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Consumer groups rally against Hatch's Induce Act

Faxed your Senator yet?

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Have you faxed your Senator yet? The opposition to Senator Hatch's 'Induce' Act may have got off to a spluttering start, but is now hitting its stride. Hatch wants to introduce a new crime of "inducement" to infringe a copyrighted work in order to close down the P2P networks. The RIAA says it isn't designed to target manufacturers - but no one believes them.

The Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports has produced a very articulate sample letter to your Senator, urging Congress debate the issue. A copy can be found here. A petition by Mac fans to "Save the iPod" has also produced a sample fax, and according to the website over 2,500 have been sent.

The first one is much better, because it suggests a path of action and also because it doesn't contain the phrase "the natural advance of technology". (The electric cattle prod, Microsoft's PowerPup and the Dark Ages are three things that spring to mind. But you can see what they mean).

Our piece stimulated some fascinating mail, with one from Chris Capel offering an explanation on why we're so useless at making a case.

"Two considerations come to mind," he writes.

"One, most people in America have no interest in politics and do not keep up with political activities. Even if half of these people are 'on the Internet', that doesn't mean they're any more likely to read weblogs. Thus, the only exposure, if any, that they get to these issue is a five second spot on the nightly news, or a paragraph in the daily paper."

"Two, the internet community, in general, is very grassroots. It has no large amounts of money behind it. If it's not in the interests of a company or intsitution somewhere to lobby for a particular cause, it doesn't matter how many bloggers or online tech writers support that cause - it's not going to get lobbied. ®

Related stories

Dirty rotten inducers - the law the IT world deserves?
US Senator would destroy MP3 traders' PCs
Senator Hatch's Napster Epiphany
[vintage pre-Damascus Orrin Hatch, from October 2000]

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