Why Not Apply A Three Strikes Rule To Everything?

from the watch-the-accusations-fly... dept

Back when the entertainment industry first got serious about pushing its silly three strikes concept, we were among those who wondered if the entertainment industry would accept a reverse three strikes rule, meaning that if they send three bogus accusations, they lose their own internet access.

However, leave it to Ed Felten to demonstrate just how ridiculous any sort of three strikes policy is -- especially one based on accusations, rather than convictions -- by suggesting that we extend a three strikes rule to print as well, noting that the reasoning behind the internet three strikes rules seem to also apply to print:
My proposed system is simplicity itself. The government sets up a registry of accused infringers. Anybody can send a complaint to the registry, asserting that someone is infringing their copyright in the print medium. If the government registry receives three complaints about a person, that person is banned for a year from using print.

As in the Internet case, the ban applies to both reading and writing, and to all uses of print, including informal ones. In short, a banned person may not write or read anything for a year.

A few naysayers may argue that print bans might be hard to enforce, and that banning communication based on mere accusations of wrongdoing raises some minor issues of due process and free speech. But if those issues don't trouble us in the Internet setting, why should they trouble us here?

Yes, if banned from using print, some students will be unable to do their school work, some adults will face minor inconvenience in their daily lives, and a few troublemakers will not be allowed to participate in -- or even listen to -- political debate. Maybe they'll think more carefully the next time, before allowing themselves to be accused of copyright infringement.

In short, a three-strikes system is just as good an idea for print as it is for the Internet. Which country will be the first to adopt it?
It seems like anyone who thinks three strikes rules are a smart idea should be required to (a) read this and (b) explain why it shouldn't apply to print.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    lulz, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Yes, if banned from using print, some students will be unable to do their school work, some adults will face minor inconvenience in their daily lives, and a few troublemakers will not be allowed to participate in -- or even listen to -- political debate.

    Hold on, I need a breath.

    Okay.
    The mere idea of banning people from using printed materials is so asinine, it should be illegal. No. No. NoNoNo. The proposition is not only unenforceable, but ridiculous. You can't force someone to not read printed things. You just can't.

    No newspapers.
    No books.
    No journals.
    No paper.
    No pens.
    No literacy.
    Not possible.

    If no one accepts a law as being a law, you can't make them follow it. People will do whatever they want. They already are doing whatever they want.

    Ed Felten is just another idiot who wants to be another totalitarian dictator.

    This naysayer thinks you should jump off a bridge for being incompetent at having a rational thought process.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:58am

      Re: Wooshhhh!

      @luls,

      The point is that it is equally ridiculous to apply that sort of thinking to internet access.

      I believe there is even a latin phrase/term for that sort of comparison.

       

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      Ima Fish, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      "The mere idea of banning people from using printed materials is so asinine... The proposition is not only unenforceable, but ridiculous."

      And that is exactly Felton's point. You don't get satire much, do you?

       

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      lulz, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:31am

      Re:

      @Everyone smarter than me:

      That guy really had me going there.

       

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        The infamous Joe, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re:

        The sad thing is that your brain didn't immediately discount this as satire, because deep down you know that someone out there would think this is a good idea and push for it.

        It's a sad world we live in.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      Banned from reading the directions on your med, the instructions for cooking your food, the reason for the burning hand in your water heater manual . . .
      I think that was the poster's point.
      If you are caught jay walking three times, do they revoke your shoes?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      Lulz, did you miss the point entirely???

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Damn, I really need to read the other comments before posting my own. Sorry, Lulz, I see he did catch you off guard at first.

         

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      nonobear, May 14th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      Troll.

      Obviously this is the point. To show how ridiculous it is in any medium...

       

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    Nicolas Sarkozy, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    3 strikes makes sense because I am president and I say so. Well, it makes sense except if you're accusing me of course. But anyone else is ok!

    As for 3 strikes for print, I love the idea. Maybe I'll push through that law as well to make some money for these poor helpless newspaper companies!

    Vive la France Libre!

     

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    lulz, May 14th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Maybe they'll think more carefully the next time, before allowing themselves to be accused of copyright infringement.

    I'll be sure to think more carefully the next time somebody accuses me of copyright infringement...

    Even if I didn't infringe on anything

    Your assertion is that it takes 3 suggestions that you've infringed anything. It doesn't actually have to be true.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      "Your assertion is that it takes 3 suggestions that you've infringed anything. It doesn't actually have to be true."

      Um, Lulz, that's the entire point Ed Felten is trying to make. The present three strikes policy in France (and being pushed elsewhere) is based exclusively on accusations. I don't even have to own to copyright to accuse someone of infringing on it. You don't even have to actually infringe on the copyright that I don't own to be accused. Ed's just taking it to the next step to point out how completely stupid the idea is.

      Even you see the insanity of it, and that's what he wants you to think:

      "This law would be completely asinine and should not be passed. Wait, this internet bill is the same damn thing and should never be passed as well."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Actually, I somewhat like the idea for the simple fact it has the possibility to escalate to the Supreme Court very quickly.

    Consider the 6th Amendment. Ed's hyperbole is making very good use of playing devil's advocate, and such a direction, if adopted, has possibility to re-affirm the 6th Amendment on multiple levels. While somewhat sarcastic in tone, his proposal presents a longer path, but one that could holds more long-term promise and legal precedence.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      Why do we have to keep re-affirming the constitution or amendments every few years. Why can't they just stay afirm? *sigh*

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    lulz,

    That IS EXACTLY what the entertainment industry is talking about, three ACCUSATIONS.

    Not three convictions in a court, three completely unsubstantiated accusations based only on whatever they consider sufficient evidence. No third party review, no court, no "proof" required.

    Please read up on this stuff and start telling your congress people what you think!

     

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    lulz, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    @Everyone smarter than me:

    That guy really had me going there.

     

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    Adam (profile), May 14th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    3 Strikes

    Seems to me that this rule should apply to mail as well, i.e. the post office refuses to deliver mail to recipients of multiply infringement accusations. To generalize then, if you are accused of using a medium of communication to infringe, you lose access to that medium.

     

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    Hulser, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Genius

    Too funny. This Ed Felton guy is a genius. I would love to see a supporter of the Internet three strikes rule get asked this question in some public forum. Oh, say...like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report where the person would be called on their inevitably bullshit response rather than the interviewer just moving onto the next softball question.

     

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    nobody, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    This is a satire piece, like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". Check that one out too... it's even more ridiculously funny. Also, if you read Ed Felten's piece to the end, you'll notice that the post is tagged "Copyright" and "Humor";)

     

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      Weird Harold's former #5 fan, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      This is a satire piece, like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". Check that one out too...

      Curses! You stole my comment!

      I was just getting ready to tell lulz to stay far away from Swift. :)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    And lets use that logic as an argument for everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    The relationship between an ISP and a user of its services is a private one based upon contract law. If an ISP elects to incorporate into its TOS a "3 strikes" provision, there is nothing in law that prevents it from doing so.

    If such a provision was incorporated into federal/state statutes, the "government action doctrine" would come into play. But here this is not the case, so the doctrine has no applicability.

    There are, of course, some rules of law that do provide restraints on private action via contract or otherwise. The utilization of P2P does not, as a general rule, strike me as one that would be so restrained.

    If ISPs decide to implement a "3 strikes" rule, that is their prerogative. If a user doesn't like this, they are always free to use another ISP.

     

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      The infamous Joe, May 14th, 2009 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      If ISPs decide to implement a "3 strikes" rule, that is their prerogative. If a user doesn't like this, they are always free to use another ISP.

      Right, because there's plenty of competition in the ISP market.

       

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      nasch, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:58am

      Re:

      France is not considering a 3 strikes terms of service for some ISP, it is considering a 3 strikes law. Kind of changes the picture.

       

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    Bruce Ban'er, May 14th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    I love it...

    So, when the cop pulls me over for speeding after I am banned from print, I simply say:

    "Sorry officer, I wasn't able to read the speed limit sign. I'm banned!"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:05am

      Re: I love it...

      Well, if I recall you need to be literate to have a driver's license. Which means that if you were banned from reading, that would make your license invalid, because you no longer qualify. So I think you'd still be screwed.

       

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    WHatever, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Insane!!!

    Does this mean if banned, I won't have to stop at a Stop Sign since I wouldn't be allowed to read it. Oh yeah! I guess i could speed to

     

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    Mechwarrior, May 14th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    A real world example would be Cali's three strikes law for convicts. Id like someone to show a study of what percentage of Lifers in Cali were due to stealing a pack of cigarettes (or any inconsequential item), initiating the third strike.

     

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