June 23, 2004 12:27 PM PDT

Senate bill would ban P2P networks

Popular file-trading networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus would be outlawed under a new bill that enjoys broad support from top Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Their legislation says "whoever intentionally induces any violation" of copyright law would be legally liable for those violations, a prohibition that would effectively ban file-swapping networks and could also imperil some consumer electronics devices.

Proponents argue that the bill focuses on curbing illegal activity on the Internet. "In the film 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,' the leering 'Child Catcher' lured children into danger with false promises of 'free lollipops,'" said Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "Tragically, some corporations now seem to think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal; that they can legally lure children and others with false promises of 'free music.'"

The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, which was made public Wednesday, represents the latest legislative attempt by large copyright holders to address what they see as the growing threat of peer-to-peer networks rife with pirated music, movies and software. Violations of the IICA would be punished with civil fines and, in some circumstances, lengthy prison terms.

Foes of the IICA, including civil liberties groups and file-swapping network operators, are alarmed that the measure enjoys strong support from prominent politicians of both major parties. Its supporters include Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Mitch Bainwol, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, praised the IICA as a "narrowly focused but meaningful" proposal that "places the spotlight squarely on the bad actors who have hijacked a promising technology for illicit means and ignoble profits." The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game makers, called the IICA an "important and valuable tool to fight piracy." The Business Software Alliance also announced its support.

Targeting a court decision
The IICA is designed to overturn an April 2003 ruling from a federal judge in Los Angeles that said file-swapping services StreamCast Networks and Grokster were legal to operate.

In that decision, which the entertainment industry has appealed to the 9th Circuit, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson wrote that "Grokster and (Morpheus operator) StreamCast are not significantly different from companies that sell home video recorders or copy machines, both of which can be and are used to infringe copyrights." Wilson said those networks were not as centralized as Napster, which the 9th Circuit declared to be illegal in 2001, and could continue to exist.

"This carefully drafted, bipartisan bill would respond to this erroneous decision by confirming that existing law should allow artists to bring civil actions against parties who intend to induce others to infringe copyrights," Hatch said.

An early version of the IICA seen by CNET News.com was called the Inducement Devolves into Unlawful Child Exploitation Act, or Induce Act. The final version appears to be identical.

Critics were assailing the measure even before it was introduced, saying that in addition to outlawing peer-to-peer networks, it could imperil products like ReplayTV and even the VCR. Jessica Litman, a professor at Wayne State University who specializes in copyright law, said the language was "worded so broadly" that it would put Web sites such as Tucows, which hosts peer-to-peer clients like the Morpheus software, at risk for "inducing" infringement.

Under existing law, companies are not liable for "vicarious copyright infringement" performed by their users, said Mike Godwin, a lawyer at the advocacy group Public Knowledge. That legal doctrine permits Sony to sell VCRs, TiVo to sell digital TV recorders and Apple Computer to sell iPods, even though some fraction of their customers use them for copyright infringement.

If the IICA were to become law, "let's say that you're selling an MP3 player and it turns out that the MP3 player can be used to move copyrighted material around really easily," Godwin said. "People start buying your MP3 player. Do you want a world where courts can say, 'Hey buddy, you're liable for copyright infringement?'"

Critics of the IICA have suggested that it also might have the effect of overturning the Supreme Court's 1984 decision in the Sony v. Universal City Studios case, often referred to as the "Betamax" lawsuit. In that 5-4 opinion, the majority said VCRs were legal to sell, because they were "capable of substantial noninfringing uses." But the majority stressed that Congress had the power to enact a law that would lead to a different outcome.

Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, downplayed those concerns in a statement. "The makers of electronic equipment, the software vendors who sell e-mail and other programs, the Internet service providers who facilitate access to the Web--all of these entities have nothing to fear from this bill," Leahy said. "So long as they do not conduct their businesses with the intention of inducing others to break the law--and I certainly have not heard from anyone who makes that claim--they should rest easy."

A Senate Judiciary aide who spoke at length on condition of anonymity said concerns about the bill are misguided. The aide argued that the bill essentially reiterates criminal sanctions that already exist and is far less intrusive than other proposals in the Senate--such as one introduced in March 2002 by Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C.--that sought to regulate technology directly.

In the Grokster case decision, Judge Wilson noted that "additional legislative guidance may be well-counseled." The Senate aide said that "could be interpreted as a request for the status quo, if it is not answered" by Congress.

40 comments

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No big surprise...
that this bill receives the support from the biggest content industry shills in congress. As for children who use P2P being exploited, where are the parents in all this?
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
chills innovation
Great software for personal-use recording, like Replay Music or Replay Radio, could be in jeopardy if this bill ever sees the light of day.

See what may no longer be available:
www.replay-radio.com

and

www.replay-music.com
Posted by applian (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
promotes "better" piracy
All this bill will do is cause people/companies to start creating "private" technologies that work to hide from snooping jerkoffs like the riaa or other anti freedom corporations.
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's True
Let's see them try to prosecute an encrypted P2P client. Also Kazaa is based in Australia I thought, so last time I checked the US had no jurisdiction there.

I am sick of these idiot politicians making policies about technologies that they don't even fully comprehend. It just goes to show that policy makers of the future will have to be more than just elected in order to make unbiased decisions.
Posted by brbubba (25 comments )
Link Flag
Your right..."Better" Piracy will emerge...
As I stated in my other post...all this Bill will do is encourage people to start their own Intranets offline to file-share and download. being offline they can't be monitored.

What's more important is they can NEVER shut down all the P2P websites because so many are now GLOBAL and they have no aothority to do so outside our borders.
Posted by stephenmeyer (33 comments )
Link Flag
what do you mean 'induce'?
As I would use the term 'induce' I don't see a problem. The question is how the bill defines it.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Much too broad and unenforcable
With the current wording of this law everything from the copy machine to the ball point pen would be illegal.

ISPs wont be help liable? Up until someone sues them that is. Giving someone an internet connection that can be used for piracy is inducement according to this law.

Then theres the fact that short of calling your program "Piracy v3.0" and describing it as "A tool for pirating copyrighted material" there is no way to prove that pretty much any technology (including p2p networks) are designed to promote piracy, merely that they can be used for such.

But then again just about any technology can be used for piracy from a stick of chalk to every device, computer, server, router, etc currently attached to the internet.

This law will either have no effect or outlaw almost everything.

Considering that, is it really worth putting into effect?

Has anyone even bothered to think about how the public will react?
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bill will be smashed like a bug or water down
There is no way this bill in current form will live to see approval. There is to many other corporations out there that will realize that this bill would make them outlaws, even the backers of this bill who make cd writers will eventually abandon this bill.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Its time to go on the attack
OK, time to see what my idiot Senators here in Washington think of this ***CRAP***. Cantwell, Dunn, listen up morons, don't make me dedicate my free time to removing you from office. I can get much nastier than you will ever want to sink in public. This I promise.
Posted by (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Congress Should Take A Look At Their Own Dirty P2P's
Before they start curbing more of our free expression, free use, and internet privacy, I think that Congress should look into their own dirty hamper! Check out your own "peers," Barbara Boxer, Bill Frist, et al! Make Bush hand over the rest of the 23 pages requested by Congress with regard to the "allowed torture-methods"! (of the fifty pages they put out, only 3 were part of the 23 requested)! And how about putting some curbs on Rumsfeld? Oh yes, and how about restoring the environmental restrictions on plant emissions? And don't forget to tell those zealots to keep their bloody hands off the Alaska Wildlife Prserves...that's part of their thievery!! And what have they allowed to be stolen from the American people in terms of our name and reputation in the world? Guys, you'd better tend to your own knitting before digging into more of our rights and freedoms.
Posted by domino7 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Corporate America Rules the World
Everyone should be very scared by these new laws preventing technology and tightening copyright laws. It won't be the same world if Corporate America gets everything they ask for. Anything that doesn't serve their best interest it will be illegal.
Posted by (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Typical Govt. Misuse of Power
Why not make a law to protect us from Adware/Spyware and other software that in some cases destroys the computers they are loaded onto(usuallly with out the users knowledge or permission)!
How about making a real "Can Spam" law that can work!
We already have copyright laws on the books and the RIAA is utilizing them already to sue P2P users. All this law would accomplish is that it would now make ISP and Software/Hardware vendors responsable. Sort of like blaming the gun or the SUV and not just the person pulling the trigger or driving the SUV.
Maybe another good bill would be to allow us to make car makers responsible for accidents when people drive drunk.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Where you think the funding of the polictical parties come from?
Go figure.
LMFAO on such lame reasons of "luring children".

**** you RIAA.
And **** all you corrupted retarded *politicans*.
Posted by Cnet_Lemieux (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This Bill Will Stop NOTHING...
This is all well and good, except P2P Networks are GLOBAL and cannot be regulated outside of our borders. In addition, this will merely create more Intranets among user groups that will be kept off the Internet and hence, the industry won't be able to discover them.

This bill will do very little to stop what's been going on now for almost a decade. The music industry continues to fight this war with weapons that are outdated against today's technology.

If the industry REALLY cares about the music consumer it should: a) lower the price of CDs immediately. List prices between $15-$18.98 are completely unrealistic in time when best-selling DVDs are cheaper and kids (primary target audience for music) have more entertainment choices than ever where to spend their disposable income.

If the RIAA and major labels really believe that legislation like this is their salvation, then they REALLY have no clue what's going on out here in the real world outside their expensive offices where they lunch with their expense accounts.
Posted by stephenmeyer (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intellectual property avenue
I think a good way to approach the situation is to treat the CD format in the way that the RIAA and legislators claim it to be: intellectual property. So that when you buy a CD, you're not buying the CD, you're buying intellectual property and, as such, if you get your CD's stolen and have receipts, then the record companies should have to send you replacements at only the cost of the actual CD (<$1) plus shipping. If they are worried about theft, then they need to address ALL theft. If you are going to have spend a great deal of money on a music collection, there should be some guarantee on our side as well.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
CNET Censorship
CNET reserves the right to censor any opinion that it doesn't like. My comment to this story went unposted even though it contained no offensive comments. Ironically, it proved the point I was trying to make -- that corporate media wants to control the flow of ideas. CNET is no different. Censorship is the enemy of democracy. CNET practices censorship of ideas, therefore CNET is opposed to democracy and freedom. Post that.
Posted by nealda (105 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about copiers and scanner?
Wouldn't this bill also make copier and scanner and fax manufacturers liable?
Posted by weavercs (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Contact your Senators and Representatives!!!
Senator ________,

I am a longstanding admirer of yours as well as a voting constituent. I appreciate and support all of the hard work that you do and know that you do your best job to make sound decisions and judgements.

With that said, I must ask that you fight against the Induce Act coming before the Senate. The Induce Act, like the DMCA Act of 2000 are a last-ditch effort by monopolistic media companies to empower themselves and their antiquated business models in an effort to avoid adapting to the Internet age. Their lobbying and congressional support is destructive to further development of the Internet, our society, and the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution.

Somehow in the past decade we have come to think that copyright law dictates the use of technology. On the contrary, copyright law has been molded time and again to fit with the technology of the day! The technologies of today are no more different than the invention of the printing press or other monumental inventions which we now regard with both respect and appreciation.

Passing the Induce Act will retard technology and development for the sake of a few (but powerful) luddites who lack the creativity to adapt to a new world. Furthermore, it shows a pitiful lack of long-term vision by the congressional members involved.

The Induce Act (and the former DMCA) are first and foremost unconstitutional, secondly unenforcable, and finally detrimental to the progress of the last decade.

Contrary to popular belief, the lack of Digital Rights Management and iron-fisted copyright control will not: cause artists to starve, exploit children, or destroy capitalism. Please take the time to read this article: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt," target="_newWindow">http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt,</a> and rethink your position on DRM, the DMCA, and the Induce Act.

With all due respect,
____________
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Contact your Senators and Representatives!!!
Senator ________,

I am a longstanding admirer of yours as well as a voting constituent. I appreciate and support all of the hard work that you do and know that you do your best job to make sound decisions and judgements.

With that said, I must ask that you fight against the Induce Act coming before the S&#38;T subcommittee next week. The Induce Act, like the DMCA Act of 2000 are a last-ditch effort by monopolistic media companies to empower themselves and their antiquated business models in an effort to avoid adapting to the Internet age. Their lobbying and congressional support is destructive to further development of the Internet, our society, and the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution.

Somehow in the past decade we have come to think that copyright law dictates the use of technology. On the contrary, copyright law has been molded time and again to fit with the technology of the day! The technologies of today are no more different than the invention of the printing press or other monumental inventions which we now regard with both respect and appreciation.

Passing the Induce Act will retard technology and development for the sake of a few (but powerful) luddites who lack the creativity to adapt to a new world. Furthermore, it shows a pitiful lack of long-term vision by the congressional members involved.

The Induce Act (and the former DMCA) are first and foremost unconstitutional, secondly unenforcable, and finally detrimental to the progress of the last decade.

Contrary to popular belief, the lack of Digital Rights Management and iron-fisted copyright control will not: cause artists to starve, exploit children, or reinforce communist sentiments. Please take the time to read this article: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt," target="_newWindow">http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt,</a> and rethink your position on DRM, the DMCA, and the Induce Act.

With all due respect,
____________
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, but
We can "argue" whether we are infavor or not of "reasonable" copyright protectiion. I can see the case for having a protected market for the creators and distributers to get profits from their product while still balencing that with the rights to build on top of the creation and to inovate ways to distribute content.

In that sense, I think that P2P networks should be leagal, as should guns, but that the operator should be lible if the MAIN use is for illegal copyright violation, as should gun dealers if they are primarly selling to stores that are not selling guns legally.

Thus I will suggest that the law be "re-written" to define "intentionally induces any violation" as providing a resource that is primarelly used for violation...

Does that make sense, assuming that we don't want to go off into Copyright is Good or Bad?
Posted by mll (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Additional Info
1) I am Mike Liveright (I did not mean to be unknown) My error.

2) See: The Obsessively Annotated Introduction to the INDUCE Act
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/004563.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/004563.html</a>
Posted by mll (3 comments )
Link Flag
Broad language and broader implications.
"A Senate Judiciary aide who spoke at length on condition of anonymity said concerns about the bill are misguided. The aide argued that the bill essentially reiterates criminal sanctions that already exist and is far less intrusive than other proposals in the Senate--such as one introduced in March 2002 by Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C.--that sought to regulate technology directly."

Concerns are MISGUIDED? I don't think so. The language of this bill says that if a product can be used to infringe on copyright, then said maker or purveyor of product is guilty of inducing copyright infringement and therefore liable.

No matter how you dress this up, it's still an infringement on trade and freedoms. This bill has too broad a scope and can be used to create a condition where nothing and no one is safe. Next thing you know, the legislators and some bright individual eager to make a quick buck at everyone else's expense will claim copyright infringement by taping or burning a copy of what they hear over the radio. Last time I heard, music played over the radio and available on the air waves was free to use or play or copy or do with what the listener will. Think that will last long? Not on your tintype. This needs to be stopped now.

As a writer, I am very aware of copyright infringement and would sue the first person who tried to make money from my hard work, but this is beyond the pale, folks. Wake up and smell the end of freedom as you know it because this bill is just the first step.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Frist, Hatch, RIAA
Yep....bipartisan alright, Hatch and my fellow Tennesseean Frist, along with the infamous RIAA will certainly make things right. The ink won't be dry before RIAA will be abusing the new power.
If there isn't a big campaign contribution in this,I'll eat my hat. if it is no different than laws already on the books? Why the bother?? A government of the RIAA and Hollywood; by the R&H; and for the R&#38;H. In case you are wondering: I have a music collection (a big music collection)and I sometimes add to it. 99% of it is LP's: vinyl and most of the artists have been dead for over 100 years. I don't download any of the garbage that needs so much "protection." I don't have MP3(and i'm not sure what that is.) I do know corruption when I see it. Maybe it would save us a lot of time and money in the courts by just making it illegal to produce the garbage to entice children to break the law. Then, again, from what I read, just maybe, the new law will do just that.
ed vinson
Posted by vgraybeard (35 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yet Another Ridiculous Legislative Attempt
Wow, at the rate we're going, pretty soon you won't be able to breathe or [use the bathroom] without violating some copyright, patent, or law related thereto. It doesn't have to be that way, however. Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation at www.eff.org and do your part to safeguard your digital rights.
Posted by LANjackal (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whats the point of anything that records then?
Go figure. Sometimes the US can just go a little bit too far. Isn't everything that communicates to the internet a peer-to-peer in some respect? Web, Ftp, RTSP, VoIP?? Or what about the phone?
a number -to- another number... peer to peer? So, lets us all trash our technology and move back into caves. Oh i forgot, that would be trespassing probably.
Jack.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Movie studios are guilty!!!
Hey, with the enticing advertisements they create - movie studios are inducing people to violate copyright laws!

And, by transmitting them, television stations are also inducing people to violate copyright laws.

By telling your co-worker how much you loved the movie you just went to see, you're inducing that person to violate copyright laws.

We won't even BEGIN to discuss how Blockbuster not only induces people... they're PROFITTING multi-millions (if not billions) of dollars from it.

Oh yeah... we need this law like we need "Big Brother" in our living rooms and bedrooms.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Attack the users not the programs.
People will always create copys of stuff and distribute it in some form. There will always be some way to do this. Even if its done at an off shore website. There will always be those.

The problem is that P2P is still extremely usefull for lots of legal reasons.

Saying that the fact that P2Ps Induce Infringement of Copyrights. Is like saying banks induce people to rob them. Lets close all the banks. The production of cars induces people to car jack. Owning a store causes a person to shoplift from it. Come on people, where do we draw the line people?

If they want to do everyone a service They need to police these services rather then shutting them down. ASCAP and who everelse that has a problem with the criminal acts needs to hire people to go on these services and nab the peope that are actually hosting copy writen material.

If I put a copy of WindowsXP on the net be it a P2P server, web page, ftp site or whatever then I deserve to be punished. Not the service I use and not the people I tell "uh, yeah this is legal".

Its time to start busting the real criminals out there.

~Jim Hines
Posted by Garou (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What other laws could we be breaking?
This just frustrates me to no end. First they wanted to ban MP3s because it was an easy format to steal music. Now they want to shut down all P2P services because its an easy way to distribute them.

Why stop with P2P lets just shut down the whole internet because it makes it easy to distribute illegal media. Not just music but movies and software as well.

Ive always had one valid question on this subject. If I record something off TV am I breaking the law? I assume I can record and watch something at least once. Isnt that what VCRs and Tivo are for so I can see something I missed while out of the house? If it has comercials I just fast forward through them. Isnt that how its suposed to be paid for. I see a comercial and then go buy the stuff? So if I dont watch the comercials or if dont buy the products advertised... Did I just steal something?

If I record a movie off HBO and watch it several times am I stealing it from a video store or even HBO every time I watch it? I mean I did pay a fee to watch the channel but if I see something repeatedly when its not being shown an I breaking the law? How about pay perview. If I record it and watch it again technically I didnt pay for the extra viewings. I guess really should have just bought it or even rented it every time. Then Id be sure I wasnt doing something wrong.

How about if I rent or buy a video and have a bunch of friends over to watch it... Is that illegal mass distrobution? If they bring snacks and share them with me did I just take payment for showing the movie?

Read the fine print in the disclaimers on a movie sometime.It is illegal to show the movie publicly. What is conciderd public? If I have 30 people over to watch a movie is that conciderd a public showing? All the geeks out there that are having Starwars or Lord of the Rings parties may be breaking the law.

This is important information to know because as they crack down tighter on all of these laws... what once seemed legal may not be anymore.

~Jim Hines
Posted by Garou (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why not ban computers while you're at it?
Right, so now, VCRs, DVDRs, CDRs and everything else that can be used to make backup copies is illegal? Why not ban computers too? Scanners make it possible to copy copyrighted pictures too. Let's ban them too. After all, if you can make a copy of something, you are inducing piracy. In fact, let's ban paper, too, because I can use it to copy literary works. Let's ban pencils, let's ban pens and paint brushes. Say, let's ban creativity as well. After all, if we create something, we are inducing others to copy it.
Posted by Sentinel (199 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good man.
Posted by Adamanta (3 comments )
Link Flag
 

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