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White House Wants New Copyright Law Crackdown 652

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-that'll-work-out-fine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House is concerned that 'illegal streaming of content' may not be covered by criminal law, saying 'questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the distribution of copyrighted works.' To resolve that ambiguity, it wants a new law to 'clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances'""
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White House Wants New Copyright Law Crackdown

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:00AM (#35503988)

    Looks like Obama is paying another installment on the debt he owes to his Hollywood buddies [go.com].

    Between Democrats in bed with Hollywood and Republicans in bed with big business, wouldn't it be nice to have at least *one* choice in an election who doesn't support draconian DRM, Feds kicking in our doors because little Jimmy downloaded an advance screener of The Dark Knight, and ISP's tracking and archiving our every click on the internet? Would that be too goddamn much to ask?

    • by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:05AM (#35504046)
      It reminds me of that anti-piracy commercial from The IT Crowd [youtube.com].
    • There's a lot of choice, if I recall correctly. The only thing that is needed is for people to recognize more than two (nearly identical) parties.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        There may be plenty of choices, but corporations only give the real campaign money to two of them. That makes it pretty easy for those two to drown out everyone else.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        If you can't have a steadily growing small party that gains seats incrementally on each elections, you are effectively locked into a bi-party system. To solve that you need the approach that Lawrence Lessig promotes [fixcongressfirst.org] : create a movement inside both parties. And chose to be a turn voter that makes choice on a single issue : the stand of candidates toward lobbying.
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:47AM (#35504634) Homepage Journal

      with big business? What in the hell is Wall Street then? If that is not the top end of big business then I don't know what is. Who is GE, who is Google? They are both in bed with big business. This is President Wall Street, from his cabinet picks to the bills that pass. Oh sure, they have ominous we are going to rein in big business names, but you can be damn sure all those contribute are immediately exempt, like how none of the big unions are subject to the new health care law.

      We can't change the Democrats or Republicans so we need to work on the American people. They need to learn that the only way change will occur is if they elect people who don't ascribe to the party line of either the D or R side. Trouble is, far too many are interested in getting everything handed to them while at the same time decrying its cost. The American people need to change before their government will.

  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thomasdz (178114) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:04AM (#35504024)

    1) Someone noticed that something popular is not illegal.
    2) Lobby to have it made illegal.
    3) ...
    4) Profit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:04AM (#35504034)

    You can no longer compete on the world stage in terms of products, don't innovate anything, and have more or less given up on educating your people.

    But, the biggest priority of the White House is to ensure that streaming content is a fucking felony???

    Enjoy your decline into irrelevance and the dark ages. I used to greatly admire what America stood for.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:12AM (#35504158) Journal

      Enjoy your decline into irrelevance and the dark ages. I used to greatly admire what America stood for.

      Seeing how Stood is past tense, you still can admire what America "Stood" for (whatever you think that was).

      However, if you think that this is the only thing the government is concerned with or doing at the moment, or that it's even the biggest priority you would be sorely mistaken. You see, I can say "I want X, Y, and Z, done, oh yea, do A also" and it wouldn't make A a priority. However, because A is something you are concerned with, you might hear about it by itself. It still doesn't make it a priority of government.

      Now I understand that it might ultimately be a higher priority then what you want to happen. But that's really a indication of your priorities, not the governments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sjames (1099)

        Yes, it's also interested in a continued war on some drugs, keeping people from receiving affordable medication from Canada, holding people illegally in Cuba, and molesting children in the airport.

    • by mswhippingboy (754599) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:25PM (#35505134)
      Just another step in the felonization of America.

      http://tribes.tribenetwork.com/america/thread/2f215d2a-8c88-437c-82ec-cc78ee7588df [tribenetwork.com]

      Take away enough people's right to bear arms, vote or otherwise have a say in society and the remaining population is much easier to control. Pretty soon just disagreeing with the government position will be a felony, thereby removing that position from the debate and allowing our corporatist overlords complete control while being able to claim the US is still a democracy (or republic, or whatever term your prefer).

      America better wake up soon or it'll be too late (if it's not already).

      • Pretty soon just disagreeing with the government position will be a felony

        That's the one thing I'm pretty sure they won't do. Speaking as a non-American, my observation is that Americans have it pretty much imprinted in their heads that freedom of speech equals freedom. As long as he can criticise the government, the President, the "clowns in Washington", etc, to his heart's content, it will never occur to the average American citizen that he's not free even if, say, the incarceration rate for the USA is th

  • "The interests that hold the leash of american government" should be used instead of "white house" phrase. We always take it as 'implied', but the more we leave it not expressed, the more the meaning of the reality gets lost in the seeming illusion.
  • So if you come up with a way which is not similar or have a tech which isn't new, it's ok? FairyNuff.
  • by callmetheraven (711291) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:05AM (#35504054)
    The say slavery is over, but Obama is clearly up for sale.
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:06AM (#35504066)

    I'm sick of him selling-out to these megacorps. Damn Republican. What we need is a Democrat president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:14AM (#35504172)

      I'm sick of him selling-out to these megacorps. Damn Republican. What we need is a Democrat president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

      Same problem, different president, different corporations.

      I think you'll find that the position lends itself to corruption.

      • by bondsbw (888959)

        I think you'll find that the position lends itself to corruption.

        Yet America does not try to fix the position, so that it becomes less corrupted... we live with it and pray for a person who isn't as corruptible as the last.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      What we need is a ... president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

      Ahahahaha
      hahahahaha
      ahahahahaha
      *wheeze*
      ahahahaha

    • Damn Republican. What we need is a Democrat president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

      Why does it have to be a Democrat or Republican? What we REALLY need is a viable alternative.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      What we need is a Democrat president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

      Yeah, being tied to public labor unions and intellectual property companies (Hollywood) is at least 3 times the awesome.

    • by anyGould (1295481)

      I'm sick of him selling-out to these megacorps. Damn Republican. What we need is a Democrat president who is not a puppet of the corporations.

      Hate to break it to you, but until people can run for office without needing millions of dollars, corporate interests will always take precedence, since they're the only ones that can pay for it.

      It's getting bad, even at the local level - to make a serious run in my city's last election was in the $100K range for mayor, $60K for alderman. You don't get that kind of cash together without owing a few favors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:07AM (#35504078)

    Copyright infringement is supposed to be CIVIL LAW, not CRIMINAL LAW.

    If the USA is to continue this trend of criminalizing everything under the sun, then perhaps the next thing we need to criminalize is when elected and appointed government officials violate the US Constitution. Let's make that a felony.

    • But that would require the copyright holders actually pay to enforce it. Why would they do that, when it's cheaper to have their lobbyists externalise the costs by having the taxpayer take care of them?
  • One of the first new rules to be established will be making it illegal to use Quantum Public Key Encryption [slashdot.org].
  • Scarier is wiretap (Score:5, Informative)

    by redelm (54142) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:10AM (#35504110) Homepage
    "Streaming" is mostly a clarification of law, much more threatening is the authorization of wiretap, perviously allowed only in "serious" cases and terrorism.
  • Because streaming music is a crime worse than murdering kittens with a sledgehammer.
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:12AM (#35504138)

    with free shows paid for by advertising, like TV or radio? Uh, wait a second....

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:12AM (#35504146) Journal

    Nobody has gone to jail for crashing the world economy.
    Nobody has gone to jail for authorizing or committing acts of torture.
    Nobody has gone to jail for placing unconstitutional wiretaps.

    Yet we have room in our prisons for people who share files. It is more clear than ever that the US justice system exists to protect the powerful against the less powerful. There is no justice system, there is an exploitation system.

    • by spidercoz (947220)
      You got it. After they get done criminalizing everything possible, the next step will be to privatize the prison system. That way, every ass in the joint becomes money in their pockets. Imagine, Halliburton Federal Penitentiary. "What are you in for?" "I watched a video. You?" "Read a book."

      Beauty of the scheme is, felons can't vote. Josef Stalin only dreamt of shit like this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:19AM (#35504238)

    I am so glad the Pres and Co. have sorted out the middle east, the world economy and that pesky natural disaster in Japan and have time to focus on enriching their pals in the MAFIAA. Barry you are truly the best benevolent ruler ever.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:25AM (#35504334)
    Um, if there's no law covering it, how can it be illegal? Isn't everything by default legal until either a law is passed regarding it, or a court case interprets an already existing law to cover it?
  • Constituents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbrod (19122) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:33AM (#35504432) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how many constituents wrote letters to the President about this serious problem? Of course, none did. We need a separation of Corporations and State, now.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I wonder how many constituents wrote letters to the President about this serious problem? Of course, none did. We need a separation of Corporations and State, now.

      Just who do you think the constituents are? You didn't imagine you were one of them, did you? Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations. I believe the congressmen from Monsanto have the floor...

  • And what do they mean by "streaming"?
    Will they go after sites like Orb.com, Slingbox, and PlayOn that stream things not necessarily intended to be streamed or in ways they didn't approve of (even over 3G not just your home network)? Seems content providers are trying to lock down their content too tightly. By doing so they lose the ability to id and track the product, our eyeballs, as we work around them.
  • by Seakip18 (1106315) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:10PM (#35504934) Journal

    Page 10 of the actual whitepaper.

    Ensure Felony Penalties for Infringement By Streaming and by Means of Other New Technology: It is
    imperative that our laws account for changes in technology used by infringers. One recent technological
    change is the illegal streaming of content. Existing law provides felony penalties for willful copyright
    infringement, but felony penalties are predicated on the defendant either illegally reproducing or
    distributing the copyrighted work.2 Questions have arisen about whether streaming constitutes the
    distribution of copyrighted works (and thereby is a felony) and/or performance of those works (and
    thereby is a not a felony). These questions have impaired the criminal enforcement of copyright laws.
    To ensure that Federal copyright law keeps pace with infringers, and to ensure that DOJ and U.S. law
    enforcement agencies are able to effectively combat infringement involving new technology, the
    Administration recommends that Congress clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other
    similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.
    Recommendation: The Administration recommends that Congress clarify that infringement by streaming,
    or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.

    I like how "appropriate" is not spelled out.

  • by PMuse (320639) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:42PM (#35505348)

    If all this paper did was suggest categorizing streaming as distribution rather than performance, that would be small potatoes. It also recommends:

    1. using government wiretapping muscle and $$ to discover infringers
    2. using government $$ to perform rights-holders' pre-suit investigations for them
    3. ratcheting up sentencing for anyone previously convicted of any IP offense
    4. ratcheting up sentencing for anyone involved in an organization of infringers

    The article focuses on streaming, but the real meat here is in the use of government funds and police powers for the private benefit of rights-holders.

  • Sigh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @01:34PM (#35506104)

    You know, I'd have some sympathy if pirates had a "cause" anymore.

    Years ago, we said "we're pirating music because they won't let us download it!"
    And they made download stores.

    Then we said "we're pirating music because they won't sell individual tracks!"
    And they let us buy single tracks.

    Then we said "we're pirating music because they add DRM!"
    And they stopped adding DRM.

    Then we said "we're pirating music because 128kbps is crap!"
    And they gave us 256kbps+ tracks.

    Then we said "we're pirating music because the major labels have a monopoly!"
    And now any indie artist can get on iTunes and other major music stores.

    And we still pirate.
    Because all along, we really just wanted stuff for free.

    I'm all for copyright reform, but really: The latest music, movies, and games are not vital liberties, and they take a lot of time and money to make. If someone wanted to give their content away for free, they would have done so. So ask yourself: If a person who made something you want expects compensation, why do you deserve to have it for free?

    • There will always be someone who pirates. But every time a company added one of those features you mentioned, they converted some percentage of pirates to customers. Not everyone has this all or nothing mentality that you see to have.

    • What if 'we' defines a different set of people each time? What if 'we' represents a smaller number of people each time?

      I think you're taking specific points and assuming they represent everyone's opinion here, when in reality this site, and every other gathering of more than one person, is made up of individuals. ESPECIALLY a site with lots of readers.

    • by Maltheus (248271)

      Actually, I did stop pirating music once 256kps drm-free mp3s came along. It's just no longer worth the effort. If they become sensible with video, they'll probably get me to stop there too.

      But then I never saw it as a war until today. Convenience and saving a buck were my reasons for it in the past. But now there's so much cross-pollination between the government and the MPAA/RIAA, and the industry have used this to build upon patriot act wiretapping provisions, that I'll never be able to support them agai

    • You ask: Why do you deserve to have it for free?

      I ask: Why should it be a felony?

  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @01:36PM (#35506132)

    jackass?
    Wars without end: Check
    Spending us into default: Check
    Harsh punishments for minor crimes: Check

    Bush sucked. Obama sucks. To be fair, pretty much all politicians are egomaniac control freaks with a certain amount of charisma.

    At least it's a bipartisan trait :/

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @05:55PM (#35509208)

    Commenting on Slashdot makes you feel witty, but doesn't accomplish much. Write your reps, vote with your money.

    https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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