[IP] CA State bill could cripple P2P

David Farber dave at farber.net
Wed Jan 19 10:51:24 PST 2005

------ Forwarded Message
From: Dewayne Hendricks <dewayne at warpspeed.com>
Reply-To: <dewayne at warpspeed.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 01:38:48 -0800
To: Dewayne-Net Technology List <dewayne-net at warpspeed.com>
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] CA State bill could cripple P2P

  State bill could cripple P2P
  By John Borland

  Story last modified Tue Jan 18 17:55:00 PST 2005

A bill introduced in California's Legislature last week has raised the
possibility of jail time for developers of file-swapping software who
don't stop trades of copyrighted movies and songs online.

The proposal, introduced by Los Angeles Sen. Kevin Murray, takes direct
aim at companies that distribute software such as Kazaa, eDonkey or
Morpheus. If passed and signed into law, it could expose file-swapping
software developers to fines of up to $2,500 per charge, or a year in
jail, if they don't take "reasonable care" in preventing the use of
their software to swap copyrighted music or movies--or child

  Peer-to-peer software companies and their allies immediately
criticized the bill as a danger to technological innovation, and as
potentially unconstitutional.

  "State Sen. Murray did not choose to seek out the facts before
introducing misguided legislation that effectively would make criminals
out of many companies that bring jobs and economic growth to
California," Mike Weiss, CEO of Morpheus parent StreamCast Networks,
said in a statement. "This bill is an attack on innovation itself and
tax-paying California-based businesses like StreamCast depend on that
freedom to innovate."

  The bill comes as much of the technology world is waiting for the
Supreme Court to rule on the legal status of file-swapping technology.

  Federal courts have twice ruled that peer-to-peer software companies
are not legally responsible for the illegal actions of people using
their products. Hollywood studios and record companies appealed those
decisions to the nation's top court, which is expected to rule on the
issue this summer.

  In the meantime, entertainment companies' push for federal legislation
on file-swapping issue has been put temporarily on the back burner. A
controversial bill that would have put more legal responsibility on the
peer-to-peer developers failed to pass at the end of last year's
congressional session.

  California has taken a lead among states in putting pressure on the
file-swapping world. Attorney General Bill Lockyer was a key figure
last year in pushing for more state-level legal scrutiny of the
companies' actions, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has sought to ban
illegal downloading on any state computers, including those owned by
the state university systems.


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