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Software Firms Lobby for Stronger Copyright Laws

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the fun-time-closer-to-being-over dept.

Privacy 428

Spy Handler writes "According to an article on CNN, the Business Software Alliance went before the Congress yesterday and lobbied for stronger copyright protection. Their key point: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks. I guess they feel that the DMCA is too lax for them to be allowed to carry out RIAA-style raids on college students."

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Wow..Rights for sale... (4, Informative)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297676)

Guess the BSA and all concerned learned a lesson from the RIAA, go to the source and change the laws, if they do not work for you. Sounds like the NET Act all over again.

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297793)

Yeah, they might end up having to sell software packaged like this [img114.exs.cx] :-)

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (0, Troll)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297900)

I know what this iiiimage iiiiis.

Reading trolltalk has it's advantages after all.

BTW, your link has been reported to the FBI. Enjoy your hot, asspounding federal action you sick, business-owning fuck!

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298010)

Ha, report all you like, I don't live in the US you nobsliced turd.

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (2, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298095)

Oh great... I was planning on ignoring that link but now I fell I *have* to click it. Problem is, I've developed a (rather healthy) fear for the .cx ctld.

<courage>
What do I do? What do I do?
</courage>

Not Real Software houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297807)

Only the semi-useful people lobby for such stuff. The ones that CAN, they DO, the rest try to protect intellectual poverty! Theirs!

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (3, Insightful)

Leomania (137289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297894)

[snip] go to the source and change the laws, if they do not work for you.

Yes, that's exactly how it's supposed to work.

I think the protections the ISPs are asking to keep (namely to have the BSA or software companies file lawsuits to reduce the number of frivolous information requests) is reasonable. This will make the costs higher to prosecute an individual, but if that individual is found guilty then they pay a higher penalty for having engaged in the illegal activity. I'm fine with that.

Nevertheless, it is completely within reason for the BSA to ask for easier access to information from ISPs; it's up to us to protest any bills that are put forward to allow it if we feel it's an unnecessary proposal or excessively invasive. That's how our government works, and it's how we participate. I'm not saying it's perfect, or that an individual's protections aren't trampled upon by various laws, but at least we have some method of making our thoughts known.

- Leo

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (5, Insightful)

Sebby (238625) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298005)

That's how our government works, and it's how we participate.

You seem to forget that we each need to have a $50000 cheque included with our protests; clearly we don't each have that, but the BSA/**AA do. That's also how things work.

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (5, Insightful)

SirChive (229195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298131)

I disagree. I don't think it's reasonable for the BSA to lobby for certain laws. In fact, I don't think that groups like the BSA and the RIAA shoud ever exist.

They are monopolistic by nature. Capitalism is predicated on competition. If every major company in a given industry gets together and forms an organization like the BSA and then the that organization lobbies for all those companies it effectively creates a trade cartel.

This is another example of how we no longer have anything resembling an open capitalist economy. It's decayed into an oligarchic form of crony capatalism. All the chummy companies get together and form the chummy trade group which then lobbies the appropriately chummy committee of congress where someday the chummy congress scumbags hope to get rich in the chummy industry that they supposedly regulate.

Under this system if you aren't one of the chummy in-crowd (meaning all of us) you are screwed.

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297897)

Yes, unfortunately many slashdotters refuse to learn the same lesson. Instead, they just rant about it here, and demonize anyone who suggests what they are doing is illegal.

Re:Wow..Rights for sale... (5, Insightful)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298107)

So. I guess the subversion of the Original Copyright Intentions, by biased legislators and coporate America, are fair as well? Or how about having a digital flag attached to your hardware, and then to your legally recorded media content is flagged because a corporate entity wants it that way. These things brought about by corporate lobbyist. Rights are for Sale, whether you like it or not, or admit it.
Benjamin Franklin "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety...

Also "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."

"Sell not...liberty to purchase power.

Here is one of his key qoutes.
"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states...the ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy...An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy...

This one is just asking for it. (1, Flamebait)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297678)

Let the "corporations own america" comments begin.

Only on slashdot can Iranian censorship remind you of how evil the US is.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297707)


Let the "corporations own america" comments begin.

Only on slashdot can Iranian censorship remind you of how evil the US is.
--
The more successful you are, the more people hate you.


The more successful you are at screwing people, the more people hate you.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (4, Insightful)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297731)

Could you please explain what censorship is taking place here? Other than the obvious removal of illegally distributed content.

If this was to be implemented I don't see why it would only affect corporations and business entities. It would provide extra protection for GPL'd software copyright holders in the event of their copyright being infringed amongst others.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (1)

azadam (250783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297739)

Justice is expensive these days.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297788)

removing content just because it's illegal in a legal system many of us don't agree with is still censorship as far as I'm concerned.

Slavery is still slavery when it's legal, rape is still rape when it's legal. Censorship is still censorship when it's legal.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297919)

Slavery is still slavery when it's legal, rape is still rape when it's legal. Censorship is still censorship when it's legal.


But amusingly, Slavery is illegal, Rape is illegal, and distributing someone else's copyrighted works over the net is - you guessed it - also illegal.

So what was your argument again?

Re:This one is just asking for it. (4, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297790)

Actually, the way I would describe it is not censorship, but rather the erosion of our Constitutionally-protected due process rights.

One Problem (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297910)

The problem is that they want names of people that *MAY* be trading..

Presumed guilt.. That is a big problem.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (1)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297993)

And since we have already seen suits where people criticized companies on their web sites, are you so certain that the Korporations will only have noble purposes. Now instead of a web site, say you post critical comments about a company or government on a bulletin board. They get your IP from the Board and follow it up to your ISP. Let's hand that information over as to your real identity. Of course that would never happen, would it? With some of the suits we have already seen I would not be so sure.

Re:This one is just asking for it. (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298047)

Locking up ideas as property through stifles their free flow much like suppressing them. This is how copyright is censorship. It was intended to be a trade-off to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by temporarily locking expressions of ideas as property.

It may have served that purpose when copyright terms were short, but now that they are creeping ever toward perpetuity, and penalties for infringement are becoming more draconian, copyright stifles the progress of science and the useful arts. Perhaps it is time for the very idea of copyright to be scrapped.

This one... (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298059)

Only a moron would use Iran's severe shittiness to excuse America's moderate shittiness.

Of course they want those changes (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297684)

In case you hadn't noticed, several ISPs have told them no, they can't have the names, and the courts have backed them up.

Re:Of course they want those changes (5, Insightful)

Noctrnl (110574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297738)

The stance of ISPs is that they need the extra step (suing for the logs, etc) in order to protect the privacy of customers. They contend that if the RIAA, MPAA, or whoever can just call up and get records, that it'll become frivilous. Obviously, that's going to incrue cost for the ISPs as well as make basically everyone's net habits available on a whim.

I'm glad at least some companies still have some sense.

Re:Of course they want those changes (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297817)

The stance of ISPs is that they need the extra step (suing for the logs, etc) in order to protect the privacy of customers.

I wonder how much of the ISPs complaint is because they don't actually have the logs? I'm not sure how much things have changed, but I know 5 or 6 years ago it was pretty common for the smaller dialup ISPs and telco owned ISPs to log FAR less than their privacy policy would lead you to believe.

I know one local company doesn't even delete your account when you cancle.. they just stop billing you. Were I not on broadband through another company I could be getting free dialup on my old account. I have a few friends that do.

Re:Of course they want those changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297983)

I'm not sure it has anything to do with privacy, but rather the cost of providing the requested data. When the RIAA once asked AOL for the names of approximately 60,000 users who they "suspected" of file sharing copyrighted material, AOL responded, "sure, give us the $60 per request and we'll be happy to provide the data". At $3.6 million I can see why AOL said, "no", and it has nothing to with privacy--though I'd like to think otherwise.

Who else will this law change benefit? STALKERS (4, Interesting)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298116)

Even worse, assume for a moment that a disgruntled ex-husband calls up Hotmail, claims that user X is infringing on his copyrights for ficticious product X, and demands to have the contact information of that user (his ex-wife). He then uses that contact info (probably her current ISP's email account) to again allege a copyright violation and demand her contact and billing information. Now he has her credit card info and mailing address. He goes to the address, kills her, and takes their child (that the mother had full custody of and a protection order against the father). Or take the same scenario but this time apply it to a female celebrity and her website. This time use a mentally unbalanced stalker instead of a disgruntled ex-husband. Perhaps the celebrity sent the bills to her secret, private (unpublicized so the paparazzi don't find it) condo in Montana. Of course since noone knows about the condo but her family and closest friends the security will probably be much more lax or even non-existent. Opps. Now this mentally unbalanced stalker has her private mailing address. How many female celebrities have been confronted, assaulted or killed by their deranged stalkers? Lets count just who we can easily recall:

Sheryl Crow - confronted by Ambrose Kappos

Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis - confronted

Gwyneth Paltrow - confronted by Ron Galella

Rebecca Schaeffer - MURDERED by Robert Bardo

Barbara Mandrell - confronted by Edwin John Carlson

Madonna - confronted by Robert Hoskins who was ultimately shot (not killed by one of her bodyguards.

Olivia Newton John - confronted by Michael Perry who was found camping behind her house. He wasn't charged though and was sent home to his family, which he ultimately MURDERED.

Jodie Foster and Ronald Reagan - John Hinckley Jr. shot President Reagan to impress Jodi Fostter, whom he was stalking.

This doesn't only happen to female celebs. It happens to male ones too:

John Lennon - MURDERED by Mark David Chapman

Michael J. Fox - confronted by Tina Ledbetter

Scott Bakula - confronted by Tina Ledbetter

Steven Spielberg - confronted by Jonathan Norman

David Letterman

Rebecca Schaeffer, Theresa Saldana, Cher, Olivia Newton-John, Sheena Easton, Barbara Mandrell, Maddona, Michael Jackson, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman, Sarah McGlocklin, Belinda Carlisle, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Vanessa Williams, Sharon Gless, Brad Pitt, Monica Sales, Nicole Kidman. Jeri Ryan, Meg Ryan, Mel Gibson, Anne Murray, Sonny Bono and even Steven Spielberg are just a few of the celebrities who have been stalked.

A law change to allow anyone to allege copyright infringement to gain personal data is absurd and will be a boon to stalkers everywhere.

Re:Of course they want those changes (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298144)

they could just not keep logs, or have them auto-purged every 15min ;) which brings up a question i always had. how DO the ISPs know which customer is (or was) which IP? i mean i can figure out if they log enough they can probably get it down to the 'node' and they certainly log/keep around mac addy's....but otherwise how do they really know?

And how cleverly they want to pass it (5, Interesting)

kompiluj (677438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297711)

In the news.com.com.com.com article [com.com] you read:
The white paper also suggests tightening the rules under which patents are issued to allow both proposed and issued patents to be challenged more easily.
This is very, very funny, indeed... emphasis mine.

Re:And how cleverly they want to pass it (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297956)

In the white paper, the policies suggested include:
To ensure that patent litigation remains a last resort used only rarely, patent administrative procedures should provide the ability for third parties to challenge a patent application, obtain post-grant review, or oppose a granted patent.

I'm sure they are talking about improving the existing mechanisms and are aware of 37 CFR 1.99 [uspto.gov] which begins with:
"A submission by a member of the public of patents or publications relevant to a pending published application may be entered in the application file if the submission complies with the requirements of this section and the application is still pending when the submission and application file are brought before the examiner."

As I'm sure we all know, patent applications filed after November 29, 2000 will be published as a Pre-Grant Publication within 18 months of submission. There is also some existing mechanism that allows a third party to protest an issued patent and have it re-examined, but I'm not familiar with the procedure or the details beyond what I've already said. Note that I'm not saying they're suggesting a dumb policy, but instead pointing out that they must be referring to an improvement in the existing system that allows third parties to challenge a patent application.

They also suggest:
Promote high-quality search and examination results by improving the prior art database. BSA supports efforts to improve prior art databases and promote work and resource sharing to ensure that patent examiners throughout the world have access to these databases.

This is probably an excellent suggestion if implemented effectively. For all the griping about the poor quality of issued patents, resources like IBM's Technical Disclosure Bulletins are more of a novelty than an industry standard procedure. I'm sure there would be value in assembling a technically oriented, well documented database of the history of computer technology. Even stuff like the date that Microsoft first used Clippy-like helpers might be hard to find and cite authoritatively - modern refences that point to Microsoft BOB in 1995 are easy to find, but finding a reference from 1995 detailing the little dog could be a challenge. (Don't kill me if you have one, that's just a quick example.)

the hell with this country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297715)

its over. they own it all now.

I'm thinking of moving towards a more Grizzly Adams kind of existence.

Re:the hell with this country, & to hell with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297997)

With that defeatist attitude, we're hoping you're thinking along the Grizzly Adams existence too.

Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297718)


The US needs a Canadian style privacy commissioner [privcom.gc.ca] who acts on the behalf of the people rather than a government that acts on behalf of big business.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297815)

Does your President really need another lapdog? I know our PM has enough even without the Privacy Commissioner.

Re:Well... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297831)

The privacy commissioner's office does fine work. Recall how they were warning Canadian citizens about dealing with a certain bank which outsourced some work to the US and the possible Patriot Act privacy invasions?

The US said "If you're not a terrorist you needn't worry" or some crap like that.

Oh well... (4, Insightful)

Sly Mongoose (15286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297725)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks.
There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

Again.

Re:Oh well... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297736)


Good catch, eagle eye!

Re:Oh well... (1)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297863)

    • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks.

    There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

    Again.

A) The presumption of innocence only holds in criminal cases. This is civil: they only want to sue you, not arrest you.
Well, OK, they do want to arrest you, but they're not going as far as to actually say that.

B) The word "may" is used. But let's face it: they know exactly who is trading what, and whether it's illegal or not. Half the files on P2P are dummies they put there themselves. Using the word "may" is just to make it pallatable to lawmakers, newsmakers, and John Q. Public.

That being said, I don't think the proposed legislation is any good, either. But I'd prefer to slam it for the right reasons.

Re:Oh well... (2, Interesting)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297882)

You're right. I guess we shouldn't go after people who may have commited a murder either. Presumption of innocence doesn't apply here, this is about getting you into a court where you are presumed innocent. Noone along the way is expected, or required to believe you are innocent. Otherwise noone could be charged with any crime because it would accuse them of being guilty.

Re:Oh well... (1)

Bloater (12932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297951)

Except that in the case of murder, it is the police that want information about the perpetrator, and not some unaccountable corporation.

Re:Oh well... (1, Insightful)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298073)

Comparing copying things to killing people with malice, forethought and a motive? Now that't not comparing apples to oranges, that's comparing apples to rocks. It's ridiculous.

"presumption of innocence" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297889)

That concept died in the 80s...

Now everyone is assumed to be guilty of something.. So actions are being taken accordingly.

Re:Oh well... (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297916)

There goes 'presumption of innocence.'

Isn't that reserved for the trial? How could you have an investigative phase if you'd have to prove the case first?

As far as I know, and at least over here, the cops can search your home if there's a "reasonable cause" for it. Such a cause might be you smoking pot on the balcony and your neighbours reporting it, or that someone posts kiddieporn on the usenet using your (forged) IDs.

Strengthening one thing or weakening another? (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297733)

Well, there are some differences between the two products: in the case of music files, they are passive chunks of data that can be recorded from radio too. In the other case, the software itself may be able to give information in a spyware-esque way to the vendor... wouldn't that make more sense (for them)?

Re:Strengthening one thing or weakening another? (1)

eofpi (743493) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297792)

But spyware treads close enough to the wrong side of wiretapping laws that real software companies don't want to risk having it thrown out of a case that hinges upon it, nor being forced to reveal in court the fact that they spy on their customers (which could leave them wide open for countersuits from the defendants and class-action lawsuits from legitimate customers, not to mention the enormous amounts of bad PR it would generate).

weak link (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297735)

The phone company should be liable for the crimes plotted over their wires, and the credit card fraud charged, too, along with the P2P copyright violations over their DSL. Why stop at the ISPs? Oh, because they're not in the room with the lobbyists to defend themselves.

ma-nure (2, Insightful)

gravyfaucet (759255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297742)

If the giant corps can still afford large teams of high-priced lawyers to file thousands of lawsuits and high-power lobbyists to blow congress, then piracy is obviously doing little to hurt the bottom line.

this is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297753)

makes for an even more incentive to get people to use GNU/Linux :^P

Re:this is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298019)

You know, it's interesting with the advent of "so much FOSS", that people would STILL rather risk fines and jail time to download and use illegally obtained commercial software rather than the FOSS crap.

Deeper into the pit... (1)

vertaxis (250038) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297757)

Time to pull out the jack boots and learn to goose step.

didn't you learn to share from your parents (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297764)

Even if they do get it passed there will still be "sharers." They can be arrested but there will be more. eventuall there will be jails full of sharers whome people will notice. And of course all the poor people who get sued and get their life ruined because of it. They will have to become criminals to pay for living since they have no money left. In other words it will do nothing.

Re:didn't you learn to share from your parents (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297827)

'In other words it will do nothing.'
Except make more people poorer.

Re:didn't you learn to share from your parents (1)

eofpi (743493) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297846)

That argument didn't work very well for stopping the War on (Some) Drugs.

The problem is, noone with any credibility wants to see it go down the tubes because they came out against a badly-done band-aid on a purported problem, and noone who can do anything about it will listen to those who don't have much (or any) credibility.

It'd be nice if it's different this time, but it'll take an awful lot of grandmothers and 12-year-olds going to jail over it to get the attention of Joe Sixpack.

Didn't you learn to share your identity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297953)

"They can be arrested but there will be more. eventuall there will be jails full of sharers whome people will notice. "

They're known as identity thieves, and yes people are noticing.

Current laws seem to suffice... (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297766)

The Business Software Alliance, a lobbying group whose members include Microsoft Corp. and Apple Computer Inc.

It would seem that judging by Apple Computer's recent lawsuit [com.com] that the current laws are sufficient for them.

WHY??? (1)

Bolshoy Pimpovich (846605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297771)

Jeebux, people! Can't we all just get along... Much of my interest in computers was sparked by Napster... then came Kazaa - which provided many learning tools to me (if you catch my drift). What harm does it do to have some highschool and college kids get ahold of Macromedia (or any other brand) software... in the long run, it's better for the company. I'm sure some of the people who get pirated software will pursue careers using it, and in turn create future business for the company (they will have their claws in the poor kids!). meh, whatever.

Dear felon (1)

opqdonut (768567) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297808)

Your ip has been logged. A strike team is en route to youe location. Please move away from the computer, close your eyes and put your hands behind your head.

Yours sincerely,
Robert S. Mueller
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Re:Dear felon (1)

Bolshoy Pimpovich (846605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297833)

Sure... that's well and good... I don't know what you mean - Oh, and BTW, I'm in friggin' IRAQ RIGHT NOW . . . Dun Dun DUUUUUUN

Re:Dear felon (1)

wernercd (837757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297958)

Keep up the good work out here (I assume your US Military of some flavor, as I am). And Yes I'm in Iraq also, although I'm counting the minutes until I leave this hell hole. One month left. Bah.

He's trying to imply that by advocating piracy the FEDs have you located and will 'take you out' in some kind of Big Brother Conspiracy Theory fashion. Mabye a reference to the movie Hackers or something.

Peace out.

Re:Dear felon (1)

Bolshoy Pimpovich (846605) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298006)

Indeed. I am military... In Kirkuk - with 1 month to go before the party starts. Good luck, and be safe during the elections. -SPC Anonymous

Re:Dear felon (1)

wernercd (837757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298104)

I'm west of baghdad in probably one of the best places you could be out here. I wish you all my luck, as you will most likely need it more than I do. I've been lucky enough getting posted where I'm at.

But then again I've always had my cards land just right. I wish the same for you my brotha.

And so? (3, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297784)

distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks.

And what business would these people have distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks in the first place?

If it's illegal, as the author readily admits, then why should not the law crack down on such activities?

Re:And so? (2, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297948)

From the parent poster:

And what business would these people have distributing illegal wares on peer-to-peer networks in the first place?

If it's illegal, as the author readily admits, then why should not the law crack down on such activities?

From the actual article:

[The BSA] said Internet service providers like America Online should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing copyright software through "peer to peer" networks like Kazaa.

Internet service providers have argued that investigators should be required to file a lawsuit to get customer names, an extra legal step that they say protects customer privacy and cuts down on frivolous requests.


Because the BSA isn't arguing that actual lawbreakers should face harsher penalties. They're arguing that the BSA, RIAA, MPAA, etc. should have unfettered access to customer data, just in case said customer might be breaking copyright laws.

Now, you see, in a nation under the rule of law, there are judicial protections that prevent governmental or corporate "fishing expeditions". Put more quaintly, as a nation the US follows the presumption of innocence -- or at least, it has traditionally.

Re:And so? (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298027)

just in case said customer might be breaking copyright laws

Ok. Access with some evidence such as IP number recordings might be more appropriate as a prerequisite for a search.

Re:And so? (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298091)

Lots of things are illegal. By your logic, we could install video cameras everywhere (normally private areas too). Because, after all, why should the law not crack down on these illegal activities? The point is, there should be a presumption of innocence. Right now, they have to go file a John Doe lawsuit to be able to subpeona the records from your ISP. This cuts back on the number of frivolous claims, because there is cost involved with filing the lawsuit.

Re:And so? (4, Insightful)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298118)

Lets say you put a file named windows.zip on Kazaa. Turns out it has nothing to do with Microsoft, however with the way some of these anti-piracy searches go, they may catch that and want to go after you.

As of right now, to figure out your identity, they have to file to get that information from your ISP. What they are proposing is they can just pick up the phone and say "we think this person is doing something bad, give us all their information."

It would be scary enough if the government could do that without going through the proper legal channels, but this is proposing that coporate america get these kinds of power and unlimited access.

Yes...the law should crack down on illegal activities, but it should not allow businesses to be able to hurl an overwhelming number of lawsuits at people just based on thinking it's illegal and having instant access to the client information. Just like the law - they should have to do all their homework and make sure they have a decent case before hauling you into court, not just a bunch of conjecture. With this change, it'd be too easy for the BSA to haul any average joe into court and accuse them and draing their financial resources in a heartbeat - before they could prove they didn't do anything wrong.

United States of AmeriCo. (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297797)

Equal protection under the law, as long as you're a limited liability company.

If the BSA ever comes to my door, I will make soap with their bodies, and wash my balls with it.

Engines of progress: profit and greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297820)

Ah. Such an insightful comment.

What the hell is it with slashdot and this complete disregard of authors' rights these days? Everything should be free, right? Did you ever grow adult? Nothing's free and that's the way it should be!

Profit and greed are the sole engines of progress.

Re:Engines of progress: profit and greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297922)

It's art, not industry.

Capitalism never pretends to be the best way to develop art. It's a near ridiculous idea.

There's no concept of "progress" in the art world.

Who are you to speak for art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11297976)

It's art, not industry.

So, you must then be a well-off artist to be able make such a claim? Please post a link showing some of your art that you must sell to such extent that it maintains you.

No? I have artist friends and they, if someone, know the value and importance of being able to sell their work. I bet you're just a freeloading GNU-convert who thinks that everybody's time is just as worthless as yours.

Re:Who are you to speak for art? (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298086)

Bleh. My (OP) point is that copyright only benefits corporate entities. An individual has an infinitely more difficult time and infinitely more expense defending their copyright than the RIAA (who claims copyright on works they do not own.)

Much of what the BSA does is fishing expeditions, something that the individual can't do. (to the same extent)

Now that the Justice Dept. is involved in 'enforcing' copyrights, I expect more of the same.

I know the value of being granted a monopoly in selling my work. As a musician, I also know that 'art does not exist in a vacuum', and understand that a healthy public domain is key to works by any artist.

Re:Engines of progress: profit and greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298134)

I just realized we were talking about software not music and the like, i retract my statements.

Re:United States of AmeriCo. (1)

Dominic Burns (673810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297821)

"If the BSA ever comes to my door, I will make soap with their bodies, and wash my balls with it."

Don't throw the bones away! I know a nice little soup recipe.

Last time I checked (4, Insightful)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297814)

The last time I checked, all people were supposed to be equal under the law. Here, we have natural persons vs corporations, it seems. Now, would somebody show me where the corporations are assuming the same responsibilities as natural persons?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of copyright enforcement (as a GPL user). However, I'm also all in favor of equal rights and equal responsibilities. And it seems like the corporations are trying to gain "more-than-equal" rights here, without accepting the responsibilities. When was the last time you saw a CxO pay the same kind of penalties that a regular person would?

Re:Last time I checked (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297949)

When was the last time you saw a CxO commit the same kind of crimes that a regular person would. The reason the punishments are usually different are due to the nature of the crimes. Corporate crimes are generally civil matters, leading to cash settlements/judgments. On occasion, they are criminal, and executives get jailtime (enron, adelphia, etc).

Re:Last time I checked (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298013)

That is true. My point was more about the scale of punishment. Paying a few hundred million is nothing when one has billions in the bank (as a corporation). Copyright abuse is a civil matter for both natural persons *and* corporations; IMHO the protections that CxO's have under the corporate banner should not exist, in the same way that the SEC wands hedge funds to begin reporting a bit more.

"Stronger copyright laws" malapropism (4, Insightful)

spywarearcata.com (841806) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297838)

It's not about "Stronger Copyright Laws" but in reducing the rights of the invidividual to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Dragon is crying (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297866)

and nobody hears him.

They always do thius before they give up.

this could help... (1)

Striker770S (825292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297872)

should be required to reveal the names of customers who may be distributing illegal wares
so all the isp has to do is say that he believes that nobody is distributing illigal wares. So all you got to do is bribe the isp or something. Oh hell we could always go around through a different ip adress and avoid the problem altogether.

When will they learn... (1)

William Gates IV (762947) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297875)

...that the best way to protect your copyright is convenience, convenience, convenience. Make it easy to purchase, and have a _wide_ selection. That should do it...

Am i the only one ? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297876)

That is beginning not to care?

Im about to the point that i really dont care what laws they buy.. Im going to do what ever i have been all along.

Once they manage to make it too difficult to function, then they loose another paying customer. Just as the RIAA and MPAA have done.

Copyright Is Good; Fishing Expeditions Are Wrong (3, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297895)

Businesses lobbying Congress in their own interest isn't exactly news, is it? The Reuters piece at the link isn't useful: What specific legislation is involved, and how? My guess is that CNN chopped the story to fit.

In any case, the key word is "may". I'm a copyright supporter, but don't have much use either for the entertainment industry or folks who argue that copyright doesn't exist. Acquiring the name of someone who's illegally distributing copyrighted material -- on the net or elsewhere -- ought to require a subpoena issued only after presentation of convincing evidence linking a specific, but unidentified, person with specific copyrighted material.

No one should be able to go on a fishing expedition with ISP's, any more than they can go on a fishing expedition with printing press operators.

If they really want to lobby for a law... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297901)

Not that I'd be particularly interested in seeing it happen, but if they were serious about it, they could end wide-scale P2P in the USA virtually instantly.

All they need to do is make it legally required for any ISP which offers service to residential customers in the US to put all those customers behind a NAT with absolutely no port forwarding of any kind... only communication sessions that are initiated by the home PC will go through, meaning that regular web use can continue uninterrupted (for web sites that are not hosted on residential computers). Sessionless packets like UDP can also be rejected unless they are directed at a port from which the designated computer had recently sent an outgoing packet. This might kill certain services, but none that would be liable to adversely affect the typical residential customer.

Of course, this would mean that residential customers would be unable to use their home PC's as servers of any kind, which I'm sure would tick off more than a few people... people who are highly inconvenienced by the change would have to upgrade their ISP accounts to "corporate" levels, paying a higher fee.

Re:If they really want to lobby for a law... (1)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298133)

Nah....it'd just force a mild evolution in the p2p programs. A bunch of nodes in some other country that the p2p program would contact on startup thus ensuring that initial pack going out.

Remember, the internet routes around censorship :)

Re:If they really want to lobby for a law... (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298140)

This might kill certain services, but none that would be liable to adversely affect the typical residential customer.
Are you nuts? It would kill bi-directional VoiP (such as Vonage [vonage.com] ), which requires certain ports, and a lot of them. Vonage has over 400,000 customers as of 01/05/05; a lot of them will be pissed if their service was unusable.

people who are highly inconvenienced by the change would have to upgrade their ISP accounts to "corporate" levels, paying a higher fee.
Let's think about this: if people want to do something, they will do it. If they want to use P2P apps, then they will upgade the account. How does that really block P2P use? All it really does is force people to pay more for a service they already use.

They're stealing from ME... (5, Interesting)

dmayle (200765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297906)

I've been waiting for just such an article as this to point out something that I've recently come to realize. Everytime there's a copyright article on Slashdot, there is the inevitable discussion on "piracy", "copyright infringement", and "stealing". In going over all of the arguments, I've come to realize that it is stealing, only everyone's got it backwards, the *AA, et al, are stealing from ME...

The U.S. constitution makes it clear that works protected by copyright belong to the public, and granting of copyright should apply only to authors and inventors to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

Well, each time Congress extends the length of copyright or strengthens patent law, they're stealing from me, they're stealing from you, and they're stealing from each person in this country who could gain anything from that work, even if it's just 90 minutes of enjoyment from watching an old movie for free. I, for one, am outraged, and now that Congress has turned to looting from me for the benefit of the few who are wealthy and powerful, I will feel no remorse when I download music, or copy DVDs.

It's high time we started taking back our country, and if you think that control of information isn't the most important thing we have to fight for, then you've never studied oppressive regimes. So, copy a DVD for your family, download some MP3s, and help to start a revolution (in thought)...

Re:They're stealing from ME... (0, Troll)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298042)

Well, each time Congress extends the length of copyright or strengthens patent law, they're stealing from me, they're stealing from you, and they're stealing from each person in this country who could gain anything from that work, even if it's just 90 minutes of enjoyment from watching an old movie for free. I, for one, am outraged, and now that Congress has turned to looting from me for the benefit of the few who are wealthy and powerful, I will feel no remorse when I download music, or copy DVDs.

Well, heck, whatever it takes for you to feel better about taking someone else's work without compensating them, I guess.

It's amazing how easy it is to rationalize those things away, isn't it?

Re:They're stealing from ME... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298060)

Misuses the word "take" when talking about copying: +3 troll points.

Accusatory tone: +3 troll points.

Completely ignores the point: +4 troll points.

Threshold: 5 troll points.

Result: You are a troll.

Re:They're stealing from ME... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298074)

Anyone who disagrees with the popular groupthink == Troll.

Encrypted Networks (4, Interesting)

syukton (256348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297954)

So why don't we just encrypt everything (including filenames) so nobody can tell who is downloading what? It sounds like big business wants an ISP to track suspicious activity and report back if they see anybody transferring copyrighted materials. Well if everything was encrypted, only the people who are supposed to know what's being transferred will ever know that it is actually BEING transferred.

Re:Encrypted Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298124)

Or try something like this:

http://freenetproject.org

What I never understood about copyrights.... (1)

Skraut (545247) | more than 9 years ago | (#11297964)

This is just what I never understood about Copyrights. Basically anything declared copyrighted becomes copyrighted. Where does the line get drawn?

"0" Copyright 2005 by Skraut

"1" Copyright 2005 by Skraut

So now I have copyrighted 0 and 1. Can I now legally sue the **AA for having billions of copies of my copyrighted work on their websites?

Re:What I never understood about copyrights.... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298014)

So now I have copyrighted 0 and 1.

You can't copyright numbers. Or mathematical equations. Sorry.

You can copy an individual expression of those numbers, but posting them on a bulletin board effectively voids your hold on them anyway.

Re:What I never understood about copyrights.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298025)

Of course not, you fool. It's hardly an original and creative work.

If that was an attempt at a joke - sorry you fail it by being an unfunny tit.

Re:What I never understood about copyrights.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298052)

Get a sense of humor, it was actually kind of funny... prior art notwithstanding.

Re:What I never understood about copyrights.... (2, Informative)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298087)

WHAT WORKS ARE PROTECTED?

Copyright protects "original works of authorship" that are fixed in a tangible form of expression. The fixation need not be directly perceptible so long as it may be communicated with the aid of a machine or device. Copyrightable works include the following categories:

1. literary works;
2. musical works, including any accompanying words
3. dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4. pantomimes and choreographic works
5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
7. sound recordings
8. architectural works

These categories should be viewed broadly. For example, computer programs and most "compilations" may be registered as "literary works"; maps and architectural plans may be registered as "pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works."

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wwp [copyright.gov]

outlaw professional lobbyists (5, Interesting)

bgs4 (599215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298002)

Groups such as the Business Software Alliance spend however many millions of dollars every year on lobbyists only because they get many more millions in return through their influence on government.

Using money to influence government in this way is, in its end result, bribery. But it is different than bribery in that it does not require corrupt politicians-- it requires only politicians who are not all knowing. Even intelligent, well-intentioned people can be convinced of something if only one side of an argument is heard. This is especially true for a topic as complex as government policy.

Professional lobbying, because it is effectively bribery, needs to be outlawed-- it should be illegal to pay someone to speak to a government representative on your behalf. Instead of hiring lobbyists, companies can ask their employees and shareholders to contact, in their spare time, their representatives. If that is not sufficient, companies can, through advertisement, raise public awareness of their concerns. In this way, the influence of money will move one more step away from government.

Public interests groups, such as groups opposed to overreaching copyright and patent laws, will have little problem recruiting volunteer lobbysists, as many of them already do. Such lobbyists, since they are unpaid, would be perfectly legal. Not only will public interest groups be able to lobby almost as effectively as before, but they will also no longer have to compete with highly paid professional lobbying firms.

And I thought free/open source was a lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298093)

That's just silly. "Outlaw lobbying" is just like saying "Outlaw all the nasty things such as murder, rape and robbery".

The fact is - it will never stop. You either have to play the game or lose.

Hey! There's plenty of you. Just set up an organization and start lobbying! How hard is that?

makes me wonder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11298075)

who does one have to sleep with to get legislation passed round here?

I bet the RIAA/MPAA/BSA knows.

I for one.. (1)

mebollocks (798866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11298076)

. welcome our new bsa overlords... would like to remind them that I can be useful in rounding up others to further the cause of FOSS s/w by making the general public eventually realise that the s/w they're running/distributing IS NOT licenced to them and that what they're doing IS immo^H^H^H^H uneth^H^H^H^H not cool. Was I the only one here that read who read that newsforge article today? Stop complaining about your rights getting trampled, feds can get a warrant to search your house, read you post etc. Nothing new here, nothing unconsitutional either.
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