Catching up on some developments from this week in the long schlep towards a resolution of the IICA efforts:
The New York Times reports: Panel Considers Copyright Bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee is now considering a bill that stands at the center of the file-sharing debate - the Induce Act, or the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004. It joins a torrent of other bills introduced in Congress and in state legislatures to address piracy of copyrighted materials. Negotiations on the bill's language are expected to continue today. A vote could come as early as next week.
Reuters reports: Controversy Delays Net Song-Swap Bill in Senate
: "'If I have to, I will lock all of the key parties in a room until they come out with an acceptable bill that stops the bad actors and preserves technological innovation,' Hatch said at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee."
The latest draft act
has attracted many detractors and few supporters.
The EFF's Fred von Lohmann calls the current bill A Tax on Innovators
Technology companies would find themselves under constant pressure from entertainment industry lawyers waving their newly-minted "inducement" law. This means many great products would be hobbled, and many others would never be built. Less flexible, less useful products means fewer sales, lower revenues. That's a tax on our nation's technology companies, a damper on earnings, a drag on competitiveness.
The Business Software Alliance
, typically an advocate for strong enforcement of copyright law, joined with the Computer Systems Policy Project
and Information Technology Industry Council
to find flaws in the latest draft of the IICA. In a letter to Senators Hatch and Leahy
, these groups support including the "Betamax doctrine" in the bill:
We believe that to implement your goal that legitimate products and technologies not be threatened, it should be made clear that technology products that can be used for significant legitimate purposes – in the copyright vernacular, substantial non-infringing uses – are not subject to copyright infringement liability. To this end, the bill should state clearly that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc case is unaffected and the defenses to infringement in that decision are preserved. That decision has stood for 20 years, and technology companies and the marketplace have come to rely on it.
EFF's Jason Schultz reports that Technology and telecommunications companies and organizations uniformly oppose the current version of Induce
: "Hatch has emphasized over and over that he wants consensus on Induce. I would say that now he has it: Don't Induce; Save Betamax."
Opposition to the IICA goes beyond the technology industry and activists to include conservatives. In a Washington Times op-ed, American Conservative Union executive director Richard Lessner opposes the IICA, calling it an Invitation to litigation
. The American Conservatives Union is subtle in its criticism of the bill
, concluding: "Compromising property rights and encouraging predatory, costly litigation is not a conservative position."
Law student John Lotfi is uncomfortable with the current wording of the legislation: BSA sides with the copyfighters
. "Even I, a lowly 2L, can see that this devilish piece of legislation needs to be reined in or legitimate companies would go under and quite honestly, the advent of new technology would be handicapped."
Via Ernest Miller
, Public Knowledge
reports that an "All-Star" Drafting Team to Create New INDUCE Act (IICA) by Close of Business Friday
The Computer & Communications Industry Association
is not an "all-star," since it was one of the Major industry groups barred from meeting on INDUCE
: "The Computer & Communications Industry Association, along with dozens of other commercial, consumer and non-profit interests, will not be participating. CCIA, which represent companies with more than $200 billion, in sales and 1 million employees worldwide, was specifically told not to appear last night by Senator Hatch's Office."