"Nah," I said to myself, "they can't be serious. Who in their right mind would be arguing that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act needs to be stricter?"
But, no, it was not a hallucination brought on by any lack of sleep. Apparently, preventing copyright infringement is one of those Really Important Things. Or at least you would think so by observing that this purportedly soon-to-be-introduced bill calls for jail time of up to 10 years for a first offence, 20 for a second.
Yes. That's 10 years in jail for copying a CD. Or, actually, even attempting to copy a CD. Because attempted copyright infringement is now a major crime as well. Clearly, I missed a memo somewhere that said "Copyright infringement is a violent offense." Because, yes, this maximum of 10 to 20 years is comparable to what you'd get if, say, you commited manslaughter or murder, and got out a bit early for good behavior.
There's a few other nasty things in the draft, such as the setting-up of a new organization under the FBI to deal specifically with copyright crime, and allowing wiretapping in investigations of copyright crime. Oh, and language that could be used to keep anyone, even anti-virus software makers, from distributing means of circumventing or getting rid of copyright-protection schemes. Like, you know, the rootkit that Sony/BMG stuck on some of their music CDs awhile ago.
Oh, and I'm not seeing any loopholes for Fair Use, either.
Not to fear, there is apparently a valid reason for this new-and-improved bill! According to the Attorney General of the United States, money made from copyright infringement is used, quite frankly, to fund terrorists.
Anti-terrorism measures clearly trump everything. Even when they're not actually any good for fighting terrorism. Or for doing anything other than letting the RIAA squeeze more money out of all the lawsuits they're bringing against individuals and then settling out of court.
Tomorrow, on our next installment of Why Ardith Can't Sleep, we'll discuss the idea of network neutrality, in "AT&T Wants To Make Your Websurfing Slower, And Charge Everyone More At The Same Time." And maybe if you're really, really lucky, in a day or two: "Why Stopping Child Pornography Means The Government Has To Record Your Every Move Online," also known as, "If It Could Ever Possibly Save The Children, It Can't Possibly Be A Bad Idea."Posted by Ardith at April 24, 2006 09:22 PM | TrackBack