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Senate Passes Scaled-Back Copyright Bill

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the making-sausage dept.

United States 52

Finalnight writes "The Senate has voted to outlaw several favorite techniques of people who illegally copy and distribute movies, but has dropped other measures that could have led to jail time for Internet song-swappers..."

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Not Happy (2, Interesting)

DrJonesAC2 (652108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900603)

Im not happy about this passing but at least most of the really stupid things were removed. Maybe my letters to good ol' Orrin helped.

Re:Not Happy (2, Interesting)

Content-Free (833100) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900676)

At least "A section that would have made it illegal to edit out commercials was removed." I was wondering if I'd have to leave the room when commercials came on in order not to watch them.

Re:Not Happy (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906755)

Not yet.

But that will happen 10 minutes into the future.

Re:Not Happy (1)

Dragon218 (139996) | more than 9 years ago | (#10908666)

I thought it was 20 minutes into the future... by the way, Channel 23 is AWESOME!

I hope they come out with a DVD box set of Max Headroom

Re:Not Happy (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10909374)

Your are correct *Hids head in shame*

I also found this. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10909481)

Exactly when the story is meant to be set is an open question. However in the original (Channel 4) "pilot" we are told that Bryce is 18 years old, and his records indicate that he was born in 1987, meaning the story is taking place in 2004.

Re:Not Happy (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10923667)

I was wondering if I'd have to leave the room when commercials came on in order not to watch them.

Sorry, the door is locked during those periods.

Re:Not Happy (0, Troll)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900717)

Not sure why you're unhappy about this bill passing. While I haven't read the entire bill for fun provisions, it does such dastardly things as make taping movies in theatres punishible by up to 3 years in jail. It also increases penalties on insiders who leak works before release date, and also on hackers who do the same. I cannot imagine what complaints people would have with these provisions. They sound kind of fair to me.

Re:Not Happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900849)

Don't you realize bootleggers have families too?
What about their children. Won't somebody think of the children?

Re:Not Happy (3, Interesting)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901127)

The concern is that the punishments do not fit the crime. No one thinks that shoplifting is a good and moral thing to do, but would a law demanding 3 years in federal prison for petty theft be fair?

Secondly is the issue that an ailing industry is trying to legislate itself back to super-profitablilty with special government favoritism. As the joke goes, the horse-and-buggy industry tried the same thing when the model-T came out, but cooler heads prevailed.

Thankfully, the provision that would have made it the Justice Department's job to hunt down and prosecute file traders was dropped; the **AA will have to continue to pay for its own lawyers, just like everyone else.

Re:Not Happy (2, Insightful)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901552)

The concern is that the punishments do not fit the crime. No one thinks that shoplifting is a good and moral thing to do, but would a law demanding 3 years in federal prison for petty theft be fair?

Bullshit. How can you compare bootlegging movies to stealing candy bars? Are you serious? Do you realize how much money those scumbags make from selling cam movies on the street, even at only $5 a pop? It's pure profit and it's completely, undeniably stealing. Full on larceny, no "petty" involved.

Jeez, I hate all this copyright crap as much as the next guy, but your argument is just ludicrous.

Re:Not Happy (1)

angedinoir (699322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905011)

Do you realize how much money those scumbags make from selling cam movies on the street.

I think there's multiple classes of pirates. In your case, you're referring to the pirates for profit. That would be like stealing a secret recipe, then selling it on the street for $5 a shot, rather than obtaining it for themselves for personal use.

What the parent is referring to, I'm sure is swapping and obtaining songs or movies for no profit.

Pehaps %?? would have bought that movie otherwise, but I'm inclined to thing that people become pirates because the industry is constantly beating into our heads that we need these things, but we're too poor to get our fix.

Maybe something of an industry induced drug addiction?

Re:Not Happy (1)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905432)

No, that's not what the parent referred to. If you RTFA, you'll see the 3 years in jail penalty is for people caught taping movies in a theater, which are always sold. For profit.

Re:Not Happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10909699)

"No, that's not what the parent referred to. If you RTFA, you'll see the 3 years in jail penalty is for people caught taping movies in a theater, which are always sold. For profit."
Boy that's an overly general assumption. So when you loan a cd to a friend and he copies it, it's always for profit eh? I call bullshit. Not that I condone doing this, but it seems a big out of whack that someone should get 3 years in a pound me in the ass prison because of the probability of bootlegging a movie.

Is it better... (4, Insightful)

cheeseSource (605209) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900631)

That only some of these got through than all of them or is it worse that any got through at all.

I call it the "Be glad we only broke your kneecap. We were going break both your arms as well." approach.

Re:Is it better... (-1, Offtopic)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901415)

Welcome to post 9/11, err vet...err kor...err WWII..I..Civil war times. Using the morally just ideal of freeing the slaves the federal government started its unconstitutional climb of power. Helped by things like the National Income tax, federal * * agencies, and now with things like the patriot act, that the federal government has exersized outside of it's stated power.

It has gone from states only being disallowed things from the federal government based on human rights to now they have to beg the federal government to be able to do the things they may want.

From TFA (3, Informative)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900658)

Under a measure approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, song swappers could go to jail for up to three years if they shared more than 1,000 copyrighted works.

Glad to see that this part was left out of the final bill, as I'm a little uncomfortable for busting people for just making files available to download- and people not actually downloading. It's kind of like someone who makes lots of books they've purchased available to friends to borrow.

I'm a little worried that this might actually pop back in for the final version of the bill. The bills that passed the House and Senate are different, so negociators will smooth out differences. Sometimes nasty provisions like this can make it in, and everyone can say that they didn't vote for that provision.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10905730)

i will be sure to keep only 999 mp3 files in my Shared directory :^P

My rant... (1)

j0e_average (611151) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906027)

Whoa, there....them there's criminal charges, partner! This bill doesn't do squat about the existing provisions of the beloved DMCA which provide for draconian CIVIL penalties for persons sued and found guilty of distributing even ONE copyrighted file.
This is actually the more frightening part to me...the standard of proof in civil cases is NOT "beyond reasonable doubt", but based on the preponderance of the evidence. Couple this with penalties starting at $15,000 and you could financially ruin a family who has a teen who even attempts (successful or not) to download the latest Hollywood offering.
This leads to the carpet bombing approach taken by the 1) Direct TV, 2) RIAA, and now 3) MPAA: sue everyone, and settle 99.9% of the cases --- that's a business case that's sure to work, brought to you, in part, by our own government.
The market value of the material being pirated is no more than the typical movie rental (new release), between three and five dollars, tops. Even if the piracy is wide-spread, the financial impact is not nearly as great as the industry would have you believe.

Why jailtime? (3, Insightful)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900724)

People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could go to prison for up to three years under the measure, which passed the Senate on Saturday.

Why do we send people to jail that are at most causing loss of revenues for a certain industry? It's not removing the right for people to go see the movie. Why not just fine him for every copy he sent out? $1000/upload sounds like it would be more fit for the crime.

Re:Why jailtime? (2, Interesting)

Danse (1026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900850)

Why do we send people to jail that are at most causing loss of revenues for a certain industry? ...
Why not just fine him for every copy he sent out? $1000/upload sounds like it would be more fit for the crime.


Can't get blood from a stone. And why $1000 per upload? Why not $1 per upload? Isn't that more in line with the actual damage? Ok, let's do triple damages then. $3 per upload. Of course they still need a way to track how many uploads you've done. And I suppose there's no reason they couldn't just sit around and track you for a good long while before they turn you in, just to scale up the damages.

Re:Why jailtime? (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900919)

Why would it be actual damage? if you stole someone's car, and got caught, would you expect to pay Kelley Blue Book value?

It's punishment not being fair for what you took.

Besides, you can't gauge the snowball effect. If he sent it to 10 people. 5 of them sent it to 10 people. And so on... and some of those people may have spent the $10 at the theater or $20 for the DVD but won't because they downloaded it.

Flawed analogy (2, Insightful)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901258)

if you stole someone's car, and got caught, would you expect to pay Kelley Blue Book value?
No, but if I make an exact duplicate of your car, then sold it to someone else, I wouldn't expect to pay anything to you. You still have your original car, in its original condition. I haven't stolen anything from you.

Now, if your car was a WunderCar 6000, with a innovative new design © 2004 by you, and I made a copy and sold it, then you could sue me for infringement, but that is NOT a criminal offense. The new law was threatening to make it so, and that is wrong.

Re:Flawed analogy (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901282)

If you did make a duplicate, you're reducing the value of mine. You don't have any right to make a copy of it either. Especially these fools taking cameras into theaters.

You can't act like it doesn't hurt the companies making/distributing/advertising the movies. Even though nothing physical is removed, you still financially harm them.

I disagree. (2, Interesting)

hummassa (157160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901617)

You can't act like it doesn't hurt the companies making/distributing/advertising the movies.

But it doesn't!!! At least not in my case: I usually watch movies first at home, and then at the theather if I think the experience would be good. The films I can't download, I will not watch at all. I will buy a good DVD with a lot of extras instead of downloading the KVCD version of the movie. The cost (to me) would be the same (a good DVD with 1 disc here costs approx US$ 15 -- the same price of one hour of work + one day of processing I have in downloading/transcoding the same movie). I watch Enterprise, which is not broadcast to my country, and that I would watch for free OTA if I lived in the USofA anyway.
And I am certain that this is the majority of P2P user's cases here and in the US.

Now, the message to the *AA:

You are losing revenue because your products are getting crappier and crappier, not because of P2P.

Re:I disagree. (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902607)

But it doesn't!!! At least not in my case

That's fine and dandy that you're a fine upstanding citizen but I know quite a few people who will not buy a DVD if they can find the movie online.

A friend of mine has a DVD shelf of 300+ dvd's of which over 1/2 are pirated and covers are made or printed up onto. There are quite a few that are bought but he even told me if he could have found them online instead of buying them, they would have not be bought.

Copy quality, leakage as the purpose of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10909165)

I suspect that the question of whether unauthorized copying increases or decreases copyright revenues depends partly on the quality of the copies. When I buy DVD's, it is always of movies that I have seen a crappy or ephemeral presentation of. I never buy movie DVD's that I haven't seen, but on the other hand, I have to admit I rarely movie DVD's if I have a bit-for-bit copy (I do, but the movie has to be so good that I want to leave a tip or because I want to give a gift, which I no longer do both because I've become angrier at the studios and anger at the studios have become more mainstream to the degree that most of my friends and family members would also feel mixed emotions at best over receiving such a gift).

When estimating the effect on revenues of copyright owners, be sure to keep in mind that having unauthorized copies and not buying the royalty-bearing version is still harmless if you were not going to buy the royalty-bearing version anyhow. So, for example, the revenue of effect of ubiquitous copying in a poor country if confined to that country is probably no more than theatre sales were previously in that country, which was probably pretty close to zero.

Finally, and most importantly, we should realize that maximizing copyright owner's revenue is not directly the purpose of copyright and might not even be a definite side-effect of maximizing the public benefit of copyright. The public benefit of copyright is basically the "leakage" in the difference between the benefits that the public receives minus the prices the public pays, all multiplied by the amount of material available, that is (for each category of stuff): (value - price) * amount_of_stuff (actually, this is an upper bound, because maybe the public doesn't think having twice as many movies of the same quality is twice as valuable, but they won't think that it's more than twice as valuable at the same quality level).

So, in a sense, the MPAA and RIAA want to reduce the leakage per copy while it is the purpose of copyright to maximize the total leakage, which is not the same as maximizing total leakage per copy, but since having zero leakage per copy (where each viewing would be negotiated to exactly the highest price you'd be willing to pay before deciding not to view) would result in zero total leakage, it is clear that that such a policy would not serve copyright's purpose in maximizing the total leakage, so the correct policy is either 100% leakage (no copyright) or some middle ground, depending on the effect on production of the copyright incentives.

Re:Flawed analogy (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901727)

If you did make a duplicate, you're reducing the value of mine. You don't have any right to make a copy of it either.

This was exactly my point. In fact, by distributing 1 song to 1 person, you are doing about $1 in damage, judging by the going rate for music online. So, as is common in cases where you want punishment in addition to damages, you triple the damages. Thus $3 per download.

Re:Flawed analogy (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902564)

oh sorry i agree with $1/song but i was talking about movies LOL

Re:Why jailtime? (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907141)

Besides, you can't gauge the snowball effect. If he sent it to 10 people. 5 of them sent it to 10 people.

You charge the first guy with 10 counts and then you charge the other people for however many times they uploaded it. Those would be separate offenses committed by other people. You can't tag a person for what others do.

Re:Why jailtime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900912)

Why not jailtime? Seems like a pretty good deterent to me.

What good is a fine going to do? Chances are good that the dumbass bootleging a movie doesn't have any money to begin with

Re:Why jailtime? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10914571)

Why not jailtime? Seems like a pretty good deterent to me.

What is the point of punishment? It is to deter people from committing the act in the first place? Is it to punish them for committing the act? Or is it to convince them to never commit the act again? Each of these would have different consequences assigned to each act. That seems to be inconsistent, and so, no threat of punishment will work when they are poorly applied and appear arbitrary.

Clouded view of the future.... (3, Insightful)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900756)

"This bill strengthens the intellectual-property laws that are vital to the ongoing growth of our economy," Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said.

Maybe it's the fact that they need to create a new business model. That and not use the political puppets to create legislation that goes against the PEOPLE and for the CORPORATIONS.

Small victory... TiVo shows sighs of relief (3, Interesting)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900795)

A section that would have made it illegal to edit out commercials was removed.

I feel like for once, contacting my congressman worked!

...Either that or they have TiVo's themselves ;-)

Best part of the story. (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900854)

A section that would have made it illegal to edit out commercials was removed.

All that complaining and speculating [slashdot.org] for nothing. You may now return to your regularly broadcasted commercial-free PVR's now.

Re:Best part of the story. (2, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900976)

A section that would have made it illegal to edit out commercials was removed

"All that complaining and speculating for nothing"

Since the section was removed, perhaps the complaining and speculating was indeed for something.

Re:Best part of the story. (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901454)

no no, complaining doesn't help anything. if no one would have said anything then the law would still have come through in a fair and just manner. Just like this new amendment to repeal the 1st amendment. Please don't complain about it and everything will be all right.

also on wired (5, Funny)

Lord_Raptor (738466) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901163)

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,65796,00 .html?tw=wn_tophead_7/ [wired.com] : "A Kinder, Gentler Copyright Bill?"
This is one of those cases, where the name says it all. What were they thinking?

The official name is: Family Entertainment and Copyright Act

How about if we add the fact that this is legislation:
Family Entertainment and Copyright Act Legislation
(FECAL). Guess that is fairly self-descriptive.

Re:also on wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10902526)

My head is about to explode.

Normally, I get angry about naming laws with cutsey acronyms. However, yours is quite appropriate.

Re:also on wired (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906752)

"The official name is: Family Entertainment and Copyright Act"

So you're saying this is Family Entertainment and Copyright Act Legislation? Sounds about right to me.

Editing still allowed (2, Funny)

UnapprovedThought (814205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901841)

The bill also shields "family friendly" services like ClearPlay that strip violent or sexually explicit scenes from movies. Hollywood groups say such services violate their copyrighted works by altering them without permission.
I guess they didn't want people to miss the product placement ads in the sex scenes.

You do know what they're doing right? (4, Interesting)

sudog (101964) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902091)

They introduce the bill, put draconian measures into it, and fight to pass draconian measures that would seriously impact the way Americans live their daily lives.

Then an outcry develops, they strip out the draconian measures and leave behind innocuous, small-step leftovers that they were hoping to pass in the first place, to make it look like they were being magnanimous by compromising.

The more they do this, the more they can get bills passed that erode the rights of US citizens and turn the US into a nation of good little worker bees making the elite upper class richer and richer.

I wonder what it'll look like in 15 years, when another five or six of these bills gets passed in succession?

You guys are so fucked.

Re:You do know what they're doing right? (1)

JofCoRe (315438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903219)

The more they do this, the more they can get bills passed that erode the rights of US citizens and turn the US into a nation of good little worker bees making the elite upper class richer and richer.

What do you mean "turn the US into a nation of good little worker bees"?

We're already there, dood. No "turning" required... nobody in the US cares about anything as long as they can have their 2.5 kids, and a bigger house/TV/SUV/etc than their neighbor.

(yes, I'm over-generalizing. There are a few (3 or 4) peoople in the US that do care... unfortunately, the majority doesn't.)

And yes, we are so fucked.

Re:You do know what they're doing right? (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906959)

I am as pissed-off an American liberal(generalized BS label, but it will make my position 'easy' for those who don't know better) as any of them out there. I know my rights, I know they are eroding. I educate myself well above average and am thuroughly convinced we are about to take it in the ass with our pants on dut to congress's conservative pro-special interest group crap.

You know what keeps me south of the canadian border? What makes me get up in the morning and what makes me believe that my future career in IT will be secure and storng?

I rest assured that my government can be civily overthrown every 2 years. Simple. They will screw us, and screw us, and smile while they screw us some more. But when the masses wake up, with a little prodding from those already keen to the goings on, there will be a mass exodus of assholes from the district.

The houses entire point of existance is to be a short-term, accurate representation of the people. You get a couple years to represent the people who voted you in, if you fail, goodbye. You are protected for a long 6-year term like senators. You arn't suppose to be.

With a little help, we will get rid of the corruption, the SIG money, the lobbying, the pro-corporate/anti-citizen legislation. It is our constitutional right, and some day, we will reclaim it.

Re:You do know what they're doing right? (1)

GMC-jimmy (243376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10915295)

That's not entirely true. This is why people get assassin^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hremoved from office. If you won't be a puppet for the greedy, then they'll find a way to get rid of you.

Before you label me as a cynic, think "Jimmy Hoffa".

Why is this necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10902292)

The Senate has voted to outlaw several favorite techniques of people who illegally copy and distribute movies

Isn't illegally copying and distribution movies already... um... illegal? Why do we need even more laws? Is somebody threatening Mickey Mouse again?

This is an honest question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10902672)

Honest question:

Can someone explan to me why, whenever there's a slashdot posting about spammers, the bulk of the posts seem to suggest that many years in the slammer is appropriate (and, of course, there are the posts that go so far as to recommend genital removal :) but when there's a posting about copyright law and "piracy" of copywritten works, the general concensus seems to be that any additional penalties are way too severe?

Anyone?

Re:This is an honest question... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10902733)

Because spam costs the IT industry billions of dollars, while piracy costs the entertainment industry (well, film and music) nothing.

Re:This is an honest question... (1)

Kernel Kurtz (182424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907515)

Because file sharing has some redeeming social value and spam does not?

Smaller penalty for insider releases? (2, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903159)

People who secretly videotape movies when they are shown in theaters could go to prison for up to three years

Hackers and industry insiders who distribute music, movies or other copyrighted works before their official release date also face stiffened penalties under the bill.


Well, I hope the industry insiders face a stiffer penalty than three years in prison -- they make much better, more watch-able copies, so the damage is much worse.

But, somehow, I don't think the industry will want such stiff penalties for their own people. And, if so, why the long sentence for taping in a theater? Hopefully someone will eventually realize that jail time is not appropriate & copyright should be kept a civil matter.

wtf? And this is acceptable to you people? (0)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903615)

three years in prison for secretly videotaping a movie? Sure, it should be illegal and there should be penalties for it. This country is an absolutely horrible place. And I said "absolutely", so any disagreement should be done without comparing it to anything else.

And they strike again! (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906899)

Are the RIAA and MPAA ever going to realize that technology is here to stay, and that they are not going to make it go away by sending people to jail, or suing them, or by any other means? Millions of people use filesharing, and like it or not, it's here to stay. You cannot legislate out of existence something that this many people do. Just look at the shining success of the United States' "War on Drugs."

The "IP" industries have fought everything from the radio to the Betamax. In every case, when they have been slapped on the hand by the courts and told to play nicely, they have ended up making a killing off of these technologies. No one, anymore, would seriously argue that radio is the imminent death of the music industry, or that VCR's will kill moviemaking, yet that is precisely what they argued at the time.

In twenty years' time, we will be looking back and chuckling at the fact that at one point, the IP industries thought the Internet was the death of all of them. Let's just make sure that we don't still have people finishing up prison sentences left over from the hysteria.

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