Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Criticism of Bill Unfairly Labeled?

It's not a positive sign when legislators start attacking criticism of a bill by stating that its critics are engaged in scaremongering. That's the type of language coming out of Capitol Hill regarding a bill that would allow copyright holders to use self help to try to defeat people from infringing upon their copyrighted works on the web:
During the first congressional hearing on the bill, Representatives Howard Berman, and Howard Coble denounced critics' "scare tactics" and said their proposal was a modest plan that had been carefully crafted to reduce piracy on peer-to-peer networks.

"There have been some truly outrageous attacks," Berman said. "I never expected that anyone would challenge the underlying premise of the bill, namely that copyrighted owners should be able to use reasonable, limited measures to thwart peer-to-peer piracy".
It might be time for these legislators to take a step or two back and think objectively about what they are doing, and why there is so much criticism to this bill, rather than labeling the reaction as "scaremongering." A plain reading interpretation of the bill in question (pdf) may cause a lot of people to voice their concerns. Maybe those voices shouldn't be dismissed so quickly in a representative government.