September 29, 2010

Thoughts On the Doom and End Times Copyright Bill

A few days ago this post appeared at Instapundit concerning the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.

From the two relevant links, this seems to be a pretty dire piece of legislation indeed. Now the links are from Newsmax and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, so there might be a bit of unwarranted breathlessness. Still, with Leahy involved and this administrations attitude towards the press, it is easy to see where this could be a pretty bad thing, especially when a Google search of the title of the bill turns of a whole page of denunciations of the bill as thinly veiled censorship.

Of course it's not possible for any of us to read the damned thing and it's probably thousands of pages lon.....oh wait.

Colleen Doran has helpfully provided the full text of the bill here.

Read the whole thing.
It is short and to the point.

Before posting, I contacted an acquaintance who runs a hosting service for his thoughts. I had not gotten permission to use his name or quote him by the time I posted but the gist of his reaction is that this has some important caveats not found in other scarier legislation that's been proposed. For one thing punitive action is reserved for the specific SITE not the hosting service as is implied (and was the case in some other bills) . That is, one sketchy site setting up on mee.nu or Typepad doesn't risk shutting down the whole domain. That would suck.

Of course if one runs a torrent site or download blog, then one is not liking this bill.

Piracy has devastated the R1 anime market and scantillations are eating the manga market alive. With E-books, i-Tunes and the video equivalents being the future of entertainment something needs to be done.

There is a lot of hand-wringing over this this, however....

One of the few legitimate roles of government is punishing theft.
The internet, is by its nature interstate commerce.
Theft is not the same thing as free speech.
Punishing theft is not censorship.

This bill, like any other, could be abused, and twisted to be used in ways not intended. That sort of thing happens when the idiot notion of the law being a 'living document' is given respect rather than the contempt it deserves. However THAT problem is beyond the scope of any bill and beyond the ability of any bill to deal with.

This appears to be, as written, a pretty decent solution to a very real problem.

So...thoughts?
(asbestos boxers GET!)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:16 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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