It’s probably no big surprise that Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights for the US Copyright Office, has publicly stated that her office officially supports the legislation known as the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act considering the position she holds. What is surprising given the uproar and massive debate over this bill being too broad that has already erupted is the fact that she seems to be expressing the opinion that the proposed legislation isn’t strong enough and that Congress should overturn the 20 year old Sony Betamax decision.
Ernest Miller has an excellent analysis of Peters’ statement over at Corante where he dismantles the rather misleading and poorly developed arguments Peters’ used in her 22-page statement [PDF]. Her most galling statement, however, is her conclusion in which she says the following:
Let me be clear, however, that our concern about its future application should not hold up this bill.
Actually, it absolutely should hold this bill up. We’ve already seen example after example of how another bit of legislation designed to supposedly protect copyrights, the DMCA, has been used as a hammer by various parties to stifle innovation, competition, research, and even criticism. The INDUCE Act is already being roundly criticized as being even more ripe for abuses than the DMCA and I can only imagine the horror stories that will come along if it is passed. Ironically, the US Copyright Office actually played a role in getting one of the DMCA abuses listed above tossed out of court so it’s rather disconcerting to see them come out in support of legislation that is even worse.
Update: Looks like ***Dave and I are on similar wavelengths today.