Intellectual "Property" in the Digital Age
Frank Field
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-REC Movie Studios Press Congress in Digital Copyright Dispute
[3 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating 1.00] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

New York Times; Amy Harmon; July 29, 2002. Bad, bad news

And a draft Senate bill, originally intended to update laws that outlaw the counterfeiting of holograms and other measures used by software producers to guarantee the authenticity of CD's, has quietly been expanded to cover movies, music and other consumer products. Should that bill become law, a consumer who removed a watermark from a DVD or electronic book to send it over the Internet could be liable for fines up to $25,000. Internet providers are worried that they could be held responsible for material using their networks if someone had disabled the authentication mechanism.

The bill, which was offered by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, is being viewed by some technology companies as a back-door attempt by Hollywood to push through broad copy-protection legislation that was widely criticized when it was packaged in a bill by Senator Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina earlier this year. The draft contains no provisions for removing a watermark for research or to use excerpts of protected material for satire or commentary, which has customarily been viewed as acceptable under copyright law.

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-REC Tipping Their Hand
[5 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 7th Aug 2002]

TechCentralStation; Glenn Harlan Reynolds; August 7, 2002.

For years now, I've been saying that the record industry's long-term legislative strategy had less to do with preventing copying than with sewing up the market to ensure that Big Entertainment companies won't have to worry about competition from independent artists. It looks like I've just been proven right.

The proof comes in the form of a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) that would make it a crime to fool "digital rights management" systems, even if doing so were for a legal purpose. Here's how the bill would work:

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-Biden Alert
[1 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 30th Jul 2002]

Instapundit; Glenn Reynolds; July 29, 2002.

I'm really starting to dislike Joe Biden, even if I did defend him in the whole plagiarism thing. First it was the stupid RAVE Act. Now he's sponsoring yet another corporate-whoring entertainment industry bill that would make legal conduct illegal for the better enrichment of Big Media:

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-Pirate this, go to jail
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

CNet News; Declan McCullagh; July 29, 2002. Detailed writeup of the Sen. Biden modifications of his Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002. The ZDNet News version has Talkbacks.

Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense.

"The bill has been put on a fast track to enactment, and there currently appears to be little likelihood of a public debate similar to the one surrounding Senator Hollings' digital rights management proposal," says Stewart Baker , an attorney at Steptoe and Johnson who specializes in technology law. Baker is talking about Hollings' plan to forcibly implant copy-protection technology into nearly every PC and electronics device, an idea that's backed by Walt Disney but has been savaged by programmers and technology firms.

"It is possible, for example, that the bill allows criminal prosecutions as well as private suits against anyone who uses a black Magic Marker to disable copy protection features built into some recent music CDs," Baker says. "At $25,000 a CD, that could be a very expensive experiment."

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-Senator pulls support for copyright bill
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 6th Sep 2002]

CNet News; Declan McCullagh; September 6, 2002. ZDNet version

A key Republican senator on Thursday withdrew his support for an anti-piracy bill that would make it a crime to distribute counterfeit authentication features including digital watermarks.

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said he could no longer support a proposal titled Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002 because of changes that came just before a committee voted in July to send it to the Senate floor.

The bill originally targeted the kind of large-scale pirates who manufacture fake Windows holograms and enjoyed broad support from software makers such as Microsoft. But, in a little-noticed move previously reported by CNET, the Senate Judiciary Committee rewrote the bill to encompass technology used in digital rights management. Following the revisions, companies that had previously backed the measure pulled their support for the bill.

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-Stewart Baker on Sen. Biden's digital rights management bill
[1 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

Politech; July 29, 2002.

A little-noticed anticounterfeiting bill has suddenly blossomed into a potentially sweeping digital rights management tool. The bill, S. 2395, originally tinkered with existing statutory provisions that outlaw counterfeiting of the tokens, including holograms, that are used by software producers to guarantee the authenticity of CDs containing valuable programs. The original version of S. 2395 simply updated existing law to include other authentication features. But in markup on July 18, the Senate Judiciary committee greatly expanded the bill. It now covers movies, music, and other consumer products; it allows content owners to bring private suits against violators and to collect up to $25,000 in automatic damages for each violation; and it expands the scope of the law to cover not just tokens but also digital features used by content owners to make sure that copies are not infringing in any way the intellectual property rights of the owners.

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-Theft of American Intellectual Property: Fighting Crime Abroad and At Home
[4 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

Sen. Biden's Office; February, 2002. A tragic report, includes the nonsense "loss due to piracy" statistics that the BSA, MPAA and RIAA keep pushing.
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-Tinker with your MP3 player, get 5 years in jail
[1 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 29th Jul 2002]

The Register; Thomas C. Greene; July 29, 2002.

The bill's language, in particular the term 'authentication feature', has now been greatly expanded to include "any hologram, watermark, certification, symbol, code, image, sequence of numbers or letters, or other feature that either individually or in combination with another feature is used by the respective copyright owner to verify that a phonorecord, a copy of a computer program, a copy of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or documentation or packaging is not counterfeit or otherwise infringing of any copyright."

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-While I Was Away, Congress Continued To Play
[2 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 30th Jul 2002]

The Shifted Librarian; July 29, 2002

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