Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Tuesday he favors developing software that would remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download copyrighted material such as music and movies.
What's behind the recent spate of proposed legislation aimed, supposedly, at protecting the copyrights of the music, movie and television industries? I believe it's skyrocketing campaign contributions from the industry.
According to OpenSecrets.org, campaign contributions from the entertainment industry were just under $47-million for the 2002 election cycle. That's up from $38-million in 2000 and only $5.75-million in 1990. In 2002, 82% of the contributions went to Democrats, 18% to Republicans.
As for Senator Hatch, in the 2002 election cycle (the latest available) he received $175,322 from the TV/Music/Movie industries - fourth on the list of contributors behind Lawyers, Pharmaceuticals, and Insurance. As examples, AOLTimeWarner gave $24,000, Viacom $18,750, and Walt Disney $17,000.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I once owned and operated a music publishing company, still compose occasionally, work as a freelance writer, and work as a fine arts photographer. Thus, I own many, many copyrights. I believe something should be done to limit song theft, but don't favor legalizing such intrusive behavior. I think making the products people want more readily available at reasonable prices will do much more to limit theft. Just look at Apple.
Update - But what of Senator Hatch's own copyright violations? (Link courtesy Opinionjournal. com Best of the Web)
A Paxety Pages Update - now a couple of Congressmen want to put song sharers in jail.