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Intellectual "Property" in the Digital Age
Frank Field
Links Home : Copyright : Codes, Legislation, Regulations : Berman Initiative

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-REC Rep. Berman replies to Politech, defends his anti-P2P piracy bill
[4 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 5th Sep 2002]

PoliTech; September 5, 2002.
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-REC Congress to turn hacks into hackers
[5 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating 10.00] [Added: 25th Jul 2002]

The Register; Thomas C. Greene; July 24, 2002. One effective response:

In Berman's own words , this lunatic bill will establish "a safe harbor from liability for copyright owners that use technological means to prevent the unauthorized distribution of their copyrighted works."

How cool is that? When Berman's bill is passed I'll be allowed to break in to the pass-protected members' sections of Web sites and root people's corporate networks and home boxes whenever I have a 'reasonable suspicion' that The Register's copyrighted works might be getting passed around without permission.

As readers know, I've been covering hacking and security for quite some time. What may not be known, though, is that as a result of my work in this area and consequent exposure to the 'scene' (infused, as it is, with such selfless generosity and mutual goodwill ), I've long nurtured the secret fantasy-desire of becoming a hacker myself. Only the criminal-penalties aspect of it has kept me from indulging myself.

...Oh, this is going to be one fabulous piece of legislation, all right. Personally, I can hardly wait for it to be passed into law. I'll be sure to thank Hillary Rosen when I'm legally breaking in to the RIAA network, searching for illicit copies of my articles.

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-REC Copyright bill may severely limit rights
[5 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 12th Jul 2002]

ZDNet News; declan McCullagh; July 11, 2002. Here we go...

Legislators are readying a bill that could sharply limit Americans' rights relating to copying music, taping TV shows, and transferring files through the Internet.

... Reps. Howard Coble of North Carolina and Howard Berman of California, who authored the draft, say their proposed changes to copyright law follow suggestions made last August by the Copyright Office.

... The proposed bill would end that exemption, handing copyright owners substantial new control over the distribution of their works by curtailing copying rights granted to consumers under a doctrine known as "fair use." "If you were to take today's episode of 'E.R.' and tape it and give it to your mother, it would be copyright infringement under this bill," said Jessica Litman, a professor at Wayne State University who specializes in copyright law.

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-REC Could Hollywood hack your PC?
[5 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 24th Jul 2002]

ZDNet News; Declan McCullagh; July 24, 2002.

ponsored by Reps. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., the measure would permit copyright holders to perform nearly unchecked electronic hacking if they have a "reasonable basis" to believe that piracy is taking place. Berman and Coble plan to introduce the 10-page bill this week.

The legislation would immunize groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America from all state and federal laws if they disable, block or otherwise impair a "publicly accessible peer-to-peer network."

Anyone whose computer was damaged in the process must receive the permission of the U.S. attorney general before filing a lawsuit, and a suit could be filed only if the actual monetary loss was more than $250.

According to the draft, the attorney general must be given complete details about the "specific technologies the copyright holder intends to use to impair" the normal operation of the peer-to-peer network. Those details would remain secret and would not be divulged to the public.

The draft bill doesn't specify what techniques, such as viruses, worms, denial-of-service attacks, or domain name hijacking, would be permissible. It does say that a copyright-hacker should not delete files, but it limits the right of anyone subject to an intrusion to sue if files are accidentally erased.

CNet version
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-REC Going After Individuals for Copyright Violations
[8 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 20th Aug 2002]

Findlaw's Writ; Julie Hilden; August 20, 2002. An analysis of Berman-Coble.

Currently, various state and federal statutes and precedents prevent record companies from hacking into peer-to-peer networks such as Gnutella. Almost any act of hacking could prompt a civil suit alleging numerous claims, as well as a prosecutorial inquiry as to whether an indictment should be issued.

But Berman's bill, if enacted, would probably succeed in neutralizing every one of those laws where peer-to-peer file trading networks are involved. That is because federal law can override state law in an area where there is a strong federal interest - and the Internet, accessible in every state, is just such an area. In addition, federal laws can, of course, alter or partially repeal earlier federal laws - and can, indeed, alter or even neutralize a whole slew of such laws at the same time, as Berman's legislation purports to do.

In short, Berman's bill would effect a dramatic change to a whole fabric of laws, creating numerous holes where once-applicable criminal and civil penalties would then be impossible to impose. Creative prosecutorial theories to go after industry hackers who targeted peer-to-peer networks would all fail if the bill were passed, for the immunity is extremely broad.

...Is this a good solution? It depends how it occurs. Lawsuits against individuals who do not have resources to defend against them would be an injustice; so would allow these individuals to be hacked. But on the other hand, lower prices need to happen, sooner rather than later.

The record companies' reluctance to move to Internet distribution likely reflects not only fear of peer-to-peer trading, but also fear of a deadweight loss - from closing established distribution networks down; having to cut off existing contracts with chain stores; needing to drop prices to compete on the Net; and so on. But it is in users' interest to have low, efficient prices. Seen in this light, the "carrot and stick" method may not be so bad, for the carrot will be very tasty indeed.

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-REC Hacking, hijacking our rights
[5 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 28th Jul 2002]

San Jose Mercury News; Dan Gillmor; July 27, 2002

If you or I asked Congress for permission to legally hack other people's computers, we'd be laughed off Capitol Hill. Then we'd be investigated by the FBI and every other agency concerned with criminal violations of privacy and security.

Then again, you and I aren't part of the movie and music business. We aren't as powerful as an industry that knows no bounds in its paranoia and greed, a cartel that boasts enough money and public-relations talent to turn Congress into a marionette.

That's why I don't doubt that the just-introduced bill, dubbed the ``Peer to Peer Piracy Prevention Act'' and co-sponsored by the representative from Disney, will get a respectful hearing. Howard Berman, D-Mission Hills, whose campaign coffers are loaded with money from Disney and other entertainment companies, wants to confer on the entertainment cartel the legal right to hack PCs it believes are part of file-sharing networks.

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-REC Hill panel in tune with music industry's file-sharing blues...
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 2nd Oct 2002]

SFGate.com; Carolyn Lochhead; September 27, 2002. Full title: "Hill panel in tune with music industry's file-sharing blues: Tech's voice missing at hearing on law to let firms jam networks"
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-REC Hollywood hacking bill hits House
[3 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 25th Jul 2002]

CNet News; Declan McCullagh; July 25, 2002.

Copyright owners would be able to legally hack into peer-to-peer networks, according to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

As previously reported by CNET News.com, the measure would dramatically rewrite federal law to permit nearly unchecked electronic disruptions if a copyright holder has a "reasonable basis" to believe that piracy is occurring.

The Politech links include copies of the bill text. Slashdot discussion: MPAA Requests Immunity to Commit Cyber-Crimes ZDNet version with Talkbacks.
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-REC Just desserts for scofflaws
[4 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 9th Jul 2002]

CNet News; Howard Berman; July 9, 2002. Straight from the horse's mouth:

Each illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) download of a song robs the songwriters of the 8 cents they are due under the mechanical license. That may not seem like much, but when you multiply 8 cents by the reported 1.1 billion downloads on one P2P system in one month, it calculates out to $88,000,000 dollars...a month. Divide even 1/10th of that money among the 5,000 members of the Songwriters Guild of America, and you begin to see that P2P piracy robs songwriters on a massive scale.

...Something must be done about P2P piracy, but what? I don't place much faith in those who, wishing to profit from it, say nothing can be done. There are solutions, and Congress has a constitutional obligation to create or facilitate them.

Part of the solution involves freeing copyright owners to use technology to combat this piracy. There is nothing revolutionary about property owners using self-help--technological or otherwise--to secure or repossess their property. Satellite companies periodically use electronic countermeasures to stop the theft of their signals and programming. Car dealers repossess cars when the payments go unpaid. Software companies employ a variety of technologies to make software nonfunctional if license terms are violated. Our society normally views such actions as just desserts for scofflaws rather than warfare on consumers.

Currently, copyright owners are unable to use some useful technological tools to deal with P2P piracy because they face potential, if unintended, liability under a variety of state and federal laws.

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-REC Lawmaker Tries To Foil Illegal File-Sharing
[5 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 26th Jun 2002]

WashingtonPost.com; Robert MacMillan; June 25, 2002.

Copyright holders would receive carte blanche to use aggressive tactics to stop the illegal distribution of their works on online services like Morpheus and Kazaa under legislation outlined today by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

...His bill would allow copyright holders to set up decoy files and use other techno-tricks like file-blocking and redirection to throw P2P pirates off the trail, but it would forbid those holders from employing tactics that would damage or destroy pirates' own computer systems.

..."(Berman) has called for a posse of copyright vigilantes," she said.

Slashdot discussion: Legalizing Attacks on P2P Networks. CNet's John Borland has an article, too: Lawmaker: Let studios hack P2P networks the same article at ZDNet includes talkbacks. And GrepLaw has an article - New Scientist weighs in: New US law would allow music-sharing sabotage , Will Knight - The Register has a couple links; John Leyden; Copyright vigilantes ride P2P shotgun
Berman's statement includes the following:

"In other words," said Berman, "while P2P technology is free to innovate new and more efficient methods of distribution that further exacerbate the piracy problem, copyright owners are not equally free to craft technological responses. This is not fair and I believe Congress should free copyright creators to develop and deploy technological tools to address P2P piracy. We could do this by providing copyright owners with a safe harbor from liability for using such tools."

"Obviously, legislation must be narrowly crafted, with strict bounds on acceptable behavior by the copyright owner," Berman cautioned. "A copyright owner should not be allowed to damage the property of a P2P file trader or any intermediaries, including ISPs. Or, for example, I wouldn't want to let a particularly incensed copyright owner introduce a virus that would disable the computer from which copyrighted works are made available to a decentralized, P2P network."

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-REC P2P hacking bill may be rewritten
[8 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 24th Oct 2002]

ZDNet News; Declan McCullagh; October 24, 2002.

A proposal to let copyright owners hack into and disrupt peer-to-peer networks will be revised, a congressional aide said Wednesday.

Alec French, an aide to bill author Rep. Howard Berman , D-Calif., defended his boss' ideas but acknowledged that some critics had made reasonable points about the controversial proposal.

"He plans to significantly redraft the bill to accommodate reasonable concerns before reintroduction in the 108th (Congress)," French said during an afternoon event at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

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-REC Speech by the Honorable Howard L. Berman to the Computer and Communications Industry Association
[7 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 26th Jun 2002]

house.gov; Full title: "Speech by the Honorable Howard L. Berman to the Computer and Communications Industry Association Regarding Solutions to Peer to Peer Piracy" Channeling Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti

There is no justification for Internet piracy. There is no difference between pocketing a CD in a Tower Records and downloading copyrighted songs from Morpheus. Theft is theft.

Internet piracy is not “promotional.” This argument is laughable sophistry. There may be some who just want to “try before they buy,” - I don’t question that - but the vast majority of illegal downloaders just want free stuff, and don’t intend to purchase legitimate copies. Do I have proof? Yes, I have both common sense, a rudimentary grasp of economics....and a college-age daughter.

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-REC Spotting a scam in sheep's clothing
[6 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 9th Jul 2002]

CNet News; Steve Griffin; July 9, 2002. A rebutall to Berman's piece:

Hollywood Congressman Howard Berman has proposed legislation that would effectively shut down peer-to-peer networks. His proposal calls for "technological self-help measures" such as interdiction, redirection, decoys, spoofing and file-blocking. This sort of action is a blatant declaration of cyberwarfare against consumers.

...Authorizing copyright owners to break the law in order to stop alleged piracy is not a sensible or workable solution. Such a tactic amounts to vigilantism. Granting "safe harbor" or special immunity from current state and federal laws, such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, is nothing short of creating a license to sabotage file-sharing networks and potentially other existing or new technologies and its users. Even law enforcement officers are not above the law; copyright owners certainly should not be.

... Congress has already given copyright owners a variety of tools to fight piracy, including the ability to force ISPs to identify suspected infringers, which was passed as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. Once identified, suspected infringers can be brought into court and penalized for their activities (up to $150,000 per work infringed). Yet there has not yet been a single reported case of a copyright owner suing a peer-to-peer user for infringement. Makes you wonder if this is actually about piracy or if it's actually about controlling new technologies.

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-Berman-Coble Goes Too Far Legalizing hacking of P2P networks hurts start-ups, not thieves
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 19th Sep 2002]

SFGate.com; Hal Plotkin; September 12, 2002. (print friendly version)

Even if it doesn't pass, just introducing the bill has hammered another nail into the coffin that contains hundreds of once-promising P2P business plans. As a consequence, most Silicon Valley venture capitalists won't touch those business plans with a 10-foot term sheet. Would you invest in a company if it were possible that others might soon be able to legally damage it without recourse?

It's as if someone had proposed a law in 1965 to make it legal for anyone to burst into offices and burn IBM punch cards because their use was putting stenographers out of business. You can imagine the wonders that would have done for the economy. Unfortunately, regardless of how silly it may sound, the Berman-Coble proposal is being taken seriously, particularly by skittish venture capitalists who've seen Congress pass bad laws before (free stock options, anyone?) when enough money got behind them.

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-Bill would allow 'ethical' hacking to track copyright theft
[3 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating -1.00] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

Boston Globe; Hiawatha Bray; July 29, 2002. As is typical for this columnist, this article ultimately is ambivalent about this controversy, although he certainly tries to be inflammatory - and succeeds. [PDF]

Internet civil libertarians like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are already mounting the barricades against Berman's bill. But on what grounds? Networks like Morpheus are open to the public, which routinely uses them to deal in stolen digital goods. If someone enters the network and disrupts only the illegal traffic, where's the problem? Internet users have no right to do wrong.

One of the law's weak spots is the secrecy it grants to copyright holders. They're not required to identify themselves to users of the network. So if somebody thinks they're being unjustly targeted, how do they complain to the Justice Department? Just as cops must show their badges, the law ought to provide that these ''ethical'' hackers must identify themselves.

But if they do so, and comply with the other safeguards described above, it's hard to see how these anti-piracy tactics will hurt anybody except the data thieves.

On the other hand, they probably won't help either.

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-Bill would let entertainment industry hack file-sharing networks
[6 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 26th Jul 2002]

SiliconValley.com; Dawn Chmielewski; July 25, 2002.

A sweeping new anti-piracy bill would give movie studios and record labels legal impunity to hack into file-sharing networks to halt the trade of copyrighted works. Introduced in Congress on Thursday, the bill prompted cries of vigilantism from technology advocates.

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-Coble needs to rethink digital vigilante bill
[8 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 26th Aug 2002]

News & Record; Edward Cone; August 25, 2002. Read his post-publication weblog entry

Rep. Howard Coble is co-sponsoring a bill that would give Hollywood the right to disrupt your Internet access and, possibly, files on your personal computer. The proposed legislation would also severely limit your recourse against these corporate vigilantes.

Coble's office says that any problems with the proposed law can be ironed out in hearings next month. That's the good news. The bad news is that Coble's initial response to my earlier column on this subject, and to a subsequent News & Record editorial on the same theme, has been to insist that the bill seems to be fine as is.

The bill is not fine. Coble, the chairman of the House subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, has put his name on a piece of legislation that would give corporations unprecedented and overbroad powers -- and you won't even have to be a participant in one of the targeted file-sharing networks to feel its weight.

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-Coble should retool Internet piracy bill
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 12th Aug 2002]

News & Record; Bill Black; August 10, 2002. Howard Coble obviously means well. But a bi-partisan bill he is co-sponsoring to combat Internet burglars effectively could make the entertainment industry judge, jury and executioner of alleged cybercriminals and would permit them unfettered access into anyone's home computer.

The Sixth District congressman from Greensboro, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, supports a measure that would give record companies and other entertainment industries the right to invade our personal computers, based merely on the suspicion that we might have illegally downloaded copyrighted material.

That would be tantamount to allowing Sears or Kmart to invade your home if they believe you have shoplifted merchandise from one of their stores. And if they should accidentally bang a door or shatter a window in the process, well, no harm, no foul.

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-Coble-Berman Bill Would Restrict Fair Use
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 12th Jul 2002]

Slashdot.org; July 12, 2002. With links to the draft text at Politech
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-Copyright bill will create vigilantes: critics
[6 hits, 3 votes, Average Rating 10.00] [Added: 6th Aug 2002]

TheAge.com.au; Nathan Cochrane; August 6, 2002. A striking interpretation from Australia:

Under section 9a of the Victorian Summary Offences Act (1966), "a person must not gain access to, or enter, a computer system or part of a computer system without lawful authority to do so". The penalty if convicted is up to six months' jail.

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

He says US executives may be unable to enter the country to give evidence in court cases, attend conferences, speak to government, customers or possibly to make movies because afflicted PC owners could seek to have them arrested for unauthorised computer trespass.

"It would also raise serious issues under the Privacy Act in relation to information obtained whilst computers are being hacked," White says.

Australian subsidiaries of US companies could also face charges for aiding and abetting US corporate parents, especially if local assets such as PCs, personnel and communications networks were used in the hacking attempts, he says.

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-Digital piracy bill is sound
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 27th Aug 2002]

News & record; Howard Coble; August 24, 2002.

Currently, the easiest way to steal the latest musical or cinematic offering is through peer-to-peer technology, which essentially allows computer users to swap music and movie files. Millions upon millions of illegal downloads occur each day at the expense of songwriters, authors, graphic artists, photographers and software developers in North Carolina and the rest of our nation. Digital music piracy by itself worldwide costs the affected copyright owners between $3 billion and $5 billion annually, and sadly, most of the illegal activity occurs in the United States.

H.R. 5211 is an attempt to control this problem. The legislation is designed only to prevent thieves from illegally distributing copyrighted songs, movies and other digital works over the Internet to millions of computers. The legislation clarifies that copyright owners may utilize new technologies or "self-help" measures to protect their property as it is distributed on peer-to-peer networks. This is almost a dog-bites-man revelation because many intellectual property companies are already using some of these defensive measures now and believe it is legal under current law.

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-Hollywood Hacks Consumers
[5 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 1st Aug 2002]

Tech Central Station; Sonia Arrison; August 1, 2002.

Since it is next to impossible to shut down decentralized networks, Rep. Berman and Hollywood hope to intercept and catch the actual people who illegally download music and films. This strategy is flawed not least because there are numerous people to catch and many hackers will probably see this as a reason to counter-attack Hollywood. But there's a larger problem.

Many of Hollywood's Internet pirates are also paying customers in real space, putting Hollywood in the strange position of wanting to attack its own customers. Intellectual property is, of course, important both in principle and to the U.S. economy. But new technologies force intellectual property holders to re-examine their beliefs and business models -- something that the entertainment industry tried and failed to avoid in the past with the introduction of audio and video cassettes. A similar situation is occurring now.

...Instead of making consumers the enemy, as Hollywood is doing with support of the P2P Piracy Prevention Act, it would be smarter and more profitable to respond to new technologies with a change in thinking. Consumers will always be willing to pay market prices to be entertained. The challenge is for entertainers to meet the demand with a better model.

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-Hollywood Vigilantes vs. Copyright Pirates
[6 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 2nd Aug 2002]

BusinessWeek Online; Heather Green; July 31, 2002.

Forget how nonsensical and rare it is to grant any industry this kind of power. There's actually a more compelling point: Plenty of laws are already on the books to protect copyright holders. Copyright infringement is a crime. Courts and law-enforcement agencies already exist whose sole goal is to prevent crime. Entertainment companies have the option of tracking what they think are unlawful activities and alerting law officials.

Under the four-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act, copyright holders can also issue subpoenas to Internet service providers (ISPs) to obtain contact information about a potential infringer. Then copyright holders can send a warning e-mail or instigate litigation.

The beauty of these scenarios is that they follow the basic guidelines of due process by protecting innocent people, getting the bad guys, and providing at least the modicum of a forum for someone accused of copyright infringement to protect themselves.

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-License to Hack: Black Hats win
[5 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 25th Jul 2002]

kuro5hin.org; July 24, 2002. Another reason not to pass this initiative.

According to the ZD-Net article, the proposed legislation would permit copyright holders to use pretty much any technical method they choose to shut down or disrupt computers hosting or participating in illicit file sharing. Specifically mentioned in the article were computer viruses, denial of service attacks, and domain hijacking, all of which are currently popular hacking techniques and all currently illegal (although often difficult to trace and prove in court.)

Interestingly, the proposed legislation allows copyright holders to use these techniques based on "reasonable suspician" that the target computer is engaged in copyright infringement activities. Not only is proof not required, even if the suspicians turn out to be wrong and no copyright violation is found, if the hacking attempt damages the target computer the copyright holder is shielded from lawsuits unless the damaged party can prove more than $250 in actual damage. So if you have a legal copy of "Men In Black" on your hard drive, for which you paid perhaps $30, and it gets deleted accidentally, well, too bad: there's nothing you can do about it. And remember that Great American Novel mentioned earlier? Unless you actually have a publishing contract, its value, legally, is zero.

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-Media Industry: License to Hack?
[6 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 25th Jul 2002]

Wired.com; Reuters; July 25, 2002.

Media companies would be allowed to sabotage Napster-style networks to prevent songs, movies and other copyrighted materials from being swapped over the Internet under a bill introduced in Congress Thursday.

The bill would permit recording companies and other copyright holders to hack onto networks to thwart users looking to download free music, and would protect them from lawsuits from users

Although Congress has little time to debate the bill before the August recess, sponsor Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat, said the measure was necessary because the decentralized systems were impossible to shut down.

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-Music Bill Is Bully on IMs
[6 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 26th Jul 2002]

Wired.com; Brad king; July 26, 2002. An analysis of the proposed bill, arguing that it promotes centralized music distribution systems, particularly those based on instant messaging.

The proposal would give copyright owners, from Hollywood studios down to independent musicians, the legal go-ahead to employ a variety of technological measures that would stop computers hooked up to decentralized networks from trading. That would be bad news for users of Gnutella and Kazaa.

In the interim, it would allow companies like Overpeer , which floods decentralized networks with bogus files, to flourish. In the long run, it also would make any system that doesn't have a central location -- and most open-source networks don't have a central location -- vulnerable to attack.

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-The Dark Side of Hacking Bill
[5 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 27th Jul 2002]

Wired.com; Michelle Delio; July 26, 2002.

Watch as they rifle through your files, dismantle your network, and delete all those songs and movies you can't prove have a legal right to exist on your hard drive. Hope the special effects don't include the accidental destruction of your data when your computer becomes a stunt double in Hollywood's latest blockbuster attempt to protect its copyrighted material.

California Congressman Howard Berman introduced his "Peer-to-Peer Piracy Prevention" Act in the House of Representatives Thursday. If the bill (PDF) passes, copyright owners could -- at least conceptually -- employ a variety of technological tools to prevent the illegal distribution of their copyrighted works over a P2P network such as Kazaa or LimeWire.

Security experts said the bill's wording is too vague and wonder exactly what sort of "technological tools" will be permitted. They also fear that approval of the bill could result in a multitude of clumsy and ill-conceived "hack" attacks that could have widespread, system-damaging effects on both file traders and those who have never downloaded a single song from a file-trading server.

"Basically, Berman is going to legalize all of the antisocial Internet activities that we have been trying to stamp out for the last decade," said Paul McNabb, chief technical officer of security firm Argus Systems Group.

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