DMCA: The Next Generation… Coming Soon

Posted on Mon 24 April 2006 in Dispatches • 2 min read

The Bush administration has a new version of DMCA to offer you, and it’s so much worse.

In this article, Declan McCullagh of CNET news describes the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 that the administration plans to propose via their lackey Representative Lamar Smith. It’s extremely broad in range; so here are a few highlights from the original article.

The proposed law scheduled to be introduced by Rep. Smith also does the following:
  • Permits wiretaps in investigations of copyright crimes, trade secret theft and economic espionage. It would establish a new copyright unit inside the FBI and budgets $20 million on topics including creating “advanced tools of forensic science to investigate” copyright crimes.
  • Amends existing law to permit criminal enforcement of copyright violations even if the work was not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Boosts criminal penalties for copyright infringement originally created by the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 from five years to 10 years (and 10 years to 20 years for subsequent offenses). The NET Act targets noncommercial piracy including posting copyrighted photos, videos or news articles on a Web site if the value exceeds $1,000.
  • Creates civil asset forfeiture penalties for anything used in copyright piracy. Computers or other equipment seized must be “destroyed” or otherwise disposed of, for instance at a government auction. Criminal asset forfeiture will be done following the rules established by federal drug laws.
  • Says copyright holders can impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in” infringements.

This bill has been endorsed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who claims that this law will help the justice department to… wait for it… fight terrorism.

During a speech in November, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorsed the idea and said at the time that he would send Congress draft legislation. Such changes are necessary because new technology is “encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft,” Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, “quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities.”

You can read the soon to be proposed bill for yourself here. It has the RIAA and MPAA’s dirty fingerprints all over it.

This is just a disgusting strike against consumer rights, and if you feel about it as I do, I strongly urge you to contact your elected representatives and tell them how you feel. Urge them to instead support the Digital Media Consumer’s Rights Act (article | bill) instead.

If you would like additional resources on what you can do, you can check out IPAC’s post on this issue.

If you need further evidence on the insanity of the DMCA, the RIAA is now trying to sue a family that doesn’t even own a computer. Read about it here.