AfterDawn: Tech news

Pirate Act raises concerns

Written by Jari Ketola @ 26 May 2004 4:47 User comments (44)

Pirate Act raises concerns The U.S. Senate is preparing to vote on a proposal, that could send the government after peer-to-peer pirates. The so called Pirate Act would let federal prosecutors file civil lawsuits against suspected copyright infringers. Up until now the lawsuits have had to be filed by copyright holders under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act law.
Obviously the proposal has raised concerns among copyright lawyers and several peer-to-peer lobbyist groups and companies. They feel that the Pirate Act is a product of RIAA's lobbying, and that its sole purpose is to make the taxpayer pay for the expensive lawsuits instead of the copyright holders. In addition the proposal is vague, and doesn't rule out the possibility that a person sued under the Pirate Act could also be sued under, for example, the DMCA. The possibility is against the ne bis in idem, or the double jeopardy doctrine.

RIAA and senators supporting the act say that federal prosecutors would be suing P2P pirates if they only had the tools, that is an appropriate law, to do so.

"We view this as a key component of an enforcement package," RIAA lobbyist Mitch Glazier said Tuesday. "If you're going to try to make sure that you have effective deterrence, then one of the tools you'll need is to make sure that prosecutors have flexibility."

The Senate may vote on the proposal as early as next week.


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44 user comments

126.5.2004 17:22

The most important feature of this news story we need to keep in mind is that, when this legislation is passed, it will not be the RIAA that will pay for the lawsuits but the taxpayers. It means that the RIAA can just say 'we don't want to spend the money to sue all these folks who download OUR stuff or make copies of OUR stuff, we think it is only fair that the taxpayers/ the justice department foot the bill'. Sounds great, doesn't it? By next month, Bush may be signing this into law.

226.5.2004 18:37

if this insane bill passes, i will immediatle turn of my broadband connection. if enough people do that, the government will be killing one indusrty blindly to protect anothers (greedy) interests. with all the money that has been throw at orin hatch, it make a mockery of our legal system. it is a sad time in american history.

326.5.2004 19:21

Keep in mind that "Rules" of evidence will probably apply if this passes. Also, keep in mind that the FEDS will have stricter rules to abide by than what the RIAA has had to comply with. I would rather have a federal agency come after me than the loose cannons of the RIAA/MPAA militias. I will admit, I have not read the proposed law. But, on the surface, I have to compare with what the RIAA/MPAA are doing to the two OJ Simpson cases. Think about that. The rules of evidence. I don't think that the DOJ is going to devote massive ammounts of resources to preserving the cashflow to the RIAA & MPAA when we need to be looking for terrorists. Most people won't give a damn if you downloaded a song or movie after a loved one has been murdered. The DMCA was an assault on out freedoms & rights. Sounds like this act may rectify that somewhat. Stealing is still stealing. Denying me "Fair Use" is another matter. TC

426.5.2004 20:31

Buik, very good points. Maybe I'll feel a little better about this. But ONLY if this means that every complaint or suit will HAVE to go through the DOJ. If it is just one more avenue opening up for the RIAA, then I don't think so. What worries me already is that the RIAA is lobbying for this to pass.

526.5.2004 21:19

Corporate America is so greedy it disgusts me....

627.5.2004 03:32

I say this is going too far. If this passes I say we hit the RIAA where it hurts and boycott all music and movies until they leave us alone. No sales means no more $$$. We, the consumers, have the power to fight back by taking away the thing the RIAA and MPAA treasure most, OUR $$$. It's funny though how we are willing to spend outragous amounts of $$$ for cd's, sports tickets, and movies, only to have fair use taken away, to be told what we can and cannot do, and get no more value from these higher prices. Then, we are threatened with lawsuits on top of that. We can easily fight back by simply not purchasing what they deperately want you to buy to fill their already fat wallets. We have the power people...FIGHT BACK AND BOYCOTT!!!

727.5.2004 08:40

gergel2 "...hit the RIAA where it hurts and boycott all music and movies until they leave us alone." This is a good idea. Playing the Devil's advocate for a moment, I will say this. It won't work. The reason, you ask? Most people are CLUELESS about this stuff. Ask a sample of your friends what the DMCA is. Ask them who Orrin Hatch is. The may have heard of the RIAA by now but they still have no idea WTF is really going on. By the time the public at large hears the big media version of what happened privacy and free exchange of information on the internet will be gone, replaced by a evil greedy Big Brother named "Content Owners" with the blessings of our publicly elected federal officials, all for the price of a few hit songs and DVDs... Anyway, keep up the faith. I've lost mine.

827.5.2004 11:26

Can there be anymore doubt as to who and what this gov't represents? Certainly not Joe 6pack anymore. Definetly not an entire generation of self empowered people tired of the same old scam the Record companies have been running for decades. This government has been bought and paid for by Corporate America. Get used to this sort of thing people. This is the future. :(

927.5.2004 18:07

Not entirely lost as long as we have that vital right the Founding Fathers insisted on. The second Ammendment!!! CMAN, Yes, the US gov't owes much to lobbyists. All politicians regardless of their political persuasion take part in this political game. What else can they do? As pointed out by others on this post, most people are clueless. TC

1028.5.2004 03:13

My guess is this so-called Piracy Act will be lost in the shuffle. There are too many domestic economic problems here at the present time that the Congress could well take a good look at and do the job we are paying them to do. Right now the Congress is getting the heat on all fronts. Best to All! Rodgers

1128.5.2004 08:13

Okay, in spite of my dire post earlier I still can't sit by and do nothing. Here is a link to an EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) page that will enable you to send a letter to your senator(s) in Washington speaking out against the PIRATE act. If you agree with the EFF's letter/position on this bill please take the time to send an e-mail. If we do nothing we get whatever they shove down our throats.>

1228.5.2004 17:40

Bulk E-Mails that say the exact same thing tend to be disregarded. Be sure to at least customize. Maybe even print it out and mail it. Maybe even cut & paste & not send it from the EFF servers. They have filters. Don't let your response be considered "SPAM". If remember correctly, some lawmakers have ignored any mail from certain websites/organizations. Filtered them out completely!! They can be arogant SOB's. Especially when you do not agree with them. TC

1329.5.2004 19:06

I'm 16, and i'm sure this war will last more than 2 more years. Bush says it'll take at least 10 more. I was going to move to canada when i turn 18 if the draft was passed back into action, but now if this passes i'm going there anyway. i'm so damn sick of the crap goin on in this country. nobody cares about anybody but themselves these days. damn corporate america.

1429.5.2004 21:30

Auslander, I think that you have made a post to the wrong thread. Your "nickname" says to me that you might not be from the USA. Regardless of your country of origin, you seem to compare the coalition action in Iraq to the Vietnam experience. Tuck tail & run then. Start thinking about something you are willing to fight for. Like freedom of expression. Something you just did. Do you think that you could have done that in the former USSR or present day Iran and not have suffered dire consequences? Those who beat their swords into plowshares will soon work for those that don't. TC

1529.5.2004 23:24

Buik: Auslander is 16. He is kinda young. Don't be too critical. He generalizes about 'nobody caring about anybody'. I really think he was just trying to express his disgust about the RIAA. The Vietnam/Iraq comparison was probably not something he had thought through. You are obviously very right about the points you make, bringing them up a bit harshly may not accomplish what you intended them to do. Auslander: Running away to Canada just won't do. We may need you here. Besides, in Canada you will find that there are other situations you won't like. Buik is right, you know. With all its imperfections, there is no more interesting or better place to express your opinions. You'll find out - in your travels - that some things are done well abroad but, when you look at the balance, the US gives you opportunities to shine that you will not find elsewhere.

1630.5.2004 10:51

Siber Points well taken. Good comments also. As a 24 year USAF retiree I was exercising as much restraint as I could muster at that moment. We seem to have strayed from the original topic. To return to that would be nice. I am not a constituant of Orrin Hatch. I know who he is and have a favorable view of him. That he is a sponsor of this legislation leads me to think favorably of it. That the RIAA is lobbying for this to pass gives me pause. Again, I have not read the proposed legislation. I will find & read it starting now. TC

1730.5.2004 12:21

Ouch, my head hurts, is there a lawyer in the house? It is a pain trying to read an ammendment and put it into perspective without it reading as if it had already been added to the USC TC

1830.5.2004 12:26

Buik, I just started by reading the '' story you can click on when you initially read the story on AD. it's pretty detailed. If you feel like reading the whole Patrick Leahy proposal, good luck to you...

1931.5.2004 00:44

news stories are one source of information. At least they get your attention. I want to read what what the act will really do. Not just hear some politician's oration or read some reporter's filtered account. I have no problem with copywrite owners wanting to be compensated for their efforts & expenses. That is the thrust of this legislation. Protecting what they created. Now, I do have a problem with corporations/Organizations being allowed to "spy" on me. "What are you downloading". "Where did you get it from". It's none of their damn business! What we are talking about is no different than their being able to eavesdrop on telephone conversations or opening your postal (snail mail) mail. Just because it is electronic does not diminish our right to privacy, as guarenteed (sp?) by the constitution of the USA. From what I have read & digested so far is that it codifies what theft is & what the penalties are TC

2031.5.2004 04:29

I agree with you completely buik. You don't see people legally reading classified government information from FBI and CIA databanks. So why should these clowns be able to see what i'm doing at my work ? that is a violation of privacy and a violation of the ammendment "all people have the right to be treated equally" besides there is no possible cost effecient way to properly distribute funds from the according pirate to the according artist (some underground artists get 10$ from every CD they sell some get 10cents.)This new law is just a way for politicians and record labels to get fatter by once again sticking it to the people who already have less than they do.

2131.5.2004 05:59

Buik: Just meant to suggest you START by reading the news story. Your comment seems to suggest you are actually concerned about some things that were covered in that news story: the question of eavesdropping and the fact that lawsuits from both the RIAA/Studio's and the JD simultaneously were not ruled out. What does your last sentence mean about codifying theft and penalties? Do you consider this proposed legislation is doing that and therefore may actually be 'good' by clarifying the rules of the game?

2231.5.2004 06:10

Buik: I think it is OK - even desirable - to have some trust in the media. 'Reporters' are supposed to do just that: report on the information and provide some point-of-views from both sides of the issues. The story provided a good introduction like that. It is true that we have gotten used in the last few years to very biased news media: FOX for the right, NPR/PBS for the left. We have had to become more suspicious of our information sources... Also, remember that this forum - in broad terms - now represents an aspect of the media. Following the rule of never trusting anything reported in the media, would also mean that anything you and I put down in this forum is intentionally biased, unreliable and not worth looking at.

2331.5.2004 06:47

The RIAA are really creating their own problem. The more they try to block others from having fair use of their property the more we will see applications such as DVD Shrink. I too would rather have the government involved than the RIAA. Perhaps the government will soon discover that a majority of P2P users are young teenagers, who not having the money to buy the latest overpriced hit song or DVD, find it all too tempting to download them. When the government begins to relize that they've bought into something that has the potential to make criminals of America's youth, they will be forced to write legislation to protect them.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 May 2004 @ 10:23

"Please Read!!! Post your questions only in This Thread or they will go unanswered:

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2431.5.2004 10:18

So why should these clowns be able to see what i'm doing at my work? If you mean your job (work), then there's a very good chance your employer is already doing this. They have that right as they own the equipment you are using and are paying you to do their work. ... there is no possible cost effecient way to properly distribute funds from the according pirate to the according artist ... Spot On! There is no equitable way to do this either. ... politicians ... In the end, that's what it's all about. Politicians vote on these things based on how much money their campaigns get from the people involved. In the case of the MPAA vs. 3-2-1 Studios, the latter doesn't have a chance - they are outoutgunned by the MPAA who has money they haven't even spent yet. You can get as many names as you want on a "Fair Use" petition or send as many emails as you want to your local politician, but that doesn't put the pork chops on his table. Such is the way of life ...

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 May 2004 @ 10:19

2531.5.2004 14:31

Rather than saying "codifying" I probably should have said that it clarifies and updates lanuguage, already in place, in an existing law. How many people remember what a phonograph is? An LP? A 45? (one song on each side) Yes, I am dating myself a bit. I have read the original news story. The RIAA & MPAA seem to want to get the DOJ to use a "shotgun approach" towards P2P networks. The DOJ has more important things to do than preserving the revenue flow to individuals & corporations. Keeping another 911 style attack from happening is one of them. I think that if the RIAA & MPAA had their way, P2P software & networks would be totally illegal. Simply because it "could" affect their bottom line. My government is allowed to do certain things in order to ensure my safety & well being. Protecting corporations is not one of them, when it comes my individual rights. The RIAA & MPAA are using the same arguments they made decades ago when the VCR came into use. They lost back then. They want their monopoly back. Also, they want us to have to buy their "garbage" so that they can continue to enjoy the lifestyle they have grown used to. Now, if we should mess up the original product we purchased, they want us to buy another new product. More money for them that way. It's all about money & power. Sorry about that rant. I do not want non-government entities being allowed to invade my privacy. Whether it is the US Mail, on the telephone or on the internet. They have no right to intrude. They would scream bloody murder if anyone were to scrutinize their activities like they seem to want to do to us. I am neither opposed to, or, for the proposed legislative ammendment. That it still allows concurrent civil and criminal court cases is a mute point. That has always been the case. Now, if the RIAA & MPAA are going to use the investigative powers of the government to give them info for a civil suit.....well, it is public information at that point. The government, at any level. still needs to have "probable Cause" before it can do anything. Now, should companies & organizations be allowed to invade my privacy in the hopes of catching me violating any law??? Heck no!! If I am blatantly violating a law, hammer me. Don't scutinize my daily life to see if I might be trying to replicate a bunch of bits & bytes that come over the internet. I do not advocate theft, piracy or anything like that. I just want a little privacy. If I go beyond my simple request and cause major economic damage to an individual or company, then spank me. TC

261.6.2004 05:01

Like many other issues I have commented on before, the matter always boils down to the issue of PRIVACY, which is constantly being invaded. Kick a couple of your Senators in the butt, especially these old dogs that never seem to retire. These Congressmen that come up with these brainstorms apparently are still taking bribes in the form of spoils from Corporate America. Let's get some limitation on how long some of these old dogs can stay in office. Protect your privacy, or else you will discover that you have none! Best to All Rodgers

271.6.2004 09:30

It is good to see that some people are becoming aware that this "War on copyright infringement" goes way beyond squeezing people's ability to get pop songs and hollywood movies for "free". Much of the legislation that has already passed and/or is being considered is very dangerous and detrimental to the public's on-line privacy and fair use rights. The BMC (Big Music Cabal) and hollywood also want public tax dollars to fund their war against their customers. Speak out!!! Buik, you seem like an intelligent sort. Please look further into Senator Hatch's record and what/who he "represents" on the business side of legislation. IMHO I think you will find that he lives inside the pockets of his corporate benefactors full time.

281.6.2004 09:38

Just the mention of the name "Senator Hatch" makes me want to puke ... and I am a Canadian :)

291.6.2004 12:23

To respond to Auslander's comment about moving to Canada, It's not that simple. The rules here (I'm in Canada) on immigration are just as restrictive as what you have there. It's not as easy to get into Canada as it was in the Vietnam era. Anyhow, the present government here is just as pro-corporate as any you have there, so I don't expect our present copyright law to stay as fair as it is for long :-( There is some small hope here though as we have an election coming up soon and the present buffoons in office here are less than popular. Unfortunately their main competition is even more pro-corporate, and right-wing fanatic to boot. I don't expect the lefty party will get enough votes to get in. So what will you do if Canada goes the way of the US, pack up & move again? Use your energies to help transform your country... work toward a change. Others like you are already doing this... join them. Help your counrtry live up to the high ideals upon which it was founded.

301.6.2004 12:46

You'd think that nature would have provided politicians with a built in coin slot so that we could just plug them with nickels like we would a parking meter to get at least 15 minutes of honest legistlation.

311.6.2004 14:20

Sophocles, politicians do have coin slots just like parking meters. The thing is, the coin pays for the legislation that the coin provider chooses, not honest legislation. Honest? What are you smokin'? Big biz makes it their biz to keep all those meters maxed out. Besides that, the average joe just doesn't have nearly enough coin...

321.6.2004 18:35

i believe "coin slot" was accidentally used instead of "money pit". cheers!

331.6.2004 21:07

This certainly has generated some interest. Good. Good. Get people thinking. Maybe even acting in a productuve way. Grayarea: Please, please don't make me re-create the wheel. If you have data that I can review regarding Orrin Hatch, I will be more than happy to review it and discuss it. Probably outside of this thread. Hey maybe we could use a P2P network to share such info. It is the "proposed ammendment" and it's ramifications that deserve greater attention. Mr Hatch has received two thumbs down so far in this thread. How about Mr Leahy ( who is probably the principal author)??? There are too many laws in place as it is. I don't want to see any more, that we have to try & abide by & the authorities may try to enforce. The one who make the most out of these situations are the Trial Lawyers. Night all TC

347.6.2004 17:23

i wonder when there will be an update on this story. ive been checking daily.

357.6.2004 17:39

Alas! we can only move as fast as the information is made available and if you have anything new the you will set it in motion.

367.6.2004 18:22

kenmo said something about living up to the high ideals upon which this country was founded, even though it has been a year since i've been in a us history class i seem to remember that there was a big battle between two groups of people when the present constitution was written. one group wanted this country to be industrialized, it was led by alexander hamilton i think, and the other wanted this to a very rural country and it was lead by thomas jefferson. of course hamilton won and his legacy continues even today. if you really want to change your congressmen's mind though, go to DC and talk to him. i don't know about other states but the montana congressmen are obligated to hear out any montana resident and so it is really easy to get our ideas to the people who make decisions.

3726.8.2004 10:50

Anyone who absolutely needs thousands of mp3's couldn't possibly listen to them all in an entire lifetime or they are just totally obsessed and should get professional help. Anyone else is probably an entertainer like a DJ that will make money from playing music and should not have a gripe about paying a small monthly fee to access songs. Solution: For $9.99/mo. subscribe to Real Rhapsody internet radio (or another service}. You can choose any song at any time and make your own play lists. If you need to copy, just record it to your hard drive. Sure it takes a few minutes to record however, by the time you weed through all the bad files you download for free, it will actually take less time. Good deal considering you could get 100's of hours of music for less than the cost of a few CD's.

3828.8.2004 06:53

hmm...interesting points...

3928.8.2004 07:06

mrmagoo5 The $9.95 a month that Rhapsody charges does not include free downloads to your hard disk, there's a $.79 charge for each song. Of course if you're using a stream recorder and recording them for free then that's technically pirating which is no different than downloading them. Also since stream recorders record the sound from your audio card that too can set a limitation to the overall qulity of your mp3.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Aug 2004 @ 9:18

"Please Read!!! Post your questions only in This Thread or they will go unanswered:

Help with development of BD RB: Donations at:

4028.8.2004 09:15

Hello to all- I got tired of all the hullabaloo and the poor download sites that are available, so being old fashioned, I use the old method of "induced recording", which entails plugging into my favorite radio station and downloading to my hard drive via Nero. I get all the audio I am interested in and can edit it later if necessary. Try it, you might like it! Best to All, Rodgers

4129.8.2004 12:18

Sophocles The riot act states that it is legal to record music for personal use. Most sound cards today reproduce sound at quality levels higher than CD's. The human ear can not tell the difference.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Aug 2004 @ 12:29

4229.8.2004 12:27

Rodgers Recording from a radio station is one solution however, you don't have much choice of what you want to hear. A subscription service lets you listen to whatever you want, whenever you want, and has the ability to create play lists, which eliminates much of the time consuming task of having to edit the recordings later.

4329.8.2004 13:59

mrmagoo5 Do you mean the fair use law? When you sign on to a subscription service such as Rhapsody you are signing on to have paid access to copyrighted material. Part of the agreement is that if you want to keep a song and download it to your hard disk or burn it you must pay for it. This is different than copying from a commerical FM station and the content is of higher quality. Most sound cards are crap especially if they're integrated.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Aug 2004 @ 2:00

"Please Read!!! Post your questions only in This Thread or they will go unanswered:

Help with development of BD RB: Donations at:

4430.8.2004 11:33

Mr Magoo, I have all the choices that anyone else has when I record from my radio. I choose a favorite station that plays the kind of music that I like and that has minimal if any commercials. You can't beat the quality or the price! Rodgers

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