Hollywood wants to end piracy. To do this, they will hack into your computer. To legally hack into your computer, they want Congress to exempt them from all federal and state computer crime laws. Because Congress is a political brothel, they will do anything that any major industry wants for the right price. For the entertainment industry, that price is $23 million in a combination of individual donations, PAC money and soft money.

If you had $23 million to spread in Congress, you might be able to say that your representative is your representative. But you don’t and you can’t. The saddest part of the political contributions from the entertainment industry is that they are actually No. 5 on the list of top contributors for this year.

Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) received $187,000 from the entertainment industry this year to beat out all other mandarins. Considering that the money moved through soft channels is probably 10 times bigger, $187,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Berman is not a representative for the people of a district in California. Berman is a representative of the entertainment industry.

To demonstrate his love for his constituents, Berman introduced the “Peer To Peer Piracy Prevention Act.”

This 10 page bill grants copyright holders, in the form of trade associations such as the MPAA and the RIAA, the right to hack any “File trader” with impunity. The legislation provides for a maximum of $50 per impairment of liability for damages caused by copyright holder invasion. Any attempt to disable or disrupt the operations of a computer in a suspected violation of copyright must be filed with the Department of Justice. Such a filing is held in secret and is classified from public scrutiny.

In short, Hollywood would be able to rape anyone’s computer. If they screw up and a particular victim is a completely innocent of any copyright violations, there is no real recourse. The victims would not be able to seek any real damages and they would have no access to exactly what methods were used against them.

Because the legislation has a long way to go before becoming a law, there is no need to get hot and bothered just yet. However, discussing the underlying principles is useful.

Clearly, there is a problem with piracy on peer to peer networks but attacking consumers is not the way to solve the entertainment industry predicament. A central concept in the Berman legislation is “Safe Harbor”, the idea that copyright holders are allowed to use self-help measures under limited circumstances.

In a press release on the U.S. House of Representatives website, Berman correctly points out that satellite services, cable TV and software companies all use countermeasures designed to protect copyrights. Satellite and cable will scramble programs while software companies will simply disable a program to prevent unauthorized use. However, if satellite, cable and software all had the degree of power that the Berman bill will give to movies and music, your satellite dish would be melted, your TV would be blown up and your hard drive would be destroyed.

As it stands, the legislation drafted by Berman is completely out of line. There is absolutely no need to give the entertainment industry exemption to state and federal cybercrime laws. Besides the fact that it is an unconscionable abandonment of due process, the tactics used will interfere with the normal operation of a computer and the the problems of the entertainment industry do not need government for a solution.

Movies are obsolete form of entertainment and music is a ridiculously overpriced product. The problems of the entertainment industry are economic, not technological. They require an economic solution, not vigilante tactics.

Perhaps Darwinism is out to kill movies and music. It is hard to tolerate overpriced concessions, fast-food promotions and action figures for every stupid 90 minute film that comes out. From a purely economic perspective, movies are a huge ripoff in relation to games. For $7, a buyer gets 1.5 hours of entertainment. For $50, a person can buy a game like Dungeons Siege and, assuming that they do not cheat, the game will return 120 hours or more of entertainment to the average person. Even a $20 game on the market today can produce 70 to 80 hours of entertainment.

The saving grace of film is that they are still occasionally interesting and even satisfying. That is entirely not the case in the recording industry. These clowns like to find semi-talented artists with half baked albums that might have a decent track somewhere on it and still charge over $1 per track for the remaining useless segments of crap. That is $1 per approximately three minutes. In relation to game cost per hour, an album would cost $2,000 to an ordinary consumer.

To hell with the entire music industry. Porn is a better deal than music.

Maybe at the end of this controversy, it doesn’t really matter how that entertainment industry defends their copyrights. You really shouldn’t give those guys a single penny to begin with. Similarly, you should not use their products if you do not intend to give them any money. Stay away from peer to peer networks if you want your computer to run smoothly and stay healthy. Visit the library, buy a game, exercise, spend time with friends and family, meditate … read Cyberista … there are a million things to do besides watching movies or blunting your mind with garbage produced by the members of the RIAA.

Let the entertainment industry burn their $23 million on Berman and his fellow mandarins. Every attack on consumers is another nail in the coffin of movies and music.

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