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File Trading Law Would Include 'Willing' Traders

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the coalition-of-the-willing dept.

The Internet 582

mgessner writes "From InfoWorld comes a story on the U.S. House's approval of a new, tough law against trading files online. 'The bill expands the definition of file traders eligible for criminal penalties from individuals who 'willingly' distribute copyright files to those who 'knowingly' do so, an escalation that could result in jail time for file swappers.'" (The bill has yet to go through the Senate.)

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Well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385187)

I guess Granny won't be coming to Christmas this year.

:(

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385474)

Nothing encourages innovation like jail time.

post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385191)

1st post

how do they determine which it is (5, Insightful)

NetMagi (547135) | about 10 years ago | (#10385194)

with boxes checked by default, and programs scanning ur hd's for stuff to share, how do they determine just where the thin line of knowingly and willingly is???

Re:how do they determine which it is (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385288)

If you willingly installed the software, you must be a willing infringer of copyrights, and obviously deserve jail time.

Insightful, perhaps... but with a flaw. (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 years ago | (#10385336)

Said person supposedly operating in ignorance could be given the benefit of the doubt with exactly _ONE_ warning, and given a finite interval (perhaps 2 weeks) in which to rectify the situation. Failure to comply within that interval would leave them without any excuse for not knowing they were distributing.

Re:Insightful, perhaps... but with a flaw. (5, Insightful)

freshfromthevat (135461) | about 10 years ago | (#10385459)

Who says that the warning was received? If it is via email, what if my spam filter makes it go away?

Do they have to deliver the warning with a "Process server" in order for it to count in court?

Re:Insightful, perhaps... but with a flaw. (4, Insightful)

lothar97 (768215) | about 10 years ago | (#10385472)

When you install some P2P software, it gives you the option to "Find media to share," and sometimes you can choose where, and sometimes it does it by itself. I imagine most non-savy users choose this default option, and share everything- because:

1. The don't know how to share less files

2. Users trust the software they install

3. A popular /. complaint- they don't know any better.

Just for kicks I search for .pst every now and then, and am amazed at the number of people who are sharing their entire outlook file.

Re:how do they determine which it is (5, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | about 10 years ago | (#10385354)

That's just it. A lot of people using this file sharing programs have no idea what they're doing... my site (see sig) is a prime example of this. People need to pay attention to the software they're installing and what it is doing.

fucking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385195)

lovely.

The GPL is a copyright (3, Interesting)

watermodem (714738) | about 10 years ago | (#10385200)

The GPL is a copyright so does this make it illegal to download opensource software?

Re:The GPL is a copyright (1)

j1bb3rj4bb3r (808677) | about 10 years ago | (#10385296)

Of course not.

Re:The GPL is a copyright (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 years ago | (#10385377)

Clearly the wording of the bill needs to be changed so that it would only apply to distribution without the consent of the copyright holder. Otherwise, this bill would make it illegal for a coypright holder to distribute his very own material! (effectively negating the actual meaning of copyright completely.)

Re:The GPL is a copyright (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385431)

Clearly the wording of the bill needs to be changed so that it would only apply to distribution without the consent of the copyright holder. Otherwise, this bill would make it illegal for a coypright holder to distribute his very own material! (effectively negating the actual meaning of copyright completely.)

Wrong - it would just make it illegal to distribute any copyright material online.

Tell me, who is sponsoring all these anti-file-trading laws? Oh yes, the RIAA and MPAA.

Now, tell me, which two major industry groups represent industries which want to continue to lock people into traditional media, instead of moving forward to a 21st-century digital distribution network?

Hmm... maybe it's a conspiracy theory too far, but do you REALLY think the RIAA would be upset if Congress accidentally made iTunes illegal?

Re:The GPL is a copyright (3, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 10 years ago | (#10385392)

GPL is not a copyright. It's a license. GPL software can still be copyrighted, but so can any other closed source freeware program, so bringing up the GPL really has no bearing here.

Re:The GPL is a copyright (2, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 years ago | (#10385429)

All GPL software is copyrighted. If it weren't, the GPL couldn't apply to it.

Going to jail for file swapping? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385201)

Bring out the Hitler references, they are not offtopic this time.

Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 10 years ago | (#10385203)

The actual "Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004" itself:

Index [loc.gov]

Summary [loc.gov]

Text of legislation [loc.gov]

Because we all know that... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385209)

Because we all know that passing laws to make, say, speeding in cars, murder, fraud etc. illegal has put an end to all those activities.

Re:Because we all know that... (4, Insightful)

fracai (796392) | about 10 years ago | (#10385359)

That's interesting because everybody accepts cops setting up speed traps and using radar guns to catch speeders. And investigating murders and fraud in order to capture criminals. Yet we don't like the idea of an organization that would police the internet in order to stop the theft of music and movies. Without considering the state of the music and video industry, downloading mp3s and ripped movies without paying for them is illegal. Whether the laws need to be adjusted to allow copyrights to expire or prices to come down is beside the point. Right now these things are illegal, but no one advocates that policing the internet is a means to making it safer or more enriching.

Re:Because we all know that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385496)

...in order to stop the theft of music and movies

It's not theft; it's copyright infringement. The two are completely different.

...downloading mp3s and ripped movies without paying for them is illegal.



Uploading copyrighted mp3s and ripped movies without permission from the copyright holder is illegal. Downloading copyrighted mp3s and ripped movies is legal in Canada and in many other countries. Also, there's plenty of movies and mp3s on P2P networks that are fully legal to share because they are in the public domain, are not under copyright, or the copyright holder has given permission for their work to be distributed in this manner.

These specifics matter greatly in both the letter and spirit of the law.

Re:Because we all know that... (2, Insightful)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | about 10 years ago | (#10385374)

Yeah! And when you're caught, you're charged with:

possesion

with intent to distribute
and any other bogus charge that will get you sent to jail to do hard time for something that really doesn't harm anyone.

Think of all those people who are doing hard time for just having one joint!

Re:Because we all know that... (4, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | about 10 years ago | (#10385387)

  • Because we all know that passing laws to make, say, speeding in cars, murder, fraud etc. illegal has put an end to all those activities.
And regular lawsuits against multiple people trading files online, including 12yo girls and grandparents who didn't even know that their grandkids had installed the software have worked too. But yep, a law will do the trick, heaven knows people won't break a law but are happy to risk financial ruin.

What do we expect though? It seems that one business or another owns every member of Congress, "We the people" is now "We the corporations" as far as representation in Congress goes. *sigh*

Down with this bill (0, Troll)

bandrzej (688764) | about 10 years ago | (#10385211)

Another thing brought on by Big Government and Evil Corporations. BLAH!

Re:Down with this bill (5, Informative)

jrockway (229604) | about 10 years ago | (#10385250)

Screw what the lawyers thing, we have technology to fight them. Try Freenet [sf.net] . It's mathematically impossible to determine what you're sharing! Try going to jail for sharing random bytes :-)

Re:Down with this bill (5, Insightful)

the_leander (759904) | about 10 years ago | (#10385280)

I have to be totally honest in asking WTF is going on with all this emphesis on file trading? Seriously, America has the single largest murder numbers in the western world (Larger then Canada's and Europes combined - excluding ww2) I think that there are far bigger issues that the US could do with addressing then kids getting some singles on the cheep (free)..

That said, how long until Europe decides to follow suit, well, if not Europe, England (who have their own version of the DMCA, have tried very hard to keep their copyright laws in step with the US etc etc)?

Re:Down with this bill (3, Insightful)

phats garage (760661) | about 10 years ago | (#10385426)

Murder victims have little effect on corporate contributions.

Re:Down with this bill (1)

sxtxixtxcxh (757736) | about 10 years ago | (#10385465)

yeah, instead, they should making killing each other illegal!

that said, remember it's not guns that kill people... there are more gun owners per capita in canada than there are in the US, IIRC...

the differences are in lifestyle... making something illegal doesn't necessarily curb the behavior. it instead, encourages MORE illicit activities, justified by "well, i'm already a pirate... might as well sell these bootleg dvds and make money seeing as i'm already in for jail time."

Re:Down with this bill (1)

87C751 (205250) | about 10 years ago | (#10385477)

WTF is going on with all this emphesis on file trading?
Simple. The RIAA is afraid that somewhere in America, there's a dollar they aren't taking in.

Re:Down with this bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385357)

This reuters story [wired.com] has an interesting quote: "One provision of the bill is likely to anger Hollywood, as it shields companies that edit out sex and violence from movies to make them more "family friendly." Movie directors have sought to shut down such companies in court."

So big government apparently doesn't care just about copyright as long as it fits with their moral agenda.

Re:Down with this bill (1)

detlev409 (673380) | about 10 years ago | (#10385433)

Cry me a river. Fileswappers make me laugh. You break a copyright, you get sued. It's black and white. YES, music companies charge too much. YES, the MPAA and RIAA act like a bunch of nazi lawyer goons. But you know what? You broke the law.

Big business nothin. Copyrights were made to protect businesses for good reasons, among those reasons are people like you. You have a problem with copyrighting, do something constructive to get rid of the problems (and yes there are many). But don't go crying foul when someone sues you for not paying for services rendered.

Re:Down with this bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385438)

The whole issue is about the government killing innovation to protect businesses that refuse to evolve. The music industry has been ripping us off on CDs for almost 20 years and they do not want to change how they do business. I say if p2p is killing the music industry FINE, music will not stop. How we get it will just change. The music industry has been shown to be corrupt from day one. They want to screw the consumer and the musicians. I say it is about time they roll over and die and let the vacuum be filled by a more educated musician and consumer population.

This could be great news... (5, Interesting)

Sanity (1431) | about 10 years ago | (#10385216)

...for countries outside the US looking for some smart software engineers. With this in mind, here is a letter I recently wrote to the UK's Home Secretary regarding another anti-innovation law, the Induce Act (the home secretary is responsible for UK immigration policy):
Dear Home Secretary,

It is well known that the United Kingdom is keen to attract skilled workers to the UK, particularly those involved in the software industry.

The United States is poised to pass legislation, known as the "Induce Act", which will dramatically increase the risk of innovation in the software industry in the United States. If passed, this legislation is likely to prompt a large number of the United States' most talented software engineers to consider relocation to another country.

The United Kingdom is well suited to provide an alternate base for these displaced software engineers, where their innovations may benefit the UK's economy, not to mention the economy of the European Union.

My question is whether the UK government has made sufficient provision for displaced American innovators to migrate here given the hostile environment they may soon face in their own country. It is my belief that the United Kingdom can only benefit from the influx of talented software engineers from the United States, and should minimise any barriers to their migration here.

I await your response with much anticipation,

Kind regards,

Ian Clarke
Coordinator, The Freenet Project

Re:This could be great news...a new revolution (5, Interesting)

FerretFrottage (714136) | about 10 years ago | (#10385313)

I suspect that those software engineers will set sail east across "the pond" in search of a land were they can have rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Rights that many in our government are trying to take away [if you aren't "with them"]. We tried it over here, it worked for about 224 years and at last the western empire is starting to crumble.

Re:This could be great news... (3, Informative)

j1bb3rj4bb3r (808677) | about 10 years ago | (#10385335)

For anyone interested in the Incude Act and what it is, here's a reasonably good Wired article [wired.com] on it.

Re:This could be great news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385342)

I'm a decent programmer and innovator. I know many others. A good portion of them will not look to relocate to another country if the Induce Act is passed. Most will continue doing things exactly the same way they always have. Companies specializing in software engineering have more to worry about, but that's what they have their army of lawyers for.

It's not a good set of laws, but people will generally change their habits/methods before moving far away from family, friends, and everything else they're used to.

Re:This could be great news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385368)

Nope. Not until the UK adopts something resembling the 1st amendment.

Re:This could be great news... (2, Interesting)

CodeArtisan (795142) | about 10 years ago | (#10385390)

If the UK was truly keen to attract skilled software workers, I wouldn't be typing this from my New York office - I'd be back home in Scotland instead.

Re:This could be great news... (4, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | about 10 years ago | (#10385403)

Lots of things are different between the US and the UK. For instance the UK is banning fox hunting, while my state (MN) consideres hunting a legal right that is now part of the constitution. UK bans many more guns than the US. The UK has more cameras watching their streets than any other country. (Though the US is trying to catch up)

In short: there is plenty wrong with every country. I don't like the Induce act, but it isn't enough to make me exchange the rights violated in the US for the rights violated in the UK.

Re:This could be great news... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 10 years ago | (#10385467)

UK bans many more guns than the US

That's a heck of an understatement. The UK bans virtually everything except "airsoft" guns. Littl plastic pellets propelled by air. As of the expiration of the AWB in the US, the ONLY thing banned in the US are fully automatic weapons made AFTER 1984. You can even own a full auto "machine gun" if it was made before that and you apply for the proper federal permits (which are not that hard to obtain. Just have a clean record and put up the cash required for the permit). Silencers are also legal with permits. If you are into guns in ANY sort of way (target shooting, collecting, hunting, etc), then the UK is NOT a place you want to be.

Re:This could be great news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385422)

Not that I'm trolling but it seems to be the second time you post this letter on /.! We know now...

Re:This could be great news... (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 10 years ago | (#10385471)

Well, as someone who lives just North of the US Border, I have to say that a lot of talented US innovators are already moving.

A number of others are living in border states and are working on getting to know the Canadian technology world so that if they have to, they can emigrate quickly. In Canada, we take privacy seriously; there is a strict Federal Privacy act that all governmental institutions have to answer to, and at the beginning of this year, a new business privacy act went into place as well, protecting individuals from shoddy business handling of information.

Slashdot has covered our copyright laws and trials enough that I won't get into that side of things. The UK probably hasn't given the US emigration possibility a huge amount of thought, but believe me, in many Canadian provinces, it has been a major item of consideration when modifying our IT-related laws.

About time someone got a clue on how to word it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385218)

duh

While we're at it (5, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | about 10 years ago | (#10385219)

Let's have:

people who illegally photocopy books go to jail
people who illegally perform plays and musical pieces go to jail
people who plagiarize or don't cite references go to jail

Hell let's just have anyone who says anything in a non-free speech zone go to jail.

Re:While we're at it (1)

balbeir (557475) | about 10 years ago | (#10385349)

Reminds me of that bumper sticker : "Play an accordeon, go to jail"

Re:While we're at it (3, Funny)

bgeer (543504) | about 10 years ago | (#10385384)

I thought the whole country was supposed to be a free-speech zone.

Re:While we're at it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Luddite (808273) | about 10 years ago | (#10385427)


people who plagiarize or don't cite references go to jail

Imagine the difficulties this would place high school teachers in...

"Excellent work Bobby. You failed to cite sources correctly though, so I must deduct 10% from your final mark and send the police to your house."

Isn't this just semantics??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385222)

If I "knowingly" share files, aren't I "willingly" sharing them as well.

Does this apply to people who KNOW that they share files, but don't WANT to???

I'm confused!!!

Re:Isn't this just semantics??? (1)

slungsolow (722380) | about 10 years ago | (#10385499)

good point. Lets say that I know that I have a worm on my computer. I know that that worm is sharing itself with other computers. I don't know how to get rid of said worm. Said worm just happens to be copyrighted by some 16 year old lesbian from california who goes by the name of "HotLEZ16FCA".

Am I breaking the law because I know that I am sharing this copyrighted file?

Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (2, Interesting)

creep (150035) | about 10 years ago | (#10385224)

As intrusive as a bill like this might seem at first glance, it bothers me that there are those who think it's their God-given right to free music or movies simply because they're available to download.

That being said, I feel it's important to note that what needs evaluating isn't the violation of copyright, rather, the purpose and effect of copyright itself.

Re:Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (1)

helmespc (807573) | about 10 years ago | (#10385277)

You're missing the point I think... the complaining isn't about the loss of ability to freely distribute whatever online... its about the fact that they're not fixing the reasons why this phenomena occurs... i.e. high prices, poor product quality, poor copyright laws.... they're just making everybody a criminal...

when everyone is a criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385476)

Then the government can crack down on anyone they want to. That is the typical behavior of tyrants.

Re:Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385315)

If you don't want me messing with your "intellectual property" don't let it leave your physical property. I don't see why you have any right to tell me what I can do with my physical property.

Re:Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 10 years ago | (#10385334)

"...it bothers me that there are those who think it's their God-given right to free music or movies simply because they're available to download..."

The fact that such people are operating illegally doesn't make this law any better. The punishment should fit the crime; and this seems like another asinine law to overburden our already crowded prisons.

Re:Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | about 10 years ago | (#10385386)

You do realize, of course, that audio recordings were not copyrighted in the US before mid-1972, correct? [legallanguage.com]

The problem isn't the people, it's the law. Trying to sell recorded copies of music in an era where music copying is simple and easy requires the construction of a police state. It's a ludicrous response to the issue. Making it a felony to share files will result in many congressmen and women losing their jobs. Not that that is a bad thing.

As if this law will stop anything - the US is becoming a nation of file leeches, since you only get busted for sharing, not downloading. I wonder when the 'Great Firewall of America' will be forthcoming?

The musician has to find a different means of marketing, basically. If there are fewer musicians in the future, well, I suspect the ones that go will be the ones that suck the worst in general, so that's no great loss. And before some musician or record company shill starts whining to me, I don't see a lot of people crying when my industry gets devastated by foreign outsourcing. Where's the 'Anti-Outsourcing Act of 2004'? Nowhere. So why are we protecting the content distribution industry? Beats me.

Threatening to throw people in jail for sharing files is akin to say, huge sentences for selling marijuana. We see how that problem got solved, right? Failing to learn from history dooms you to repeat it.

Re:Intellectual Property (No Trespassing) (2, Insightful)

khrtt (701691) | about 10 years ago | (#10385489)

As intrusive as a bill like this might seem at first glance, it bothers me that there are those who think it's their God-given right to free music or movies simply because they're available to download.

As righteous as a bill like this may seem at the first glance, it bothers me that there are those who think that copyright is a God-given law, and not something some fat-walleted corporate assholes came up with fairly recently, around a 100 years ago. I really don't see any reason why copyright law shouldn't be abolished altogether. I doubt that a significant percentage of musicians, artists or computer programmers would suffer financially because of it. The only people who would loose profits are the RIAA labels, the commodity-software companies, book authors and song writers. Only the book authors and song writers have my simpathy, so I would just keep copyright for text only, just the way it used ot be before sound-recording devices ever appeared.

And don't give me the "starving artist" bullshit. Most musicians make lots more money off concerts than off recordings. And those that do could easily compensate by doing more concerts, and selling t-shirts or what-not. And commodity software is best done OSS-style anyways.

Now about software. Most software, line-count wise, written in the world, is custom software, written to order. Commodity software companies employ just a small percentage of all programmers. Try to think, of the software developers you know personally, how many would loose, or have to change, their jobs if the copyright law were abolished? I doubt it's more than 1%.

I suppose, without copyright, companies like microsoft would have to get payed by the hardware manufacturers, and would make a lot less money than they do now. But they make obscene amounts of money now, and I don't see why we should help them to do that by having copyright law.

Now, call me commie, mod me troll -1, and go pay your 10yr old sons $100,000 bail to get him out of jail where they put him for copying some stupid Britny Spears CD.

Got a GREAT idea.... (4, Funny)

Yo Grark (465041) | about 10 years ago | (#10385226)

We'll build large complexes to house all the file traders. Force them to attend some kind of "knowledge" classes, make them pay restitution, keep them up til all hours of the night studying how good societies act, how responsible citizens should act.

We'll ban all contraband and make sure we run them through a series of tests before letting them out.

Oh wait, I've done my time, it was called University!

Yo Grark

Fine with me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385227)

So long as they go after the traders and not the tools, I'm happy.

but it's worthless (1)

spangineer (764167) | about 10 years ago | (#10385233)

Eisgrau's right - it's a good idea in principle from the perspective of everyone in the music/movie industry and as far as copyrights go, but realistically, it's just more talk. Nothing is going to change. Everyone is used to free music, and until large percentages of people are sued (which probably will never happen), they will continue to break copyright law.

Not worthless; It will happen (2, Insightful)

thpr (786837) | about 10 years ago | (#10385324)

until large percentages of people are sued (which probably will never happen), they will continue to break copyright law

Actually, it almost certainly will happen, since it will be on the taxpayer's dime rather than the RIAAs. There is no disincentive to the RIAA asking for and eating up millions in taxpayer funds chasing down those using p2p networks.

In my opinion, laws like this should be to defend those without the resources from those with the resources. This is the other way around (using rich government resources to support an already rich organization against common individuals). There is no reason for the government to pass new laws (since trading copyrighted files is already illegal) when the RIAA already has the ability to defend itself using existing law and resources.

From now on (1)

grunt107 (739510) | about 10 years ago | (#10385241)

I have no will. Any copyright infringements I may be accused of will be the fault of the my computers, who told me to do so.

Slashdot writeup got it wrong (surprise) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385428)

They are changing it _from_ willfully _to_ knowingly. So this bill includes people knowingly transferring files which is more inclusive than covering those willfully (intentionally) doing it.

So people with shared download folders are now covered even if they do not know what files they are sharing.

A better article:

http://research.yale.edu/lawmeme/modules.php?nam e= News&file=article&sid=1619

Congress Outlaws internet (2, Insightful)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | about 10 years ago | (#10385252)

In abone head move Congress outlaws file trading amoung willing participants.. ..hmm they seem to have flunked intrnet 101 as your borwser reads afile/shares a fiel with the server to give you that nice graphical page..

Sonny Bono must be hitting that tree again and again and again

'willing' vs 'knowing'? (4, Interesting)

bizpile (758055) | about 10 years ago | (#10385270)

From the article:
Detractors of the legislation claim that the measure would not stop the trading of copyright files and will not help the entertainment industry find a way to ensure artists get paid for the distribution of their works.

Well, what law has ever stopped a crime. Laws (theoretically) just reduce crime (but, obviously not in all cases).

Also, from the article:
"Putting downloaders behind bars, or decimating their college funds with civil lawsuits, won't put the genie of peer-to-peer technology back in the bottle or put real money in the pockets of real artists," P2P United's Eisgrau said in an e-mail interview with IDG News Service earlier this week.

This is the smartest thing I've read about file sharing in general to date.

P.S.: What is the difference between knowingly and willingly?

Re:'willing' vs 'knowing'? (1)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | about 10 years ago | (#10385350)

If you are aware that Kazaa uploads files to other people, but don't know how to turn it off, you are Knowingly sharing. If you know how to turn it off but haven't, you are Willingly sharing.

Re:'willing' vs 'knowing'? (1)

caino59 (313096) | about 10 years ago | (#10385440)

laws create crime.

the crime doesn't exist until some follish law is passed into play.

sure, you could argue that there would be law under religious convitions, but there's supposed to be a seperation of church and state, right?

What I want to see is the big celebrities, politicians, and other big-wigs in our society succombing to the same laws and penalties as your average joe schmoe.

until then, why even have a law in the books in the first place?

Let them pass this bill (2, Informative)

jsk2001 (746830) | about 10 years ago | (#10385273)

When people start abusing this law and the public gets fed up with it congress will be left with all the blame.

Regardless of who becomes president for the next four years, we are still going to see more stupid laws like these in the future.

Re:Let them pass this bill (1)

nebaz (453974) | about 10 years ago | (#10385432)

Yeah, that worked so well with the war on drugs. Oh , wait.

Re:Let them pass this bill (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 10 years ago | (#10385468)

"Regardless of who becomes president for the next four years, we are still going to see more stupid laws like these in the future."

Your right, so long as people have no regard for the work of others you will keep seeing laws like this passed becuase you will keep seeing people with the missguided impression that access software/movies/music/etc is a right rather then a privilege.

Those who vote... (1, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#10385283)

Obviously, unless you want to go to jail, you should stop trading copyrighted material. If you "willingly" trade copyrighted material for which you don't own the copyright, than you get what you get. It seems just a bit harsh to me, but when we all know the law, if we break it, we should expect to meet the authorities on the issue, and most likely they will win.

You know, one of the reasons I take this position is because studies have shown that most people DON'T VOTE. Most people just bitch and moan. The people have the power, but they don't use it, and Big Biz knows this. The vast majority of Right Wing Assholes smile with their mouths shut as they vote. The vast majority of Liberal Thinkers scream and yell about rights, and don't vote.

Re:Those who vote... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385445)

Pretty much anything online is copyrighted these days. No sharing of URLs with anyone anymore, about interesting articles?

Saheed, it is the Democrats who have the vast majority of the uber-rich on their side, and the corporations as well. The GOP has become the party of the middle-class. Things have changed in the last 60 years. If you've been following this, you will also know that plenty of pro-Constitution, anti-State-totalist people - right-wingers in your definition - have been fighting this sort of legislation.

But then, your post might just be work of Al Queda, as their goal is destablizing western civilization (what's left of it) in order to subject the dar al harb to the sword.

Re:Those who vote... (4, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 10 years ago | (#10385492)

While I agree with you in that the punishment absolutely does not fit the crime, I believe it's a little narrow-minded to say that it's only "Right Wing Assholes" who are resposible for the entertainment industry's current stance on file trading, even if this one particular bill was sponsored by a Texas Democrat. Most of Hollywood and the various eMpTV voice pieces are overwhelming liberal (I'd say the term "Left Wing Assholes") applies. And BTW, does the name Fritz Hollings [senate.gov] ring any bells?

Yet another reason... (4, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | about 10 years ago | (#10385287)

why I am glad that I do not live in America...

Re:Yet another reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385345)

I used to think I lived in america.

Whoops (1)

Saturninus (691651) | about 10 years ago | (#10385306)

Woops, was I accidently distributing that copy of Windows XP? Since it was an accident I guess I didn't knowingly do it! No jail time for me!

Interesting wording (1)

bill_of_wrongs (761897) | about 10 years ago | (#10385309)

"Gives the CHIPs Unit of the Department of Justice the responsibility of investigating crimes related to the theft of intellectual property" That should be easy since there's no such thing as "intellectual property" and even even though you accept that terminology it refers to something that is almost never stolen but sometimes illegally copied.

"Knowingly" vs "Willingly" (2, Interesting)

Aumaden (598628) | about 10 years ago | (#10385330)

What is the distinction being made here?

To me, "knowingly" implies that a file is being shared with the user's knowledge. Whereas "willingly" implies the user made a conscious choice to share the file.

What's the difference, legally speaking?

Re:"Knowingly" vs "Willingly" (1)

H3lldr0p (40304) | about 10 years ago | (#10385451)


It is whatever they (the presiding legal authority) decide it is. Kinda like "Terrorist" in the Patriot Act.

Wrong title! (1)

argent (18001) | about 10 years ago | (#10385337)

It's not "File Trading law Would Include 'Willing' Traders".

It's "File Trading Law Would Include 'Knowing' Traders".

It is illegal (-1, Troll)

codepunk (167897) | about 10 years ago | (#10385340)

Driving too fast is illegal and so is downloading music you have not bought. Plain and simple theft is theft, put them in jail. And while you are at lock up everyone running illegal copies of windows, if they want windows make them pay!

Re:It is illegal (1)

ajrs (186276) | about 10 years ago | (#10385414)

if they want windows make them pay!


getting windows isn't punishment enough?

Re:It is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385447)

Wrong. It's not theft, it's copyright infringement. How many times does this need repeating? If copyright infringment were == theft, then there wouldn't be a need for separate laws. Also, copyright infringement has traditionally been a civil, rather than a criminal, offense. Please get your facts straight, and stop spreading FUD and lame justifications based on what "the law" is. It also used to be against the law for black people to sit in the front of a bus.

Hmm... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385343)

Are we sure that the best way to "Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" is by reclassifying millions of people as felons? Is that what was originally intended?

I guess that at least it will help make the racial composition of our gulag system more representative of the population in general.

/home/torrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385355)

maybe I should change my user name.

So how did the congresscritters vote? (2, Interesting)

JeanPaulBob (585149) | about 10 years ago | (#10385361)

My google-fu must be on the fritz today; I can't find a website telling me how representatives voted on this bill. Can anyone else do better?

Filetraders are thieves!!! (1)

NessusRed (710227) | about 10 years ago | (#10385371)

Lets be honest know anyone who downloads music and software is no better then a thief. Sure

Re:Filetraders are thieves!!! (0, Troll)

NessusRed (710227) | about 10 years ago | (#10385395)

suck my dick linux fags!!!

Anyone with a virus could be prosecuted. (2, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 10 years ago | (#10385375)

If you have an infected machine that has an open exploit, you may be prosecuted since you willingly run a machine that is on the internet. That you didn't make sure that there was no open shares, ftp servers, or virus that might allow others to use your machine for sharing files.

First 'I Blame Bush' Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385379)

If Bush wasn't president then this bill would of died in the house of reps! ITS ALL BUSH'S FAULT!

Filesharing is killing music (1)

Beautyon (214567) | about 10 years ago | (#10385398)

Thats why they have to enact these laws.

Just like the days of cassettte [cafepress.com]

You know its right!

Taking the mens rea out of it?! (1)

ShatteredDream (636520) | about 10 years ago | (#10385400)

I'm a legal layman but it sounds like they're taking the mens rea (guilty mind) out of it entirely. How do you determine if someone is "willing to do it?" At the rate they are going, why not just eschew all notions of this being about justice, since justice has to be both acquired for the victim and **delivered to** the perp.

If there was any copyright law for all sides to agree on opposing this is it. This is more of a thought police law than a copyright law.

uhh (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 10 years ago | (#10385410)

The submission title and submission body say different things. Wouldn't it be cool if slashdot "editors" actually editted?

Purpose of law? (2, Funny)

nightfire-unique (253895) | about 10 years ago | (#10385417)

Clearly this law is incompatible with American society.. tens of millions of people cannot be wrong.

Sponsor of the Bill, Representative Lamar Smith (4, Informative)

cOdEgUru (181536) | about 10 years ago | (#10385420)

is known to make party line stance on virtually all of the issues ever to encounter, that its hard to envisage this guy has ever in his life, thought for himself, used his god given intelligence to seperate himself (or others) from the party line rhetoric, or to atleast understand the laws he is responsible for passing in the house.

A few of his noted yes/no votes can shed a lot of light on where he stands on the issues:

(1)Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror - Yes praying as a collective does help in cleansing terrorism.
(2)Voted YES on giving federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer
(3)Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels - Wants to rely on Oil and dont want the Automobile industry to answer to better environmental standards.
(4)Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. - Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, enough said!
(5)Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects - Apparently want the rest of the US start looking like Texas (no offense).
(6)Voted YES on Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China - Yes, Cuba - BAD, China - GOOD!!
(7)Voted NO on $156M to IMF for 3rd-world debt reduction - Handouts are good when its to your automobile industry cronies and to big corporations, bad idea when its to third world countries.
(8)Voted NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions - No Finance Reform!! Period!
(9)Voted YES on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1 - By God! Yes, we all know how excruciatingly painful it is to wait 3 days for appropriate checks to be made..
(10)Voted NO on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs - We really believe you should pay 20$ for that tylenol pill instead of 30 cents if you were importing it from Canada.

What pisses me off is that even if Kerry wins this November, the senate and the house under Republican control will end up making him an acting president and not a real one. Not that I think a Democrat controlled house and senate is any better. I just want politicians to really understand the bills they sign and talk to people who these laws ultimately affect.

This is what you wanted slashdot (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385441)

When RIAA went after napster everyone was up in arms saying that the technology was fine, just go after the people who abuse it and break the law.

Isn't that what they're doing now, going after those breaking the law. You can still file share legal stuff all you want.

An Unjust Responsibility Shift (5, Insightful)

Murdock037 (469526) | about 10 years ago | (#10385446)

This is a great example of the ways in which big business can manipulate government to its advantage.

It's perfectly within reason that copyright holders can sue, , in civil suits, to stop the unauthorized distribution of their works. Copyright violation is a matter between two parties: the copyright holder and the violator.

But with a law like this, the onus to police copyright matters falls on the government, and not the copyright holder.

What we're seeing is a push by big business, through legislation, to reduce their attorney fees. When copyright matters are criminal cases, not civil actions, the violators are punished-- justly or not-- at the expense of government, rather than at the expense of the corporation.

No More Room! (4, Funny)

blueZhift (652272) | about 10 years ago | (#10385448)

Hmm at this rate we'll soon have to put murderers, drug dealers, rapists, and terrorists out on the street to make room for all of the file swappers we're putting in jail! I know I'll feel a lot safer that way, and Britney will be able to sleep at night safe and secure in the knowledge that record company profits are secure!

Culpability levels... (2, Informative)

applemasker (694059) | about 10 years ago | (#10385462)

That's what this article (poorly) attempts to talk about.

Different laws (criminal and civil) punish actors differently based on not just the act itself, but also the actor's state of mind.

Generally, commiting the same act intentionally as opposed to recklessly or negligently will bring on a harsher penalty. Intentionally aiming a rifle at someone and shooting is punished more harshly than if the gun goes off accidentally and kills them. The victim is just as dead in both cases, but the first actor will probably be punished more severely than the second.

In this case, the House seems to have lowered the bar to include both intentional and willful conduct (there is probably a subtle difference between the two) but not negligent or reckless conduct. All of these terms are (or will be) defined elsewhere in the Act or in the U.S. Code. Without knowing what the devil Congress means by these qualifiers, it's hard to say what exactly has been passed. Odds are though, it's not good.

My guess is that if one is found to be sharing more than X number of files (or transferring X amount of copyrighted data) the law will provide that the requisite level of intent has been met.

Wifee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10385470)

Here I come!!

The worst part: (2, Insightful)

geekpolitico (743680) | about 10 years ago | (#10385486)

This bill came up as a Suspension Bill in the House. Suspension bills are usually only lightly debated (if at all), are unable to be amended, and must pass by a 2/3'rds majority.

The most common use of a Suspension bill? To rename a Post Office.

I honestly don't know much about this bill, and while the average /.'er may know more than the average American, I doubt any of us know a ton about what it specifically does.

It is shameful that this bill was put up and passed without any serious debate or review (outside of committee, if even there) by the actual Members of Congress.

Oh well, it happens all the time.
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