Apparently We Need More Accidental Criminals

June 22, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

I was reading my usual science blogs, and came across Weekend Diversion: And now, they’re coming for me. Yeah, me. Because I write for you. at Starts With a Bang. Apparently Congress is creating new classes of felons that would have no idea they were doing anything even technically wrong.

In brief,  U.S. Senate Bill 978 (that just cleared committee) makes it a Federal Offense (felony) if you happen to embed someone’s video on your post that someday someone may claim infringed on a copyright. If I, for example, embed a video of some stranger’s birthday party on this blog, that pans briefly across a television set that happened to be playing a commercial for shoes, that has background music by the Beatles, and in five years Michael Jackson’s heirs decide that this infringed on their copyright on the music of McCartney and yank the video, I could technically be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. Even if the creator of the video, the owners of the network, and the shoe company and its marketing agent all had approved my use.

Ethan Siegel has more details about this silliness and suggestions on his post.


Category: Censorship, Civil Rights, Communication, Current Events, Entertainment, ignorance, Intellectual property, Internet, Law, Media, Orwellian, Politics

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Which is why I've already sent away my application to register as a DMCA takedown agent with the U.S. Copyright Office. There are going to be lots of bottom-feeders out there . . .

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