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 (Would this mean that “leaks” of any kind would be considered a crime, since unpublished works are de facto copyrighted?)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.