July 29, 2002
BIDEN ALERT: I’m really starting to dislike Joe Biden, even if I did defend him in the whole plagiarism thing. First it was the stupid RAVE Act. Now he’s sponsoring yet another corporate-whoring entertainment industry bill that would make legal conduct illegal for the better enrichment of Big Media:
Biden’s new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law–even if it’s to share music by your own garage band–could land you in prison for up to five years. And that’s not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense.
“Say I’ve got an MP3 collection and I buy a new nifty player from Microsoft that only plays watermarked content, and I forge the watermark to allow my legal MP3 collection to play,” says Jessica Litman, who teaches intellectual property law at Wayne State University. “It is certainly the case that if I pass that around, I could be trafficking (in violation of the law).”
This proves something I’ve been saying for a long time. These legislative initiatives aren’t just about copyright. They’re about building a regime that’s hostile to content that comes from anyone other than Big Media suppliers. That’s because their real fear isn’t copied Britney Spears CDs — it’s that people will abandon the crap they’re selling for works by independent artists, and cut out the middlemen. And the Democrats are carrying the industry’s water on this.
How can they even pretend to be protecting people from Evil Big Corporations when they’re actually serving as those corporations’ paid lackeys?
Hypocritically, that’s how.