theage.com.au - The Age

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American movie, recording and software executives could be prohibited from entering Australia or extradited to face criminal charges if a copyright protection bill before the US Congress passes into law.

Californian Democrat congressman Howard Berman has proposed legislation to deal with the rising tide of copyrighted works illicitly traded over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as KaZaA.

Berman's bill immunises copyright holders from civil litigation or criminal prosecution if they invade US PCs connected to the international P2P networks to take down their own copyrighted materials.

But the global nature of P2P networks ensnares file sharers outside the US, with the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for copyright holders to pursue pirates in Australia.

Under section 9a of the Victorian Summary Offences Act (1966), "a person must not gain access to, or enter, a computer system or part of a computer system without lawful authority to do so". The penalty if convicted is up to six months' jail.

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

4 Comments

I loved Napster and will admit to using KaZaA, but I realize that those kinds of services can't be allowed to continue unchecked. If they are, the music and/or movie industry will eventually die out. Studios will no longer have an incentive to produce and distribute artists' work if no money can be made. It might sound like a tired argument, but I think that the common sense of it is unavoidable.

Actually, I think it is a tired argument. I think music is a tired industry and motion pictures will eventually go the way of the pyramids. The pyramids were great, but the social context for them is gone and we can't build them anymore. The artists will move on to other media forms that don't break the laws of nature on the Net and old forms will shrivel up and die. The artists won't disappear. Shakespeare and Mozart both lived in a world without copyright...

From the NYT. An interview with David Bowie.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/09/arts/music/09PARE.html?8hpib

His deal with Sony is a short-term one while he gets his label started and watches the Internet's effect on careers. "I don't even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don't think it's going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way," he said. "The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it's not going to happen. I'm fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing."

"Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity," he added. "So it's like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You'd better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left. It's terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn't matter if you think it's exciting or not; it's what's going to happen."

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