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INDUCE Act


June 07, 2005

CDT's 'Balanced Framework' for Copyright Completely UnbalancedEmail This EntryPrint This Article

The Center for Democracy and Technology has released a report today arguing on behalf of a balanced approach to copyright enforcement, a carrot and stick (CDT Proposes Balanced Framework for Online Copyright Protection). via Constitutional Code, which has many worthwhile comments

Read the 14-page report: Protecting Copyright and Internet Values: A Balanced Path Forward: Version 1.0 – Spring 2005 [PDF].

Note: I've long favored the carrot and stick approach. See this interview with GrepLaw in September, 2003 (Ernest Miller on DRM, Privacy and Hemingway). (You know, I think my answers stand up to the test of time pretty well.)

However, I think the CDT report favors the stick a bit much, treats citizen/creators as mere consumers, doesn't consider structural reform of copyright law, and doesn't provide much in the way of a carrot, among other flaws.

Read on for a more detailed take on the report...

Continue reading "CDT's 'Balanced Framework' for Copyright Completely Unbalanced"

May 25, 2005

Senate Judiciary IP Subcommitee Hearing On Int'l Copyright InfringementEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Well, I listened to the nearly two hours of generally dull testimony for today's Senate hearing on intellectual property (Notice of Subcommitee Hearing: Piracy of Intellectual Property). I suffered so that you didn't have to.

The hearing was chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who heads the Intellectual Property Subcommitee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) also attended most of the hearing.

The focus of the meeting was on international copyright infringement, particularly in China and Russia. Flash! There is lots of infringement in these two countries and something must be done about it, such as keeping Russia out of the WTO. And we're really going to get upset with China pretty darn soon. Any minute now, in fact. Just you wait, we'll do something major to China, you'll see.

Read on ...

Continue reading "Senate Judiciary IP Subcommitee Hearing On Int'l Copyright Infringement"

April 06, 2005

C|Net on Possible Judicial Inducement TestEmail This EntryPrint This Article

C|Net News' John Borland has a brief article on the possibility that the Supreme Court may craft some sort of inducement test in the Grokster case (Supreme Court mulls file-swap 'pushers'). Unfortunately, the article doesn't really provide any context as to the distinctions between the IEEE's active inducement test and the RIAA's presumptive inducement test. [UPDATE] See also, Ed Felten, Freedom to Tinker, Inducing Confusion.

March 15, 2005

Slate Induces Copyright ViolationsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Slate has published another good article by tech journalist Paul Boutin, who advocates HTML annotation software for bloggers (Newsmashing: The new technique that will change blogging forever). Basically, you would be able to copy a webpage, then annotate directly on top of it, highlighting passages, writing notes, adding links, etc. Such is possible today, of course, but a software package that made it easy (just as blogging tools made publishing easy), could be a significant change, allowing anyone who can blog to create such annotations.

Being a long time fan of annotation, I think this would be great.

Of course, there is the little issue of copyright violation. Certainly, if I hosted the complete original work with annotations, that could very clearly lead to a copyright claim. Under the INDUCE Act theories, the company that made the software to allow this would also be liable. After all, if you are authorized to annotate, then you can manipulate the underlying file without need for annotation software. Clearly, the intent and purpose of annotation software would be to encourage the creation of derivative works and reproductions that people are unauthorized to make.

One possible solution would be to be able to create the annotations as a separate file and then layer them over the original copyrighted work. If one wanted to see the annotation, they would click a special browser link that would go to the original HTML of the work that is annotated (no copyright violation there) and then display the annotation over it (potential copyright violation). There is a drawback in that the underlying work could easily be changed to throw off the annotation, but that is a problem with linking in general.

Of course, all the people who were upset with Google for changing the presentation of their work would be just as upset with all the annotators. Would this be a copyright violation? Would a software company that provided this service be guilty of inducing infringement?

Currently, it is unclear how such a case would come out. I would like to think that annotation of this sort is clearly not a copyright violation inherently, but my views are not necessary shared by copyright owners and the courts.

UPDATE 1410 PT

Apparently Paul Boutin wanted to have an actual newsmashing contest, but lawyers shut him down! (Newsmashing!):

We were going to have a newsmashing contest, but the lawyers shot it down. Damn you, copyright law!
Heh.

October 07, 2004

Final INDUCE Act (IICA) Draft From Copyright Interests - INDUCE Dead for NowEmail This EntryPrint This Article

It would appear that the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 is dead. Newsday runs an AP wirestory on the death of INDUCE (Senate Talks Fail on File-Sharing Software). via Copyfight

For the record, according to an anonymous source, this draft version of the INDUCE Act from the copyright industries is the one that finally convinced consumer and technology groups that compromise wouldn't be reached: INDUCE Act - Copyright Owners' Tentative Proposal - 05 Oct 2004 [PDF]

This draft is most similar to the one pointed to by Ed Felton here: Recent Induce Act Draft.

Of course, we should all be wary of the mischief Congress accomplishes during lame duck sessions, as well as a revived INDUCE Act next term.

Might I suggest that the copyright industries spend more time and money developing new business plans rather than legislation-drafting lawyers?

No INDUCE Act (IICA) Markup Tomorrow?Email This EntryPrint This Article

Good news.

A source familiar with the ongoing Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA aka INDUCE Act) drafting process informs me that the Judiciary Committee will not markup the INDUCE Act tomorrow, ostensibly in order to deal with homeland security issues.

Of course, if true, this is only a postponement. Expect the INDUCE Act to rear its ugly head once again, either during the lame duck session or next term.

October 06, 2004

Sen. Hatch Pushing INDUCE Act (IICA) Forward Despite No Consensus? Plus, CDT Speaks OutEmail This EntryPrint This Article

It is looking more and more likely that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is going to try to get something passed tomorrow despite heavy opposition from technology and consumer groups.

Will the Judiciary Committee cravenly accept such an attack on innovation and the future, or will they reject Hollywood's efforts to determine how the internet will develop?

The Center for Democracy and Technology has also sent a letter asking the Senate to not be foolish: CDT, Letter to Sen. Hatch and Leahy, RE: S. 2560, Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004, 06 Oct 2004 [PDF]

We understand that S.2560 is still scheduled for markup by the Judiciary Committee this week. Despite the progress being made, current drafts would chill the development of legitimate consumer technologies, and we urge you not to pass S.2560 out of Committee at this time.

CDT remains committed to working with you and with the Committee to craft a bill narrowly targeted at bad behavior by a small set of actors. In the meantime, however, we urge you not to move forward with S.2560 because of the real risks it presents to communication and innovation on the Internet.
See also, Technology and Consumer Groups Oppose INDUCE Act (IICA) Markup and Secret INDUCE Act (IICA) Negotiations Fail!.

Technology and Consumer Groups Oppose INDUCE Act (IICA) MarkupEmail This EntryPrint This Article

As I noted earlier, the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA aka INDUCE Act) negotations have failed (Secret INDUCE Act (IICA) Negotiations Fail!). Now, two letters have been sent to the Senate asking that there be no markup as there was no consenus. Hopefully, the Senate will recognize that marking up a seriously flawed bill is quite a bit worse than utterly foolish.

From a coalition of consumer groups, including American Library Association, EFF, and Public Knowledge: American Association of Law Libraries, et. al., Letter to Sen. Hatch and Leahy, RE: S. 2560, Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004, 06 Oct 2004 [PDF]

Moreover, every one of the half-dozen drafts proposed would make fundamental changes to copyright law, with potentially enormous impact on the innovation, creativity, and competition. At this point, we are very concerned that staff may present at tomorrow’s executive business meeting complex legislation: 1) on which there is no consensus; 2) that would do great harm to future technological innovation; and 3) that would not meet the goals that you and Senator Leahy have set out.

Every major change to the Copyright Act in the last century has taken several years to draft and fine tune before it was passed. Even the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) resulted from numerous hearings and conference reports over a three-year period. Given the short period over which S. 2560 has been discussed, the absence of hearings on the new language, and the overall lack of opportunity for the public to comment, we believe it would be in the best interests of all parties to allow a more orderly process to go forward, and to have a hearing with expert testimony on whatever draft results from this process. We can see no other way to achieve true consensus and ensure that the public interest and future technological innovations are protected. We hope you will agree.

Technology groups have also sent a letter, including Consumer Electronics Association, IEEE-USA, and NetCoalition: Consumer Electronics Assoc., Letter to Sen. Hatch and Leahy, RE: S. 2560, Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004, 06 Oct 2004 [PDF]
At the July 22 hearing, we committed to working with you to craft a legislative alternative to S. 2560. At Chairman Hatch's direction, we have been working virtually around the clock for almost a week in an effort to reach consensus with the copyright community. Notwithstanding everyone's hard work and good intentions, we find ourselves farther apart now than at the outset of this process. Because we are attempting to write legislation dealing with complex and evolving technology, this has proven to be an exceptionally difficult process.

Unfortunately, the recording industry continues to propose language that would not solve the piracy problems in the manner you identified, but instead would effectively put at risk all consumer electronics, information technology products, and Internet products and services that aren't designed to the industry's liking. In fact, the most recent draft put forward by the recording industry at 1:00 am this morning is a large step backwards from previous drafts in that it would jeopardize more legitimate products and would create a flood of litigation, and thus would hurt vital sectors of the U.S. economy. In short, the draft is unacceptable.

Hopefully, the Senate will take these group's advice and forget about INDUCE for now.

Secret INDUCE Act (IICA) Negotiations Fail!Email This EntryPrint This Article

Reports are that no final compromise was reached on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA aka INDUCE Act). Apparently, negotiations broke down on codifying the Betamax decision as well as copyright holders arguing for broader language.

Whether this means that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R - UT) will produce a bill for markup tomorrow is anyone's guess. I'm guessing yes. Why should a little thing like an unbalanced, dangerous bill stop him?

October 04, 2004

Rumors Continue to Fly Around New INDUCE Act (IICA) DraftEmail This EntryPrint This Article

According to anonymous reports, our betters continue to develop internet innovation policy behind closed doors. Apparently, the open transparent processes that led to the development of the internet are not appropriate to the development of innovation policy.

Supposedly, the revised bill will be completed by close of business today for markup in the Senate tomorrow. No hearings. No public debate. Nada, nothing, zilch.

Also, if what I've been hearing is true, there is a liklihood of some really terrible additional provisions being added to the basic framework of the INDUCE Act (IICA), such as a requirement for file sharing filtering being built into filesharing applications.

Of course, it would be nice not to have to report on rumors. If our elected representatives had any trust in democratic processes, they would make the various language being batted about and the various draft bills public. They certainly wouldn't require a vow of silence from the participants in the process.

Is There a New INDUCE Act (IICA) Draft?Email This EntryPrint This Article

Rumor is that there is a new INDUCE Act (IICA) draft available, but the participants have been sworn to keep it quiet while they show it to their clients.

Of course, the clients of the US Senate, aka the people of the United States, get no such courtesy from their elected representatives.

Ain't democracy great?

October 01, 2004

Burning the Midnight Oil to Create a New INDUCE Act (IICA)Email This EntryPrint This Article

Well, no version of the INDUCE Act (IICA) has come out of Sen. Orrin Hatch's patent-pending throw some of the interested parties in a room and not let them out until there is a compromise innovation policy development process. The drafting may continue throughout the weekend.

Reports that observers should watch for black or white smoke from Senate offices are mistaken; Sen. Hatch did not insist on following medieval precedents in their entirety.

See also, Ed Felten (Sin in Haste, Repent at Leisure).

September 30, 2004

"All-Star" Drafting Team to Create New INDUCE Act (IICA) by Close of Business TomorrowEmail This EntryPrint This Article

According to Public Knowledge:

An all-star game of private sector legislative drafters will start at 10:30 tomorrow. There will be representatives from consumer electronics, Verizon, CDT, and others on our team and from the usual suspects on the other team. They are supposed to produce a draft by 4 p.m. That draft will then be, probably revised, to see if it can be marked up next week.
Why on God's green earth does Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) think this is a reasonable way to set internet innovation policy? There will apparently be no significant reflection or debate, just a rush job at the end of the session.

Unbelievable.

Report from the INDUCE Act (IICA) "Negotiations"Email This EntryPrint This Article

Apparently, Sen. Orrin Hatch's staff believes that the Senate Judiciary Committee would be criticized if forwarded a copyright bill and criticized if it didn't. Criticized by who? The citizens of Utah? Are the people of Utah pushing ths bill? Will Sen. Hatch be voted out of office if the INDUCE Act isn't passed?

Sen. Hatch himself was quoted as saying that he wanted the people in the room to write the "doggone" bill and that if they didn't he would. He also was quoted as saying, "if the bill isn’t done this year, it will be done next year."

Great.

Content Industries Meet with Sen Hatch Prior to INDUCE Act (IICA) "Negotiation"Email This EntryPrint This Article

Yesterday I noted that instead of a regular bill "markup" there was going to be a massive negotiation among some of the stakeholders regarding the INDUCE Act (IICA) (INDUCE Act (IICA) Massive Negotiation Session Tomorrow).

Today, an anonymous source familiar with the process has told me that before the main meeting, which is taking place as I post, there was a separate meeting between Sen. Orrin Hatch (R - UT) and the content industries alone. Have to put together a united front, I suppose.

September 29, 2004

INDUCE Act (IICA) Massive Negotiation Session TomorrowEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Word is that there will be no markup of the INDUCE Act (IICA) tomorrow as had been previously promised. "Instead, the Hatch staff has invited a bunch of people, most of them content people, to a massive negotiation session at 1 p.m. in Dirksen 226. This is not a public meeting, but could be staked out. MPAA, RIAA, BSA, AOL-Time Warner were invited. Consumer Electronics, CDT, Verizon among others."

At what point will our representatives in Washington figure out that this is probably not an intelligent way to determine internet innovation policy for the nation?

INDUCE Act (IICA) Continues to ThreatenEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Concentrate on some other things for a few days and you fall hopelessly behind. I'm also feeling very frustrated that a handful of Senators are still trying to push through the innovation-crippling, free speech-threatening INDUCE Act on behalf of an industry with disproportionate lobbying efforts and profile. It is very sad, especially when I consider the pernicious effect it will have on our political culture for many years to come (the subject of another post). Anyway, simply to catch up, here are some more links:

Copyfight:

INDUCE Act Blog:One final point. Copyfight pointed to an email sent by the group behind the Grammy's encouraging artists to support the INDUCE Act (Induce Boosters Send Email to Grammy Members). If artists think that it is in their interest to significantly increase the power of the publishers as against all others, they are sadly mistaken. When copyright law becomes even further unbalanced, it becomes a burden on artists just as much, if not more than, consumers.

September 24, 2004

Staff Draft of INDUCE 2.0Email This EntryPrint This Article

The Senate will likely be doing a markup of the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 (IICA, née INDUCE Act), next Thursday, September 30th. The draft they will be working off has just been released. It is much closer to the original version of the bill than the version produced by the Copyright Office a couple of weeks ago.

Read the 4-page staff draft of INDUCE 2.0: Staff Draft S. 2560 - Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 [PDF].

The bill is much more narrowly drafted with carve outs for everything that EFF had in their original mock iPod complaint: iPod, the maker of the hard drives and C|Net for reviewing it are also presumably protected (Prelude to a Fake Complaint).

However, the bill retains many of the provisions, including the incredibly vague "reasonable person" standard, as well as other issues.

In any case, this is not the final draft, but only something that will be futher changed at the markup next Thursday and there may be other drafts released between now and then.

More later...

September 23, 2004

The Importance of ... Law and IT: The INDUCE Act 2.0Email This EntryPrint This Article

The fourth episode of my audio series, The Importance Of ... Law and IT, is up on IT Conversations.

This show focuses on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 (IICA, née INDUCE Act), with some emphasis on the recent draft from the Copyright Office.

Get the show here: The INDUCE Act 2.0.

There was really not too much I had to do in this show except let two excellent experts and advocates explain what is going on with the INDUCE Act:

Many thanks to both of them for an excellent show.

During the show, Greenberg noted that there are also several other alternatives to the INDUCE Act. You can find out more about them here: 'Don't Induce Act' - an Alternative to the INDUCE Act (IICA) and Other News.

Read on for the letter Wattles sent to key Senators regarding the bill just days after the show...

Continue reading "The Importance of ... Law and IT: The INDUCE Act 2.0"

September 17, 2004

Broad Coalition of Organizations Calls for More INDUCE Act (IICA) HearingsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

A broad collection of technology companies, civil liberties groups and other organizations have just released a letter calling for further hearings on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 before the bill enters markup. The letter is a response to the new version of the INDUCE Act (IICA) proposed by the Copyright Office (which I haven't yet written about, but is most definitely on my "to do" list). Clearly, Congress should take this letter's advice.

Read the two page letter: Letter to Senators Hatch and Leahy, Re: S. 2560, Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004, Sep. 17, 2004 [PDF].

Text of the letter below:

Dear Senators Hatch and Leahy:

The undersigned entities are writing to express their concerns with the Copyright Office's September 9, 2004 recommended statutory language for a new form of secondary liability for copyright infringement. We commend the Copyright Office for its efforts to meet with the many different stakeholders and to fashion a recommendation that attempts to address the competing interests. Notwithstanding the Copyright Office's hard work and creativity, the September 9 draft is not ready for mark-up by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The draft raises a host of new issues and would create an unprecedented new form of liability of uncertain, but potentially unlimited, reach.

The Copyright Office's most recent approach would create a new form of strict copyright liability for a large class of providers of hardware, software and services used in conjunction with the electronic or physical dissemination of goods, services, and information. These companies and institutions could be found liable without regard to their knowledge, intent, or relationship to the infringer, simply for providing a product, service, facility or financing. All it takes to be found liable is to meet one of the three vague criteria proposed by the Copyright Office, which are to be applied to some undefined subset of a defendant's products or services. As a result, anyone involved in the development or operation of electronic, or even physical, communication, distribution, or dissemination technologies could be strictly liable when it unknowingly derives revenue that may be small in relation to its own provision of goods and services. Perhaps most troubling, entities that participate in the Internet and other electronic space would have no way of structuring their activities to anticipate and avoid -- or even minimize -- these risks.

The Copyright Office's new draft fails to codify the Supreme Court's Betamax decision, which, despite having fostered twenty years of explosive growth in technology, is now under unrelenting attack. Moreover, the Betamax doctrine will provide no defense against the Copyright Office's proposed new form of liability. Nor would it be availing to present any defense based on lack of knowledge, intent, or affiliation with any infringer. Thus, legitimate enterprises may have no effective means of preventing the substantial litigation cost of virtually every infringement case going to trial. The September 9 draft also explicitly opens the door to secondary liability -- posing yet another challenge and obstacle -- to those who finance new ventures or "incubate" new technologies. Thus, it may sweep up far more than bad actors who build business models based in infringement.

While the decision to embark on a new approach shows that the Copyright Office has been willing to listen to criticism of previous approaches and to explore new directions, the very novelty of this approach suggests that further analysis and review are in order. Indeed, each major alternative that has been presented to your staff (including those emanating from the private sector) has revealed an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of S. 2560 as introduced, yet has differed dramatically from other serious proposals. No private or public sector consensus has yet formed as to theoretical framework and practical impact.

In the first hearing on S.2560, the Committee called on interested parties to propose legislative alternatives. The resulting process has led to a number of significant alternatives, which differ greatly from the original and from each other. However, each would work a fundamental change in copyright law, with potentially enormous impact on the competitiveness and economic growth of this nation. Before any approach becomes law, it should, at minimum, be subjected to careful scrutiny in a public hearing at which novel elements in these approaches can be compared, and discussed as to their full implications. The process thus far has been constructive, but has not resulted in either the consensus or the confidence in a legislative framework that ought to underlie a major and consequential revision to the Copyright Act.

We continue to appreciate the seriousness and cordiality with which your staffs have approached this issue, and look forward to continuing to work with you and with them.

Sincerely,

[Numerous technology companies, civil liberties groups and other organizations]


Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.

September 14, 2004

SAVE BETAMAXEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Let Congress know today, with a phonecall, that you oppose the INDUCE Act.

SaveBetamax.org

Or use EFF's Action Center: Induce Act Update: Turning Up the Heat.

If you don't know why you should care, you can pick a few articles at random from an index of more than 100 of my postings on the INDUCE Act. See, LawMeme (The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act).

For those wondering where I've been ... well, I apologize. I'll be back with a vengeance soon, putting on my pajamas and doing an indepth on INDUCE 2.0 and more. Hatch's Hit List is on a slight hiatus ... but don't worry, it'll be back too.

September 10, 2004

Copyright Office Report on INDUCE Act (IICA) Complete But Not Yet PublicEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Yesterday afternoon, the Copyright Office was to provide a report to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act). See, Senators Put Copyright Office in Charge of Finding INDUCE Act (IICA) "Consensus" by Sep 7 and Copyright Office Produces 'Discussion Draft' Alternative to INDUCE Act (IICA).

Two sources have confirmed that the report has been submitted to the Senate, but the report will not be released publicly until Senate staffers have had a chance to review it.

Of course, I wonder why the delay in making the report public? Is it going to change between now and when the Senate deigns to release it? Why is this an appropriate way of dealing with a public report?

Anyway, I've got some other things to do today. Hopefully, I'll be able to take a look at it as soon as someone decides the report is fit for the people who paid for it.

Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.

Hatch's Hit List #45 - MIT's I/O BrushEmail This EntryPrint This Article

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: MIT's I/O Brush

MIT's infamous Media Lab, from which many inducing technologies have found their way into the world, has produced a device whose sole and only purpose appears to be copyright infringement. Furthermore, it is designed to be used by children, training them from an early age to engage in copyright crimes! Who knows how many innocents will be corrupted by the Fagins and Child Catchers of MIT?

What is this criminal device? The I/O Brush:

I/O Brush is a new drawing tool aimed at young children, ages four and up, to explore colors, textures, and movements found in everyday materials by "picking up" and drawing with them. I/O Brush looks like a regular physical paintbrush but has a small video camera with lights and touch sensors embedded inside. Outside of the drawing canvas, the brush can pick up color, texture, and movement of a brushed surface. On the canvas, children can draw with the special "ink" they just picked up from their immediate environment.
This is explicitly training children to violate the rights of reproduction and derivative works. Unbelievable! Shocking!

And just what does MIT expect the children to do with their infringing works? Undoubtedly, because they are in digital format, share them with people! Perhaps they expect that they will be shared via the internet! Thus, violating the right of public distribution! A few more exclamation points for no apparent reason!!!!!!

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.

September 09, 2004

Hatch's Hit List #44 - BroadcatchingEmail This EntryPrint This Article

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: Broadcatching

Combine RSS (w/enclosures) with BitTorrent and you get what I call "broadcatching." It is, in my view, a revolutionary method for multimedia publishing and distribution without gatekeepers.

Problem is, like email and http and ftp and p2p, anyone can post any sort of content in the enclosures and easily distribute it. In fact, undoubtedly, broadcatching will be used by many for infringement. People will share their favorite (and copyrighted) television programs and movies with others. And, if the RSS is private (aka a "darknet"), how will the RIAA or MPAA be able to find and punish the infringers?

The tools for using broadcatching will undoubtedly encourage people to use them for illicit purposes, such as with instructions that "any large file could be put into an enclosure" or something similar.

Clearly, the whole broadcatching thing is going to have to be strictly regulated. Perhaps we can require that all RSS feeds be registered, so that they can be monitored? Broadcatching software will definitely need dialog boxes that ask if the user is sure they want to add content to an enclosure, as it might be copyrighted. Newsreaders will need dialog boxes that ask subscribers whether they want to download the enclosures (they might be copyrighted).

Because broadcatching is a direct and immediate threat to the business models of Hollywood, it will certainly be a prime target for any lawsuits Hollywood can throw against 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.

September 08, 2004

Call Congress on Sep. 14 - SaveBetamax.orgEmail This EntryPrint This Article

On September 14th Downhill Battle wants you to call Congress to let your representatives know your views on the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, née INDUCE Act): SaveBetamax.org:

The Betamax ruling is the only thing that protects your right to own a VCR, tape recorder, CD-burner, DVD-burner, iPod, or TiVo. It's that important. But new legislation that's being pushed through the Senate by lobbyists for the music and movie industries would override the Betamax decision and create a huge liability for any business that makes products which can copy sound or video. This legislation (formerly known as the INDUCE Act) would essentially give Hollywood veto power over a huge range of new technologies. And if they get this power, they'll definitely use it: just as they tried to stomp out the VCR in the 70's and 80's, the music and movie industries want to force all content to go through their own restricted channels.
Go ahead, register.

Want to know more about the INDUCE Act?
Please see LawMeme's well-organized index to everything I've written on the topic: The LawMeme Reader's Guide to Ernie Miller's Guide to the INDUCE Act.