FC: Clinton signs draconian antipiracy law, from the Netly News (fwd)

Andreas Kotes (count@magrathea.deltacity.net)
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 18:27:36 +0100 (MET)

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 18:27:36 +0100 (MET)
From: Andreas Kotes <count@magrathea.deltacity.net>
To: linux-ger@infodrom.north.de
Subject: FC: Clinton signs draconian antipiracy law, from the Netly News (fwd)
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.971217182724.31382A-100000@magrathea.deltacity.net>


Andreas Kotes - mailto:count@deltacity.net - deltacity.NET Systemadministration
======--- With a PC, I always felt limited by the software available. ---======
=======---        On Unix, I am limited only by my knowledge.        ---=======
========---       -- Peter J. Schoenster <pschon@baste.magibox.net> ---========

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 07:32:45 -0800 (PST) From: Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com> To: fight-censorship-announce@vorlon.mit.edu Subject: FC: Clinton signs draconian antipiracy law, from the Netly News



The Netly News Network (http://netlynews.com/) December 17, 1997

Penance for Pirates by Declan McCullagh (declan@well.com)

When it comes to protecting his company's computer software, nobody compares with Bill Gates. Not only is the nation's richest man thumbing his nose at government antitrust lawyers, but he's also toasting his latest victory: a draconian antipiracy bill that President Clinton signed yesterday.

Piloted through Congress by the deep pockets of the software, motion picture and recording industries, the law punishes unapproved "reproduction or distribution" of books, magazines, software, music or videos. The painful penalties must bring a smile to the face of software executives: fines of up to $250,000 and five years in federal prison.

While you're cooling your heels in Club Fed, you'll have plenty of time to consider your misdeeds -- which in this case could have been making just three copies of Microsoft Office (cost: $360 each). If it's any consolation, you'll have plenty of company. Joining you will be anyone who "willfully" infringes copyrights worth at least $1,000 within a six-month period, with stiffer penalties if the total jumps to $2,500.

Ouch. The cost of prosecuting millions of malfeasants has led critics to wonder, sensibly enough, if the FBI's time could be better spent chasing violent criminals. After all, software companies can (and do) sue copyright infringers already. "This is a dreadful piece of legislation," says David Post, a law professor at Temple University who teaches copyright law. "Congress is doing exactly what they shouldn't be doing: reacting in a panic and saying there's so much copyright infringement we need to throw people in jail."


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