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The sword and shield of Hollywood

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday October 15, 2008 11:56 AM

NPR yesterday had a rather tartly-worded story on the new intellectual-property KGB, overwhelmingly approved by our boughten Congress last month:

While Congress was embroiled in the battle over the financial bailout bill, both houses somehow managed to overwhelmingly approve legislation backed by the entertainment industry. The bill will help step up enforcement efforts against intellectual property theft....

One of the most notable provisions is the creation of an intellectual property coordinator. This is a White House-level position to be appointed by the president; some people are calling the new post the IP czar....

The bill also has a forfeiture provision that will allow law enforcement to seize assets from anyone accused of intellectual-property theft — even before they are proven guilty.

This remarkable expansion in secret-police power -- for the transcendently important purpose of protecting trademarks and song residuals, forsooth -- was sponsored by that white knight, Patrick Leahy, and cosponsored in the Senate by 21 other stooges, including some of our old favorites: Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, "Up" Chuck Schumer. The bill passed the Senate unanimously. It passed the House 381-41, and really, it's only surprising that that wasn't unanimous too.

Apparently the Nays tend to be in the pockets of technology providers rather than "content" providers; the former find their style rather cramped by the extravagant excesses of IP enforcement demanded by the latter. It's easy enough to see who has the Injun sign on Congress, though: it's not the people who have put that laptop in your lap -- it's the people who claim ownership, and want to exert control, of the bits on your disk.

These trolls would like to send armed men to break down the door of any Billy Goats Gruff they suspect of evading their bridge tolls; and the Democratic Congress it was so important to elect two years ago -- in the name of all that's good and decent -- has been, predictably, very happy to oblige.

Comments (2)


those sub giotto esque stasi
make me tingle for national totalization

intellectual property is ....heft

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