Monday, May 03, 2004

Four bills going to the Senate floor

Four new bills were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. CNET has the article:

It's a very short article. The significant excerpt: "The measures would criminalize using camcorders in movie theaters; increase fees for patent applications; clarify existing law dealing with joint applications for patents; and permit the Justice Department to bring civil lawsuits against copyright pirates."

My take: I don't know anything about existing law for joint patent applications, so I won't speak to that. Increasing patent fees seems unnecessary, since they're already ricidulously high. If the Patent Office isn't getting enough money and isn't doing a good job (clearly the latter is true, at least with respect to technology), then I think we have bigger problems.

Criminalizing camcorders in movie theaters seems inappropriate. Obviously it's already against civil law (since it's an egregious intellectual property violation); is it really appropriate to put people in jail? I'm not sure I care for the precedent. As for the Justice department instigating copyright lawsuits, that's just wrong. That's the job of the copyright holder, not the Justice department. Don't they have terrorists to catch or real work to do?

Anyway, these just cleared committee. Maybe they won't get passed.


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