Copying Programs Could be Outlawed

A new legislation passed Tuesday would allow artist and entertainment companies to sue creators of products. Products such as P2P and software copying programs. That "induce" copyright violations.

New legislation introduced late Tuesday by a group of powerful U.S. senators would let artists and entertainment companies sue creators of products, such as peer-to-peer software and copying programs, that "induce" copyright violations. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, clearly targeting P-to-P vendors, claims his bill focuses on companies that profit by encouraging children and teenagers to infringe copyrights.

"It is illegal and immoral to induce or encourage children to commit crimes," Hatch, a Utah Republican, says in a statement. "Tragically, some corporations now seem to think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal. Some think they can legally lure children into breaking the law with false promises of 'free music.'"

Choosing Sides

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) welcomes the legislation, while P2P United, a P-to-P trade group, calls the bill "horrible public policy." The measure could stifle the development of future technologies that could be used for copyright infringement but have substantial legitimate uses, say P2P United and other critics.

The bill "will chill the development, if enacted, of not only peer-to-peer technology, but wonderful new information tools yet to be devised," says Adam Eisgrau, P2P United executive director, in an e-mail message. "Don't buy the hype. Any member of Congress who supports this bill is voting, without so much as a hearing, to undo more than a century of solid copyright case law that has protected innovators and technology from the terrible power of entrenched industries and, in the process, created the American economy."

News source: PCWorld.com

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