Sunday, September 7, 2008

Category 3 Review on "THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PEER TO PEER PIRACY PREVENTION ACT: Why Copyright Owner Self-help Must Be Part Of The P2P Piracy Solution"

Direct link to article:

This article article detailed the components of the newly proposed "Peer to Peer Prevention Act", written by Howard Berman who happens to be one of the very congressmen to propose this bill in the House.
Peer to Peer (P2P) file-sharing networks (e.g.: Napster) treads on 2 rights of the copyright owner: 1) unauthorized duplication of his/her work, and 2) unauthorized distribution of his/her work. The P2P Prevention Act advocates leeway for copyright owners to impede the theft of their works through "reasonable, limited self-help".
Congressman Berman believes the most effective way to retard the never-ending P2P piracy is for copyright owners to "offer reasonably-priced, consumer-friendly ways to access legal content online", and for his proposed bill to be passed into law (surprise).
Most of the bill entails restrictions of the copyright owner in regards to what he/she may or may not do to prevent theft. Legality aside, I thought this was slightly unfair as copyright owners are being lectured about what they can and can't do to stop theft of their property, while pirates flick off countless regulations and laws to steal from copyright owners. If I were a Congressperson assigned to this issue, I would've proposed a bill structured on cracking down on pirates (if that were possible). Alas, I am not a Congressperson.. I digress.
Listed are some of the elements Congressman Berman proposed to keep the defense of copyright owners "reasonable" and "limited":
1) Copyright owners are not liable if and only if they are preventing the piracy of their property on a fileshare network. If, in the process of doing so, the copyright owner happens to crash a corporate network, he/she will be held liable.
2) Copyright owners may not send viruses or any other files to corrupt the data and files on the pirate's computer/network.
3) Copyright owners cannot remove files from the pirate's computer/network even if they are the pirated works (this one didn't make any sense to me at all).
4) Copyright owners are not protected by the P2P Prevention Act if he/she causes the economic loss of anyone besides the P2P network. This protects everyone else on the internet who may be effected by the copyright owner's "self-help".
5) Copyright owners may not cause serious harm to the pirate or the P2P pirate. (e.g.: Arson of the pirate's home in order to stop P2P file-sharing is not "reasonable").
6) Copyright owners must report to the Attorney General the technologies they plan to use to prevent piracy. This is so that no anti-piracy activity is conducted under the table.
Essentially, the P2P Prevention Act subjugates copyright owners to more liabilities than they have now. In addition to how limited copyright owners are in preventing piracy, pirates and P2P networks can even sue copyright owners under special circumstances. If Congressman Berman's proposed legislation is passed into law, copyright owners will have to fight piracy from inside a cage.

Like Communism, the Peer to Peer Prevention Act is good in theory, but most likely cannot be put to perfect practice.

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