Effects of New Federal Anti-Piracy Law Worry ECA’s Hal Halpin

In an interview with The Escapist, Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin discusses his worries over the PRO-IP Act, a new piece of anti-piracy legislation signed into law in October:

The PRO IP Act was concerning for us primarily because the wording of the law was so broad and open to interpretation. It also provides intellectual property holders with unusually over-reaching rights and at a time when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) too empowers that same community.


I fear that PRO IP and DMCA will drive a wedge between the producer/consumer relationship, one that has served the games business well. I would also hate to see us collectively follow the path [of aggressively suing consumers] that the music industry has followed. In addition to it being a patently bad model, proven unsuccessful by every measure, it’s also clearly ineffective. Worrying still is how handily [PRO IP] passed – with broad support from both parties. The fact that the Vice-President Elect continues to be a proud sponsor makes me think that it’ll be a bumpy ride… one played out in America’s courts, for a long time to come.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, among the provisions of the PRO-IP Act are these consumer-unfriendly gems:

  • increases the penalties for infringement by expanding what is considered a ‘work’
  • broadens the ability of the government to permanently seize goods
  • creates an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a new cabinet position whose sole job is to increase intellectual property enforcement.

FULL DISCLOSURE DEPT: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

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  1. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Well, ante up. http://www.truecrypt.com complete OS drive encryption, including plausible deniability.

    Used by freedom fighters in hostile countries, smaller governments that don’t develope similar things themselves, and unfortunately some criminals.


    Now that the technology’s developement will be hugely accelerated, it’ll become impossible for them to crack the encryption for REAL criminals.

  2. 0
    Faceless Clock says:

    The fact his law allows the siezure of property is by far the largest cause for concern. On its own, it really isn’t a huge reason to worry. Afterall, just because the government has the power to do something doesn’t mean that they are. However, the fact that we now have both a person in charge of an over-all anti-piracy intitaive AND a have given law enforcement the ability to sieze property is starting to make this look like the War On Drugs, an initative that has both been a massive waste of tax payer money and stomped all over civil liberities.

    It will be up to the government to decide how to use the power. Its one thing to take property and the promptly return it after a timely investigate. Its another thing to simply take it and keep it no matter if you are cleared of the charges or not – something that has occured many times before.

    And of course, I know we all keep private things on our computers, from porn collections to personal journals to complete records of our financial history. Its disturbing to think someone from the government could legally nose around that information just because a person has been accused of piracy.

    The Honest Game – http://www.thehonestgame.org

  3. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Legally no. You have to ask yourself, though, what makes a person different the second they turn 18?

    ANY boss in any workplace that made a secretary give him a blowjob would be JAILED, ESPECIALLY if it was a 40+ year old man and a 19 year old girl.

  4. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Is 19 considered a minor under DC law?  Somehow I doubt it.  If it was, Bill Clinton could have been prosecuted for statutory rape and I very much doubt that he would have avoided impeachment.

  5. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Yes, I know about the scandal, it’s one of the reasons I thought hilary was unfit to be president. Monica was 19 at the time. Clinton essentially is a legal child molester. "She’s 19, she can make her own choices."

    Yeah, she was old enough to go to war-but not to drink or smoke. Ha.

    We have to remember that less than a century ago corporate greed resulted in protesting workers being shot : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coal_mining#Labor_troubles

    While far from the technology industry, corporate greed in the end resulted in U.S. federal troops shooting citizens.

    It’s the same brand of greed today. However, instead of being able to fire us, or fire AT us, they’re trying to sue us and use legislation and threats to extort us. If the laws were enforced to an extent that they wanted, they would charge a premium for a "DRM free" version of the software. As it stands now, they’d get torn up by pirates, much as EA did with spore.

    Unfortunately the people responsible use the developers and workers (the 500 people laid off from EA for example) as meatshields.


  6. 0
    Doomsong says:

    If these laws were ever seriously enforced, game pirates would just up their tactics by becoming game "vikings"… then theyd sail around sacking game corporation headquarters….

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  7. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    I think we should Try a grassroots movement that can put an end to the PRO-IP act and firmly Repeal the DMCA act that Bill "I never had sex with that  Woman" Clinton signed

    Note: If you want to know why I took that quote, I took it off the Monica Lewinsky scandal that almost Cause Bill Clinton’s job as President at that time

    for link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewinsky_scandal

  8. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    So politicians are going to say video gamers are violent, dangerous people that go on shooting rampages, and shoot accurately.

    Then they’re going to allow DRM that drives them to piracy, which apparently acts as a ‘gateway crime’ to worse deeds

    Then they’re going to try to invade the house and take away these violent, dangerous criminal’s stuff.

    Wow, that’s really smart. I’m certain the police will want to march into these houses without flashbangs and smokebombs. Especially with complete nutcases basically accusing gamers of terrorism. Yeah, if I thought I had a remote chance of having a SWAT team randomly invade my house because I watched a youtube video, I’d be highly motivated to abuse some second amendment rights myself.



    I’ll say this, it sure isn’t piracy. The difference between the 80s to late 1998 when the DMCA was signed and we were on top of the technology market are the lawsuits allowed by washington.

    Congrats, washington, you just made it highly likely that places like wikipedia that rely on help from users and companies to keep IP off of their pages will move out of the U.S. and block U.S. users.


  9. 0
    Bill says:

    You can’t be tried twice for the same crime.  The Double Jeopardy Clause protects against three distinct abuses: [1] a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; [2] a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and [3] multiple punishments for the same offense.

  10. 0
    sheppy says:

    Actually, several aspects of this annoy me.  How the terms" works" has been expanded is especially worrying in my eyes.  In particular, I thought you could NOT be found guilty of commiting the same crime twice.  I am correct in this, yes?  Well, the wording indicates that, should I get in trouble for downloading a copy of Shoot Em Up, I’m not only getting in trouble in an increased capacity for the movie itself, but also each song individually that appears in the movie.  This is especially troubling for me since I’ve recently been an addict of Amazon’s MP3 service.  How do I retain a paper trail for such purchases in a legal battleground that has been proven in court that they don’t care whether you have legal entitlement to the work or not to the point of claiming ripping a CD for use oon your iPod is copyright infringement?

    Also, being able to seize any property that has touched the work is provable how?  I mean, PS3 and 360 both can hook up with media servers so can they claim ownership of your game consoles just because they can tie into your MP3 collection?

    And a dedicated job within the government sounds like a bad idea as well.  After all, RIAA court cases have proven they don’t care about the legality of the acquired information or the accuracy therein.  Putting another person to the task of discovering this info also becomes a dangerous road.

    And based on what, good faith stats that somehow the industries are suffering?  They haven’t used a real state in their petitioning in any way, shape, or form.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  11. 0
    Cavalier says:

    It’s that second one that worries me the most. The Govt. has always had a strange track record when it comes to the seizure of goods for specious reasons, particularly around issues of hacking and piracy.  Witness the Steve Jackson Games GURPS Cyberpunk debacle, back in the late 80s, early 90s (I misremember exactly).

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