Hollywood Tech Policy - sunday 2003-09-07 0338 last modified 2006-01-29 0350
Categories: Nerdy, Current Events
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The RIAA is now backing a bill (PDF) to "regulate juvenile access to peer-to-peer networks." The official word is to keep kids from seeing porn, particularly kiddie porn, but the regulations look pretty keen for keeping everybody away from music sharing (and in a nod to their brethern at the MPAA, movie sharing).

I am not so crazy as to believe the Internet will ever be free from regulation, but this policy is too far out there. The specifics of what software is going to be regulated are in section 4.1 of H.R.2885, where "illegal peer-to-peer software" will:

encompass computer software that enables the transmission of computer files or data over the Internet or any other public network of computers and that has as its primary function the capability to do all of the following--

(A) enable a computer on which such software is used to transmit files or data to another such computer;

(B) enable the user of one such computer to request the transmission of files or data from another such computer; and

(C) enable the user of one such computer to designate files or data available for transmission to another such computer, but which definition excludes, to the extent otherwise included, software products legitimately marketed and distributed primarily for the operation of business and home networks, the networks of Internet access providers, or the Internet itself; and

There are also wonderful portions where a 'do-not install' beacon of some sort is included somewhere in this whole unsupportable scheme.

By the way, if you use AIM, ICQ, or any other IM software, it will probably come under some sort of regulation if this bill is passed. In fact, it's probably going to include a whole raft of software. Since when did the recording industry have power over what can or cannot be installed on your desktop?

So goes the tech policy war. Perhaps as technology continues to advance our lawyers and legislators will grow a little wiser about that global Internet deal. Maybe you can help educate them with a letter to your representatives. I wrote one to mine, Rep. Jim Ramstad.

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