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September 30, 2004
Induce Act Rhetoric Kicks Up a Notch
..or maybe two.
The Washington Times brings us some choice words from Richard Lessner on the Induce Act and its sponsors: "Unfortunately, this misguided legislation's chief sponsor is Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican who should know better and who once aspired to serve on the Supreme Court. Sen. Hatch, sometime songwriter, is close to the music industry and is happy to carry the water for this trial attorney boondoggle."
Meanwhile, the New York Times offers an amusing point/counterpoint exchange between the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol and cyberlaw prof/Yale ISP fellow/broadcast flag waiver/rising blogstar Susan Crawford:
"Napster was shut down because it had a centralized server," [Bainwol] said, referring to the father of peer-to-peer file sharing that was forced to shut down in 2001, and later reopened as a pay service. Soon after Napster's initial collapse came the decentralized peer-to-peer networks that are now at the center of the debate. "These decentralized systems exploit a loophole. They make money on advertising and their business model is based on theft."
While that may be true, opponents of the Induce Act say that the bill's language is so sweeping that many other technologies may be in danger of being caught in its grasp. They argue that innovations as common as the VCR - or Xerox machines or the iPod - would never have come about if their inventors had toiled under the threat that some users might misuse the technology.
"This is not just closing loopholes," said Susan Crawford, a professor of Internet law at the Cardozo School of Law in New York. "They're creating nooses."
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