Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act
Dear Rep. Moran:
Recently the media has given attention to the Senate Bill S
2560, Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (“Induce Act”) that would seem to
provide liability a company that provides software, hardware or service that
encourages copyright infringement and piracy even if its product has legal use
and is intended for legal use. The act reminds us of an earlier issue in the
1980s with the
As an “emerging artist” (I hope!) and possibly future filmmaker myself, I can understand the seriousness of the piracy problem and the threat it poses to the livelihoods of artists. As a substitute teacher I am also concerned about plagiarism and the general lack of ethical understanding of a younger generation that not everything is “free.”
However, there is another side to the problem. New artists
are likely to use file-sharing (which will now be somewhat safer as Microsoft
issues Service Pack 2), as well as
Technology has provided new opportunities to newbies, but of course it also provides some legal and perhaps ethical uncertainties because artists can distribute their work in an unsupervised manner without the intervention of established third parties. Issues like invasion of privacy and right of publicity come to mind as well as copyright. Moreover, established commercial interests in the entertainment community, such as actors’ or writers’ guilds, or agents, or production or distribution companies may fear gradual loss of economic interest and therefore high-paying jobs from low-cost competition. This is always possible with new technology, as we already know from dealing with offshoring.
It is always easy to rationalize downstream liability laws in areas like copyright protection and even anti-terrorism (remember the case with the Paladin book about assassination, Hit Man?). However such laws run the risk of chilling out new software and hardware innovation and new opportunities for emerging artists.
I urge Congress to proceed with great care in this area.
Talk in detail to software and hardware companies (including Microsoft,
I look forward to your comments on this matter.
John W. Boushka