The proposal, called the Induce Act, says “whoever intentionally induces any violation” of copyright law would be legally liable. In the draft bill seen by CNET News.com, inducement is defined as “aids, abets, induces, counsels or procures” and can be punished with civil fines and, in some circumstances, lengthy prison terms.
This measure represents the latest legislative attempt by influential copyright holders to address what they view as the growing threat of peer-to-peer networks rife with pirated music, movies and software. It was originally scheduled to be introduced Thursday by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, but the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed at the end of the day Thursday that the bill had been delayed. A representative of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a probable co-sponsor of the legislation, said the Induce Act would be introduced “sometime next week.”
[… Jessica] Litman said that under the Induce Act, products like ReplayTV, peer-to-peer networks and even the humble VCR could be outlawed, because they can potentially be used to infringe copyrights.
OK — are we really planning to commit suicide? First stem cells, now digital technology? This is going to push every piece of digital technological innovation offshore — possibly permanently. After all, we’re not going to be able to draw the line at the software — eventually there’s going to be some clever lawyer who’s going to look at Intel’s, IBM’s or Motorola’s deep pockets and argue that the microprocessor is also implicated in “inducing” copyright infringement. After all, processor power is part of the picture. Will the 3 megahertz G5 cross the line? A G6?
Would the NRA put up with an identical theory — guns could kill people, so we need to make the producers of guns liable? Time to get serious — I look forward to (a) seeing who the co-sponsors are and (b) contributing to any opponent.
This kind of “know-nothing” pandering to the copyright cabal is too dangerous to let alone.
Test question: why does free speech get a more nuanced treatment? From International conference targets Internet hate speech [via Slashdot]:
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Dan Bryant acknowledged the American approach differs from that of other countries.
“We believe that government efforts to regulate bias-motivated speech on the Internet are fundamentally mistaken,” Bryant said. “At the same time, however, the United States has not stood and will not stand idly by, when individuals cross the line from protected speech to criminal conduct.”
He said the United States believes the best way to reduce hate speech is to confront it, by promoting tolerance, understanding and other ideas that enlighten.
See also Seth’s comments: INDUCE Act