Would it also be illegal to change channels to avoid commercials? Would it be illegal to use the mute button on your remote control? Would it be illegal to turn off your TV for 2 minutes to avoid commercials? Would it be illegal to go to the bathroom during commercials? Would it illegal to discuss the football game during the commercials? If the power goes off can you be fined for missing a commercial? Just really wondering how much big brother control these silly asses think the public will put up with? > > URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/11/wo_hellweg111904.asp?p=1 > [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] > > Is 'Fair Use' in Peril? > The far-reaching Intellectual Property Protection Act would deny consumers > many > of the freedoms they take for granted. > > By Eric Hellweg > November 19, 2004 > > Do you like fast-forwarding through commercials on a television program > you've > recorded? How much do you like it? Enough to go to jail if you're caught > doing > it? If a new copyright and intellectual property omnibus bill sitting on > Congress's desk passes, that may be the choice you'll face. > > How can this be possible? Because language that makes fast-forwarding through > commercials illegal -- no doubt inserted at the behest of lobbyists for the > advertising industry -- was inserted into a bill that would allow people to > fast > forward past objectionable sections of a recorded movie (and I bet you > already > thought that was OK). And that's but one, albeit scary, scenario that may > come > to pass if the Intellectual Property Protection Act is enacted into law. > Deliberations on this legislation will be one of the tasks for the lame-duck > Congress that commenced this week. > > In a statement last month, Senator John McCain stated his opposition to this > bill, and specifically cited the anti-commercial skipping feature: "Americans > have been recording TV shows and fast-forwarding through commercials for 30 > years," he said. "Do we really expect to throw people in jail in 2004 for > behavior they've been engaged in for more than a quarter century?" > > Included in the legislation are eight separate bills, five of which have > already > passed one branch of Congress, one of which was approved by the Senate > Judiciary > Committee, and two of which have merely been proposed. By lumping all the > bills > together and pushing the package through both houses of Congress, proponents > hope to score an enormous victory for Hollywood and some content industries. > > Here's more of what's included: a provision that would make it a felony to > record a movie in a theater for future distribution on a peer-to-peer > network. > IPPA would also criminalize the currently legal act of using the sharing > capacity of iTunes, Apple's popular music software program; the legislation > equates that act with the indiscriminate file sharing on popular peer-to-peer > programs. Currently, with iTunes, users can opt to share a playlist with > others > on their network. IPPA doesn't differentiate this innocuous -- and Apple > sanctioned -- act from the promiscuous sharing that happens when someone > makes a > music collection available to five million strangers on Kazaa or Grokster. > > Not surprisingly, the bill has become a focal point for very vocal parties. > In > favor of the legislation are groups such as the Recording Industry > Association > of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and various > songwriter, > actor, and director organizations. "We certainly support it," says Jonathan > Lamy, spokesperson for the RIAA. "It includes a number of things to > strengthen > the hand of law enforcement to combat piracy. Intellectual property theft is > a > national security crime. It's appropriate that the fed dedicate resources to > deter and prosecute IP theft." > > Against the bill stand a number of technology lobbying groups and > public-interest organizations. "[IPPA] is a cobbled-together package to which > Congress has given inadequate attention. It is another step in Hollywood and > the > recording industry's campaign to exert more control over content," says Gigi > Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a Washington, DC-based public interest > group that aims to alert the public to fair use and consumer rights > infringements, and fight those perceived infringements in Washington. > > Anyone attuned to the machinations of Congress the last two years likely has > become numb to the often overblown rhetoric on this issue. Both sides use > hyperbole -- usually in the form of calling a piece of legislation the death > of > an industry or the death of individual rights. The 1982 statement to a > congressional committee by Jack Valenti, then head of the MPAA, that the VCR > is > to Hollywood what the Boston Strangler was to a woman alone still stands as > the > ne plus ultra of exaggerated claims. And civil libertarians haven't met an > affront that didn't equal a stake through the heart of individual rights. But > IPPA demands attention not just from Hill watchers, but from regular > individuals. In part because IPPA is such a broad, encompassing bill that > could > affect things as pedestrian as fast-forwarding a commercial, but also because > with Senator Orrin Hatch -- a very Hollywood-friendly pol -- on his way out > as > the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be replaced possibly by Arlen > Specter, many in the Hollywood community see this as an important, last > chance > to get their demands made into law. > > > Eric Hellweg is a technology writer based in Cambridge, MA. > > Copyright 2004 Technology Review, Inc. > > > > ---------------------------------------------------------------------- > You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: > > - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at > FreeLists.org > > - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word > unsubscribe in the subject line. > ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.