Dan Gillmor is right on the money with his criticism of Vermont’s Patrick Leahy regarding his co-sponsorship of the “Pirate Act“. One would think our politicians have more important things to do (education, health care, terrorism, the economy) than carrying water for the Hollywood cartel.
s stunning, and disheartening, to see U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who has been one of the champions of civil liberties on Capitol Hill, become a water-carrier for Hollywood and the music industry. But there’s no other interpretation for his co-sponsorship of what’s being called the PIRATE Act, a chillingly bad bill that would give the copyright cartel a gift for the ages.
The basics of this legislation are fairly simple: In a time when there are truly serious things on the minds of law enforcement, such as terrorism, Leahy and his colleague Orrin Hatch would send the FBI and Justice Department (Copyfight) after file-sharers. If this passes, look for a crackdown that makes today’s music-industry lawsuit frenzy look tame. And look for the end of most experiments in new media, because file-sharing networks are the only financially feasible way to distribute content for people who aren’t trying to corner a market.
If I still lived in Vermont, I would call Leahy’s office and ask anyone who’d listen how someone I’ve respected for years could do something so awful.