I hadn’t been taking some proposed new copyright legislation very seriously, mainly because it’s logically absurd on its face. But the “Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004” (PDF) seems to be moving so quickly that we have to pay attention now.
This bill, the stated purpose of which is to criminalize actions that might “induce” copyright infringement, doesn’t just overrule the Sony Betamax case, which gave us the right to tape TV shows to watch later. It would turn people offering totally legitimate technology into criminals, if what they offered could also be used for infringing purposes.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is cloaking the bill as “child protection.” It is nothing of the sort. It is a Hollywood-sponsored attack on fundamental freedom, and on innovation. (Ernie Miller deconstructs Hatch’s floor speech introducing the bill. See also Lessig’s comments.)