House Hollywood sock puppet Howard Berman (Democrat, California) may have gone too far in licking the boots of his benevolent patrons. Indeed, he's gone and licked the shine clear off Motion Picture Ass. of America President Jack Valenti's boots, as this article from Reuters indicates.
"We're pleased that a bipartisan group of lawmakers ... want to curb the explosion of Internet piracy," the wire service quotes the previously-supportive Valenti as saying. "However, there are aspects of the bill we believe need changing as it moves through the legislative process. We look forward to working with Congress in this regard."
The bee in Valenti's bonnet is most likely the loose language in Berman's bill.
"A copyright owner shall not be liable in any criminal or civil action for disabling, interfering with, blocking, diverting, or otherwise impairing the unauthorized distribution, display, performance, or reproduction of his or her copyrighted work on a publicly accessible peer-to-peer file trading network, if such impairment does not, without authorization, alter, delete, or otherwise impair the integrity of any computer file or data residing on the computer of a file trader."
That can't be good. It means that anyone with a copyright will be allowed to hack the daylights out of anyone, including MPAA Headquarters, so long as they have a 'reasonable suspicion' of infringement and notify the DoJ of their intent at least seven days before commencing the attack.
Somehow, Valenti failed to impress on the over-eager Berman's mind that this legislation is for media giants only.
The second part of the problem is in Berman's extending protections to the victims of such attacks for damages exceeding $50. Again, he's gone over the top in his eagerness to delight his masters. Or, said another way, if anyone attacked can claim $50 or more in harm, the attacker loses his legal protection. Good grief; has Berman gone mad? Everyone and his brother will be able to claim that.
So, while Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) President Hillary Rosen still welcomes the Berman Gift; Hollywood Honcho Valenti is stepping back until his team of Ass. lawyers and lobbyists can draft a proper bill for Berman, and send him to the House floor armed with the right stuff. ®