Senate consideration of the so-called Induce bill may be put off until late November. The reason? There's not enough time left for lawmakers to take care of all their legislative business.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senate consideration of the so-called Induce bill may be put off until late November. The reason? There's not enough time left for lawmakers to take care of all their legislative business.
The problem is that the election-year, early-closing session ends Oct. 1. Although nobody on the Hill will comment officially, most veteran insiders say there is so much pressing legislation left on the table as Congress approaches its adjournment that a lame-duck session will have to be called.
In a lame-duck session, current members of Congress return to the Hill after the November elections even if they lost their seats. They may vote until the 109th Congress reconvenes in January.
The bill, S. 2560, would enable artists and labels to sue P2P services that profit by "inducing" consumers to illegally share protected copyrighted works.
The legislation has major support from the content industries but faces equally tough opposition from Internet service providers and consumer-electronics and tech companies.
Some observers say that in an election year, such an encumbered bill could end up in the boneyard this session. Others say that Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah -- a chief sponsor of the bill who is stepping down as Judiciary Committee chairman -- will do all he can to make sure the bill passes.
The bill has some of the heaviest hitters in the Senate signed on as co-sponsors, including committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.; and minority leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
On Sept. 2, following an order by Hatch and other committee leaders, the U.S. Copyright Office sent a "talking points" re-draft of the Induce bill to certain parties who oppose the wording of the original bill, seeking comments by Sept. 7. The Copyright Office, which doesn't endorse the rewrite, incorporated many of the changes requested by opponents to make the bill more tailored to snagging peer-to-peer networks acting in bad faith.
The latest re-draft version, sent to the committee Sept. 9, makes clear that violators would have to be guilty of "overt" acts of infringement that are "actively interfering with copyright holders' efforts to detect infringing uses of dissemination technology...." A copy of this version can be found on the Copyright Office site.
The RIAA and artists' groups oppose the re-drafts and prefer the original bill.