RIAA wants public funding of war on file-sharing
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Dear Representative Joseph M. Hoeffel,
I am writing to express my opposition to the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004 (PDEA, HR 4077). HR 4077 would divert taxpayer dollars and direct federal law enforcement agencies to fight the entertainment industry's misguided war on file sharing. It would also create the first criminal copyright penalties for people who aren't engaged in willful criminal conduct. Under the law's murky "negligence" standard, a person with 1,000 legally obtained songs could be sent to jail for three years if she fails to lock them up tight enough. I believe that these measures are an egregious misuse of federal resources, and I hope you will oppose this bill.
Copyright law that expands liability to innocents is not the answer to the conflict over P2P. Copyright holders already have an extraordinary array of legal tools at their disposal for fighting infringement.
Instead of criminalizing the activity of 60 million American filesharers, we should be looking for positive solutions that compensate artists. For example, a collective licensing regime could legalize file sharing while generating revenue for artists. Here is one example of such a plan:
I am also opposed to HR 4077's proposed "education" program. If government is to educate the public about copyright, the curriculum must be balanced. The public has a broad range of rights to use copyrighted material, and omitting them is misleading and counterproductive.
As a constituent and a taxpayer, I hope you will agree that HR 4077 is an inappropriate use of government resources. Please oppose HR 4077 and instead look for a better way forward. Thank you for your time.
Hugh D. Hyatt
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