Update: Pols Aim To Pass Induce Act This Fall

Hatch, Leahy call for language suggestions for bill.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, vows to pass the Induce Act before the end of Congress this fall.

Speaking today (July 22) at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Hatch said his bill was meant "to challenge the large, for-profit global piracy rings that threaten the future of today's cinema and recording industries."

He called for those unhappy with the current language in the bill to submit new wording.

"I intend to move this legislation this session," the Senate Judicial Committee chair said, "and I want it to protect both the copyright and technology communities. If you help, we might get it right ... but if you don't, we're going to do it anyway, because this is a huge, huge problem."

The Induce act, S. 2560, authored by Hatch and co-sponsored by five Republican and Democrat leaders, would allow artists and labels to sue peer-to-peer companies that profit from encouraging minors and others to commit copyright infringement. It states that whoever "intentionally induces" or "intentionally aids, abets, counsels or procures" any violation of copyright "shall be liable as an infringer."

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy, D.-Vt., told the panel, "If you have problems with the early drafting of this bill, then work with us. We've got time."

Hatch and Leahy both want suggestions from all parties by the end of August.

Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters testified that the bill "will allow courts to examine fully the circumstances behind infringing activity to find those truly responsible, such as the operators of the current peer-to-peer networks who depend upon infringement for their commercial viability."

Members of the consumer-electronics and Internet communities oppose the bill, saying it would snare innocent parties and stifle innovation.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Assn., said at the hearing, "I do not know of one consumer electronics or computer company in favor of this bill."

He characterized S. 2560 as "the biggest threat to our industry in more than 20 years. It rewinds Betamax and paints a massive liability bull's-eye on companies."

To which Hatch replied, "We need your help in [redrafting] this bill. So far, there hasn't been much forthcoming from you in the way of suggestions."


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