Sinners and Saints

Sinners and Saints

Normally I leave politics to the politicians. However, when I read this article about how the MPAA and RIAA are trying to get several new copyright laws passed, I decided it was time for action. The bill has already passed in the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. The new bill “could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement.. also undo centuries of fair use”. While I believe that copyright infringement is wrong, this bill (HR2391) manages to go way overboard. Some key points:

  • Under the language of the law, it could become a criminal act to skip or fast forward the previews and commercials that are shown at the beginning of a DVD. The exact wording: “no changes, deletions or additions are made by such computer program or other technology [DVD player?] to commercial advertisements, or to network or station promotional announcements,that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture”
  • The bill spins peer-to-peer services as a breeding ground for child porn, with a tiny little note about copyright infringement. A senator reading this bill would immediately feel the need to protect the children of the world, without even realizing everything else the bill entails.
  • The Justice Department basically becomes a lawyer for the MPAA/RIAA, since it will be given the right to file civil suits against copyright infringers.

If you feel that any of these laws are wrong, please write to your Senators! If you don’t know who your senators are, go to the Electronic Freedom Foundation’s Legislative Directory and click on your state. It only takes a few minutes to type an email urging your Senator to oppose HR2391 and it could make all of the difference.

Now on to the Saints for the evening. Penny Arcade is once again putting together their Child’s Play charity event. Basically they ask for people in the community to purchase an item from their Amazon wishlist. The item you purchase will then go directly to one of five children’s hospitals (you may choose which one you wish to support) for Christmas. You don’t have to have a lot of money to participate, in fact, many of the items on the list are around $10 – $15, but it will make a huge impact on a child stuck in a hospital somewhere on Christmas morning.

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