THE POWER OF THE BLOG, PART DUEX
Last week we mentioned
that we attempted to reach our Congressman, Howard Berman (D-Ca),
to discuss the bill he’s offered to limit the liability of copyright holders for protecting their works on peer-too-peer networks. We didn’t get far until we mentioned that we ran this here little website, and then we got referred to the Congressman’s point man on the matter, Alec French
is the Minority Counsel on the House Judiciary Sub-Committee on Courts, Internet, and Intellectual Property (MCHJSCCIIP),
and was kind enough to call us back today to discuss the bill.
Now, allow us to be the first to admit that we claimed the bill would be bad law, and frankly that we didn’t understand it completely. You can imagine how excited we were when Mr. French
told us that due to some of the ‘erroneous’
reporting, NOBODY really understands what the bill is aimed to accomplish.
We asked Mr. French
to give us a simple explanation of the bill, and he says:
“The bill is ONLY designed to impair the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.”
Naturally, we asked Mr. French
to dumb it down a little more for us, and he gave us an example that even we could follow:
“Um, OK, say somebody steals your bike, and you see it on the sidewalk in front of his house with a sign that says ‘Free Bike’, you would, under this type of bill, be able to stand on the sidewalk and make sure nobody takes your bike.”
, correctly, points out that Congress Berman
represents over 600,000 people in the greater Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley
area, and a good number of his constituents are in the copyright holding (entertainment) industry. This is a bill, basically, that the Congressman’s constituents want.
Based on Mr. French’s
analysis, which is far better than our own, this bill only allows copyright holders to stop the illegal distribution of their own copyrighted material. Period. If they do ANY damage to anybody, they can be sued. This bill, which Mr. French
doesn’t believe will be enacted for a minimum of 2 years, will also be shaped and amended as the Congressman hears from constituents and citizens. If anybody has ideas about any unintended consequences or has reasonable concerns about the bill, Congressman Berman
, according to French
, is all ears.
We hate to say this, because it’s admitting we were wrong before, but the bill doesn’t sound that bad. We know a lot of people in the entertainment industry, and they deserve to get paid for their work just like you or us. It appears that the only people that will be adversely affected by the bill will be the ‘piracy profiteers'
, as Mr. French
However, like the honorable Congressman, if anybody wants to convince us this is bad law, we’re all ears as well.