Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Senator Hatch's PIRATE bill

According to the article here, it may be up for vote next week. There are so many things wrong with this bill. As I understand it, the bill empowers the Justice Department to instigate civil lawsuits against suspected copyright violators. This is more effective than lawsuits brought by the copyright holders (the recording companies) because the Justice Department can get wiretaps on Internet users far more easily than private companies.

There are two things worth noting in the p2pnet article. First, the bill is compared to another Orrin Hatch special, the PROTECT Act, which is designed to allow easier wiretapping for internet (and other) communications for suspects of child crimes (kidnapping, sex offenses, etc.). The bills seem similar, from the admittedly little information I have. It appears that some people feel we need to give the government the same power to locate copyright violators as it has to chase child sex offenders.

The second item is the quote from Hatch which implies that causing damage to a copyright violator's computer may be an appropriate response. He says it "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights." That's just offensive. Somebody needs to think of an appropriate way to teach Hatch the principles of the American judicial system.


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