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Copyright Cops..


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"Not satisfied with pitiful potential penalties of $150,000 for infringing upon a $0.99 song, Congress is proposing new copyright cops in the "'PRO IP' Act of 2007, specifically the creation of the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER). They also feel that the authorities need the authority to seize any computers used for infringement and to send copyright cops abroad to help other countries enforce US laws. MPAA boss Dan Glickman praised the bill saying that, 'films left costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year,' though Ars points out that it allegedly costs the studios only $6 billion."


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I'm a bit conflicted on the issue of anti-piracy and so forth.

I sincerely believe that copyright infringement is a crime. One that, frankly, should be prosecuted like any other crime, instead of this whole thing of pretending it's a civil thing. I think that people who serve or download copyrighted material (since that's what a lot of people think of when they think of infringement) are criminals, and should be treated as such.

OTOH, I also wholeheartedly believe that the content providers are using the fact of piracy to a) abolish numerous legal activities that they want people to pay them for, and B) create a massive police state to enforce it.

(I also wholeheartedly believe that Congress is paying a lot more attention to the guys with the big piles of cash, than they're paying to what's good for the country.)

I'd love to see laws criminalizing infringement, but also formally recognizing the benefits of fair use. For example, I'd support a "right to shift media" that would recognize that the purchaser has the right to, say, copy a VHS to a DVD (or vice versa). And, at the very least, requiring that the content providers incorporate any technology that prevents this right, that they must clearly so state on the outside of the package. (Frankly, I'd simply prohibit copy protection.)

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