Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act

This is an awful bill that has been introduced by Senator Hatch of Utah. It can be read in full here. Its not a long bill but its passage would, I believe, signal the beginning of the end of the general purpose computer. I have written a letter to my senators in opposition to the bill and I urge you to do the same. The text of my letter is included below. Feel free to use it yourself and modify it to your taste.

Dear Senator :

I am writing in opposition to the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA) recently introduced by Senator Hatch and others. My objection to this bill is two fold:

1)It is overly broad and would have adverse impacts on emerging technology that has substantial possibility to benefit Americans. Specifically I believe this law would outlaw general purpose computers (computers, like the one on your desk that can be programed by a knowledgeable person to do many different tasks).

Since these machines can be used to infringe on copyrights, and the manufacturers know they can be used to violate copyrights, under what theory would they not be in violation of the IICA? The same might be said of other technology like the Internet, Cable Television, recordable CD/DVD burners, etc. . In order for manufacturers to continue to sell these types of products they would have to re-engineer them to insure there was no possible way they could have any infringing uses at great cost and no benefit to the public.

2.As a general rule, additional legislation that strengthens the protections given to copyright and other intellectual property holders and allows them to barricade themselves against the tide of technological advancement is bad for America. If industries, such as the movie industry, fail because of technological advances, it should be remembered it was technological advances one hundred years ago that created those industries. How many industries, new jobs and competitive advantages for America are we strangling in the crib for the sake of these entrenched rent seekers?

I cannot imagine a different wording that would make this bill palatable and I urge you to oppose this bill and its potential disastrous economic consequences.


Write them now while there is still time to make a difference.