Scary copyright madness

It will soom be time to warm up the phones and emails. Declan McCullagh points out that IP industry lackeys in Congress are getting ready to extend copyright in frightening and very chilling ways.

The “Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006” hasn’t been introduced yet, so there’s no direct source to point to. (Here’s an old version and what one site reports as a working draft.) According to McCullagh, the IPPA includes:

  • Amending existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. (Would this mean that “leaks” of any kind would be considered a crime, since unpublished works are de facto copyrighted?)
  • Criminalizing attempts or conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. (So if I try to trick crippleware which prevents me from refilling my toner cartridge, even if I fail, I have commited a federal crime.)
  • “Offering for distribution” would now be a crime—with or without willful intent. (Got a shared folder on your computer or an unsecured wireless network? You’re a criminal!)

As if the DMCA isn’t bad enough. We are far, far from the original spirit of copyrights and patents, and moving further away every day. While this law doesn’t include direct assaults on fair use which I’m aware of, I’m sure those are coming.

I don’t much like the term “copyfighter.” But more and more I think there is little alternative.

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3 Responses to Scary copyright madness

  1. senioritis says:

    Copyright–the copyright of Sonny Bono, though not James Madison–is the devil. So one is either a devil or a copyfighter. How’s that for a binary universe? But seriously. Warming up those phones & emails is essential.

  2. Kevin says:

    Hey Mr. Dilger,

    What are the licensing or copyright issues that might come up when using a program such as photoshop or illustrator to manipulate an image or create a peice of art?

  3. cbd says:

    Good question. It will depend on the purpose, of course, and the nature of the original. But the copyright laws aren’t very friendly where images are concerned—even in the case of coursework, fair use is under serious pressure.

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