There have been two articles about IICA on WIRED.com these last two days. The anti-IICA feelings are really going mainstream at this point. It would be difficult to find a techie net-head or even a regular old news junkie who hasn't heard about it.
The first, Copyright Bill Needs Big Changes
, basically states what we at the Induce Act blog (and other anti-IICA activists) have been saying all along - that IICA is a killer for innovation in the tech industry. The article mentions the newly proposed "Don't Induce Act
The Consumer Electronics Association, the American Library Association, Public Knowledge and DigitalConsumer.org, along with other technology and consumer groups, recommend amending the legislation so "only someone who distributes a commercial computer program that is 'specifically designed' for wide-scale piracy on digital networks could be held liable for copyright violations," according to a press release. ISPs, venture capitalists, credit card companies, banks, advertising agencies, IT help desks and librarians would be exempt from liability. The proposed alternative would also codify the 1984 Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision, which found that products capable of substantial non-infringing uses, such as home video recorders, are legal.
Even Librarians are against IICA:
"We, along with a number of other consumer groups, are very concerned about Senate bill 2560, which we feel will quash innovation and creativity and the fair use of these technologies," said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the Washington, D.C., office of the American Library Association. "The answer to protecting copyright is not to stop developing new technologies. The answer is to educate people on how to use these technologies properly and encourage people to use these technologies properly." "There are many legal, legitimate file-sharing activities," Sheketoff said.
The other WIRED article is titled Induce Act Draws Support, Venom
Put forth by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the bill has been ridiculed by techies as so poorly written that it could unintentionally ban an infinite range of everyday tools - iPods, DVD burners, even paper and pencil.
The article notes that time is running out for us to deal with IICA in a reasonable manner. If this congressional session nears it's end without a new version of IICA that everyone can deal with the original version could be passed.
With the present congressional session due to end in October, time for debate is running out. The coming two weeks may be the last chance for both proponents and opponents of the bill to make their voices heard.
In an apparent reaction to widespread criticism of the current draft of the bill, Hatch solicited help in drawing up alternative language. A number of groups have responded: One coalition proposed a counterpoint "Don't Induce Act," and a wide array of technology and free-speech advocates have developed others.
Entertainment industry organizations that back the bill in its present form, including the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, have not submitted alternate proposals. "There's no way this is passing in its current form -- it can't go anywhere if you have everyone but content industries against it," said Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, whose group was among those that released alternatives to Induce this week.
"Don't punish technology," said Sohn. "If the intent is to get at bad actors who know their tools are used for copyright infringement and promote it for that purpose, with that as their business model -- the act must be written accordingly."
The article also notes that Marybeth Peters has been put in charge of collecting input the new version of IICA. But of course there is the problem that she fully supports the original version and thinks the Betamax
doctrine (what allows us to have VCRs) should be overturned - all of which she stated during her testimony
during the IICA hearing. That's not good.
During Senate hearings over the Induce Act in July, the U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters -- an Induce supporter -- said she believed new legislation should modernize the precedent set in a 1984 Supreme Court decision addressing the legality of the Sony Betamax. The court ruling, which protected technologies "capable of non-infringing uses," should be "replaced by a more flexible rule that is more meaningful in the technological age," Peters said.
We need to keep the pressure on and keep talking about IICA's many problems. Shout it from you roof top, barstool, or fire escape!
This article ends with a great quote by Fred von Lohman that deserves its own post, see above.