Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


Oppose the Intellectual Property Protection Act!

18 November 2004

Dear Senators Arlen Specter & Rick Santorum,

I write to you today to ask that you oppose the omnibus "Intellectual Property Protection Act," both as a whole and in its parts, and ask that you also oppose allowing it to come to the Senate floor for a vote.

I believe that intellectual property plays a critical role in the United States as a means of fostering both artistic expression and technological innovation. However, the IPPA, which is comprised of a number of individual bills, contains provisions that may harm my long-established rights as a legal user of content. Additionally, the bill may harm the development of new technologies.

There are a number of sections of the bill that particularly concern me:

Title II:

The Piracy Deterrence in Education Act (formerly H.R. 4077): This section establishes "offering for distribution" as basis for criminal copyright violation and "making available" for civil violation, regardless of whether there is any distribution or copying, let alone infringement. This bill drastically lowers the standards for what constitutes a criminal copyright violation. The standards are far too vague and could include as targets for prosecution material passively stored on computers or shared on networks.

The ART Act (formerly S. 1932): This is a bill that prohibits the unauthorized use of a video camera in a movie theatre. While I do not support movie bootlegging, I believe that under some limited circumstances the public needs the fair use protections granted under traditional copyright law, which this bill would eliminate.

The Family Movie Act (formerly H.R. 4586): This bill was originally intended to protect the my right to use technology to skip-over and mute parts of a movie that my family may find objectionable-- a proposition which I fully support. Unfortunately, the broadcasting industry and Hollywood added a section to take away my right of skipping over ads in DVDs and recorded broadcasts with a TiVo like device.

Title III:

The PIRATE Act (formerly S. 2237): This bill would allow the Justice Department to file civil suits against copyright infringers. Especially with the record profits that the media industry is making, it doesn't seem appropriate that I as a tax payer should have to fund a corporation's private right of action. The Justice Department has even said it did not want this authority.

There is too much in "The Intellectual Property Protection Act" that harms market innovation and my rights as a consumer. For the reasons above, I respectfully ask that you oppose H.R. 2391.


Hugh Hyatt

Public Knowledge provides an easy way to fax a similar message to your U.S. Senators.

Blog home
Blog archives