Copyright bill could threaten Apple iPod’s future

“Apple’s sleek digital audio device is one of the most successful tech toys, selling more than 3 million units since November 2001,” Jefferson Graham reports for USA Today. “But its future, with that of other new tech gadgets, could be in trouble if a controversial congressional bill passes. That’s according to opponents of the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act in the Senate. It would make operators of media-swap networks such as Kazaa and Grokster liable for users’ actions. It also would make it easier for entertainment companies to sue tech firms for copyright infringement.”

“Opponents say the language is so broad it could apply to makers of MP3 players, such as iPod, and CD and DVD recorders, as well as to media organizations that give consumers tips on using digital content,” Graham reports.

“Current laws suggest fines of $750 to $150,000 per song. Apple’s top iPod holds 10,000 songs,” Graham reports. “‘At $150,000 per song, that would make Apple potentially liable for $1.5 billion per iPod,’ says Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ‘That’s the worst-case scenario. Even at $750 per song, a loss would completely bankrupt a company.'”

Full article here.

34 Comments

  1. Bullshit. Apple has worked hard to get people to buy music legally. They shouldn’t be held responsible for allowing people to take legally purchased music with them on their iPod. No it’s not perfect and definitely possible to put illegal downloads on an iPod, but come on.

  2. I think Dell planted this story to keep the FUD machined going. What a piece of shit. Even the idiot congressmen wouldn’t fock this up so bad. I have no faith in the judicial system, though, that they wouldn’t cave to their butt buddies the lower-than-shit trial attorneys.

  3. They’ve also worked hard to take advantage of a flawed patent system that lets them patent bullshit like transparent user interface elements. Amazon has a ridiculous patent on “one-click” technology. They want to have their cake and eat it to. Reality doesn’t work that way. Much as I love Apple, I can’t feel very sorry for them, or for any other corporation that encourages unethical crap when it allows them to extort money from others but pretends to not understand why someone else would turn around and use unethical means to extort money from them in return.

  4. I have seen and heard this before on some other website. Basically anything that “reproduces” is technically infinging. Basically….someone with a hearing aid….an electronic device that “reproduces” the sounds around them….say a song….is copyright infringement. How stupid is that? Does that mean that person must turn off his/her hearing aid to prevent that?

  5. Keefe: As much as you think it’s ‘bullshit’ the iPod still plays MP3’s. The law that the RIAA is trying to pass is so broad that the iPod does fall under this thing. Steve Jobs fought tooth and nail for the right to sell people music the way they wanted to buy it. If the RIAA had it’s way, they’d require everyone to pay every time they heard a song. Every other music company tries to force a subscription model on you excepting Apple. Who do you think this law will go after first, an RCA lyra, or the most popular MP3 player in the world. This law will force Apple to put more restrictions on the type of music you can play on the iPod.

    This law also nullifies the Sony Betamax decision. I don’t know about you but I’d rather keep my fair use rights.
    Those who dismiss this article as ‘FUD’ will be sorry when this law passes because they couldn’t take 4 minutes out of thier day to write thier senator.

    [url=http://www.eff.org]http://www.eff.org[/url] lets you send an automatic letter to your congressman on a number of issues.

    The only thing required for evil men to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  6. If thats the case then Microsoft should be fined for allowing Kazaa to be installed on their OS. Make it $150,000 per installation or file swapped. Its stupid! Imagine even makers of CDR & DVDR burners would be liable.
    It would bankrupt lots of companies then the American economy would go down the toilet, then the world would follow suit. Its not going to happen.
    Useless FUD.

  7. This law is overbroad anyway.
    I know you like to think up unlikely situations about fining Microsoft (though that’s not altogether a bad idea).
    This law will redefine how music and video is used.

    Every song you buy or even rip off of a Cd will be copy protected.

    To put it into a video you made, the video must also be copy protected.

    Want to make a custom ringtone for your bluetooth phone? sorry.

    No more copying a DVD to take with you on an airplane flight (not even on to your harddrive). I don’t know about you, but my laptop case doesn’t have room for 10 DVDs.

    TIVO-like devices would be supremely restricted. Digital Radio would be locked down, as would HDTV.

    And yes, makers of DVDR and CDR burners would be liable. This law would force them to redefine the whole DVD and CD spec. Want the new media to work in your old burner? sorry no new firmware updates, you have to buy a new one.

    You may try to dismiss the article, but the threat is real. The digital hub concept of the Mac will be harder to achieve with this bill being signed into law.

    Do not let them take away your rights.

  8. So, if you’re: walking by a radio; in an elevator; at the mall; in a restaurant; at movie; at an amusement park; at the beach; at a ‘free’ outdoor concert; near a passing car; that’s playing a song – even one that you don’t like – who gets your check/cheque for 7�?

    Soviet totalitarianism or corporate totalitarianism?

    Putrid Hell or Burning Hell?

    Uh, is there a third choice?

    Yes, but it requires thought. Your thought.

    Don’t give away your rights.

    Stop being a consumer, and start being a customer.

  9. Orin Hatch is an industry whore. If you look his track record, he supports questionable companies. He even has a connection to scumbags at The SCO as his son is Brent O. Hatch of Hatch, James & Dodge, P.C. Attorneys for The SCO Group, Inc..

    The problem is, nobody is strong enough to chalenge him in the election. He can do pretty much whatever he and the industry backing him want. The hope is that the other senators have enough senses to smack him down.

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