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Jail Time For P2P Developers? 826

Kjella writes "A Califorian bill introduced last week would, if passed, expose file-swapping software developers to fines of up to $2,500 per charge, or a year in jail, if they don't take 'reasonable care' to prevent their software from being used to commit crime. C|Net has the story, as well as a link to the actual bill. By the overly broad definition of P2P software, almost any piece of internet software could be liable. This browser is certainly able to download and upload files ('Save as ...' and upload forms). Are Microsoft, Opera and Mozilla.org taking 'reasonable care' to prevent me from exchanging anything illegal? Of course, I never go there, but a friend of my uncle's third cousin's brother told me warez download sites work just fine ..."
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Jail Time For P2P Developers?

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  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:42AM (#11407697) Homepage Journal
    They ought to just declare HTTP, FTP, UDP, TCP, and IP illegal. After all, they're used for almost 100% of digital piracy. It would really save the imbeciles that draft laws these days a lot of time and effort if they just took that logical step. It's not like it would be any significant change from what they're doing now anyway since they obviously have no clue how the technology they're drafting against works.

    In fact, let's just declare the intarweb illegal and impose fines for anyone who uses it. Then, we can begin our slow, painful descent into obscurity and technological darkness. It'll be great when we finally get so anti-progress that we're back to accusing people of being witches and burning them in the town square again.

    Here's a better idea. People could stop voting for candidates who's agenda starts and stops with business interests. They could start voting for people who are actually interested in representing the, well, people. They could stop pretending there's really any such things as a "red" or "blue" state candidate. They could realize that it's time we purged the whole system and got some new blood in - people who actually care about the country and want to see it succeed.

    I'm not holding my breath. Holding your government responsible for being.. well... responsible... is hard work, and a lot of Americans don't seem to like that. Just maintain the status quo, even though the status quo isn't really what you think it is anymore.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:49AM (#11407786)
      If passed and signed into law, it could expose file-swapping software developers to fines of up to $2,500 per charge, or a year in jail, if they don't take "reasonable care" in preventing the use of their software to swap copyrighted music or movies--or child pornography.

      The P2P developers need gun lobbyists on their side! Since when was a gun developed that took "reasonable care" in preventing accidental death? The gun should be able to detect human presence and not fire a round! Yeah, it might cost a lot of money and time to develop that feature but we have to make sure that people don't use it the wrong way!

      Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to ban illegal downloading on any state computers, including those owned by the state university systems.

      Are they talking about State University networks or just their computers? If I am paying tuition *and* a technology fee to directly support the network I am using it as an ISP and thus the University network should not fall under this... If I am using a University purchased computer connected to that network then I see no problems with it.

      "We're only asking for reasonable controls. We're not asking for people to create new technology or recreate the wheel."

      What's "reasonable"? When they realize that the swappers will immediately get around ANY filtering that the P2P apps do will they decide that the rudimentary filters aren't "reasonable"?

      Napster banned individual songs from being traded and everyone started encoding entire albums as a single MP3 to throw them off. People hide, encrypt, and subvert tons of different "safety" measures all the time. When are they going to realize that "reasonable" is more difficult than they believe?

      Let the MPAA and the RIAA track down and find the individuals serving these materials up and have them find their REAL NAMES, REAL ADDRESSES, and sue them themselves. I have no problem with them doing some real leg work to get the people at the heart of the issue. I do have a problem with allowing them to just be handed these records by ISPs, etc.

      Stop paying off the local/federal governments to pass hasty laws to do your dirty work.
      • I agree with your post except for one part

        Since when was a gun developed that took "reasonable care" in preventing accidental death?

        I don't think this law targets tools that allow accidental downloading of copyrighted material. Now had you said that sentence without the accidental clause it would have been fine :P

        [/nitpick]
        • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:24AM (#11408250)
          I would have gone with, "Since when was a crowbar developed that took `reasonable care' in preventing its use in prying open locked desk drawers?"

          Unfortunately the people who think this is possible will be pointing to changes to photocopiers and graphics software in preventing casual counterfeiting.

          Now where's my candlestick? I have a surprise appointment in the Library with Professor Plum.
        • Not to further-fuel the endless RKBA debate, but can anyone here imagine ANY product besides guns *not* being forced to adopt "silencers" (actually suppressors, but let's stick with the ignorant Hollyweird-terminology for now!) in the USA if invented yesterday? Instead, getting a silencer in the USA is *much* harder than getting a normal, Title one weapon, and costs $200 along with all the hassle. I can tell everyone who hasn't tried one, suppressors make shooting a LOT more-fun (and safer). And no, plinkin
      • by Riddlefox ( 798679 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:15AM (#11408115) Journal
        The P2P developers need gun lobbyists on their side! Since when was a gun developed that took "reasonable care" in preventing accidental death? The gun should be able to detect human presence and not fire a round! Yeah, it might cost a lot of money and time to develop that feature but we have to make sure that people don't use it the wrong way!

        Are you being serious or humorous? Virtually every single gun has at least one safety on it to prevent accidental discharges. These include drop safeties to prevent the hammer from falling if the gun is dropped, a manual safety to lock the hammer/sear in the cocked position and prevent the trigger from being pulled, grip safeties to ensure that the trigger can only be pulled if the pistol is being held properly, trigger safeties (such as on Glocks) to ensure that the trigger can only be pulled if the entire trigger face is pressed, and not just snagged, loaded chamber indicators, disconnectors to keep the firearm from going full-auto, and so on and so on. Multiple mechanical devices have to fail for a firearm to accidentally fire.

        Note that there is a fine distinction between Accidental Discharges and Negligent Discharges. Accidental Discharges occur when the mechanical devices do fail, and the firearm fires when no shot was intended. Some SKS's were notorious for inadvertantly going full-auto when the sear catch failed, and the rifle slam-fired. Negligent Discharges occurs when a person violates a basic rule of firearm handling, and fires a shot when s/he did not intend to. 99.9% of the time, this is what happened when "the gun just went off!" - the person had their finger on the trigger and pulled it when they were not paying attention.

        Your invention would have to read the user's mind - what if I want to shoot that mugger coming at me with a lead pipe?

        I'm not intending to start a RKBA debate here, I merely wanted to educate.

        • The parent is right. Guns are among the least likely weapons to be used accidentally, no matter how likely they are to be used negligently. More than that, the gp is right, albeit unintentionally: the major reason for gun safety improvements over the years is due to the application of legal sanctions against weapons manufacturers, which were held liable for failure to exercise due care in preventing accidental discharge.

          All that said, I don't understand the value in Murray's bill. Contrary to the current
          • The standard arguments in favor of P2P systems tend to talk about rare uses such as distribution of fringe materials by the copyright holders themselves. Those may be uses, but they are not significant uses in the real world.

            P2P software as a class has significant non-infringing use. Some P2P networks (kazaa, suprnova) are mostly used to facilitate copyright violation, but that is the use to which those network operators put the software.

            The fair use points of Betamax are not relevant to P2P. Finding

            • I'll second this. I bittorrented 9 CDs of Debian a couple weeks ago; I never would have dreamed of doing a direct download of them. Waaay too slow.

              Seriously, though, if this law passes, and someone wants to bring suit to stop it, they simply need to submit something like the following confession to get legal proceedings started:

              "To:

              I hereby confess, while not under duress, and in the presence of witnesses, that I developed a web browser. I took no 'reasonable care' to prevent my software from being u
              • Silly me - I used greater than and less than as brackets around the "insert text here" lines, so slashdot thought they were bad html tags and filtered them. It should have read:

                "To: (Insert DA here)

                I hereby confess, while not under duress, and in the presence of witnesses, that I developed a web browser. I took no 'reasonable care' to prevent my software from being used to commit crime - like all of the major web browsers in use, it can download and upload any file at all, no questions asked, to and fro
                • If you really want to send a message, I believe that the web servers for Mozilla and its variants are mostly in California. We should organize a national week of protest prior to the bill's passage in which all applications that could be construed as peer-to-peer by their definition (web browsers, IM clients, open source operating systems) all simultaneously replace their web pages with a blank, black page with the words:

                  If the state of California passes [insert state code ref here], this is what this we

        • Are you being serious or humorous? Virtually every single gun has at least one safety on it to prevent accidental discharges.

          Well, the analogies can only go so far, but even still, I think the gun one is appropriate. A P2P software maker can be fined or jailed under this proposed law if their software does not take "reasonable" (very vague) precautions to ensure that users do not break the law with it. Note that this includes willful acts of copyright infringement.

          Now apply the gun analogy. Say we h

          • as opposed to assault weapons, which are designed specifically for human targets

            You had me up to this point.

            There are no such things as "assault weapons." The term passed into the public consciousness in 1994 with the passage of the so-called assault weapons ban, which banned such things as flash-suppressors and folding stocks, but didn't ban semi-automatic rifles. It was emblamatic of the Clinton presidency - he handed a propaganda victory to his party while handing a real victory to his opponenets. (Di

            • engaging in reasonable compromises that would remove military weaponry from the hands of civilians.

              Just the opposite is true. Citizens being capable of forming up a militia is the explicitly defined purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Hunting is not. The pro-gun argument that guns are merely innocent tools and someone using one to kill a person is misusing it is utter bullcrap. That's what a lot of them are designed for (a hand pistol is generally not for hunting). The pro-gun argument that actually holds
              • Citizens being capable of forming up a well-regulated is the explicitly defined purpose of the 2nd amendment. Reasonable people can disagree about the definition of "well-regulated," but the courts believe that it is the state governments that should regulate it. (Would that the states governments weren't the lapdogs of the federal government, but that's a rant for a different day.)

                Note that I did not say no guns. I said no military weaponry. There's a subtle distinction there that you may have missed. N
            • may I suggest that you put your efforts into opposing the sale to civilians of ANY armament which is sold to ANY military organization in the world.

              This would effectively ban almost all firearms. Many rifles, pistols, shotguns, etc. have at one point or another been used by SOME military, SOMEWHERE. Take for example the .50BMG rifles manufactured by Barrett (which became classified as an "assault weapon" as of Jan 1st 2005 in California, meaning that common Californians are effectively barred from pose
      • Let the MPAA and the RIAA track down and find the individuals serving these materials up and have them find their REAL NAMES, REAL ADDRESSES, and sue them themselves.

        This is a weird, new concept -- letting the IP owners go after infringers themselves, without FBI raids, without special laws. What was so wrong with existing copyright law that we needed the DMCA or even this proposed bill? Maybe I am just an oddball, but I thought property rights were the responsibility of the property owners, not the stat

      • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to ban illegal downloading on any state computers, including those owned by the state university systems.
        Isn't illegal downloading already banned by definition?
      • by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @12:30PM (#11408987) Homepage
        Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to ban illegal downloading on any state computers, including those owned by the state university systems.

        Hang on, surely if it's "illegal downloading" it's already banned. Or are they using some other definition of the word "illegal" of which I'm not aware?
    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:51AM (#11407808)

      Here's a better idea. People could stop voting for candidates who's agenda starts and stops with business interests.

      They have. Trouble is, there is no one else to vote for. That's why voter turnout is so low.

      • Most voters who say that are eligible to run for at least some office, too. Even if you can't run, you can still get involved in the local party organizations to have more direct voice in who runs and what policies they follow.
      • They have. Trouble is, there is no one else to vote for. That's why voter turnout is so low.

        Voter turnout is the highest it has been since 1968 (60.7%) [yahoo.com]. When I cast my ballot, there were 8 choices for president of the U.S.; three of which I honestly didn't know anything about.

        I cannot say that there is no one else to vote for, it's just that not many people are so unhappy, so fed-up, that they desire the change that a 'third party' candidate would attempt to bring to the governance of the country (sel

      • there is no one else to vote for. That's why voter turnout is so low.

        There are plenty of other people to vote for, but they dont have the advertising budget of the majors.
    • they obviously have no clue how the technology they're drafting against works

      You hit the nail on the head here. I am sure there are business reasons for this, but I believe the main problem is that these old guys don't really understand the technology.

    • Here's a better idea. People could stop voting for candidates who's agenda starts and stops with business interests. They could start voting for people who are actually interested in representing the, well, people.

      Please, do tell, who are these mystical saints you are speaking about?

      People, by their very nature, are self-serving.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:06AM (#11408016)
      "Here's a better idea. People could stop voting for candidates
      whose agenda starts and stops with business interests."

      You are correct in a theoretical sense, however the mechanics of the US system are stacked against you.

      The problem is that the number of congressman is capped at 435 since the year 1913. This means that each congressman serves about a half-million constituents. This was not the intent of the founders. Previous to the year 1913, as the population grew, more congressman were added.

      Unfortunately, now as the population grows, so does the power of the individual congressman. When the country was founded, the President himself only served a citizenry of a couple of few million.

      We need to increase the size of the House of Representatives ten-fold at least. One congressman per 50K constituents would make the congressman more amenable to the will of the people than to big business lobbyists.

      If you want to work for change, than the first goal should be to remove he cap on the number of representatives. Until then, our democratic representation is essentially an illusion.

      By the way, this explains why public opinion polls are so often at odds with government policy. In a true representative democracy there should be a rough correlation between opinion polls and the way members of congress act. This is rarely the case nowadays.

      • We also need to reform the direct election of Senators. The original way that Senators were selected was by the state legislatures, but that was changed by an amendment that made Senators directly elected by popular vote.

        The result has been that Senators are beholden to Washington lobbyists (read: big-moneyed interests) for re-election funds.

        If Senators were appointed by the legislatures, you'd see a dramatic decline in influence peddling in the Senate because the lobbyists would have to try to bribe eve
      • By the way, this explains why public opinion polls are so often at odds with government policy. In a true representative democracy there should be a rough correlation between opinion polls and the way members of congress act. This is rarely the case nowadays.

        This is not why opinion polls are at odds with government policy. Opinion polls are at odds with government policy because people don't inform themselves as to what the government is doing.
      • I've been saying this for some time now. I think the original ratio was 1:35k. That would be something like 8000 congressman, which is a little unwieldy, but we could certainly change the cap to 1000. Having over twice as many congressman would make a difference. With smaller constituencies they would become more responsive, and there would be a greater chance of third parties winning which enhances diversity of political thought. And that's what's sorely needed!

        A side effect would be the greater powe

    • I was going to tell you to STFU so as not to give them any ideas, but ...

      let's just declare the intarweb illegal and impose fines for anyone who uses it.

      ... I see you're onto the Master Plan; a key factor you didn't mention, though (I can say this because it's already been leaked elsewhere): It won't just be fines, for individuals.

      Fines are for gigantic corps (except for M$ - their "Windows Networking" P2P software will go unpunished along with the anti-trust "mis-understanding". I'm not clea

    • We all know most politicians only remember their constituents 6 months before elections. I agree that they are doing a terrible job as representatives of the people.

      The trouble is that they're also terrible representatives of business interests. As you mentioned, such short-sighted legislation is only pushing America further into technological irrelevance.
  • by filmmaker ( 850359 ) * on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:42AM (#11407700) Homepage
    Several companies, including Audible Magic and Shawn Fanning's Snocap , have demonstrated technology that could be used to block trades of copyrighted music, although no such tool has yet been publicly shown for Hollywood movies. Some file-swapping companies say these tools would be impractical to use on a widespread basis.

    That quote says it all -- the implication is clearly that all p2p software is used exclusively or nearly exlusively for illegal filesharing of copyrighted media. What frightens me about the idea of using DRM or other crippled technology for media is when that becomes standard, where does it leave an independent filmmaker like myself? Those fat cats in Hollywood never stop to think that some of us actually produce content, as opposed to simply consuming it.
    • by jjleard ( 575385 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:55AM (#11407869)
      I'm sure they realize that people are producing content out there and distributing it via P2P. Do you think it's lost on them that eliminating P2P also eliminates some of their competition?
    • You're obviously an "anti-property rights" hippy. Hollywood bought and paid for the property rights to film-making, and your little hippy indy films cause a direct loss of revenue on their part. Stay where you are, you are surrounded.
      • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:10AM (#11408066) Homepage
        Hollywood bought and paid for the property rights to film-making

        The true irony of course is that Hollywood exists only because the filmmakers who first set up shop there did so to be as far away from Thomas Edison as possible. Since Edison owned the intellectual property (patents) on making motion pictures and they wanted to produce movies illegaly without paying him royalties.

        So what better group to become the strongest proponants for strict property rights?

        Finkployd
  • Time to pull my Java Web Server (toyws) from SourceForge. :-)
  • It's about time we go after the creators of TCP/IP.
  • WHat about a law... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ooze ( 307871 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:44AM (#11407727)
    making Operating system vendors viable for jail, if they don't take enough care to prevent their OS to be hijacked and used for criminal activities?
    • How about a law that imprisons the manager of a bank when their office gets held up in a robbery.
    • Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

      P2P programs don't spread copyrighted works illegally, people spread copyrighted works illegally.

      It's clear isn't it? People are the problem. Therefore people should be made illegal!

      Just throw everyone in jail and the problem is solved.

      Except lawyers, of course, since they don't belong to the class of people.

  • by sifi ( 170630 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:44AM (#11407728)
    Does this imply that reasonable steps should be taken by gun manufactures to prevents guns from being used for crimes?

    Oh I'm sorry that's unconstitutional...
    • by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:47AM (#11407752) Homepage
      Does this imply that reasonable steps should be taken by gun manufactures to prevents guns from being used for crimes? Oh I'm sorry that's unconstitutional...

      Well, guns only kill people. P2P software is an enabler for the far, far more heinious crime of stealing money from the RIAA/MPAA.
    • by paranode ( 671698 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:59AM (#11407917)
      I wish it were unconstitutional but you seem to be misinformed. Many states (who have their own constitutional provisions for arms) are starting to adopt laws to prevent gun manufacturers from being held liable for this kind of thing. However, in the land of Fruits and Nuts where anything goes as long as it's fruity and nutty, gun companies do get sued for this kind of thing. The NRA lobbied to get a federal law passed which would indemnify manufacturers against suits brought about by negligence or improper use (including illegal use). However, the Democrats used the pork barrel tactic to ride some more anti-gun legislature on the end of that bill so the NRA withdrew its support and the bill sank.

      Seems like the P2P issue is very parellel (as far as legal rights) to the gun issue. Only most people can't wrap their heads around this because a lot of liberal-minded people who support openness and civil rights conveniently think guns should be excluded because they're 'bad, mmkay'.

      • I myself was born in Canada, and still live here -- although alot of people have guns for hunting purposes, very few (comparatively) gun related murders occur, is this a result of population difference?

        Ideally, your rights are ranked as the top-most important priority, and I can respect that many americans wish to exercise the right to bear arms... not straying from the actual topic:

        In Canada, if your child commits a crime, you are not responsible for their ACTIONS, but are responsible for their welfare
      • I can't mod you up, but I would if I could on the end comment alone. That said, there is more to the firearm industry immunity from liability than meets the eye...

        There are two situations in which gun companies get sued when a person is injured by a gun. In the first situation, he was shot by someone else. I would have to dig through my notes, but a solid legal argument can be made for either side in this case as to whether the intervening criminal or tortious act of the person shooting the gun cuts o
    • Ok, not guns...protected by the constitution and all that (it's interesting that the same people that talk about how guns are our rights and is protected by the constitution are usually the same ones that want to "clean up TV and Radio"...yet that same constitution mentions free speech. In fact, it comes before "right to keep and bear arms". Just an observation...no, I don't want to take away your guns or your speech...but I digress)

      Getting back to my point...what about knife manufactures? Shouldn't they b
    • by l0b0 ( 803611 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:11AM (#11408077) Homepage
      Does this imply that reasonable steps should be taken by gun manufactures to prevents guns from being used for crimes?

      Nope, because just as with guns, if you outlaw P2P programs only criminals will have them. And you don't want the crackhead down the street having a bigger stack of DVDs than you do, right...?

      Sorry, I had to.

  • P2P is nothing new, it's just a buzzword. The Internet itself is fundamentally one big peer-to-peer network, so they should start by indicting these folks [ibiblio.org] who are, after all, responsible for the greatest copyright violation vehicle in history.
    • While the internet was thriving, Microsoft was still selling us client/server networks in which the clients were inferior participants. As I recall, the term peer-to-peer was first coined to describe non-crippled local networks in which the clients could communicate with one another, not just the file/print server.

      There was nothing special about peer-to-peer unless you came from a Windows LAN environment. But in that environment it was magic, and I daresay the same magical connotation applies to current
  • Gun Makers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hamlet2600 ( 739627 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:46AM (#11407747)
    So does this mean we can hold gun makers, people who build cars and knives to the same level of responsiblity? Lets do a little math: Gun Deaths last year approx 16k = $40,000,000 Traffic Deaths last year 43k = $107,500,000 I am just counting deaths, sounds like we could balance the budget if we include anything that might cause a crime also.
    • Re:Gun Makers (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Justin205 ( 662116 )
      You make a good point.

      Why is copyright infringement starting to be considered (in the USA, at least) almost as bad or worse than murder? Murder is much worse than having hundreds or thousands of tracks of other people's music on your computer.
      • Re:Gun Makers (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MSZ ( 26307 )
        Murder victims don't pay politicians that much. RIAA/MPAA on the other hand...

        "You get what you paid for" is true for laws as much as it's true for everything else.
    • Why just gun makers? Why not knife makers, baseball bat makers, car manufactures, brick makers?

      I'll bet this law could be tossed out easily. How can you prevent something from being used illegally?

    • I'm a little stunned 16 thousand gun deaths per year, that is HUGE. I've just googled about for some Australian stats - about 100 per state, per year!

      We seem to be way better off even per capita!

      Amazing.
  • by chiph ( 523845 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:46AM (#11407750)
    Imagine if Salman Rushdie had been held liable for all the bad things that other people did [webcurrent.com] after he published The Satanic Verses.

    Chip H.
  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:47AM (#11407763)
    So you can combat this better. The next hundred years is going to be a fight for technology, a fight to keep it open, and a fight of companies against "evil commie programmers", since they can't adapt to the new technolgoy

    Apparently no one in any sort of power position has the slightest idea what they are talking about. Do we blame gun makers for gun deaths? No, they are tools.
  • Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Machine9 ( 627913 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:48AM (#11407777) Homepage
    ...I suggest we make this law to apply to all of the following as well:

    Guns and Ammo manufacturers

    Car manufacturers

    The scientists that developed the atom bomb

    The Heads and Board of all government agencies

    Your mom

    Trees that produce solid branches that _could_ be used as clubs.

    etc.

    Sometimes the people that create laws need to get their heads checked, I swear.

    • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sepluv ( 641107 ) <blakesley.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:32AM (#11408357)
      All technology and scientific knowledge (from the wheel to the PC) can be used for both good and evil. Some people use it for evil but most use it for good.

      Should we now be made criminals for learning knowledge or thinking up ideas? This could only happen in the fascist US of A really; I'm so glad I don't live there.

  • Will CD/DVD burner manufacturers be required to "check in" with the RIAA/MPAA/BSA before burning music, video, or executable files?

    There *is* such thing as a slippery slope.

    It's already happened with video surveillance. People have gotten so used to video surveillance that when another Orwellian scenario comes about, one of the arguments for complacency is "There are already video cameras everywhere, it's not like you have any privacy anyway"

    Be diligent. Write your representatives now, and try working
  • I think the Internet is already dead!
  • Is the US (Score:4, Insightful)

    by log0n ( 18224 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:51AM (#11407814)
    actually trying to stymie computer science research for itself? Horrible precidents and views are being taught in this country about preperation, preservation, achieveing goals. Not just for compsci, but nearly everything. Suit.. jailtime.. masked freedoms.. Argh I'm so frustrated with the direction this country is heading (and values/ideals it's teaching to the newer generations of tinkerers) that I can't form a coherent post.

    This country is starting to blow.

    NoFX's Idiots Are Taking Over is the new themesong for the USA.
  • by commo1 ( 709770 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:51AM (#11407815)
    The new Craftsman X-25 flat #2 screwdriver: Bill SB-96 compliant. "We have taken precautions to ensure that this screwdriver meets the requirements of 'reasonable care' to ensure that it may not be used to committ a crime. The screwdriver head will spontaneously turn into molten steel if you do not call you local enforcement office an obtain a license for any of the following activities: jimmying, scraping, prying, lifting or plain old screwdriving. If you are not sure, please contact your local enforcement office. Note: Only works with sDRM-(screwDriver Rights Management) compliant screwheads.
  • You're only in danger if unincorporated.
  • Copyleft Illegal? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DenDave ( 700621 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:52AM (#11407819)

    (e) As used in this section,"commercial recording or audiovisual
    work" means a recording or audiovisual work whose copyright owner, or
    assignee, authorized agent, or licensee, has made or intends to make
    available for sale, rental, or for performance or exhibition to the
    public under license, but does not include an excerpt consisting of
    less than substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work. A
    recording or audiovisual work may be commercial regardless of whether
    the person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial
    advantage or private financial gain from that dissemination.


    And hence no more copyleft/creative commons in california..

    Oh, and that just made Magnatune.com illegal for californians as well... (or is it californianasswell)
    • Re:Copyleft Illegal? (Score:4, Informative)

      by _undan ( 804517 ) <dan@undumb.com> on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:04AM (#11407984)
      Not quite. That doesn't mention anything about the copyright owner, only the person who distributes the work. The gist of it is that the work may fall under the "commercial" category, even if the person distributing it isn't doing it for any personal financial gain.

      For someone to be sued, there still has to be an original copyright owner to file an actual claim; Copyleft and Creative Commons are still safe.
    • Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aristus ( 779174 )
      That is not the right interpretation. It means, Johnny Pirate who shares his Jimi Hendrix MP3s for free, NOT Jimi's Ghost (or whoever owns copyright) doing so.
  • After all, whatever your thoughts on the company or their products, one MUST admit that their products 'allow for file sharing' and it's fair to say that reasonable precautions to prevent illegal copying have not been taken.

    How about Apple? Or the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley? What about the FSF? I'm pretty sure they have written software that allows for files to be transferred.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:52AM (#11407823)
    You'll find that most of the stuff in there is protected by copyright.

    View a website, send your browser author to jail. Ok, in the case of Microsoft that would be fitting, but for differenct crimes against humanity.

    This is a silly bill and I'd like to see them try the same with copiers, fax machines, cameras and recording devices. In fact, they've already tried those and failed. This will fail too, for the same reasons.

    The only quetion is whether it fails before or after it passes. After requires ruining some poor schmuck's life to overturn the bill.

    KFG
  • Why not guns ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pupeno ( 100437 )
    If they are going to punish a developer for the actions of people using whatever he developed, why don't they go punishing guns factories for all the actions of people using guns ?
    Sometimes I feel so lucky, so lucky that I'm not from USA and that I don't live there (and those times are more and more often as time goes by).
  • by rbarreira ( 836272 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:53AM (#11407842) Homepage
    What does "reasonable care in preventing the use of their software to swap copyrighted music or movies--or child pornography" mean?

    In other words, if I were Bram Cohen (Bittorrent's author), what if's would I have to put in my code in order to detect those illegal uses?

    BTW, this should only affect developers who live in California, right?
  • These stories of various laws designed to address issues of technology and piracy fall into a very weird area of what I call "news that's not exactly news."

    This is a bill that if passed could have dangerous repercussions while at the same time be insanely hard to enforce and would doubtlessly cause even more confusion and problems. It's important.

    Yet at the same time it's another story of people who are both technically ignorant and beholden to various special interests pushing another dumb law. So it's
  • So... when are they going to pass a law requiring gun makers to take reasonable care to prevent their product from being used to commit crimes? Or is it because guns hurt puny, worthless individuals and P2P hurts large, rich corporations that the congress-critters care?

    Just a thought...

    btw... I'm not in favor of gun control, but if you're gonna regulate something make it something meaningful.
  • by aug24 ( 38229 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @10:58AM (#11407901) Homepage
    I take it this idiot senator believes all the world's coders live in the US, right? And that Russians and Poles and Brits and Aussies are all too backward to write P2P code..?

    Justin.
    Bored with idiot yank politicians from GWB to AS and on.
      • I take it this idiot senator believes all the world's coders live in the US, right? And that Russians and Poles and Brits and Aussies are all too backward to write P2P code..?

      No, they're aware of that, the normal sequence of events goes like this:

      1. Pass stupid law benefiting businesses and screwing over all citizens in some state to set a precedent.
      2. Use precedent of law and lawmakers bought in Congress to pass federal version of the law.
      3. Get said lawmakers and lobbyists to push administration to force
    • I take it this idiot senator believes all the world's coders live in the US, right? And that Russians and Poles and Brits and Aussies are all too backward to write P2P code..?

      He'd be right about the Aussies though, wouldn't he?

    • The fact that your post has been modded 5, Insightful shows that many Slashdotters could use a basic civics lesson.

      The bill was introduced by a California senator to be entered as a state law. Each state has its own set of laws, from everything as mundane as importing produce, to combatting spam. Each state generally has its own set of laws regarding things relating to cars, such as emissions, speed limits, and traffic laws.

      To be perfectly clear:

      • California has laws about pesticide use and produce.
  • by presarioD ( 771260 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:04AM (#11407989)
    technologically informed ./ers mock at this new expression of hired corporate legislation, it slowly becomes the law of the land.

    Another milestone, another passive moment in the life of the pathetic, gullible, ignorant, socially and politically inept creature called...

    ... Average American...

    Sad, sad, sad, sad...
  • by WaZiX ( 766733 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:14AM (#11408109)
    Even more troubling is that Philip Morris would be allowed to sell a product that proves to be harmfull in all cases but P2P developpers should be fined for making a product that can be harmfull if not employed lawfully? Well not that im surprised, but this shows to be nothing but another proof that laws aren't there to protect people but money... God Bless America!
  • by malsdavis ( 542216 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:16AM (#11408130)
    Just a guess, I only know a tiny bit about US politics, but has the representative who proposed this bill ever recieved money (for his campaign or whatever) off the RCAA or MPAA?

    Based on previous bills, I bet its very likely.

    If so, its nice to see democracy working as it does: Bills like this that only a small percentage of the population want but have wealthy people/companies backers want get passed while Bills say to do with the enviroment which nearly everyone want except a few wealthy people/companies, fail miserably.

    Yay for corporate democracy.

  • by deviantphil ( 543645 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:26AM (#11408260)
    By this standard we should hold gun makers responsible if they don't exercise "reasonable care" to ensure the gun won't be used to kill an innocent person. Give me a break!
  • by mindlessrabble ( 210490 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:27AM (#11408286)
    This should help get the software industry out of California. The backers of the bill are already moving jobs out of California to India and China.

    Any start-up contemplating P2P will not try California. Other start-ups will have to wonder if their new paradigm busting technology will share the same fate and they too will by-pass California.

    Imagine what would have happened to Silicon Valley if Fairchild had had this kind of political clot.
  • by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:30AM (#11408340)
    If passed and signed into law, it could expose file-swapping software developers to fines of up to $2,500 per charge, or a year in jail, if they don't take "reasonable care" in preventing the use of their software to swap copyrighted music or movies--or child pornography.

    How is one to ensure that he is using "reasonable care" in order to comply with the statute? You can't. It's impossible to know what they mean by "reasonable care".

    It seems pretty obvious that the people writing the bill don't know even know what they mean by reasonable care.

    If noone can figure out what it is that a statute makes illegal, then it violates Due Process and is unconstitutional.
  • Good idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @11:39AM (#11408429) Homepage
    If we put all programmers in jail, they'll be able to spend ALL of their time programming, instead of wasting their energy worrying about how to pay their bills. They already live in their parents basements, which are aesthetically similar enough that they probably won't even notice.
  • by morgue-ann ( 453365 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2005 @01:52PM (#11409954)
    This bill is sponsored/written by the same guy that brought us SB1506 which has been approved by California Senate & Assembly and Governor Arnold and became law 19 days ago.

    To the non-technical (who don't understand that the entire internet is p2p and ftp is just as guilty as Morpheus), that bill was more bizzare than SB 96, so expect it to pass unless strongly opposed.

    It took SB1506 from Feb 9 to Sept 21 2004 [ca.gov] to work its way through the CA Legislature.

    Bills need three readings & one month after the first before they can move too far. Feb 17th [ca.gov] is the earliest that this one can be heard in committee.

    SB 1506 went to the Sen. committees on Judiciary and Public Safety first. SB 96 is currently in Rules, but all bills go there for re-assignment.

    I'll write to my reps Simitian and Laird today. They stream RealAudio [ca.gov] of the hearings.

    This one got caught early. Let's work to kill it NOW.
  • by rfc1394 ( 155777 ) <Paul@paul-robinson.us> on Thursday January 20, 2005 @09:13AM (#11418545) Homepage Journal
    This bill [ca.gov], and one that was mentioned elsewhere in comments posted here, SB 1506 [ca.gov], are, in effect, attempts by a state to criminalize alleged misuse of copyrighted materials, after the U.S. Congress has already ruled that it has declared itself the exclusive provider of any protections or rights over copyrightable materials. With the exception of most* sound recordings first fixed prior to February 15, 1972, states have no jurisdiction over the use, publication or distribution of copyrighted or copyrightable materials, or any intellectual property.

    While I am not a lawyer, I see this type of statute as having no legal authority as it attempts to criminalize conduct which is either potentially legal (as might be in the case of fair use) or which Congress has already set penalties and has specifically pre-empted any form of state protection. I believe these type laws would be found unconstitutional or invalid as having been overridden by Congress. It was made clear by the 1978 law and later changes including the Berne Convention Accession that Congress wanted to eliminate any state control over copyright with the exception of most* sound recordings which were fixed prior to February 15, 1972 which it has declared are not copyrightable (and to which states will have no power to provide any form of copyright protection after February 15, 2047.)

    *"Most" being recordings which were not subject to copyright protection under the Urugay Round Agreements Act for materials otherwise subject to copyright in other countries and would have been in the Public Domain here but whose copyright is restored as a result of that act, subject to specific registration under the Urugay agreement, to give those who were legally using material notice that the works now have copyright protection or have had it restored if it lapsed.

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