While reading this CNet story on a proposed extension of copyright law, I flashed on the scene in the original Star Wars flick where Leia first learns about the Death Star - right after she explains that more oppression will only lead to more rebellion.
That's about how I feel about the RIAA's and MPAA's latest wet dream - some of the provisions are just insane:
Criminalize "attempting" to infringe copyright. Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The IPPA would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department's summary of the legislation says: "It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.")
How do you define "attempted" copyright infringement? My guess is that this is an attempt to get rid of all "fair use" rights in one fell swoop. Just consider what the goons at HBO have to say about HD content, and you'll understand what they're playing at here. Amazingly enough, it gets worse:
Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software. Anyone using counterfeit products who "recklessly causes or attempts to cause death" can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it.
That example is so contrived as to be nonsense. I'm hardly in favor of copyright infringement (heck, Cincom sells copyrighted software!) - but life imprisonment? But wait - there's more:
Allow computers to be seized more readily. Specifically, property such as a PC "intended to be used in any manner" to commit a copyright crime would be subject to forfeiture, including civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture has become popular among police agencies in drug cases as a way to gain additional revenue, and is problematic and controversial.
Oh boy - a local cop overhears you at the grocery store, talking about a song that a friend mailed you. Next thing you know, they're breaking down your door and taking away all of your equipment. Is it just me, or are music and movie folks suffering from a completely overblown sense of their own importance?