Jason finds something in the Congressional Record (page S11291; article #53 in this list): Senator McCain shows spine on IP; defends controlling your own TV/DVR
Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I wish to briefly remark on H.R. 2391 and H.R. 4077 , a package of bills referred to as the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2004. I have objected to the further consideration or passage of these bills by unanimous consent.
From the text of the bills that have been available to date for Senators to review, I believe that one part of this broad legislation, the Family Movie Act, may actually harm consumers while appearing to help them. To be clear, I support the stated goal of the act’s authors: immunizing from legal challenges a technology that enables parents to skip offensive material from prerecorded copies of films and television. While I applaud the merits of their stated intent, I fear that the very exemption designed to achieve this laudable goal simultaneously creates an implication that certain basic practices that consumers have enjoyed for years–like fast-forwarding through advertisements–would constitute criminal copyright infringement. I note that Consumers Union and Public Knowledge, as well as a host of others parties interested in protecting consumers, share my concerns.
Americans have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials for more than 30 years. Do we really expect to throw people in jail in 2004 for behavior they’ve been engaged in for more than a quarter century?
I look forward to working with my colleagues in this Chamber to address not only these concerns, but also the uncertain liability created for manufacturers that bring other innovative and pro-family products to market in the face of continual threats of extinction from powerful interests who seek to thwart their entry.
For these reasons, I do not intend to remove my hold on these bills until I am satisfied that consumer interests have been protected in this legislation.
Note that Sen Patrick Leahy (page S11290) was not too pleased: (See Item 51 in the CongRecord - McCain’s is item #53) Somewhat disgustingly, he seems to want to make a partisan issue out of this!
Senator Hatch and I, and many of our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, have been working on this legislation for some time now–most recently doing so late at night and through the weekends. We have done so because of the crushing need to ensure that the intellectual property laws are adequate to the legitimate and pressing concerns raised by many about the effectiveness of those laws. We have a package of strong and significant measures that would bolster protection of the intellectual property that drives our nation’s economy and that would ensure law enforcement has the tools it needs to offer that protection. There was no reason not to send this package to the House immediately, and work with our colleagues there to ensure it became enacted into law, as soon as humanly possible.
In blocking this legislation, these Republicans are failing to practice what they have so often preached during this Congress. For all of their talk about jobs, about allowing the American worker to succeed, they are now placing our economy at greater risk through their inaction. It is a failure that will inevitably continue a disturbing trend: our economy loses literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year to various forms of piracy.
Instead of making inroads in this fight, we have the Republican intellectual property roadblock. [...]
We can foresee the disappointing result of this roadblock: our copyright holders will suffer, our patent holders will suffer, and so too will the American worker. In yet another important area, the Republicans that control the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, have failed to respond to the needs of the American people. That is a shame.
As I said, disgusting.