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The Internet Government Technology

White House Wants New Copyright Law Crackdown 652

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 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.

  • 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.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:27AM (#35504356)

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:42AM (#35504554) Homepage Journal

    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 characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:45AM (#35504600)

    He did an about face on telecom immunity before the election. If you thought he would listen to the people, you either were not paying attention or are stupid.

  • Re:Warez (Score:2, Informative)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @11:47AM (#35504636)
    Wow, way to set up a strawman there. The water seller doesn't have the right to have anyone do anything about water that it isn't providing. That is nothing like copyright, which is a mechanism for enabling the creator to say what people can do with his or her own work.
  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @12:12PM (#35504960)

    > Why? If people create content regardless of copyright infringement, which is the purpose of copyright, I fail to see why it's a major problem that needs to be handled.

    Because the United States creates a great deal of IP, as do many countries. The people pirating are not only the people who would not pay for it--so market size decreases, GDP decreases, and trade imbalances increase. The biggest long-term threat to the United States, after Global Warming and possibly after spiraling healthcare and higher education costs, is the trade imbalance. We send more and more money outside the country to buy things. A bigger economy means more money for the few people at the top, but MOST of America is NOT at the top, and sending money out means that capital leaves and goes to buy things, putting other people at the top, leaving us in a worse and worse position (except for a very few) as the gini coefficient increases.

    That being said, making copyright law on that basis is arguably unconstitutional. The only reason Congress is empowered to make copyright law is to promote the development of copyrightable works. (The terminology is actually "science and the useful arts, IIRC, but as it was understood two hundred years ago). They also have the power to regulate commerce between the states and with foreign nations, but making copyright law under the Commerce Clause is reading the IP clause entirely out of the Constitution, which should not be legitimate under any reasonable principles of interpretation. But most if not all courts would probably accept it anyway.

  • 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.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie