For a view into just how weird our world is becoming, have a look at this News.com article
by Declan McCullagh. Mr. McCullagh got a chance to read a draft law by
U.S. Representatives Howard Berman and Howard Coble that would legalize
attacks against P2P networks:
The legislation would immunize groups such as the Motion Picture
Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of
America from all state and federal laws if they disable, block or
otherwise impair a "publicly accessible peer-to-peer network."
Anyone whose computer was damaged in the process must receive the
permission of the U.S. attorney general before filing a lawsuit,
and a suit could be filed only if the actual monetary loss was more
This is worth stating again: somebody who claims that you might be
violating their copyright will be legally allowed to attack your systems.
You can not challenge the attacker in court without getting permission from
a federal bureaucrat - who, one assumes, may not be particularly
sympathetic to your cause.
For added fun, any "copyright holder" will be authorized to act in
this fashion. As soon as, say, a copyrighted article is posted to Usenet,
the owner of that article will have the right to take the whole thing
down. If one makes the reasonable assumption that some people might just
feel the need to retaliate against an attack of this nature, whether or not
they are protected by federal law, it is not hard to foresee a time when
the net is a rather more violent and unpleasant place than it is now.
It is hard to imagine this law actually passing - though it is dangerous to
assume reasonable behavior in Washington these days. But the proposal is a
clear sign of the sort of power grab that is underway. Not only do they
want control over every bit that passes through your computer; they also
want the ability to take justice into their own hands if they don't like
your behavior. Stallman's The Right To
Read looks more prophetic all the time.
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