Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Dirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves?


Dirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves? By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco Published Saturday 26th June 2004 09:34 GMT

It may soon be possible to carry around an AK-47 assault rifle and an iPod with you down the street - and be arrested for carrying the iPod.

That's according to critics of a Senate amendment to the copyright code proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch this week called the 'Induce Act'. He wants to make the 'intentional inducement of copyright infringement' an offense, and this will extend liability to any manufacturer of a device which plays infringed material, or a shop that sells such a device, they say. Click Here

Hatch's terse amendment states that "the term 'intentionally induces' means intentionally aids, abets, induces, or procures; and intent may be shown by acts from which a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement based upon all relevant information about such acts then reasonably available to the actor, including whether the activity relies on infringement for its commercial viability," in which caser the inducer becomes an infringer.

However, the amendment also says that "nothing in this subsection shall enlarge or diminish the doctrines of vicarious and contributory liability for copyright infringement or require any court to unjustly withhold or impose any secondary liability for copyright infringement." And it's contributory liability that the RIAA want to see changed.

In his floor speech introducing the measure, Hatch said that once people are given PCs, they are bound to infringe. (Many would agree with him there). So he frames his bill as a protection. Hatch said people weren't aware that they were breaking the law by running P2P software, (citing work by Harvard's Berkman Center, which says the Senator quoted them out of context) and therefore running "piracy machines" that had been designed to mislead their users. Therefore, his argument goes, the users are in need of protection from 'inducement'.