Scott Alan Miller

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Draconian Copyright Laws

Slashdot ran a story today about a bill expected to be passed by the President soon that makes it a very serious felony, punishable by up to three years in prison, for placing any film, music or software onto a shared directory on a computer. Beyond the complete annihilation of the fair use rules that have protected us thus far, more or less, this law leaves out some really critically thinking. The most important thing is that it immediately makes Microsoft Windows illegal as all software is installed onto the hard drive and all hard drives are made available through a hidden shared directory. I am sure that the government would allow some leniency for computers that did not even have a network card or modem installed and had never been on a network. But that would be through leniency - the law would not even protect those people. This is one of those "everyone is a criminal" laws that allows the government to prosecute anyone, anytime. Even the most innocent, accepted fair use practices are blown away with this law. I realize that the widespread theft of intellectual property is completely out of control. But why is the government so unwilling to prosecute based on theft and not on new, unfair use laws? Why are the laws that have made stealing for the past two hundred years inadequate? Nothing has changed. Stealing is stealing. In fact, the government has yet to address the incredibly inappropriate actions of many school and library agencies that are encouraging, assisting and educating would-be thieves on how to operate and providing moral justification for these actions. If the authorities are not honestly concerned with the theft of intellectual property then we have no recourse but to believe that these laws are being proposed for the sole purpose of allowing the initiation of military control laws giving powers to the government at their own will. The disaster of 9/11 allowed the implementation of the revocation of our constitutional rights through the "Patriot Act" and we see that this trend continues. Make Americans live in fear by making everyone a criminal. Target the IT industry first because Americans are simply too lazy to understand what is happening and soon our rights will be gone and we won't even have complained.


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