Hatch Takes Aim at Illegal DownloadingJust to get this straight: The chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee really suggests giving big media the right to destroy private property, if they don't like the way it is used ??
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.
The surprise remarks by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing on copyright abuses represent a dramatic escalation in the frustrating battle by industry executives and lawmakers in Washington against illegal music downloads.
During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.
"No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer," replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads pirated material very slowly so other users can't.
"I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights." The senator acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."
"If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that," Hatch said. "If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize" the seriousness of their actions, he said.
"There's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws," Hatch said.(...)
I wonder, if this has anything to do with lagging sales of his own music-recordings, though I doubt they are very popular on Kazaa...
On the other hand, it is a rather creative approach that could be used to solve a number of other long-standing problems. What about handing out baseball bats to traffic cops, for example ? Hey, there is also no excuse for anyone violating parking laws, right ?