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Highly Charged Comments on Copyright Enforcement from Senate Hearing

A tempest is swirling around the prepared and spontaneous statements of Senator Orrin Hatch before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “The Dark Side of a Bright Idea: Will Personal and National Security Risks of P2P Networks Compromise the Promise of P2P Networks?” on June 17.

  • See this AP article, Hatch Takes Aim at Illegal Downloading
  • , which quotes the following exchange: “No one is interested in destroying anyone’s computer,” replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to deliberately download pirated material very slowly so other users can’t. “I’m interested,” Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone’s computer “may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights.”
    Sen. Hatch then posted the following statement on the main page of his website as well as on his Newsroom:

  • “I made my comments at yesterday’s hearing because I think that industry is not doing enough to help us find effective ways to stop people from using computers to steal copyrighted, personal or sensitive materials. I do not favor extreme remedies – unless no moderate remedies can be found. I asked the interested industries to help us find those moderate remedies.”
  • For some perspective, here is the written statement of Senator Patrick Leahy from the same hearing, as well as his comments in response to Hatch: “The rights of copyright holders need to be protected, but some draconian remedies that have been suggested would create more problems than they would solve….”We need to work together to find the right answers, and this is not one of them.”
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