August 16, 2004

HERE’S ANOTHER ARTICLE on Orrin Hatch’s dumb “INDUCE” Act:

INDUCE is supposed to target copyright infringement via illegal downloads, especially on peer-to-peer (p2p) networks like Kazaa and Grokster. The bill would create a new cause of action against anyone who “induces” such infringement — with “inducement” to be determined on a case-by-case basis, using an unspecific “reasonable man” standard to evaluate the presence of intent to induce a copyright violation.

The problem is, this concept has no real limits. Suppliers of any technology that allows transmitting, copying, or sharing of material protected by intellectual property law could be accused of “inducement.” That list is potentially endless: PC’s, broadband service, dial-up service, scanners, printers, mp3 file systems, CD recorders, and so on. INDUCE’s subjective standards of proof would have a dramatic chilling effect on the development, marketing, and distribution of new and existing technologies (once an accusation makes it to court, costs start to pile up quickly).

This doesn’t count as championing small government, does it?. Plus — at a crude political level, but one that’s apparently not crude enough to be obvious to the Republicans — this is a subsidy to an industry that consistently opposes Republicans. How stupid is that?

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