OT: Something To Think About

From Eschaton: Clinton on the Press

From his book:

I was genuinely confused by the mainstream press coverage of Whitewater…One day, after one of our budget meetings in October, I asked Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming to stay a moment to talk. Simpson was a conservative Republican, but we had a pretty good relationship because of the friendship we had in common with his governor, Mike Sullivan. I asked Alan if he thought Hillary and I had done anything wrong in Whitewater. ‘Of course not,’ he said. ‘That’s not what this is about. This is about making the public think you did something wrong. Anybody who looked at the evidence would see that you didn’t.’ Simpson laughed at how willing the ‘elitist’ press was to swallow anything negative about small, rural places like Wyoming or Arkansas and made an interesting observation: ‘You know, before you were elected, we Republicans believed the press was liberal. Now we have a more sophisticated view. They are liberal in a way. Most of them voted for you, but they think more like your right-wing critics do, and that’s much more important.’ When I asked him to explain, he said, ‘Democrats like you and Sullivan get into government to help people. The right-wing extremists don’t think government can do much to improve on human nature, but they like power. So does the press. And since you’re President, they both get power the same way, by hurting you.’ I appreciated Simpson’s candor and I thought about what he said for months. For a long time, whenever I was angry about the Whitewater press coverage I would tell people about Simpson’s analysis. When I finally just accepted his insight as accurate, it was liberating, and it cleared my head for the fight.

Problems in Sen Frist’s Home State?

From the Congressional Record: Sen. Frist’s statement on the introduction of S.2560

from S7193, Congressional Record

Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 introduced today by Senators HATCH and LEAHY. I am proud to be an original cosponsor. The Inducement Act addresses the growing problem of online piracy–the illegal downloading of copyrighted music. Piracy is devastating the music community and threatening other forms of copyrighted work. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation takes important steps in protecting our Nation’s intellectual property.

When I return home to Nashville and drive down Music Row, my heart sinks as I see the “For Sale” and “For Rent” signs everywhere. The once vibrant music community is being decimated by online piracy. No one is spared. It is hitting artists, writers, record companies, performing rights organizations, and publishers.

Hmmm — so now P2P-based copyright infringement is responsible for the state of the real estate market in Nashville’s Music Row? Really?

INDUCE is S.2560

Its text still is not in Thomas, but there’s an entry for it. See the Congressional Record, S7189 and sequential for the introduction on June 22, 2004. So, I can pull the text from there:

[from S7192, Congressional Record]

Mr. President, I urge all of my colleagues to support S. 2560, the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.

S. 2560

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the “Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004”.


Section 501 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(g)(1) In this subsection, the term `intentionally induces’ means intentionally aids, abets, induces, or procures, and intent may be shown by acts from which a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement based upon all relevant information about such acts then reasonably available to the actor, including whether the activity relies on infringement for its commercial viability.

“(2) Whoever intentionally induces any violation identified in subsection (a) shall be liable as an infringer.

“(3) Nothing in this subsection shall enlarge or diminish the doctrines of vicarious and contributory liability for copyright infringement or require any court to unjustly withhold or impose any secondary liability for copyright infringement.”.

And the BSA is already out there in favor of it:

BSA applauds Senators Hatch and Leahy for their leadership in introducing an important bill to stem the tide of illicit file sharing which is enabling software piracy and causing substantial harm to our members. BSA believes that ways need to be found to address piracy generally, and online piracy specifically. In addressing these critical problems, we need to ensure that we are not creating unintended consequences for general purpose technology products. Peer-to-peer technologies hold great promise. Senators Hatch and Leahy have introduced legislation that recognizes that the technology is not the problem, but rather the problem is bad actors that intentionally induce in illicit acts.

Leahy’s statement: Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy: Introduction Of The “Inducing Infringement Of Copyright Act Of 2004”

Hatch’s press release and statement: Hatch Introduces Bill To Stop Inducement Of Children To Commit Crimes

Has Sony Completely Lost It?

Nice ebook, shame about the DRM [via TechDirt] (sorry about the weird characters. I can’t even figure out what they’re supposed to be so I can fix the quotes.)

One of the buzz products of the first half of 2004 is Sony’s new ?%40,000 (£210) electronic book reader called the Libri?Ž EBR-1000EP, seen by many as the first decent attempt to replicate the paper-based reading experience on an electronic device.

[…] Less than charming, however, is the digital rights management (DRM) used for the project. Fifteen of the biggest Japanese publishers (and Sony) put their heads together to figure out how to offer a compelling collection of novels and other material while protecting their own financial investments in the work and the interests of the authors.

What they came up with is a sad business model that ties downloaded ebooks to a maximum of four devices, which is reasonable enough, but also ensures that the titles purchased (with your money, remember) lock up after 60 days, which is far from reasonable. Sure, the books are cheaper than their real-world equivalents, but who in their right mind is going to buy books that simply evaporate after two months? Periodicals might be suitable for this protective scheme, but none are yet taking advantage of it on the Libri?Ž.

Followup: RIAA Settlement & Libraries

BoingBoing points to a followup on Jenny Levine and other’s discussion of the kind of recordings libraries are getting as a part of the RIAA settlement: MSNBC – Librarians: Free CDs too much of a good thing. And wouldn’t you know it — those darn computers were behind the whole thing!

The good news is that the mystery has been solved and the source of the overabundance has been determined to be nothing more sinister than a computer-programming glitch that will soon be fixed, law enforcement officials say.

The bad news is that libraries that were among the first to receive their free CDs are now going to have to figure out what to do with all the duplicates.

[…] While some librarians said they immediately suspected the strange allotments were the result of the music companies involved in the settlement dumping unwanted product that had been gathering dust in their warehouses, state officials involved in the settlement say there is an innocent explanation for the mix-up.

“In trying to give everyone a variety of genres, the claims administrator wrote an allocation program that resulted in some entities getting large numbers of a certain title and others getting no copies,” said Tina Kondo, senior assistant attorney general for Washington state, one of 43 states and territories that participated in the antitrust suit. “We checked with the claims administrator and they’re in the process of reprogramming the allocation formula.”

Update: Seems that the Seattle Post Intelligencer (and Slashdot) didn’t quite get to this (or the related) postings: RIAA Dumps Unsold Inventory to Settle Anti-Trust Case

Why You Still Need A Paper

When this article title and its blurb turned up in my Amphetadesk news aggregator, A Politician Looking for Funds? Here Are Two Useful Addresses, I saw it only as another of what will be an endless series of articles on the presidential campaign this summer. But when I actually read a Times over lunch, I found that it was also a practical demonstration of what the marriage of GIS and Federal Election Commission records can mean, as cited in this earlier posting, Privacy, Public Disclosure and Integration.

The Fundrace WWW site is not mentioned, but the Queens College Department of Sociology is cited in the graphs in the sidebars to this article. The maps are very, very interesting.

Motion for Summary Judgment in Golan v Ashcroft

Government Moves For Summary Judgment [via Copyfight] The motion

On March 15, 2004, the Court granted in part and denied in part the government s motion to dismiss this lawsuit. See Golan v. Ashcroft, 310 F. Supp. 2d 1215 (D. Colo. 2004). The Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ challenge to the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). However, while explaining that Plaintiffs “may ultimately be unsuccessful,” the Court found that “Plaintiffs ha[d] adequately stated a legally cognizable claim” as to their challenge to the constitutionality of §514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA). Id. at 1221.

Since the Court issued its order, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision holding that the URAA is constitutional and dismissing a challenge similar to this one. See Luck’s Music Library, Inc. v. Ashcroft, Civ. No. 01-2220 (D.D.C. June 10, 2004) [Slip opinion attached at Tab 1]. In the Luck’s Music Library decision, the Court addressed and rejected almost all of the arguments raised by Plaintiffs here.

The government now moves for summary judgment.

Ed Felten on Filesharing

The Future of Filesharing

The resulting arms race favors the filesharing side, for two reasons. First, the filesharing side can probably adapt faster than the anti-filesharing side; and speed is important in this kind of move-countermove game. Second, the defensive technologies that filesharing systems are likely to adapt are the same defensive technologies used in ordinary commercial distributed systems (end-to-end encryption, anti-denial of service tactics, reputation systems, etc.), so the filesharing side can benefit from the enormous existing R&D efforts on defensive technologies.

Given all of this, it’s a mistake for universities or ISPs to spends lots of money and effort trying to develop or deploy the One True Solution Technology (OTSS). […]

[…] The best role for a university in the copyright wars is to do what a university does best: educate students. When I talk about education, I don’t mean a five-minute lecture at freshman initiation. I don’t mean adding three paragraphs on copyright to that rulebook that nobody reads. I don’t mean scare tactics. What I do mean is a real, substantive discussion of the copyright system.

My experience is that students are eager to have serious, intellectual discussions about why we have the copyright system we have. They will take seriously the economic justification for copyright, if it is explained to them in a non-hysterical way. They’ll appreciate the wisdom of the limitations on copyright, such as fair use and the idea/expression dichotomy; and in so doing they’ll realize why there are not exceptions for other things.

This kind of education is expensive; but all good education is. Surely, amid all of the hectoring “education” campaigns, there is room for some serious education too.

Hear, hear!

Hatch Revises INDUCE

P2P bill draws key backing in Senate

Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Republican of Utah, sought to dispel some of the early criticisms of his proposal, saying in a statement distributed late Tuesday that a new version of his bill reflects only modest changes and would not affect Internet service providers’ legal rights or Americans’ abilities to make “fair use” of copyrighted works.

[…] The final version is titled Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, and it enjoys the backing of senior politicians including 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.

[…] The aide argued that the bill targets acts that are “already a trigger for civil, criminal liability,” is far less intrusive than technology mandates, and is designed to overrule the decision of a federal judge in the Grokster case, who ruled that the networks could be allowed to continue to operate.

The statement is lengthy:

The Act does not overrule or limit the Sony-Betamax decision. The Act will not abrogate or affect Sony’s holding that the maker of a copying device will not be liable just because it knows that its product could be used to infringe. Id. at 439. The Act will only address cases of intentional inducement not covered by the Sony ruling: “Sony certainly does not ‘intentionally induce’ its customers to make infringing uses of respondents’ copyrights….” 464 U.S. at 439 n.19.

The Act does not affect most Internet services because of the Section 512 “safe harbors” in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The bill will not affect Internet service providers – like Verizon, eBay, or Google – who comply with any of the Section 512 “safe harbors” for conduit, user-directed, or information-location services.

The Act permits civil enforcement only against parties whose acts would already trigger criminal liability under existing law. Intentional inducement of criminal or illegal acts of infringement is already a felony. The bill merely confirms that civil liability can be imposed in cases where potential criminal conduct already exists.

[…] This bill will also preserve the Sony ruling without reversing, abrogating or limiting it. The Inducement Act will simply import and adapt the Patent Act’s concept of “active inducement” in order to cover cases of intentional inducement that were explicitly not at issue in Sony. The Inducement Act also preserves the Section 512 safe harbors for Internet service providers.

The bill also contains a savings clause to ensure that it provides the “guidance” courts have requested — not an iron-clad rule of decision for all possible future cases. This flexibility is critical because just as infringement cases are fact specific, so should inducement cases center on the facts of a given case, with courts endowed with the flexibility to impose just results. This bill does not purport to resolve or affect existing disagreements about when copies made and used within an individual’s home environment are permissible and when they are infringing.

Rather, this bill is about is the intentional inducement of global distribution of billions of infringing copies of works at the prodding and instigation of sophisticated corporations that appear to want to profit from piracy, know better than to break the law themselves, and try to shield themselves from secondary liability by inducing others to infringe and then disclaiming control over those individuals.

Without the text of the bill, it’s going to be hard to see how he plans to accomplish this. The motivations for the bill have been changed, too

No civilized country could let sophisticated adults profit by tempting its most vulnerable citizens — its children — to break the law.

We’ll see. I can’t find it in Thomas, but it may just be too soon.