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Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!looking!brad
From: br...@clarinet.com (Brad Templeton)
Subject: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Organization: ClariNet Communications Corp.
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1992 01:05:56 GMT
Message-ID: <1992Oct13.010556.2932@clarinet.com>
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
References: <NB921012.17@clarinet.com>
Lines: 63


The following article comes from today's issue of Newsbytes, our
daily computer industry news service.  I think it will be of interest
to EFF members.  For info about our electronic newspaper service,
write to in...@clarinet.com

--------

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 OCT 12 (NB) -- The United States
government has elevated commercial software piracy from a
misdemeanor to a felony, a move some say will help reduce the
illegal copying of software. 

Late on October 8, the Senate approved changes made by the House of
Representative to S. 893, The Software Copyright Protection Bill,
sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and originally passed the
Senate on June 4. The bill had passed the House by voice vote the
night of October 3. S. 893 now goes to the President to be signed
into law.

The law defines commercial pirates as individuals who willfully copy
software for commercial advantage or private financial gain. 
Prison terms of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 can
now be imposed on persons convicted of infringing at least 10
copies of a copyrighted software program or any combination of
programs with a retail value greater than $2,500. Repeat offenses
can include up to 10 years' imprisonment. 

According to Ilene Rosenthal, a spokeswoman for the Software
Publishers' Association which backed the bill, the law is not
aimed at the individual who makes a single copy of a program to use
at home or to share with a friend.

According to the SPA, piracy in the US alone cost the industry
$2.4 billion in 1990. Worldwide losses that year are estimated
between $10 billion and $12 billion.

Misdemeanor penalties have not been enough to deter commercial
software pirates, Rosenthal said, and also have not been enough to
justify the amount of effort investigators needed to put into a
piracy case. Law enforcers were reluctant to make the effort,
Rosenthal said, when "at the end of it all you're going to get is
a $500 fine or a suspended sentence."

The new law brings software piracy into the same category as the
illegal copying of movies or commercial music recordings, which
became a felony in 1982, Rosenthal said. Since that time, she
noted, piracy of movies and recordings has dropped off
substantially in the United States. The SPA expects similar results
from S. 893. 

"As the federal authorities get more involved," Rosenthal said,
"it's going to make it not worth the risk for people that thought
they could play the odds and not get caught."

The Washington-based Software Publishers Association has more than
950 members, representing publishers of business, consumer, and
education software markets. It has been active in fighting software
piracy for several years.

(Grant Buckler)
-- 
Brad Templeton, ClariNet Communications Corp. -- Sunnyvale, CA 408/296-0366

Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!cis.ohio-state.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!
cs.utexas.edu!milano!cactus.org!wixer!bladex
From: bla...@wixer.cactus.org (David Smith)
Subject: Re: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Message-ID: <1992Oct15.024432.8703@wixer.cactus.org>
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
Organization: Real/Time Communications
References: <NB921012.17@clarinet.com> <1992Oct13.010556.2932@clarinet.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 92 02:44:32 GMT
Lines: 33

In article <1992Oct13....@clarinet.com> br...@clarinet.com (Brad Templet
on) writes:
>
>The following article comes from today's issue of Newsbytes, our
>daily computer industry news service.  I think it will be of interest
>to EFF members.  For info about our electronic newspaper service,
>write to in...@clarinet.com
>
>--------
>
>WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 OCT 12 (NB) -- The United States
>government has elevated commercial software piracy from a
>misdemeanor to a felony, a move some say will help reduce the
>illegal copying of software.
>

In addition to this Newsbyte Article, the latest Computer Underground Digest
has a copy of the bill as well as an analysis pointing out some potential
problems with possible interpretations of the law.  That while the SPA may
say it doesn't blah blah blah, that the language of the bill can be
interpreted in some drastic ways.


My question is.....was there a lot of discussion/coverage of this bill before
it was passed?  I didn't see much in this newsgroup, the EFFector, or CuD.
Did *I* just miss this information, or what?   How can something as important
and wide-spread as legislation on software piracy miss my/our sensors?

-- 
  bla...@wixer.cactus.org           |              Cyberlicious Software
  Editor of Scream Baby             |              PO Box 4510
  Editor of EFF-Austin Word         |              Austin TX 78765-4510
=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+==+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+-+=+

Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!pmafire!news.dell.com!swrinde!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!
wupost!spool.mu.edu!umn.edu!csus.edu!netcom.com!nagle
From: na...@netcom.com (John Nagle)
Subject: Re: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Message-ID: <1992Oct19.161911.10969@netcom.com>
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
Organization: Netcom - Online Communication Services  (408 241-9760 guest) 
References: <NB921012.17@clarinet.com> <1992Oct13.010556.2932@clarinet.com> 
<1992Oct15.024432.8703@wixer.cactus.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1992 16:19:11 GMT
Lines: 36

bla...@wixer.cactus.org (David Smith) writes:
>>WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A., 1992 OCT 12 (NB) -- The United States
>>government has elevated commercial software piracy from a
>>misdemeanor to a felony, a move some say will help reduce the
>>illegal copying of software.

>My question is.....was there a lot of discussion/coverage of this bill before
>it was passed?  I didn't see much in this newsgroup, the EFFector, or CuD.
>Did *I* just miss this information, or what?   How can something as important
>and wide-spread as legislation on software piracy miss my/our sensors?

      Looks like the EFF really dropped the ball on this one.  Apparently
there was no opposing position presented to Congress until just before
it passed, and then it was too late.

      I'm really suprised at this.  Working for well-drafted computer crime 
legislation is supposedly EFF's main thrust.  They made much of being involved
in drafting the Massachusetts state computer crime law.  But now they let the
big one get away.

      The SPA's main argument for making software piracy a felony was that
they couldn't get enough attention from the FBI when it was just a 
misdemeanor.  That's a weak argument, and it could have been knocked down
with minimal effort.  But where was EFF?

      So now we have a law which grants overly broad discretion to law 
enforcement in an area where this is strongly undesirable.  This will
cause much grief in the search and seizure area.  It could even make another
Sundevil possible.  This time, broad seizures of BBS systems could be 
justified by searching for "felony software piracy".  This law could
be used for harassing anyone or any business that uses computers.

      This law will cause trouble.  I don't expect many convictions, but
it may well be used as an instrument of intimidation.

					John Nagle

Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!cs.utexas.edu!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wupost!gumby!
destroyer!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!eff!mnemonic
From: mnem...@eff.org (Mike Godwin)
Subject: Re: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Message-ID: <1992Oct20.123722.9329@eff.org>
Originator: mnem...@eff.org
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
Sender: use...@eff.org (NNTP News Poster)
Nntp-Posting-Host: eff.org
Organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
References: <1992Oct13.010556.2932@clarinet.com> 
<1992Oct15.024432.8703@wixer.cactus.org> <1992Oct19.161911.10969@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1992 12:37:22 GMT
Lines: 37

In article <1992Oct19.1...@netcom.com> na...@netcom.com (John Nagle) writes:

>      I'm really suprised at this.  Working for well-drafted computer crime 
>legislation is supposedly EFF's main thrust.  They made much of being involved
>in drafting the Massachusetts state computer crime law.  But now they let the
>big one get away.

The bill in question is not a "computer crime law." EFF's position is that
we do not normally get involved with intellectual-property-law issues. The
law in question is an extension of the copyright law, applying to software
the same penalties that are applied to piracy in other media. 

John omits to mention that neither CPSR nor the ACLU opposed this
legislation either.

EFF did take some action with regard to the bill, however;
Jerry Berman of EFF's Washington office comments:

"EFF has taken no position on intellectual property matters. Illegal copying
of software could be misapplied but so can any law. What position is John
Nagel suggesting that we take? ACLU looked at bill and did not find civil
liberties objections. At least EFF has a commitment from sponsors to revisit
issue in terms of network practices and a floor statement by Hatch in senate
that this legislation is not meant to effect evolving concepts of fair use
in new computer technology communications." 



--Mike



-- 
Mike Godwin,    |"I can solve this Orient Express thing without
mnem...@eff.org| breaking a sweat. It's that simple."
(617) 864-0665  | 
EFF, Cambridge  |                           --Hercule Perot

Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!gumby!wupost!csus.edu!netcom.com!nagle
From: na...@netcom.com (John Nagle)
Subject: Re: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Message-ID: <1992Oct22.160203.9430@netcom.com>
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
Organization: Netcom - Online Communication Services  (408 241-9760 guest) 
References: <1992Oct13.010556.2932@clarinet.com> 
<1992Oct15.024432.8703@wixer.cactus.org> <1992Oct19.161911.10969@netcom.com> 
<1992Oct20.123722.9329@eff.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1992 16:02:03 GMT
Lines: 50

mnem...@eff.org (Mike Godwin) writes:
>In article <1992Oct19.1...@netcom.com> na...@netcom.com (John Nagle) writes:
>>      I'm really suprised at this.  Working for well-drafted computer crime 
>>legislation is supposedly EFF's main thrust.  They made much of being involved
>>in drafting the Massachusetts state computer crime law.  But now they let the
>>big one get away.
>The bill in question is not a "computer crime law." EFF's position is that
>we do not normally get involved with intellectual-property-law issues. The
>law in question is an extension of the copyright law, applying to software
>the same penalties that are applied to piracy in other media. 
      Until a few years ago, intellectual-property law was strictly a
civil matter and pretrial seizure was rare.  In that environment, 
one could say that intellectual property law could be viewed separately
from computer crime law.  This is no longer the case.

>John omits to mention that neither CPSR nor the ACLU opposed this
>legislation either.
      The ACLU is spready pretty thin, and this is a peripheral issue for them.
CPSR is more concerned with privacy issues.  The IEEE did work to oppose
this bill, which is suprising since the IEEE tends to be a voice for
the industry.

>EFF did take some action with regard to the bill, however;
>Jerry Berman of EFF's Washington office comments:
      Jerry Berman is with the ACLU, isn't he?

>"EFF has taken no position on intellectual property matters. Illegal copying
>of software could be misapplied but so can any law. What position is John
>Nagel (sic) suggesting that we take? ACLU looked at bill and did not find civil
>liberties objections. At least EFF has a commitment from sponsors to revisit
>issue in terms of network practices and a floor statement by Hatch in senate
>that this legislation is not meant to effect evolving concepts of fair use
>in new computer technology communications." 
      What position do I suggest they take?  That it should not be possible
to commit a felony inadvertantly under this law by making backups.
That sale or commercial use should be required for a felony charge.
That seizure of items other than the materials directly containing
pirated material should not be authorized under this statute.
Tenney of the IEEE apparently has a well-worked-out position.

      The problems is that in an era of enthusiasm for search and seizure,
a law which can be misapplied, as Berman puts it, provides an excuse
for seizure.  Then, shielded by "good faith" provisions, law enforcement
can go out and seize without fear of a serious court challenge.
Worst case is they have to give it back.  The notion of "innocent
until proven guilty" is dead in this area.

					John Nagle

Newsgroups: comp.org.eff.talk
Path: sparky!uunet!caen!sol.ctr.columbia.edu!eff!mnemonic
From: mnem...@eff.org (Mike Godwin)
Subject: Re: US Makes Commercial Software Piracy a Felony 10/12/92
Message-ID: <1992Oct27.192342.2002@eff.org>
Originator: mnem...@eff.org
Keywords: Bureau-TOR
Sender: use...@eff.org (NNTP News Poster)
Nntp-Posting-Host: eff.org
Organization: Electronic Frontier Foundation
References: <1992Oct19.161911.10969@netcom.com> 
<1992Oct20.123722.9329@eff.org> <1992Oct22.160203.9430@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1992 19:23:42 GMT
Lines: 62

In article <1992Oct22....@netcom.com> na...@netcom.com (John Nagle)
writ
es:
                                                               
>Until a few years ago, intellectual-property law was strictly a
>civil matter and pretrial seizure was rare. 
                      
Criminal copyright infringement has been around for some time, John. What
do you mean by "a few years ago"? And seizure of bootlegged recordings has
been around for quite a while.
                      
>In that environment,  
>one could say that intellectual property law could be viewed separately
>from computer crime law.  This is no longer the case.
 
Despite the misleading title of this thread, it was possible to commit
felony copyright infringement of software prior to the passage of this
current legislation. 

>The ACLU is spready pretty thin, and this is a peripheral issue for them.

You seem to be dictating what is and is not a core issue for EFF, John.
Yet there is no normal sense in which this amendment to the copyright code
can be considered a "computer crime law." 

>>EFF did take some action with regard to the bill, however;
>>Jerry Berman of EFF's Washington office comments:
>      Jerry Berman is with the ACLU, isn't he?

Jerry Berman has been director of EFF's Washington office since January,
John. He is not with the ACLU.

>      What position do I suggest they take?  That it should not be possible
>to commit a felony inadvertantly under this law by making backups.

Could you quote the statutory language and explain the scenario in which a
defendant might commit a felony "inadvertently"? This seems to be a
separate issue from that raised by Glenn Tenney and IEEE--in his
discussions with me, Glenn focused on selective prosecution, not any
elimination of a mens rea requirement.

>The problems is that in an era of enthusiasm for search and seizure,
>a law which can be misapplied, as Berman puts it, provides an excuse
>for seizure.  Then, shielded by "good faith" provisions, law enforcement
>can go out and seize without fear of a serious court challenge.
>Worst case is they have to give it back.  The notion of "innocent
>until proven guilty" is dead in this area.
 
This seems to be a generic criticism of current search-and-seizure law,
John--it doesn't seem to be associated with this bill in particular.



--Mike



-- 
Mike Godwin,    |"I can solve this Orient Express thing without
mnem...@eff.org| breaking a sweat. It's that simple."
(617) 864-0665  | 
EFF, Cambridge  |                           --Hercule Perot

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