ESA Boss Praises Congress, Dubya for New anti-Piracy Law

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, President Bush has signed into law a bill that, among other things, calls for the appointment of a cabinet-level IP czar.

Michael Gallagher, the former Bush administration official who heads video game industry lobbying efforts as CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), praised the move. In a press release issued by the ESA today, Gallagher said:

…The ESA applauds Congress and the Bush Administration for taking critical steps that support job growth and investment in the video game industry… More legitimate game sales mean more game-related jobs up and down the value chain.

Piracy is an enormously profitable undertaking for criminal organizations. Disabling those organizations requires a coordinated and cross-border approach to enforcement, which this legislation clearly promotes. Ultimately, this law provides for greater responsibility and accountability within the White House and in the multiple agencies responsible for advancing IP protection.

Support for PRO-IP is far from unanimous, however. As we mentioned yesterday. Law of the Game blogger Mark Methenitis called the new law a load of bad news for consumers, while watchdog group the Electronic Frontier Foundation was even more critical:

…the PRO IP Act is just another in a long line of "one-way ratchet" proposals that amplifies copyright without protecting innovators or technology users. One provision… seems aimed at allowing the music industry to threaten even higher statutory damages in its campaign to sue filesharers. Copyright law currently allows the RIAA to seek statutory damages per album, while the new law would allow them to seek damages per song. Under the new limits… someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N’ Roses’ 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000; as opposed to the current limit of $30,000 for the album.


Beyond its effects on file sharing litigation, the bill would create a new, taxpayer-funded federal bureaucracy focused on policing intellectual property domestically and overseas…

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  1. doewnskitty says:

    The U.S. generally can’t do anything about those sites, check out The Pirate Bay; they’re notoriously infamous for hosting torrents, and they’re based in Sweden.  They’ve got a page of legal threats they’ve received from numerous companies and individuals, and every one of them cites U.S. law at them, and several even miss the point after having it reiterated to them that The Pirate Bay is subject to Swedish law, not U.S. law, therefore not a thing can be done to them.  It’s especially amusing and frustrating how many of the accusers cite them as hosting content, when all they do is host the trackers.

  2. wiregr says:

    Almost certainly. Not because you downloaded it for your own personal use, but because (assuming you used bittorrent) you would be sharing parts with others while you downloaded it. So they’ll just assume that the 50 MB you shared to 5 people was actually the entire game shared to the entire population of Madagascar, and fine you based on that amount.

  3. axiomatic says:

    This is one of the reasons developers are leaving the ESA in droves and that the presidents approval rating is in the crapper. Both are so completly out of touch with their respective constituents that they can’t see the forest from the trees.

  4. squigs says:

    I always get rather worried when media types are too enthusiastic about a new law.  It suggests that it’s not all that balanced towards the enduser. 

  5. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Fck illicit laws, fair use is the law I go buy I may crack and copy for my own personal use so the man can sit on ti and swivel.
    Corperations are circumventing the process to gain a strangle hold on personal rights, they should focus on illicit profit first and foremost not shareing Nazis who send cops after people that trade and lend discs!.


    I go over content protection here

    if you ca handle zippy speak and long rambling zippy speak at that read it 😛

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  6. Thomas McKenna says:

    I would say that most likely,  yes.  If not yes now, than yes in the future.  The main purpose of these groups is to get any form of data copying illegal (pipe dream at best, imo), which would go as far as making a copy of a cd or game you own onto your computer, giving that copy around, getting a copy for free, etc.  Hell, they’d probably try to get renting outlawed as well, seeing how in the view of the RIAA you’re breaking the law if you let your friend borrow a music album.

    Honestly, I don’t know how shit like this gets stricter and stricter when something like TiVo is totally legal.  And really, aren’t libraries basically the same concept as modern day file sharers?  Freedom of information, but now from a hardbound version to a digital one?

  7. Baruch_S says:

    Meh, unless they can actually start to catch a significant number of pirates, they’ll never stop anything. Hitting one in ten thousand plus pirates isn’t going to stop anyone even if the fines go up, and these companies can’t hope to catch and shut down enough of the innumerable file-sharing sites to actually make a difference.

    And what do they plan to do about filesharers overseas? Anyone who’s used bittorrent and checked out his peers has noticed that half of them are scattered across Europe. How is the United States going to stop those people? And what are they going to do when the site is hosted overseas? I don’t see how the US or the RIAA could do anything to these people without their country having a similar law to prosecute them under.

    I sincerely hope that this either gets declared unconsitutional for violating property rights. Of course, that would require applying common sense to laws, and we all know how well that goes over.

  8. ac3raven says:

    I’ve hated the ESA from the start.  Piracy is not some epidemic caused by the internet.  It is an unrealized business model that moronic groups like the ESA, MPAA, and RIAA haven’t quite figured out yet.  "piracy" is the future.  Sharing is popular.

  9. cpt crunchie says:

    the industry (by which i mean bodies like the riaa and mpaa) is in its death throes. they will be gone, perhaps not in my lifetime. but eventually.





    It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

  10. cpt crunchie says:

    actually, i believe that "happy birthday" is public domain now. but i see what you’re getting at.




    It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

  11. cpt crunchie says:

    you know, i wonder about this. i want to play bioshock, which i legally own. but i hate securom, and dont want it on my machine again. would they even have a case if i downloaded a cracked version and played that, even though i own it?



    It is not murder; I am merely advancing the hands of the clock, just a bit.

  12. Cheese Nips says:

    DRM has always been massive overkill. They should be going after the websites that hoast these torrents, instead of each individual who pirates.

    I honestly think pirating will never end, but going after the average joe is just hurting everyone.

  13. Untouchable says:

    In my opinion, it’s still a massive amount of overkill. Say a person downloads a single track from the album but doesn’t like the other stuff on there. Is this fair punishment to be fined the same amount if you took the whole album in one go?




  14. Cheese Nips says:

    Thats not what it meant. It means that they can fine $30k for each song, regardless of if you downloaded it as an album or not.

  15. Untouchable says:

    someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N’ Roses’ 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000; as opposed to the current limit of $30,000 for the album.


    Little bit of overkill don’t you think. And why would downloading all of the individual tracks for the album cost more than downloading the whole album? GAH, This doesn’t make sense.

  16. Bigman-K says:

    I may be in the minority here but i believe that the First Amendment should bar copyright laws involving Free Speech. Copyright laws were originally meant for products and inventions not the expression of ideas and the copyrighting of Free Speech media does restrict the free expression of ideas, therefore it is a violation.

    If i was to put a video of myself singing Happy Birthday to you to my daughter on youtube, i could be sued by the person or persons who copyrighted it. (and yes the "happy birthday to you" song is copyrighted, isn’t that rediculous)

    "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  17. FLAWL3ss says:

    It’s too bad becuz I’m betting the Bush Administration doesn’t even understand what the hell’s going on with this and they don’t know the truth about piracy… lobbyist groups control Washington on some issues.

  18. Spartan says:

    I’m not normally a proponent of violence (in real life) but things are getting so out of whack anymore with copyright laws that someone should to step up and go postal on a few of these IPR asshats and their meat puppets in DC.  


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  19. sqlrob says:

    I want to see this applied to the EA copyright infringement a couple of articles up.

    That should end this quickly.


  20. Father Time says:

    More than that, try $30. If it were $20 it would encourage piracy ‘if you pirate and get caught you’d only pay what you would normally pay at a music store’. Once you hit the thousands though then that’s pushing it.


    God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris ‘Jedi’ Knight

  21. Quarantine says:

    So is this big news or is it just the same ol’ shit they’ve been trying to do since the Napster Disaster?

    I know this article is more on the issue when it comes to video games, but every type of downloaded media is effected with this new law, of course. But hey, I could care less because downloading full games and hacks is like hannibal lector emailing you spyware. I don’t know why people do it.

    On the other hand, I want my tax dollar’s spent on important things. Not on seeing who’s duplicating rich peoples’ work as computer files. If people like what they’ve downloaded so much they’re gonna buy it. I mean, c’mon. On the music side of things, when was the last time an album was worth buying? Seriously, I wanna know.


    "Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" — Birch Barlow

  22. cjovalle says:

    That’s not quite right. ^_^

    It’s not automatically legal; there’s a fair use evaluation that needs to occur. Even if you believe your use to be a fair use, they can still use the DMCA to bring the song down, and they can still sue you.

  23. DeepThorn says:

    This is why I don’t buy music anymore, or download it illegally.  There are absolutely legal ways to listen to any song you want for free at any moment you wish to listen to it.  You can look up any song on youtube, and they can not do diddly squat about it. 

    If someone is dancing to the song or even puts up a still blue screen that says the artist and song title, that is enough to make it legal to put all the music you want online for anyone to listen to for free, as long as you legally obtained the music in the first place. (which recording the radio playing the song is legal, so you can imagine all the things you can get away with in relation to that…which switches it to the fact that someone obtained the music legally)  If you put the cover to the album they could still sue you because of using their art technicially, but I doubt they would push it.

  24. DeepThorn says:

    The president of the company I work for and I were talking about that the other day…  The more we learn about the government, the less we like our government.  They are not good people, and don’t care about what is best for the people. 

    Gas prices are down to try to encourage more people to vote republican at least, even though that isn’t swaying my vote.  (Aren’t there laws against some of this stuff?  Wait, there are…  as if anyone will get charged over any of it…  Just like how Palin, Hillary, and Bush wont be charged… [misused of power {fined/not allowed to run for any high ranking political position}, illegally raising funds for her campaign in 2004{15 years in jail/not allowed to run for any high ranking political position}, what the hell has he not done… {fined, life in prison, go straight to hell and do not pass St. Peter at the gates of heaven for judgment, }])

    Every mother wants their child to become president, but never a politician…  I love that quote…  I love SNL too…  Without SNL this election would no longer be tolerable.

  25. ezbiker555 says:

    This is why I have no faith in the goverment. 

    _________________________ And the rain will kill us all… We throw ourselves against the walls.. but no one else can see…. the preservation of the martyr in me…. Psychosocial

  26. TehChef says:

    Nice xkcd reference. Basically, that’s tantamount to having to give your entire (physical) music collection back to the record company and buy it again every time you move houses.


    By the way, long time lurker, first time poster.

  27. Adamas Draconis says:

    Umm. They backed it so it sure as hell looks like they want to use a blunderbuss approach. AKA sue everybody with the slightest connection for as much as they can.


    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  28. Krono says:

    Keep in mind that piracy does cover the selling of cheap counterfeit copies. That being said, this goes too far, and we all know that people selling illegal copies aren’t what the ESA and the like wants to use this law against.


  29. doewnskitty says:

    And it’s a terrible idea, too, because it essentially would mean that we no longer are purchasing something that we own, merely paying a rental price.

    Even sadder is how it’s little different from the practice of making mixtapes or dubbing a CD to tape to give to a friend.  I always understood that copyright violation only really holds fully true when it’s the violator making a profit off someone else’s work without due credit or compensation.  People who torrent music and other works generally are not  making a dime, and in some cases, are spending money in order to do so, resulting in a deficit for them rather than profit.

  30. MonkeyPeaches says:

    and RIAA wants to make taking a CD you purchased legally and putting it on your computer and transfering it to your

    I-Pod or whatever illegal.

  31. doewnskitty says:

    It’s calculated that way by way of a set of assumptions that:

    1:  The downloaded work will in turn be shared to any unspecified number of people (ballpark number usually is no less than 10, possibly much higher than 100 given some figures I’ve seen batted about over the years that this has been made an issue)

    2:  Then those shared files are then further shared, on and on down the line, increasing the loss of potential revenue exponentially.

    3:  And the chain of lost revenue continues in a pattern of "second verse, same as the first."

    Of course, there’s the little detail that one who would never have paid any attention to the work in the first place had it not been obtainable for no cost cannot be at all considered a lost sale.

  32. NovaBlack says:

    ‘someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N’ Roses’ 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000;’



    what the….


    for ONE album… how the heck can that be justified??? 30k for an album was MORE than harsh enough :S i mean if the album costs $15 .. they have ‘lost’ $15.. and even thats based on the false premise it would have been bought if it hadnt been downloaded.

    but £360 k… what?

  33. Volomon says:

    Well theres a huge hole (about the size of a galaxy or two) in your theory the money goes towards companies not the government.

    In fact the Governent will probably spend millions investing this endevor.

  34. Zen says:

    Maybe this is how they plan on paying for the bank buyouts and other crap they are pulling.  It’s "tecnically" not a tax, but wide enough they could hit just about anyone with it and make a ton of money.

  35. TheEggplant says:

    Looks to me like this is going to be used as much as possible by the publishers for whatever they choose. If you’re part of the homebrew scene you should be very afraid.

  36. Thomas McKenna says:

    My thoughts exactly.  Since when have video game pirates in the US profited from bittorrent?  Hell, even in the more popular P2P programs you have to pay to use them, and in effect are causing people to pay to pirate.  Pirating in the US causes no profit, so how can they go about saying that it does?  Now, outside of the country, in many countries in Asia and the like, then selling pirated hard copies of the game is quite profitable, but such things do not fall under the jurisdiction of this law.

    Despite my own feelings towards piracy (I don’t do it), I think this is a step in the wrong direction, fueled by misinformation and dirty politics.  Piracy is a problem, but this isn’t the way to go about dealing with it.  Imposing such harsh penalties only causes the average American to feel bad for the pirate (hell, most people have illegally downloaded something at least once), and forcing sympathy into the court of the defendant is not a good buisness practice.

  37. Kevin says:

    When it comes to copying games, I’m not sure how releasing a hacked version for free on a torrent site is profitable in any way, or how it will make the publishers any more money.

    //glad I’m not in the US

  38. Father Time says:

    I wish it were legal to hunt lobbyists don’t you guys?


     God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris ‘Jedi’ Knight

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