Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


AG Gonzales: Attempted copyright infringement a new crime

Oh, boy: "Gonzales proposes new crime: "Attempted" copyright infringement", reports Cnet link here. This proposal also includes life imprisonment for using pirated software, more wiretaps for piracy investigations, computers to be seized more readily, penalties for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention regulations, penalties for "intended" copyright crimes, and Homeland Security to alert the Recording Industry Association of America. Prospects? According to Cnet, a similar copyright bill that the RIAA, and the Software and Information Industry Association announced with fanfare last April "never went anywhere."

Still, this sort of nonsense scares the hell out of me. Big Brother has come and is finding new fields to expand controls. Alert the Supreme Court.


This is the Gonzales exit strategy: grandstand to curry favor with movie and recording industry executives, so that when he resigns he'll have a job with the RIAA threatening litigation against minors and senior citizens who don't own or have access to personal computers.

Instead of grandstanding, he should read "Against Intellectual Monopoly." And then he should resign.

XLP has a pretty good theory in the comment above.

Gonzales is shameless on this issue.

That's a bite shameless, don't you think? No, not Gonzales. I mean your implication that the bill carries penalties of life imprisonment for hackers. That's not actually what it says, is it?

On the off chance you prefer not to provide information to your readers, here's the summary from the article you linked:

Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software. Anyone using counterfeit products who "recklessly causes or attempts to cause death" can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it.

It's nice that you linked to a description of the bill. But your text above is grossly misleading. Even this provision may be worth criticizing, of course. But it's worth criticizing as the sort of negligence/product liability provision it is, not the death to hackers provision you imply.

Look--a mainstream media outlet adopted the same (misleading and fundamentally inaccurate) line about copiers going to prison for life: link here

At least that was my reaction on hearing that the Justice Department wants to imprison people for life for using copied software and jail people who attempt to infringe on copyrights.

I'm no fan of overreaching legislation, but I do like to challenge bad laws on their own terms, not made-up ones.

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