A View from David Kushner

Orrin's Bad Tune

You may know Orrin Hatch as that persnickety, Republican senator from Utah. Oh but this chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee is much, much more. He’s the crooner behind albums including Heal Our Land, Freedom’s Light, and Put Your Arms…

  • June 25, 2004

You may know Orrin Hatch as that persnickety, Republican senator from Utah. Oh but this chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee is much, much more. He’s the crooner behind albums including Heal Our Land, Freedom’s Light, and Put Your Arms Around the World. And he’s very concerned about people bootlegging music online. How concerned? Next week, he’ll introduce the Inducing of Copyright Infringement Act of 2004, a draconian bill that could essentially criminalize peer-to-peer networks; if the bill is passed, any company behind a file-sharing network or an electronic device that “aids, abets, induces (or) counsels” copyright violation would be liable.

The networks are like fairy tale villains, he said: “”In the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ the leering ‘Child Catcher’ lured children into danger with false promises of ‘free lollipops.’ Tragically, some corporations now seem to think that they can legally profit by inducing children to steal; that they can legally lure children and others with false promises of ‘free music.’”

Orrin’s new bill is tame compared to one of his previous suggestions. Last June, he proposed developing technology that could be used to remotely destroy the computer of someone who illegally downloads more than three songs online.

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