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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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« The Importance Of ... Law and IT: Apple v. Real v. Microsoft | Main | Hatch's Hit List #42 - Microsoft Music »

September 03, 2004

Hatch's Hit List #41 - iPodder

Posted by Ernest Miller

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

Today on Hatch's Hit List: iPodder

I've written in praise of Adam Curry's iPodder as a platform previously (Broadcatching on the iPod Platform). Indeed, the concept excited me so much that I started an online radio show to take advantage of the platform: The Importance Of ... Law and IT.

What iPodder does, is take an RSS feed with enclosures that include audio files, and import them directly into Apple's iTunes. Basically, you can put your iPod in its cradle when you go to sleep and, overnight, it can be populated with all new audio when you wake up in the morning. Ultracoolness.

However, imagine how efficient this tool is for copyright infringement. People can publish RSS feeds with infringing enclosures and the information will automatically be sent to the subscriber's iPods. This is so incredibly convenient, innovative and makes so much sense that it will certainly encourage people to infringe even more.

No more need to laboriously search P2P filesharing networks, or the darker alleys of IRC for infringing files, download them, winnow the bad rips and RIAA files, and then get iTunes to recognize the new music. What a pain! With iPodder, one can simply subscribe to a trusted infringing feed and all the muss and hassle of infringement is taken care of.

That's the problem with these innovative, new software platforms. No one ever thinks to cripple them with DRM and other anti-consumer anti-infringment bugs features before unleashing them on the internet. How is technology supposed to develop properly if people keep innovating so freely?

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.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Hatch's Hit List | INDUCE Act


1. Branko Collin on September 4, 2004 12:21 AM writes...

Perhaps I am stretching the rules of this game a little, but the following could also be seen as inducement to copyright infringement. After all, there seems to be no limit to the amount of links in the chain that can be sued.

The DVD-CCA invented CSS, which was a weak lock to allow them and others to sue under the American DMCA law. A Norwegian guy called Jon Johanson was involved in the effort to crack that lock, in order to enable him and others to view legally bought DVDs. The MPAA pursued this matter and prompted Norwegian police to arrest Jon, then a teenager. Two courts acquitted Jon completely. Now he seems to be spending his days and nights cracking copy protection schemes. He has cracked and helped crack many of Apple's protection schemes; the fact that copyrighted music bought from Apple can now be copied at will, all thanks to the MPAA, seems inducement enough to all those nasty pirates out there. After all, kids (won't anybody think of the children) don't take much prompting, and the MPAA could have known that its actions on foreign territory would backfire, could they not?

(And don't tell me that the MPAA was fighting illegal activities; it was not.)

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