What is Hatch's Hit List? Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has introduced the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act) in the Senate. The bill would make it illegal to "intentionally induce" copyright infringement, but is worded so broadly that it would have all sorts of unintended consequences, one of which is to severely limit, cripple or kill innovation in many different fields. Hatch's Hit List is a daily exploration of some of the technologies and fields that the bill would likely affect. See also, Introducing Hatch's Hit List and the Hatch's Hit List Archives. Send list suggestions to ernest.miller 8T aya.yale.edu.
Today on Hatch's Hit List: Battle Torrent
Those anti-copyright activists over at Downhill Battle are at it again. Yesterday, they announced a new software development initiative to make using BitTorrent easier than ever. Check out the goals of the Battle Torrent Project:
- To make it completely effortless for complete neophytes to download torrent files.
- To make it as easy as possible for people who have websites to set up their own torrent tracker.
- To make sharing a torrent as fast and easy as posting a file to a website.
The ostensible purpose of this project is to facilitate legitimate filesharing, but that is what all the "bad actors" say:
If we pull this off--and we can-- we'll have made sharing four-gigabyte files as easy as sending an email to your friend [or a million of your closest friends]. And that will change our culture significantly [by destroying copyright]. If distributing large media files becomes easier, people will create more of their own works and will experience more work created by other individuals [create their own, yeah, sure].
The site all but admits that it is about copyright infringement. Notice how they use an example of an infringing work:
Instead of downloading the torrent file, the user downloads an executable that contains a fully functional bittorrent client and the torrent file (say, "The_Grey_Album.torrent"). When the user runs it, the program begins downloading the Grey Album.
As everyone knows, the Grey Album
is an illicit derivative work. The screenshot
they use also shows the real, infringing use of the system by showing how the system can be used to share a copyrighted work, in this case the TV pilot Heat Vision and Jack
, as well as a derivative work, Michael Jackson's Thriller, as realized in Lego
(another questionable technology
And don't even get me started on all the evidence of intention to induce infringement on the main Downhill Battle website. Sure, Battle Torrent might be a great idea for letting people publish bulky files and engage in free expression, but that is precisely why the INDUCE Act will have to outlaw it.
Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic, including Hatch's Hit List: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.