What the bill would do is amend existing copyright law to allow lawsuits against those who "intentionally induce" copyright infringement. It would be nearly impossible for a reasonable person -- and that is the standard used in the bill -- to decide that an iPod is a tool for intentional violation of copyright. Ditto a pay-per-download service with copy-protection schemes. [italics in original]Well, I'm so relieved. After spending millions to get through a jury trial, established technologies would likely survive. We can be sure that the reasonable person would have voted to save the VCR (in the early years when they were expensive and not widely used), what with Valenti (a reasonable guy himself) telling the reasonable man that the VCR was a vicious serial killer designed by the Japanese to assault Hollywood. Oh, and systems with copy-protection schemes would be allowed to thrive. Why, that is just dandy.
Actually, however, this column does make a very good point, one I've made on the Pho List. If the INDUCE Act actually becomes law, it is highly improbable that Apple would be sued over the iPod. Yes, a plausible case could be made against Apple: EFF's Mock INDUCE Act Lawsuit. However, realistically, the RIAA has made its peace with Apple and would not sue them. That's a bit of the problem with the Save the iPod campaign. The website asks "Is the iPod Really at Risk?" and answers "Yes!" Well, no. It isn't the iPod that is at risk, it is the small company's non-DRM'd wireless iPod clone that is at risk. The biggest threat is to the innovative next-generation iPod from some company that no one has heard of yet that the RIAA will quash long before it can sell millions of units and make us all wonder how we survived without one.
That's a harder story to sell and make bumper stickers for. On the other hand, by claiming a need to "Save the iPod," you run into a problem when people say, "don't be ridiculous, Apple isn't going to be sued," because they're right. Your "Save the iPod" campaign will certainly not look credible if Apple is supporting the other side (they certainly haven't come out against the INDUCE Act yet). As a consequence, it is going to be a little harder, now, to convince the readers of the Motley Fool that they should oppose the INDUCE Act.
The sponsors of this bill are being blinkered into a view that is entirely concerned with the profits of one group – the music industry. The backers of the Induce act are rallying towards just one group at the moment, because that's where the money is.I have to disagree. The IICA backers are also rallying for the MPAA and BSA.
Audio/Video Revolution does a short straight-up story on the issue (New Bill Suggests Apple Could Get Sued For What People Do With Their iPods).