the baby and a lot of muddied bathwater

At brunch today with my women friends, after the unavoidable litanies of personal aches and pains, we, as usual, drifted into complaining about politics and government. Someone mentioned proposed legislation that would make it illegal to fast forward through commercials.
What!! No way, right?
Way.
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.
The IPPA (Intellectual Property Protection Act) is one of those Congressional mish-mashes of babies, bathwater, and slop. I have to believe that it won’t get passed without some careful scrubbing.
The following is enough to trigger some truly vocal outrage:
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.
Are we scared enough yet?
Are we mad enough yet?
Well, yeah. But scared and mad enough to do what?
Do we hunker down, guard our privacy with our lives, hide in our attics with our remote controls and signal jamming devices? Do we form underground guerilla groups to share files? Do we stand shoulder to shoulder, backs to the technological tidal wave on which the whims of a gestapo state are riding?
We can allow government to corral us in with the magics of technology, allow them to fence us in with our own fears of being somehow “exposed”, or….
or what?
What if we all lived our lives out in the open. No secrets; no stigma. What if we shared our information about our DNA, medical histories, therapies, and tribulations etc, (you know, like lots of us do on the web already).
What if we redirected all of the energies that we put into hiding the things we have been programmed to feel are “nobody’s business” and free oursevles to unite against the fascism that’s already taking its toll on our lives. If we allow our “elected representatives” to keep doing the crappy job they’ve been doing, we are going to wind up wearing identifying patches on our sleeves and making sure that our “papers” are in order and on our persons at all times. (Not that those things won’t prevent our being hauled off to detainment camps.)
This government has become the enemy of its people.
It is all so truly REVOLTING.
UPDATE:
Thanks to Doug at The Alders (see comment to this post) for pointing to the truth of the matter.
I guess I have to make the effort and read the fine print of primary source documents. (Even though it’s so much more fun to ride a rant off someone else’s misguided assertions, it’s more important to learn — and share — what’s true.)
But I still think the government of my country deserves some revolting.

4 thoughts on “the baby and a lot of muddied bathwater

  1. http://www.publicknowledge.org/pdf/HR_2391.pdf gives you the full text of the IPPA bill. For the purposes of your post the critical component seems to be Section 212.
    Section 212 specifically exempts howme users etc from penalty if they fast forward through commercials. It would appear that this prohibition is designed to prevent anyone who rents/resells/ot otherwise makes money off of a copyrighted work, from eliminating the ads placed in that work by the owners of that copyright or agents workung on their behalf (such as TV stations who pay for he use of a copyrighted work and who inset ads under the permission of the copyright owner).
    Like so many things on the Internet when it comes to spoiling someone’s fun (theft of other people’s work) misinformation appears to be the norm in order to get people worked up. Here is the body of that section:
    SEC. 212. EXEMPTION FROM INFRINGEMENT FOR SKIPPING AUDIO AND VIDEO CONTENT IN MOTION PICTURES.
    (a) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the‘‘Family Movie Act of 2004’’.
    (b) EXEMPTION FROM COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT FOR SKIPPING OF AUDIO OR VIDEO CONTENT OF MOTION PICTURES.—Section 110 of title 17, United States Code, is amended
    (1) in paragraph (9), by striking “and” after the semicolon at the end;
    (2) in paragraph (10), by striking the period at the end and inserting “; and”;
    (3) by inserting after paragraph (10) the following: “(11) the making imperceptible, by or at the direction of a member of a private household, of limited portions of audio or video content of a motion picture, during a performance in or transmitted to that household for private home viewing, from an authorized copy of the motion picture, or the creation or provision of a computer program or other technology that enables such making imperceptible and that is designed and marketed for such use at the direction of a member of a private household, if
    “(A) no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture is created by such computer program or other technology”; and
    “(B) no changes, deletions or additions are made by such computer program or other technology to commercial advertisements, or to net work or station promotional announcements, that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture.”; and
    (4) by adding at the end the following:”For purposes of paragraph (11), the term ‘making imperceptible’ does not include the addition of audio or video content that is performed or displayed over or in place of existing content in a motion picture.”.
    (c) EXEMPTION FROM TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT.—
    Section 32 of the Trademark Act of 1946 (15 U.S.C. 1114) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    “(3)(A) Any person who engages in the conduct described in paragraph (11) of section 110 of title 17, United 2 States Code, and who complies with the requirements set forth in that paragraph is not liable on account of such conduct for a violation of any right under this Act. This subparagraph does not preclude liability of a person for conduct not described in paragraph (11) of section 110 of title 17, United States Code, even if that person also engages in conduct described in paragraph (11) of section 110 of such title.
    “B) A manufacturer, licensee, or licensor of technology that enables the making of limited portions of audio or video content of a motion picture imperceptible as described in subparagraph (A) is not liable on account of such manufacture or license for a violation of any right under his Act, if such manufacturer, licensee, or licensor ensures that the technology provides a clear and conspicuous notice at the beginning of each performance that the performance of the motion picture is altered from the performance in tended by the director or copyright holder of the motion picture. The limitations on liability in subparagraphs (A) and 21(B) shall not apply to a manufacturer, licensee, or licensor of technology that fails to comply with this paragraph.”
    (C) The requirement under subparagraph (B) to provide notice shall apply only with respect to technology manufactured after the end of the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Family Movie Act of 2004.”.
    (d) DEFINITION.—In this section, the term “Trademark Act of 1946” means the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes”, approved

  2. Health

    This digital document is an article from Youth Studies Australia, published by Australian Clearing House for Youth Studies on June 1, 2002. The length of the article is 817 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The art…

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