Senators Unconcerned About Massive Unintended Consequences Of Criminalizing People For Embedding YouTube Videos

from the shame-on-them dept

This is really no surprise, but the same Senate Judiciary Committee that unanimously approved the PROTECT IP Act, despite worries from internet experts and major media about how it would break the internet, has now also unanimously approved the anti-internet streaming bill that makes it a felony to stream certain videos online — potentially putting people in jail for embedding YouTube videos or just putting up YouTube lip synching videos.

What’s really troubling here is that the media and plenty of concerned citizens have directly raised the issues about the unintended consequences of this law. And while Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn and Christopher Coons continue to insist that (of course) the law is not intended to be used against such people, they have made no move to fix the bill. Even supporters of this bill, who insisted that we were wrong about what the bill allowed, eventually conceded that our argument was accurate and that this bill could be used to put people in jail for embedding a YouTube video or doing a lip synch video.

And that’s a huge, huge problem. Of course, no one thinks the bill is for that purpose directly or that it’s going to be widely used for such purposes. However, the bill, as written, clearly allows law enforcement to charge people with a felony for that, assuming it meets a few other conditions. But those conditions are pretty minimal (ads on your page? you’re in trouble…). The risk here of abuse is a serious risk, and it’s incredibly troubling that Klobuchar, Cornyn and Coons failed to change or adapt the bill, and worse that the rest of the Senate Judiciary Committee allowed the bill to move forward in such a broken state. They were clearly made aware of problems with the bill, but directly chose not to make any changes. How do you explain that other than incompetence or corruption?

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Comments on “Senators Unconcerned About Massive Unintended Consequences Of Criminalizing People For Embedding YouTube Videos”

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210 Comments
ArkieGuy (profile) says:

Re: Consider the source...

Two of my favorite quotes work here:

Arthur C. Clarke said “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Robert Hanlon (I think) said “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

Put them together and you get my opinion of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “if it’s more advanced than a pencil, it’s probably magic and I can’t understand it so it should be eliminated.” ๐Ÿ™‚

McBeese says:

Massive amounts of Both

I think this bill is thriving on massive amounts of corruption and incompetence.

There are way too many open-ended questions that need to be clarified before this steaming turd can be allowed to pass.

I guess if I put the videos I’ve purchased in my Cloud locker, The locker services (Amazon, Google, iCloud) can’t let me stream it to my device because that could be construed as a felony unless they have paid for the rights to let me stream my content to my devices over their networks. Instead I have to download it and play it on the same device because that isn’t a felony.

Bottom line: Technical incompetents should NOT be allowed to judge technical issues. Big companies use CTOs and their organizations to drive technical decisions. Where the hell is our government’s CTO?

Headbhang says:

Disgusting

I hope their decision comes back to bite their own asses in full karmic force.

Legislators ought to be required to pass basic competency examinations about technological topics before being allowed to pass laws that concern them, but of course, that would leave barely no-one to do so. Bunch of ignorant arse-licking snakes, they all are.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

For a less alarmist view of things, I recommend reading: http://www.copyhype.com/2011/06/fears-of-felony-streaming-bill-overblown/

… in which Terry Hart sets up a total strawman that no one has argued (“The worry that S.978 will lead to prisons overflowing with people for sharing online videos…”). No one made that argument. We were quite explicit that this won’t lead to massive charges. Our problem is that it absolutely *could* be used to charge someone for such things, and nothing in Hart’s analysis goes against that.

That’s amazingly troubling. All the supporters of this bill seem to say “you’re crazy!” and then eventually admit “well, sure it could be, but no one would do that.”

It’s astoundingly troublesome that people think it’s okay to pass a bill that could very clearly be abused, and then just trust the system not to abuse it.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

mens rea can be argued thus:

.By virtue of posting the video online, you are infringing already;
.Ads are shown that generate revenue for Youtube and/or the postee;
.In each case, there is a profit to be made.
.Seeing as the RIAA can manage to make a multiplatinum-selling album a loss-leader, it can asdjust the numbers to show that this made more of a profit.

If you cannot see that, then I think you need a refund on your Law degree tuition fees.

anymouse (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From the linked Copyhype article, “Other factors support the idea that most internet users have no reason to worry about this bill.”

Sounds an awful lot like, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” …..

Except it’s more like, “Most people have nothing to hide, so shouldn’t worry about random mandatory police raids and searches of homes for potentially infringing material.”

“What’s infringing today?” ….. “We’ll let you know as soon as we find it, we know it has to be here somewhere.”

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…”

Anonymous Coward says:

“Even supporters of this bill, who insisted that we were wrong about what the bill allowed, eventually conceded that our argument was accurate and that this bill could be used to put people in jail for embedding a YouTube video or doing a lip synch video. “

That’s it? A single comment from an anonymous commenter is all you have to bolster your contention that supporters of the bill agree with your argument? At a minimum you should amend that sentence to begin “Even a single, anonymous commenter posting on Techdirt….”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Sadly, further points made later in that thread are not mentioned. Virtually anything known to man, including laws, can be used in an abusive manner. Of course anything is possible, even if that possibility is about 10 sigma from the norm.

An important point that was overlooked relates to the fact that courts serve as a check on legislative power. Moreover, courts have over the last several hundred years developed rules, doctrines, policies, etc. that are used by them in matters of statutory interpretation. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the absolute worst will befall us merely because something “could” happen.

Apparently I place far greater faith in our judicial system than many of those who decry the proposed bill.

DannyB (profile) says:

Not intended, unless...

Don’t be so pessimistic. The government is here to protect you. Remember the PATRIOT act? That even has the word “patriot” in it, so it can’t be bad. That law was also not intended to be used against people who aren’t terrorists. PATRIOT even had sunset provisions.

Laws will never be abused by government.

Please discontinue your wrong thinking immediately.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re:

Was that supposed to support your alleged position that we are blowing this out of proportion?

Will S.978 Put You in Jail for Embedding Infringing Videos?
Despite the breadth of the public performance right, civil lawsuits against individuals alleged to have infringed it online are rare ? Live Nation Motor Sports is the exception rather than the rule. The worry that S.978 will lead to prisons overflowing with people for sharing online videos that happen to be infringing is overblown.

The standard for establishing criminal copyright liability is much higher than civil liability.

Ill stop there. But it is apparent to any rational logical thinking human being that this new bill was crafted to assist in making it easier to bring these cases.

FAIL

chuck says:

But but…You Tube has a button that you can use to get the code to embed a video.
I guess that will go away, then whats the use of You tube if you can’t share the wacky videos on there? so You Tube will also go away (or be used a LOT less)
I wonder what Google (You Tube) has to say about this?

Remember their names come election day folks.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think that is boils down to the simple fact that you are upset that another one of the holes used by freeloaders and those who choose to ignore copyright is getting blocked up. I suspect that lawmakers were hoping in some ways that existing laws would be enough to give the courts appropriate frameworks to operate in, but failing that, they must craft new laws to address the new situation.

It truly sucks if you business depends on embedding copyrighted video clips from a third party, claiming to only be an innocent blog operator or website owner. It would get rid of the “didn’t know, didn’t check” excuse that has left so many offenders to build their businesses without risk and without having to actually pay for the content they use.

The wild west phase of the internet is quickly coming to an end, as the cowboys couldn’t control themselves. The Sheriff is coming to do it for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think that is boils down to the simple fact that you are upset that another one of the holes used by freeloaders and those who choose to ignore copyright is getting blocked up.

I think that is boils down to the simple fact that he is upset that another one of the holes used by free speakers and those who choose to practice it is getting blocked up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“The wild west phase of the internet is quickly coming to an end, as the cowboys couldn’t control themselves. The Sheriff is coming to do it for you.”

The freedom phase of the internet is quickly coming to an end, as those in power felt threatened by it. The movie and recording industry is coming to do it to you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“The wild west phase of the internet is quickly coming to an end…”

I’ve been hearing about this for like 5 years now. Must be like when people say that “xxxx will be the year of linux on the Desktop”, or “Browser Y version Z will be the ultimate browser that will kill off Firefox for good!”. You know, one of those unlikely events that people are always saying will happen but never do.

But there’s still hope for you: Duke Nukem Forever was eventually released. So dream on! Never give up!

Prisoner 201 says:

Not intended, unless...

Just look at how UK used anti terrorist laws to freeze icelandic assets after the bank collapse.

Not because iceland is full of terrorist, no one even pretended that that was the case, but because the law allowed them to freeze icelandic assets.

That law was (of course) not intended to do that…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

To be included under the bill: “the offense consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, would exceed $2,500; or the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000.”

I don’t see how the value of the public performance to a YouTube poster could be worth more than $2,5000, so that’s not an issue. The other criteria is that the fair market value of the licenses for those performances must exceed $5,000. I don’t know the value of licenses. Do you?

On top of that, for criminal infringement, there is a two-pronged mens rea element for “wilfulness” since it is a specific intent crime. The government must show: (1) intent to copy, and (2) intent to infringe.

Do you think a teen uploading a video of her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga meets this requirement? I don’t.

Plus, consider the fact that it’s already a misdemeanor. How many people have been charged with this? Exactly.

The fears are WAY overblown. Give me a break.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t see how the value of the public performance to a YouTube poster could be worth more than $2,5000, so that’s not an issue.

Hmm. I would argue that very much depends on the situation, but given a video that gets lots of views, and has ads on it, sure, that argument would not be hard to make.

On top of that, for criminal infringement, there is a two-pronged mens rea element for “wilfulness” since it is a specific intent crime. The government must show: (1) intent to copy, and (2) intent to infringe.

Easy on both accounts. Intent to copy: they did the embed/lip synch or whatever. Clearly the intent was to copy. Intent to “infringe” again it depends on the situation, but again, it’s not hard to make that argument. “Everyone knows that these works are copyrighted, and by embedding it on their site, which has Google ads, making it a commercial play, clearly they intended to infringe for their own commercial benefit…”

Not hard at all.

Do you think a teen uploading a video of her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga meets this requirement? I don’t.

But what about the guy lipsynching to her video, embedded on his blog with Google ads, that gets hundreds of thousands of views?

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I just learned about “Happy Birthday” being “protected” from my niece a few weeks ago – she teaches autistic children. They had a BD party for one of the children at a restaurant and were told they couldn’t sing “THAT” song lest they be guilty of “copyright infringement”.

So make sure all the windows are closed and you sing Happy Birthday very, VERY softly at any family birthday gatherings lest “THEY” hear you … and be sure that camcorder is off so no one can share your family singing “Happy Birthday” on the everyone-is-a-felon-Inet.

Stop the world. I want to get off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

My reply would be simply that if someone is intentionally infringing and it meets the other requirements, then why’s it so bad that it’s a felony? The person has criminal intent, right? Why not treat them like a criminal? It’s a misdemeanor already, so I don’t see the big deal.

I admit I hadn’t considered the embedding a video on a site other than YouTube. That’s a good point.

(See, it’s easy to admit when you’ve made a good point.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So Masnick, if this is such an evil bill; why aren’t mainstream apologists like CDT, EFF and PK all over it? I see nothing on their websites and looking at the bill’s webpage I note that these organizations haven’t even come out to oppose it on the record. For that matter, for all of the sniveling you do, it doesn’t appear that Techdirt ever bothers making its opposition part of the record. At a certain level all of the rantings look foolish without any willingness to back shit up.

ATM says:

Re: Re:

“I don’t see how the value of the public performance to a YouTube poster could be worth more than $2,5000”

When you are dealing with an industry that claims 6 figure losses for uploading 30 songs, nothing is impossible

“Do you think a teen uploading a video of her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga meets this requirement?”

By the time this question is answered in court this teen would have been arrested, sent to jail, paid tens of thousands of dollars in bail and legal fees. not to mention the psychological stress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

IIRC the mens rea elements are “subjective”, and not “objective”. In other words, the mere act of doing something that objectively infringes a copyright is not enough.

That’s right. The test is not whether the belief is objectively reasonable. The test is whether the defendant really believes the law does not proscribe his conduct. See United States v. Moran, 757 F. Supp. 1046 (D.Neb. 1991).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Also, these rules do not solve any problem: infringement will continue to occur at a massive scale and the true source of the problem will escape unscathed. The only one who will suffer will be those who, somewhat innocently (although not entirely), break these rules.

Think about it this way: you are trying to “win” the war on drugs by arresting every dirty junkie you find half dead on the streets, instead of grabbing the drug lords. For every junkie you arrest, they get 10 more addicted. You solved nothing and have to feed thousands more in your decaying prisons. Yay justice!

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They don’t have to. The MPAA and rIAA will poiint this at a person, and either:

a) try and extort them; or
b) lock them up in Gitmo (an exxageration, but upto 5 years in jail and $150k/infringing work seems so fair.)

It doesn’t have to be open to be abused. And I’m telling you NOW that this will be abused so hard it’s not even funny anymore. I wish I could walk into the RIAA’s office and casually snuff out its existence with a satellite laser.

Rekrul says:

The real problem with this bill isn’t that it will be used to jail people who embed YouTube videos or who lipsynch to some copyrighted. I agreed that such things would probably be pretty rare.

No, the real problem is that once passed, this law will be used to threaten all those people into taking down videos that should fall under fair use. People will start getting notices that say “Illegal streaming is a felony. Take down this video or you’ll be arrested.” Or even more likely, “Illegal streaming is a felony. Take down this video and pay us $2,000, or we’ll have you arrested.”

Also, the bill says that the value of the streamed works must cost more than $5,000 to license. Is there a single piece of music or video that you can actually get a license to stream for that little? Doesn’t that make every any streamed, copyrighted content automatically qualify under the bill?

Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110606/23312814574/oscar-nominated-filmmaker-misuses-dmca-to-take-down-video-reporter-asking-him-tough-questions.shtml

A DMCA Takedown because some guy decided to include a 26 second clip of a documentary in his critique of the documentary.

Now say you’re some guy with a good lawyer who would find a way to prove monetary damages and mens rea, because for all the words the law provides, sometimes it does come down to has the best lawyer. Heck it doesn’t even have to go to court if the letter is convincing enough.

If I were that guy, I’d think, “Why threaten someone with a club, when there’s a bazooka handy?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

That’s it? A single comment from an anonymous commenter is all you have to bolster your contention that supporters of the bill agree with your argument? At a minimum you should amend that sentence to begin “Even a single, anonymous commenter posting on Techdirt….”

But that’s not the Techdirt way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

How about you ACs grow a pair and register for an account? Oh wait, then everyone would be able to see you’re nothing but a bunch of trolls.

It always amuses me when some anonymous commenter attempts to call out another anonymous commenter for being anonymous. What a hypocrite.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Carry over

In the last post somebody pointed out only willful infringement… for full description…

Shadow16nh, Jun 16th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

This article grossly misrepresents the implications of the proposed bill.

People who upload innocuous covers to YouTube and those who may link to them elsewhere will be absolutely unaffected by it.

Read the bill more carefully and you?ll see that the ??10 or more public performances?? stipulation is only applicable in conjunction with one or more of the subsequent provisions.

You fail to note that this law only applies to *intentional* infringements where the total retail value of the performances exceeds $2,500 and the total fair market value of licenses for such use must exceed $5,000.

Please check your facts more thoroughly in the future before allowing yourself to take an alarmist stance.”

I’ll stand by the alarmist every time when intentional infringes are anybody with a regular cam or web-cam, making public performance with music they bought & making a living doing so. The same can be said for any service or performance art that uses music.

It’s bad enough Happy Birthday is copyrighted. And yet, only enforced in a public.. or I mean private restraunts. This bill effectively reaches in to a private home and says you cant work for yourself.

I was going for joking levity in a stressful time when I mentioned the cam-girls and yet your basically saying go strip elsewhere, we want a clean internet neighborhood. Boggles the mind.

Rekrul says:

Re: Carry over

You fail to note that this law only applies to *intentional* infringements where the total retail value of the performances exceeds $2,500 and the total fair market value of licenses for such use must exceed $5,000.

You inserted the word “and” where you should have used “or”;

…where the total retail value of the performances exceeds $2,500 or the total fair market value of licenses for such use must exceed $5,000

Show me even a single copyrighted work where the license to stream it is less than $5,000.

That’s like saying that a cable company will only prosecute unauthorized people tapping into their service if the cost to pay for that same service exceeds $10.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“the offense consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works; and the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, would exceed $2,500; or the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000”

Numbers can easily be manipulated. Remember, the AA’s wanted 75 trillion dollars from Limewire, even though everyone and their dog can see that that is unreasonable.

“The government must show: (1) intent to copy, and (2) intent to infringe”

Not a problem for someone who would sue dead people and people without an Internet connection.

“plus, consider the fact that it’s already a misdemeanor. How many people have been charged with this? Exactly.”

If you had read the article you yourself linked, the reason pointed for this is that is little incentive to do it. The changes, supposedly, would provide more incentive to sue, ergo, more lawsuits, ergo, we are STILL concerned.

So, no, the article didn’t help.

Hank Single says:

Re:

It’s not about what likely ‘will’ be done – but what can be done. Every kid with a laptop is now a felon. This is how a police state functions – not that you arrest everyone, but that you can arrest anyone.

The major voice against the current tide of the government has been from the internet, this bill can be used to comfortably target anyone who is internet savvy. It’s as though every road had a camera on it and going over the speed limit were a felony. If you have a car, you are now a felon if you being a felon suits the moment.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re:

I don’t see how the value of the public performance to a YouTube poster could be worth more than $2,5000, so that’s not an issue.

Did you intentionally ignore the “or to the copyright owner” part?

Say someone records a video of a concert and uploads it to Youtube. Tickets to the concert cost $50. 50 people watch it. Got a calculator handy? Mine tells me that’s $2500.

A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Re:

Frankly yes, the only way they get anything done is to hire the black hats to do it, then the black hats use the money to do other nasty things you don’t even have a clue about….

LOL you think you can stop us? Really? we understand the web better than the corps. or the gov… we can route around and you will still be happy hugging yourself thinking you won, and guess what NOTHING changes…

DMNTD says:

Arguing...

Over a law is retarded. Make your points but going back and forth is seriously a waste of time. WATCH what happens then make a new post and again make your point.

BOTTOM LINE..laws have always been an abuse. They are non-sensible and as mike points out all the time NEW laws by this point are not needed! Its an abuse of power by this point but I am not going to argue with you..it just is, blow it out your ass.

A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Carry over

No it doesn’t, the “government” has always tried to legislate morality (drinking bans,gay bans, gambling, prostitutes) So now they are making the Internet a “HAPPY HAPPY FUN LAND OF SAFETY” and paying back their “friends” (the record labels) for more “donations”….. take the money out of their hands and bang so much for 60% of this stupid shit… until they try to build more “empires” of bureaucracy…

Someantimalwareguy says:

Re:

…look at the text of the bill,…

We did and our eyes are still bleeding so hang on…

…consider the high mens rea that must be proved…

High? Really? This coupled with the new “guilty by accusation” standards means it will actually be easier to not only threaten people, it will actually make it more likely that those accused would face potential felony charges even if it were later to be found that evrything they embeded turned out to be fair use…

…and decide for themselves

The jury took about 5 minutes of dilberation to come to the conclusion that this law is the product of Industry capture and not from a requirement to protect the people from the evils of potential copyright infringement.

Note: The 5 minutes was required to wipe the blood out of our eyes so we could see well enough to post a response…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t see how the value of the public performance to a YouTube poster could be worth more than $2,5000, so that’s not an issue. The other criteria is that the fair market value of the licenses for those performances must exceed $5,000. I don’t know the value of licenses. Do you?

The courts usually accept the owner’s asking price to be the value.

The fears are WAY overblown. Give me a break.

They are not and greed and evil don’t deserve breaks.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I wasn’t intending to put the problem as a black and white issue. Pragmatically speaking:

But if you go for the “street-level” offenders (as the analogy goes, the filesharers), you still haven’t gotten the supply to go down.

Go for the mid level offenders (admins and third parties), and you haven’t stopped the ones in charge.

Go for the kings (ISPs, etc) and they’re usually insulated and not even close to touchable for liability. Then you have new kings step up to consume the vacuum.

No matter which level you go for, it’s going to take more money than intended and it will be an expensive battle regardless.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It will be an expensive battle at the taxpayers expense. Using your drug analogy you can’t change genetic or human nature. The statue of anne was a law that was put in place in 1709. It is a law that goes against human nature. People share information, people talk, people sing, people share experience. The statue of anne and all copyright laws after violate this basic human drive.

The laws being passed recently in reguards to IP are alot like passing laws that say it is illegal to eat, drink, have sex, sing, quote history, and sleep.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Jay, for the moment nobody is clear that the kings are doing anything illegal. That makes it hard for the midlevel and street people to feel they are guilty of anything, so they keep doing what they doing because it all seems easy and nobody is getting charged.

The intent of this law (and a few others in the works) is to shore up the system, and make a change in the way the public perceives the product. They are shifting the risk / reward benefits of sharing in various fashions to being higher risk, something fewer people will naturally take.

This is just another way to make clear in legal terms what is and what is not acceptable, and making it easier to move forward with prosecutions or civil cases knowing that there is clearer law on the subject.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Numbers can easily be manipulated. Remember, the AA’s wanted 75 trillion dollars from Limewire, even though everyone and their dog can see that that is unreasonable.

Um, how do you manipulate the numbers? The value to the uploader is what the value is. When you upload a video to YouTube, how much money do you get? That’s the issue.

Not a problem for someone who would sue dead people and people without an Internet connection.

You haven’t addressed the issue. How do you prove that two-pronged mens rea element for a regular YouTube uploader? Saying it’s “not a problem” is not an answer.

If you had read the article you yourself linked, the reason pointed for this is that is little incentive to do it. The changes, supposedly, would provide more incentive to sue, ergo, more lawsuits, ergo, we are STILL concerned.

So even though it’s a misdemeanor and you can’t point to anyone being arrested for uploading a YouTube video, you assume that once it’s a felony, the feds will be chomping at the the bit to make arrests? That’s not a convincing argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Um, how do you manipulate the numbers? The value to the uploader is what the value is. When you upload a video to YouTube, how much money do you get? That’s the issue.

It sounds like this is more of an issue for the lucky members who are YouTube partners. These are people who have become popular enough to have Google invite them into a revenue sharing arragement based on the number of hits their videos get. Being a hit on YouTube just became a whole lot riskier.

BeeAitch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Um, how do you manipulate the numbers? The value to the uploader is what the value is. When you upload a video to YouTube, how much money do you get? That’s the issue.”

You forgot to add all the money that the copyright owners lost WHEN YOU STOLE FROM THEM. THAT MONEY IS VALUE, DAMMIT!

Sound ridiculous? Said owners claimed Limewire owed them $75 million. Seems pretty easy to claim more than $5000 lost.

“You haven’t addressed the issue. How do you prove that two-pronged mens rea element for a regular YouTube uploader? Saying it’s “not a problem” is not an answer.”

If you think the feds can’t ignore the law or make it up as they go, you haven’t been paying attention. ICE seizures anyone? If they can seize domains without due process, they can provide mens rea easily enough (or skip it, take your choice).

“So even though it’s a misdemeanor and you can’t point to anyone being arrested for uploading a YouTube video, you assume that once it’s a felony, the feds will be chomping at the the bit to make arrests? That’s not a convincing argument.”

The feds are already chomping at the bit to get arrests. This won’t increase their fervor any. The only difference is that IT IS NOW A FELONY. Why? (I’ll give you a hint: felons don’t share all the rights of regular citizens.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Did you intentionally ignore the “or to the copyright owner” part?

You’re right. I should have said that too.

Say someone records a video of a concert and uploads it to Youtube. Tickets to the concert cost $50. 50 people watch it. Got a calculator handy? Mine tells me that’s $2500.

Why do you assume the value of a concert video on YouTube is the same as the value of a ticket to the concert? That makes no sense to me.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why do you assume the value of a concert video on YouTube is the same as the value of a ticket to the concert? That makes no sense to me.

I don’t. But you can bet that copyright owners will, and then they’ll go and add ripple effects and make 50 views @ $50 each somehow equal to tens of thousands in damages.

This entire bill doesn’t make any sense to me. Neither does all of copyright law. If only laws had to make sense, we’d never need to worry about them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Of course they don’t, because he doesn’t.

This site has become a joke.

The articles are transparent hyperbole and fear mongering misrepresentations.

The comments here to intelligent observations by ACs read as if they were all written by a 12 year-old.

The bias and zealotry that was once latent, has exploded into full blown lunatic fringe behavior.

Mission accomplished.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yawn.

I have no direct evidence. But the content industries have no evidence that copyright is required to promote the progress or the creation of new works, nor that this bill will do anything to slow down copyright infringement.

RIAA, MPAA, and BSA “studies” are transparent hyperbole and fear mongering misrepresentations.

The comments here to intelligent observations by ACs read as if they were all written by a 12 year-old.

The wording on this statement is ambiguous. If you mean that the comments made by many Anonymous Cowards read like they were written by pre-pubescent children, I’ll agree with you. Notice I’m not an Anonymous Coward. I’m not afraid to give my name and who I represent (no one but myself). I’m clear that I know my position on copyright is not mainstream, and I’m perfectly OK with that. If you want to call me a lunatic, go for it. I feel more like the little kid saying that the emperor is naked.

Judging all of TechDirt by what a few commenters like myself post is either a clear sign that you’re afraid Mike is making an impact, that you can’t refute his points, or that you are playing some kind of political or PR game and trying to make him look bad by what I say. I could care less about those kind of games – I care about reality. And I think Mike cares enough for free speech that he won’t censor me, even if short-sighted people somehow think we’re linked (we’re not, as I’ve had maybe 2 or 3 indirect interactions with him in the years I’ve been reading).

Well, enough of this pissing match. Back to work for me.

DMNTD says:

Arguing...

So waste your time, keep arguing over a forum that won’t change a damn thing. Its exactly this kind of venting that makes Americans so docile.

You go and soundboard to a bunch of ninnies instead of writing congress. Going outside getting up with what you feel is the right thing.

P>S> For sure your useless points on this forum will get the law out in the open. /s

Anonymous Coward says:

Arguing...

So waste your time, keep arguing over a forum that won’t change a damn thing.

It called campaigning, and campaigning can make a difference.

You go and soundboard to a bunch of ninnies instead of writing congress.

Writing congress? Are you kidding? Now, that’s a real joke! (Unless you send a lot of cash along with your letter.) I’d rather do something more effective, thank you. Something that I get the feeling that you’re, for some reason, trying to discourage.

Ken (profile) says:

Fair Use accounts for 18% of the US Economy

A study conducted in 2010 shows that industries that rely on fair use account for 18% percent of the US economy dwarfing the publishing, movie, and music industries. This accounts for trillions of dollars and over 11 million jobs. Abolishing or even restricting fair use would cripple the economy and cost far more than any infringements ever could in magnitudes.

Over IP protectionism has the potential of devastating the entire US economy and with REAL losses not with theoretical phantom losses that the RIAA likes to claim.

http://www.ccianet.org/CCIA/files/ccLibraryFiles/Filename/000000000354/fair-use-study-final.pdf

DMNTD says:

Arguing...

Its pointless, your not campaigning in a FORUM. You think this has subject matter? Go to your community point of contention ASK if they know a thing about PROTECT IP law passed? Then you will be campaigning.

Writing to congress is not working because…your not doing it…you can’t claim how something does not work when your effectively proving this by NOT doing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Arguing...

Its pointless, your [sic] not campaigning in a FORUM.

Umm, yes, I am.

You think this has subject matter?

Yes. Next question.

Writing to congress is not working because…your not doing it…you can’t claim how something does not work when your effectively proving this by NOT doing it.

Now you’re just being plain dishonest. I don’t know how you claim to know otherwise, but I have written to my congressional representative many times as a matter of principle. That’s how I know how ineffective it is.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Arguing...

“Its pointless, your not campaigning in a FORUM.”

Okay, I am laughing really hard at this point. I actually spilled my tea. Well actually alot of people have campaigned online. It has actually worked and worked well. It is one of the resons we are in this shitty situation. You see, the current president of the united states took the election by having a huge presence online.

Simple words in a blog do have meaning. They educate people to what is going on. They fill in the blanks that the big news outlets gloss over. They put people like you in their place.

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Arguing...

“Writing to congress is not working because…your not doing it…you can’t claim how something does not work when your effectively proving this by NOT doing it.”

Um…they do not listen and they do not give on damn about anything a peon has to say. Some staffer reads your letter and if it gets acknowledged at all, it’s with some stupid form letter some hack wrote up to make it look like your Rep. actually got your letter/email. Learn it, live it love it.

And get out and vote the bastards out of office.

DMNTD says:

Arguing...

Just keep repeating yourself. Nothing works, sound-boarding to empty space is working. Just keep repeat everything I just said.

I get that man, if that works for you just keep repeating yourself. I gave real advice. I’m going to go actually do something. Remember..repeat yourself, otherwise its not true.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re:

“I think that is boils down to the simple fact that you are upset that another one of the holes used by freeloaders and those who choose to ignore copyright is getting blocked up.”

So, what will hapopen to the next Dem or Repub who violates copyright on an ad campaign? Will they be arrested and tried?

Somehow, i think not. And before you say that that wouldn’t happen, I refer you to John McCain’s campaign of 2008.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

Quick and Easy Fix

Here’s the quick and easy fix. Find people who are related to these politicians. Arrest them for violating these retarded laws that should have never been passed. Watch how quickly they get things to change.

Politicians never care about any one else unless it effects them. So make sure it effects them in a very real and negative way, like it does for the rest of society, and maybe these corrupt bastards will change their mind. Start tossing them and their families in jail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Quick and Easy Fix

Here’s the quick and easy fix. Find people who are related to these politicians. Arrest them for violating these retarded laws that should have never been passed. Watch how quickly they get things to change.

That’s why they avoid arresting such people. It’s called “selective enforcement”, and it’s used to keep bad laws on the books.

Alexander says:

Last free place

The last free place on earth for people to express themselves was the cyberspace. Now cyberspace freedom has become a cyber-dream. You are not free. You were never free. You are a slave controlled and directed by the Big Brother. If you don’t like it go F yourself. Because when the time comes for you to vote on who goes in the Senate you just crap your pants and vote for those who are advertised and supported by big money. Well you did it. Screw up life in any possible angle. Good for you moron who makes life miserable for more intelligent people. It is coming back at you and bite you in the ass and I hope you feel pretty good about it. Let Sony and GE rule your real world and your cyber-world altogether. Dreams are patented: NO MORE DREAMING YOU MF!

Mike Orr says:

Explanations are useless - only (not) voting/donating counts

We keep having these discussions – Congress enacts various laws at the RIAA/MPAA behest, and we tryu and debate the issue as if logically showing the law is bad/stupid/ineffective/unconstitutional/etc is useful. it isn’t.

Our only effective tool is that while RIAA/MPAA etc, can (and do) provide money to politicians to helpo them campaing for (re)election, they can’t actually get them (re)elected. They need us – but only our votes and donations.

So – if we want this stopped, we need to make politicians aware of the price for actions on behalf of “industry”. send them, and copy their party, and email saying basically “if you keep this up, I will not cote for you and your party, will not donate to you or your party, and will tell my family and friends to do the same”.
If the RNC or DNRC and the offices of the relevant politicians get enough of these, they’lll stop.
Otherwise – why would they not keep doing it?

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Explanations are useless - only (not) voting/donating counts

ACtually, a better plan would be to pirate everything. Buy cheap knockoffs, imported from China, download anything you’d like to watch, hack your cableboxes, do anything in your power to avoid paying these rat-faced pustules on society for anything.

They cannot lobby if no-one actually pays them for goods.

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Explanations are useless - only (not) voting/donating counts

“They cannot lobby if no-one actually pays them for goods.”

That’s my choice.

You cannot be sued simply because you’ve stopped purchasing a certain product. I will not purchase a DVD with a movie or TV series (and I’ve purchased a TON in my day) again. Done. Over.

How can that be a reason to garnish my wages? Besides, taxes have already done that… Now they’ll want to rob me for NOT buying??? Where does the infringement on civil rights end?

Rekrul says:

Re: Explanations are useless - only (not) voting/donating counts

Our only effective tool is that while RIAA/MPAA etc, can (and do) provide money to politicians to helpo them campaing for (re)election, they can’t actually get them (re)elected.

No, but they can buy the next politician that does get elected. And the cycle continues…

DataShade (profile) says:

How do you explain that other than incompetence or corruption?

Unless you define those two words quite broadly, neither. It’s the unholy trifecta of ignorance (“The internet is a series of tubes”), arrogance, and contempt (I maintain it’s not enough that legacy industry lobbyists are donating a lot of money; the human psyche rejects self-identifying as evil, so even if they’re voting in line with what their corporate donors want, they’ve made a justification for it, and that justification is almost always “they don’t know what’s best for them”).

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s the unholy trifecta of ignorance (“The internet is a series of tubes”)

Thus, incompetence. One cannot be competent in an area one is ignorant of.

the human psyche rejects self-identifying as evil, so even if they’re voting in line with what their corporate donors want, they’ve made a justification for it

That’s still corruption.

AnonymousButNotHim says:

Felony

The whole show is given away by the sheer audacity and gall of equating LOST REVENUE for some media company with a FELONY.

Any argument or reasoning after that is just beside the point. A fscking felony. Right, yeah, because it’s a danger to life and limb. Yeah because that’s really justified.

Sorry, will not listen to any smoke, mirrors, weasels, wordsmiths or jujumen who can get behind such a travesty.

Saygin(?) says:

Not corruption or incompetence

Mike,

It’s neither corruption or incompetence; it’s a lack of an organized & interested constituency. Youtube (and its clones) are at no greater risk than they previously were; the cable and satellite industry have a protection; and the ISPs have the Safe Harbor to protect them. Even Lessig knows that if Congress passes this, the Supreme Court won’t overturn it.

It’s not corruption, it’s just that not everyone can see unintended consequences so clearly.

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Re: Not corruption or incompetence

Here’s a thought. They are after all senators and part of there duty is to uphold the constitution. Yet, in the course of there duties they are to listen to there constituents in there respective states and vote accordingly. Furthermore to actually read the bill they are voting on for said constituents. Conclusion is how the hell is in the best interest of the People.

Not corruption? I’d buy sea side property here in Utah on that. Incompetence you can draw your own conclusion on your respective representatives. So the problem may be neither corruption or incompetence and in one word in your conclusion, the blind. Will-full ignorance on the part of the electorate that is supposed to covering our asses is a dam sure fire way to burn the country around you as well.

florence gillette says:

What you are all failing to realize is that this is a very simple anti-theft law. If you publish yourself lipsyncing to someone else’s music, etc., you are a thief. The same goes for embedding their videos without the proper permissions and fees. Your only right is to see what has been properly posted, not to alter it or embed it as if it belonged to you, etc. The only flaws in the law is prosecuting people for viewing that which has been improperly posted. The only truly guilty party here is the up-loader. The laws now are being set to prosecute the viewer, as if he had sneaked into a theater (which is theft). If these laws are enforced as written, the only way to truly be safe, is to avoid all the sharing sites, including you tube.

Joe Schmoe says:

Just trust us...

There are so many cases where a law wasn’t “intended” to prosecute a all-time person, but somehow they found themselves out of favor and now a prosecutor “really wants” to find something to charge them with. If this bill passes, we will all trulybe felons just waiting for a prosecutor.

Look up “Three Felonies a Day.”

The argument, “Don’t worry, there are too many of us for them to prosecute us all.” Would you feel okay if you knew there was a murderer shooting people at random in your city, because “Hey, what are the chances?”

We don’t have a justice system. We have a legal system.

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