The Illegal VCR

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So it appears that the US has just passed the INDUCE act (‘‘Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004’’). To sum up, this act aims to make anything that can be used to "intentionally induce" copyright infrigement illegal. It's an attempt to kill P2P networks such as kazaa and such from sharing music.

Now, this is a wickedly wonderfull act. Because how do you determine if "a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement" because of a particular product? You determine it if company X has more money to spend on lawers than company Y. This means that all VCR's, MP3 players, CD Burners, etc. are illegal. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, here's an example from slashdot...

Three rings for the elven kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for mortal men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Now, according to this bill, Dell, Viewsonic, NVidia, SFU, Movabletype and Mozilla all "induced" me to infringe on this copyrighted work. Hrmm... I'd say, at least this is only the US, but it might not be for long..

Our good old Ministry of Canadian Heritage made recommendations stating that we should
"make it illegal to sell software that cracks through the copy-protection coding." and
"make internet service providers (ISPs) subject to liability for copyrighted information."

Although this is just slightly further reaching than the US's DMCA it's just one step closer to making any product that can and might be used for copyright infringement illegal.

The EFF has a great piece on a mock lawsuit describing just how far reaching this bill is. Suing apple for making the ipod, cnet for reviewing the ipod, and Toshiba for supplying hard drives for iPods.