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Hollywood Has Bought Off Congress

-Details of campaign donations

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Senator Orrin Hatch is at the forefront of modern legal theory. His new bill before Congress – the “Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004” (formerly the “INDUCE Act”) – illegalizes the “inducement” of copyright infringement. While ostensibly aimed at filesharing networks, which Mr. Hatch claims tempt users to share copyrighted material, this bill’s impact is far greater than even its sponsors might realize. Any corporation that does anything to bring added value to intellectual property would be a potential target under the Induce Act. While established corporations might be able to withstand a legal onslaught from groups wielding this law, entrepreneurs with novel, perhaps revolutionary technology could falter under legal threats and expenses. With the Induce Act, the iPod of the 22nd century might never be released.

But even if the legislation were to be as narrowly focused as its sponsors claim, the Induce Act would remain flawed. It would overturn more than 20 years of legal doctrine established by the Supreme Court’s Sony v. Universal decision, and in doing so, the Act would become the sole tool of media conglomerates. These businesses lost their suits against the P2P networks in the courts, so now they are lobbying Congress to protect their existing revenue streams with legislation. Passing the Induce Act requires much less effort, creativity, and expense than creating innovative new business models to capitalize upon new technology.

Mr. Hatch and his co-sponsors are saving an industry’s broken business model, while simultaneously – and this is purely coincidence – keeping their biggest donors satisfied. We implore you to help stop this madness.


The bill is too broad

-Could outlaw the ipod

-Links to the fake legal complaints

It stifles technological innovation

-Who will create a new device if it could be misconstrued to "induce" copyright infringement?

May make bad business sense

-The movie industry attacked the VCR the same way the music industry attacks p2p and then videos became the primary revenue source.

What the heck does 'induce' mean anyway?

-The answer: it is very vague, and that's exactly what Hollywood and the RIAA wants. Dictionary definition. -Creation of a new legal doctrine -This is not what the US has historically done, even for much worse crimes against society (speeding in cars that "tempt" you with high MPH ratings, assault riffles, etc.)

Even if the bill does what it says it does, it is still wrong

At its most basic, this bill wants to take out Sony v. Universal. Re-hashing of why Sony decision was sound. COMPLETED by CC and CIS guys (waiting to be emailed to Jake)

Not as strong (let's make them stronger):

Restricts Free Speech


Wastes Taxpayer Money

-Do we have info on how this would be enforced? re: enforcement, doesn't this law just create liability? The enforcement piece of things is taken care of by the pirate act and HR 4077, I think.


A Lazy Solution

The music and movie industries are worried that the freedom and flexibility presented by new technology will undermine their current business models. But instead of developing innovative ways to take advantage of the opportunities that filesharing technology presents, Hollywood is asking Congress to solve a business challenge by allowing more lawsuits and creating more regulations.

Monetize Filesharing

Filesharing is here to stay. But there are simple, practical ways to make sure that musicians and record labels get paid whenever someone downloads a song. A Voluntary Collective Licensing (VCL) system would let internet subscribers pay a flat fee for "all-you-can-eat" downloads, and the money would be divided up to musicians and labels according to popularity. It would only cost you $5 a month, and unlike pay-per-song stores like iTunes, which have lots of costly overhead, all that money would go directly to musicians and record labels. This means that thousands more musicians would be able to make a decent living and everyone would be free to share music without having to worry about getting sued.

VCL is the best of both worlds: it preserves the immense cultural value of the peer-to-peer "music library" while delivering more money to deserving musicians.

A simple diagram about how VCL would work

An Op-Ed in the New York Times explaining VCL

Hypocrisy on Pornography

The record companies argue that we should ban filesharing as a way to combat pornography. Not only is this line of reasoning hypocritical from an industry that profits by marketting sexually explicit material to children, but it's also nonsensical. Peer-to-peer networks account for a tiny fraction of the pornography that's avialable online. It would make more sense to ban web browsers, but if the music industry proposed this, they would simply be laughed at.


Just One Senator

The music indsutry is trying to rush the INDUCE Act to a vote without any debate on the Senate floor. They're taking this extreme step because they realize that any open discussion about the public interest would sink this misguided legislation. But just a single Senator can put a "hold" on the bill which means that it can't go to a vote without a real debate. Please take just 2 minutes to write to your Senators and ask them to put a hold on this bill:

Send a Free Fax About the INDUCE Act