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Tinker with your MP3 player, get 5 years in jail

Congressional TCPA stooges Hollings, Biden at it again

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We were suspicious a few months back when US Senator Joseph Biden (Democrat, Delaware) introduced proposed legislation with Senator Fritz "Hollywood" Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) to protect emblems of authenticity for digital media, such as holograms, with the same tough laws that criminalize bogus labels on designer-wear.

A Biden aide told us at the time that the proposed legislation would have no effect on DRM features; it was merely meant to cover software and music packaging. We doubted it was so, and now we see that the Dynamic Duo have indeed attempted to swindle consumers on behalf of their Benevolent Masters in the software and entertainment industries.

The bill's language, in particular the term 'authentication feature', has now been greatly expanded to include "any hologram, watermark, certification, symbol, code, image, sequence of numbers or letters, or other feature that either individually or in combination with another feature is used by the respective copyright owner to verify that a phonorecord, a copy of a computer program, a copy of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or documentation or packaging is not counterfeit or otherwise infringing of any copyright."

Thus "illicit authentication" could be anything a consumer might do to make older, legally-purchased media and software run on DRM-enabled computer hardware or software or household gizmos such as CD and DVD players. The language is wide open here; in practice it will mean whatever the movie and music industries, and the BSA paramilitaries, decide it should mean.

It dovetails beautifully with Fritz Hollings' copyright Final Solution, a loathsome piece of legislation which would force DRM compliance on all hardware sold in America. Meanwhile, he and Biden are sneaking around to the back door to ensure that any liberties taken by consumers to free themselves from this odious Copyright Regime becomes a felony under federal law.

The RIAA, MPAA and BSA certainly are getting their money's worth out of these two fine representatives of the people (who matter). ®

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