technology."
Posted by JLT at 2:36 PM