by John Hawkins | July 17, 2003 12:54 pm
Download A Song, Go To Jail: I masticated Orrin Hatch back in June for advocating the destruction of hundreds of thousands of PCs because it “may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights”. As bad as that was, Democrats John Conyers and Howard Berman have gone one step farther; they want to put people, “who copy music, movies and other copyrighted files over ‘peer-to-peer’ networks” in JAIL. Here are the details…
“The Conyers-Berman bill would operate under the assumption that each copyrighted work made available through a computer network was copied by others at least 10 times for a total retail value of $2,500. That would bump the activity from a misdemeanor to a felony, carrying a sentence of up to five years in jail.
…The Recording Industry Association of America praised the bill and said it would help them fight illegal online copying.
…A Conyers staffer said the bill had won the backing of many Democrats but Republicans had yet to endorse it.”
Yeah, tell me what a fascist John Ashcroft is when you have Democrats who think you should spend five years in jail for downloading a copy of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
Also, when you see a member of Congress proposing — what’s an appropriate word for it — INSANE legislation like this, the first thing you should do is follow the money. So let’s go to opensecrets & see how much money it takes to get John Conyers and Howard Berman to advocate giving jail terms to kids who download songs on the net….
Conyers‘ 2nd biggest contributors in the 2002 & 2004 election cycle are the “Communic/Electronics” industry — TV/Movies/Music in particular. A little less than 10% of his money from PACs in this cycle ($2860) & roughly 11.5% of the money from PACs in the 2002 cycle ($40,609) comes from the TV/Movies/Music industry.
Berman’s 2004 numbers aren’t out, but he got about the same amount of money as Conyers from the TV/Movies/Music in the 2002 cycle — $40,500. However, that amounted 17% of the funds Berman got from PACs.
So just in case any of you were wondering, if you ever decide that you want to have people put in jail for 5 years for jaywalking or littering or some other trivial offense, apparently it costs about 40k per cycle to get a Democratic Congressman into the “pocket of big business”.
In any case, proposing jailtime for downloading a song is ridiculously harsh & Conyers and Berman should be excoriated for even proposing it.
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