If I copy all the stuff off my iPod onto my hard disk, using software written in Taiwan, can I be pretty sure American senators won't try to get economic sanctions against the author on the grounds that he's 'inducing' me to break copyright?
The fact is, of course, that technology changes. People listen to music on Ipods today, not on CDs. Inevitably, sales of CDs go down.
But looking back, when CDs came in, sales of vinyl went down and nobody thought it was right to create laws to protect this. Nobody should try to inhibit the mp3 trend just because it's harder to copy-protect them than it was to prevent CD duplication.
If you think I'm being unreasonable, just remember: when video cassette recorders first appeared, American movie makers sued Sony to prevent them from being made and sold.
The Supreme Court, in 1984, decided that this was stupid. It said there were "significant non-infringing uses" for the technology. By one vote: five judges thought it was fair to let Sony sell VCRs, four thought it wasn't.
The point is, it's insane to imagine that the US can pass laws prohibiting copyright breaches on the Internet unless, somehow, it thinks it can prevent them across the whole of the web. Not just in California, or Utah, where Orrin Hatch resides, or in Afghanistan, but everywhere.
And all based on a completely bogus understanding of how technology advances.
Hatch thinks that Sony versus Universal was the wrong decision and should be reversed. He said so. So if you want his definition of 'a reasonable person' then it's a person who thinks that simply owning a VCR is the same as being 'induced' to break copyright.
You don't want to know what he thinks a broadband connection and a PC could do in the mind of a 'reasonable person'. I just wish I had a comfortable feeling that he wasn't going to try to impose his version of 'reasonable' this side of the Atlantic.