Feeds

US Senator would destroy MP3 traders' PCs

Orrin Hatch goes off his meds

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah), thinks it would be a fabulous idea if copyright owners could remotely destroy computers that contain pirated material, the Associated Press reports.

"I'm all for destroying their machines," Hatch said during a Committee hearing Tuesday. "'If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize' the seriousness of their actions," the wire service quotes him as saying.

This would involve creating new legislation to exempt copyright owners from old-fashioned laws that make it a crime to destroy other people's property, and from somewhat newer computer trespass and misuse statutes as well.

Such legislation would be in line with US Representative Howard Berman (Democrat, California) and his vision of allowing copyright owners and their agents to hack computer systems where copyright violations might be going on. Hatch would simply take it a bit further, permitting copyright owners to take overtly malicious action.

While there may soon be an excuse for willful destruction of property, "there's no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws," Hatch explained.

We can't quite picture the sort of attack our visionary Utah Senator has in mind. Obviously there is little danger of actually destroying a PC remotely; in spite of great advances in malware, it remains the sort of business for which a hatchet comes in most handy. You could wipe the HDD or re-flash the BIOS remotely, but victims can recover from this sort of thing.

Benefit of the doubt

One has to wonder how much evidence of wrongdoing a copyright owner would need before their exemption from prosecution would kick in. Would they have to maintain copious records of their investigations and findings? Or would they be granted a blanket benefit of the doubt and therefor not have to justify it at all? And what happens when an innocent person is victimized? If their HDD were wiped by some malicious program, they would have an awful time seeking a legal remedy with no data to challenge the media pigopolists' evidence.

Perhaps Hatch is imagining of some sort of Mission-Impossible-style DRM self-destruct regime, possibly one mandated by a law like the one contemplated by Senator Fritz Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) known as the CBDTPA.

A mandatory DRM scheme of this sort could monitor the copyright status of content being accessed, and after a set number of 'violations' sabotage the PC with a Hatch attack. To further inconvenience copyright miscreants, the DRM mechanism could be tied to some sort of Win-XP-style 'product activation' discipline, possibly requiring users to purchase and install a new copy of their operating system to regain full control of their computers.

Or perhaps Congress will realize that Hatch is talking utter nonsense and ignore his bizarre suggestion. It all depends on how much money the MPAA and RIAA lobbyists can slip into the pockets of their Congressional lapdogs.

Citizens are welcome to e-mail Senator Hatch here to offer him their kind words of support. ®

Related Link

Senator Hatch's WWW contact page

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.