« Smoke and Mirrors | Main | If you can't drive 55... »

Cold Day in Hell...

Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested today that he believes that anyone downloading music from the Internet should have their computers "destroyed." Excuse me? Destroyed? I don't think so.

Hatch is not suggesting that someone show up at a person's door with a hammer after a person has been tried and found guilty. According to the article, a downloader would be warned twice and then, after the third time, their computers would be destroyed. He is advocating that someone create a piece of software that could be launched against a particular persons computer to actually take it down. Currently, this type of activity is forbidden under anti-hacking laws, but he favors creating a loophole that would exempt copyright holders from the laws. Aside from the legal implications of this, the other major thing that sticks out in this is that Hatch is a member of the music industry. Last year, he made $18,000 in royalties for songs that he wrote.

This concerns me on multiple levels. First of all, that whole Constitution thing gets thrown out in this case. I am not sure which part of this bothers me more. The right to a trial by a court of law. The right to confront your accuser. The whole idea of guilty until proven innocent is gone. This plan even removes the judicial system from the process entirely. If the music industry determines that you have been bad, they could access your computer and corrupt files and destroy data that is on the machine. This harkens back to the Old West, when vigilante justice was common. Any person could take the law into their own hands with little or not consequence to them.

Secondly, with the lack of due process, who would determine that actual wrongdoing has occurred? That would be the music companies themselves. Interesting. They would become the judge, jury and executioner all in one. What a pleasant thought.

Take this case... Personally, I own a lot of music. I have downloaded some of the same music that I own from the Internet. Why? Because I am too lazy to rip it or when I have ripped it I have gotten errors. According to this, I would be one of the people targeted. No one would come to my house and audit my music collection. Instead, I would get two warnings. I am sure that they will believe me when I respond that I am doing this legally. Then, one morning, I will wake up and my computer will be nonfunctional. I can already see the lawsuits flying.

The last thing that needs to be considered is that, as soon as record companies and the RIAA takes the offensive against the technology sector, I wouldn't be surprised if certain people within the technology sector strike back. The casualties of this type of escalating warfare will most certainly be bad for the music industry.

Mr. Hatch... I really think you need to reconsider this position. Throwing out the Constitution and turning over the reins of the judicial system to an organization who is hell bent on playing only by their own rules strikes me as a bad idea. And, as someone sworn to uphold the Constitution, I would think it would strike you a bad idea as well.


Hmmm, interesting sentiment, but I'm afraid you haven't touched on one crucial point to the whole argument. By downloading songs with a current copyright, a person is indeed breaking laws. That whole Constitution argument that we all love to hold up when it suits our purposes doesn't say anything about allowing illegal activities to take place. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it gives our elected officials, such as Mr. Hatch, the ability to do just about anything they want if a whole bunch of their friends agree... While we may have certain heavily lauded freedoms (such as the almighty freedom of speech), we also have the freedom to choose what idiots we place in power and how long they get to stay there. If all of the outraged ex-Napsterites would band together and take enough time out of their "busy" schedules, they could place, run with and vote in anyone they wanted. Maybe even someone who would be a little less zealous about frivolous pursuits such as "catching evil downloaders".

While I agree that breaking the law is breaking the law, the point is that by doing away with the due process due to anyone that has broken the law we have moved into a world where one person is judge, jury and executioner, which is the original reason that the Constitution was written to start with.

Umm, Yeah....but hello, Hatch can't do this on his own. That was my point. If we don't want idiots and hypocrites running the country why are they in power? Those same people that bitch about Napster dying and cry outrage that we are going too far on game censorship and legal battles against electronic media need to get off their duffs and vote in someone different. Or, in this case, we need to go to a completely socialist way of life and everyone has an equal say, right? That's the only way we can be sure that we are REALLY getting what we want on every issue.

Our system is crappy, we vote in a guy that likes to smile a lot and kiss some babies. Or we vote in the lesser of two evils and then later on down the road, a new volatile issue rears it's ugly head and this normal vanilla flavored representative turns out to be a god-damned freak who really thinks it SHOULD be legal to whip a dog on a hot Sunday in the middle of July as long as you are holding an ice cream cone in one hand and a roll of toilet paper in the other. Then if he can convince enough of his buddies that it's a good idea, or better yet, the Commission for the Control of Ice Cream, Toilet Paper, and Whips starts padding some peoples pockets with some hot ducats, BLAM.... it's a law and poor little Sammy is getting his butt whipped in the park...

We have no control, no say...this stupid legislation will probably win out and all your MP3s are going to get you in a world of hurt :-)

Post a comment