Dan Gillmor
Congress Goes After Peer to Peer

UPDATED

I hadn't been taking some proposed new copyright legislation very seriously, mainly because it's logically absurd on its face. But the "Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004" (PDF) seems to be moving so quickly that we have to pay attention now.

It's basically a bill that can make the creation of technology that could possibly be used for "piracy" illegal. More on Dan's blog. Please take a look. It's quite absurd and dangerous. If it's moving quickly, I think we need to mobilize against it as soon as possible. Japan always gets hand-me-downs of ugly US bills so please stop it!

UPDATE - a scenario of what would be illegal:

Here's EFF's hypothetical complaint against Apple (for making the iPod) C|Net (for reviewing the iPod), and Toshiba (for supplying hard drives for iPods).

9 Comments

So does Europe! So please stop this nonsense before we're all doomed and forced to move to New Zealand or something (although maybe it wouldnt be so bad to move down there...)

I guess all of the stupid and bad laws in Japan are the US's fault right? Just like all of the violent crimes in Japan are copies of US crimes.

No, Japan makes plenty of its own stupid laws, but we get a lot more difficult to design stupidity like software patents, business model patents, copyright term extensions, almost got key escrow, crypto export regulations, crackdowns on P2P... etc.

We get 'em elsewhere too. I think the (so far failed) attempt to outlaw software that "could be used" for hacking came from an EU meeting.

Although sometimes Japan just copies US stuff because it's cool, sometimes the US even sends special envoys on secret missions to pressure Japan to "harmonize" with US legistlation. Long after the US relaxed its crypto export policies, Japan's were still firmly in place. I talked to a former NSA person at the time and asked why the US didn't tell Japan they could loosen up now. The person told me, "What incentive would we have to do that?" I wonder if there is also other legal waste in areas that I don't watch so closely. It reminds me of ordinances left by the Japanese Imperial Army in China that occasionally blow up and kill people.

Maybe my last comment was a little too sarcastic.

I agree that this proposed legislation is ridiculous and everything possible should be done to keep it from becoming a law.

On a related topic, why do you think that software patents are stupid? I realize that a lot of recent patents, such as Microsoft's patent for the double click, are quite stupid. However, if software is not protected in some way what protection do businesses have to prevent a competitor from taking code from their product and releasing a new product that required less development time and money? What are your ideas on this Joi?

I think that the software patent issues is a difficult and complex one, but one where I come out against them. There are arguments which make sense in favor of them, but I think that net-net, the cost on innovation exceeds their value.

A few reasons why I am against them.

1) Patents cost money and to have a real patent strategy, you need a portfolio. Unlike drugs or manufacturing, a lot of innovation in software occurs in small companies or by individuals who can't afford to file for patent protection.

2) The patent office is already overloaded and continue to grant patents to stupid software patent applications. People argue that "if only we could educate the patent office." I think that software is such a fast moving and complicated field that it is not feasible to imagine that the patent office can "catch up."

3) Many of the software patents and business method patents are more like "ideas" than methods and require very little investment to come up with. Allowing patents does not really creative incentive to innovate, in my opinion. Also, if it is too specific, it's quite easy to route around software methods and that doesn't provide protection either. It's a very narrow band where they are useful.

Finally, I think that it is much easier to compete as a software company by staying ahead of your competition in execution rather than sitting around trying think of things to patent. The flow of innovation into a product, then back into "waste" is so fast that I personally would rather back a company that had a great team, lots of customers and a strong brand than a company with a pile of patents.

IMHO...

The bill has just about no chance of being passed. It is way too vague, and just incidently it violates The First Amedment of the US Constitution since such advocacy hardly rises to the level of "yelling 'fire" in a crowded theater".

That said, someone who does advocate ripping off some one else's copyright is violating that same Constitution since copyright is a specifically enumerated right for creators. Added to the fact that it is also a violation of WIPO, which both the USA and Japan have signed and you have plenty of work for the IP Bar for some time to come. All recent copyright legislation centers on efforts to have a consistant law that applies to many nations, rather than have everyone go their own way. Yes, this is a bad law, but I'm not so sure that the basic idea is a bad one since openly advocating breaking the law for personal gain or political purposes is not protected speech under many circumstances. Even here in the USA were we enjoy a lot more liberty than many other places. (Try this is a nation run under the Napokeonic Code, where you are presumed guilty, not innocent until proven otherwise.)

Just because it violates the first amendment (I use no caps purposefully...it doesn't mean anything anymore), doesn't mean it won't pass. They passed campaign finance reform (The Fiengold-McCain bill). Watch what happens now.

Don't just do something, stand there! I've written a letter to my senator, Barbara Boxer, as well as a few newspapers. At least call your senator and take a stand.

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Yesterday, I already furled (?) Ernest Miller's Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act, which is a must read on the topic. Today, the EFF joins in with a fake complaint against Apple over its iPod music player, thereby showing... Read More

Yesterday, I already furled (?) Ernest Miller's Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act, which is a must read on the topic. Today, the EFF joins in with a fake complaint against Apple over its iPod music player, thereby showing... Read More

Yesterday, I already furled (?) Ernest Miller's Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act, which is a must read on the topic. Today, the EFF joins in with a fake complaint against Apple over its iPod music player, thereby showing... Read More

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