If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you should probably know that I have big issues with copyright laws, specifically the move towards putting power (and money) in he hands of corporate conglomerates and taking it away from the consumer. For those of you who don’t know the basic reasoning behind copyright laws, here’s the basic rundown:
Copyright laws exists to protect a product from duplication for period of time so that the original creator of such item may profit from its development and recoup costs of development (if any). After the period of time has expired, the product become public domain so that others may produce the product (thus making it cheaper to purchase) and to improve upon said product (thus advancing the product).
The latest people to not get this message are Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), sponsors of The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (SB2560). The bill “would hold technology companies liable for encouraging people to infringe copyright.” (wired.com) Among other things, such legislation would put the fear of God in to the minds of many developers of network tools that are designed for multi-user communication. It would also hamper the development of file-sharing programs and programs that including file-sharing features. Not suprisingly, many music labels and Hollywood are in support of this legislation, proving that they too just don’t get it. It also proves that the music and movie industry doesn’t realize that antiquated forms of audio transmission, that is CD’s, just don’t cut it anymore…especially at $15+ a pop. Perhaps even more amazing is the similarity to the “1984 Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision, which found that products capable of substantial non-infringing uses, such as home video recorders, are legal.” (wired.com). The “Sony Betamax doctrine” clearly applies to SB2560.
I think that if a Congressman tries to pass a bill that is in conflict with an outstanding Supreme Court Decision, they should be banned from politics for life and assessed a $5 million dollar fine for the time and money of the American people they have wasted.