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24 April
2006

Extreme penalties for copyright infringement proposed in US by Sensenbrenner

The Digitial Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the USA is already a repressive body of legislation that stifles innovation concentrates wealth at the expense of personal freedoms. Now an even more oppressive piece of legislation is being proposed that will allow extreme penalties as well as actions without due process against people who make unauthorized copies. The penalties for making posting over $1000 if material online include 10 years in prision. This would become possible as part of a proposal to define a new crime related to copyright infringement. (Draft document here, PDF). Take a look, for comparison, at the penalty for stabbing somebody or punching a grocery clerk in the face. This sugests that there are forces in the USA that would like to shift the value system from protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to protecting vested interests, big companies and the rich. Don't let this happen!

In Canada, it's getting closer. See the more recent post on this site.

You should also note that in addition to the DMCA and this...


legislation, the switch to mandated digital broadcasting is coming to the US (in 2009) as well as the broadcast flag. The net effect will be almost complete control over what people can watch and record. Not only will this drastically change the manner in which information is stored and shared, but it also consolidates the control and economic power of large media organizations. It has been a right and a natural ability for some time for people to record what the observe and experience, and make archival copies that they could review and/or share.

On top of all that, once there is extreme control over what can be recorded and played back, what prevents revisionist history or post-hoc suppression of events or documents? This is a bad and frightening precedent.

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By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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