The Induce Act

There is another bill before Congress, proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, Patrick Leahy, Bill Frist, Tom Daschle, Barbara Boxer, and Lindsay Graham are all sponsoring a bill titled the Inducting Infringement of Copyrights Act which is essentially designed to roll back all of the progress that has been made since the Sony Betamax decision on the legality of VCRs.

This is a stupid idea. I hope that is clear enough for a Senator to understand, apparently the group listed above has little to no grasp of how copyright law is meant to work, or how any of the digital media technologies function. This law is an egregious example of how a few groups like the MPAA and RIAA can make huge campaign contributions and then parlay that money into ill advised, ill conceived laws.

These Senators are either complete fools or they are blatantly corrupt and I’m not sure which I’d prefer it to be. Such a law is akin to Prohibition, taking a common, legal, and everyday act and criminalizing it. Who do you know that hasn’t recorded a movie on a VCR to watch later, made a mix tape or CD for a significant other or for a road trip, or decided to back up their CDs onto their computer after replacing six scratched copies of the same disc?

This law is part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act family of laws that should be recognized as antithetical to the Constitution’s description of copyright. In no way will this promote the development of useful arts and sciences. This will stifle countless technologies that are used legally by millions because they could potentially be used for an illegal purpose as well. That clearly not what copyright law is meant for.

Furthermore, it goes against the most well known and fundamental precept of our legal system that we are all innocent until proven guilty. Laws such as the Induce Act assume that we will be co-opting all such technologies for the most illegal possible use rather than the countless useful and common legal ones. This is a slap in the face to every person in the country.

So join Google, Yahoo!, Intel, Verizon, eBay, Cnet, MCI, and dozens of other companies and countless individuals in fighting this and other offensive laws. Visit the EFF website and for more information on this and similar issues and to take action. Each of us has a voice and a responsibility to use it to fight irresponsible, unjust laws such as this one.

Kevin Hall
Latest posts by Kevin Hall (see all)