June 26, 2004

PIRATE Act Passes Senate [8:19 am]

So much for all the whistling past the graveyard, claiming that Congress had too much real work (like passing a budget) to mess with the copyright fights. Now my tax dollars will go to helping maintain the RIAA/MPAA business model, unless the House shows more sense — good use for the Department of Justice with a summer of “high alert” coming my way: Senate OKs antipiracy plan (S.2237 status)

Senate leaders scheduled Friday’s vote under a procedure that required the unanimous consent of all members present. Now the Pirate Act, along with a related bill that criminalizes using camcorders in movie theaters, will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for approval.

“These acts will provide federal prosecutors with the flexibility and discretion to bring copyright infringement cases that best correspond to the nature of the crime and will assure that valuable works that are pirated before their public release date are protected,” said Mitch Bainwol, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America. Counting a new round of lawsuits filed this week, the RIAA has sued 3,429 people so far.

[...] One influential backer of the Pirate Act has been urging an avalanche of civil suits. “Tens of thousands of continuing civil enforcement actions might be needed to generate the necessary deterrence,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said when announcing his support for the bill. “I doubt that any nongovernmental organization has the resources or moral authority to pursue such a campaign.”

“This turns the Department of Justice into a civil law firm for the industry’s benefit,” said Adam Eisgrau, the executive director of P2P United. Its members include BearShare, Blubster, Grokster, Morpehus and eDonkey.

Slashdot, oddly enough, only focuses on the camcorder bill: Senate Unanimously Passes Anti-Camcorder Bill

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