Justice Department Comes Out Against PRO-IP, While Howard Berman Complains That It's Not Strong Enough

from the compare-and-contrast dept

We've made no secret of how ridiculous we think the new "Pro-IP" bill is. If anything, it's actually anti-IP. Surprisingly, it appears that the Justice Department actually agrees. In hearings on Thursday about the bill, the Justice Department slammed the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive. That's a bit of a shift from the DOJ's point of view under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who started pitching ridiculous IP legislation to have something to talk about other than the controversy surrounding everything else he was doing. Of course, the real reason why the DOJ is against it appears to be that they don't want enforcing copyright laws to be taken away from the DOJ itself, which would happen if the bill becomes law and an "IP Czar" position is created within the Whitehouse.

Of course, not everyone feels that way. Howard Berman, affectionately known as the Representative from Disney, who really should not be in charge of the intellectual property subcommittee, spent some time at those same hearings to suggest that the PRO IP bill doesn't go far enough, and it's time to get rid of the DMCA's safe harbor provisions. Yes, he wants to take about the only reasonable part of the DMCA and get rid of it. Safe harbors for service providers make perfect sense. They make sure that third party tool and service providers aren't held liable for the actions of their users. It's about making sure that companies can't just blame whoever is biggest or easiest to serve with a lawsuit -- but those actually responsible for breaking the law. Berman wants to get rid of those safe harbors, of course, because the entertainment industry hates them. Safe harbors mean they can't get away with, say, suing YouTube for $1 billion, which is much easier than adapting to a changing market place. Berman has always insisted that he's not just pushing Hollywood's perspective, but it's hard to see how that's the case when he makes statements like this.
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Filed Under: copyright, dmca, howard berman, justice department, pro-ip


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  • identicon
    Eduardo, 14 Dec 2007 @ 8:59am

    Pro-IP

    BROKEN

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike C., 14 Dec 2007 @ 9:16am

    I wonder if the full extent of safe harbor is unde

    Somehow, I suspect the full extent of removing the safe harbor provision is lost on Mr. Berman. Here are some that I can think of right off the top of my head:

    - YouTube, P2P, etc. Obviously, this is what he's targeting at the behest of major media.

    However, with no safe harbor protections, I see all of the following as being in jeopardy as well if taken to extremes:

    - Blogs. A large number of blogs are run by "service providers" (e.g. Blogspot).
    - MySpace/Social Networking. A lot of these sites allow user-generated content which would include copyright violations.
    - eBay, Craigslist, etc. Auction and Classifieds sites provide a way for infingers to market their wares.
    - Comments such as this one. Users can post protected text or links to protected items.
    - Mutliplayer games such as WoW. Player to player advertising of ingringement web sites.

    I'm sure there are many more examples, but I'm going to stop here. What's worse is that if you add in the absolutely ridiculous civil asset forfeiture provision, it's theoretically possible that "big media" could end up owning every newspaper and internet related company out there.

    Scary stuff indeed that one of our "representatives" is this far out of the loop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    WarOtter (profile), 14 Dec 2007 @ 9:17am

    Eye Pee in America

    EPIC FAIL +10

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 14 Dec 2007 @ 9:56am

    Berman

    Berman was hit with a stick of misunderstanding +4

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 14 Dec 2007 @ 12:15pm

    Yeah, actually - I'm thinking whatever he was drinking was too strong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, 14 Dec 2007 @ 12:22pm

    asshat

    Howard Berman needs a window in his stomach because he can not see where he is going.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2007 @ 3:39pm

    Shocked

    Surprisingly, it appears that the Justice Department actually agrees. In hearings on Thursday about the bill, the Justice Department slammed the bill as unnecessary and counterproductive.

    Wow, I'm shocked!

    Of course, the real reason why the DOJ is against it appears to be that they don't want enforcing copyright laws to be taken away from the DOJ itself, which would happen if the bill becomes law and an "IP Czar" position is created within the Whitehouse.

    I take that back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Polo Outlet, 6 Aug 2011 @ 1:28am

    Polo Outlet

    Your article swept me away with its vast information and great writing. Thank you for sharing your views with such passion. I like your views.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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