“A new bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network. The bill was introduced by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.). They said the bill is designed to increase domestic and international enforcement of copyright laws.” – Wired News.

The TeleRead take: No mystery about Howard Berman, with $222,791 from the entertainment industry in the 2002 race. We know he’s in the LA area in the belly of the beast, and is stuffed to the gills with campaign donations from the glitter people. And John Conyers, Jr.? Well, here’s a great example of campaign cash beating out the interests of his constituents, especially the young. Motown or not, Detroit ain’t Hollywood. Be interesting to see what happens if or when someone applies the 5Y/$250K penalty to the boombox crowd. And what about all the money cheated out of Detroit’s libraries and schools–and cash-strapped families–through the copyright-term extension law and other assaults on the commonweal?

Oh, well, Congressional commerce must go on. In the 2002 Congressional race the “TV/Movies/Music” greedsters bought Conyers for $49,859. That was just under the $50,750 contributed by his most generous owners, members of the legal profession, some of whom, of course, just might be representing Hollywood fatcats. Surprise of surprise, Conyers is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, which, gasp, deals with copyright among other matters. Berman is also a Democrat on Judiciary. Glenn Reynolds should be very happy, given his suggestion that Republicans Should Back Recording Artists, Consumers. Could it soon be that the only Democrats left will be Hollywood tycoons and Luddites?

Transactions like the Conyers variety are exactly why Howard Dean’s candidacy is of interest to me. I’ve been tough on Governor Blogger because I see hope, given his heavy reliance on the Internet for fund-raising. May he and good Republicans at all levels–TeleRead is nonpartisan!–use Net-related issues as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Caveat: No proven quid pro quo about John Conyers. Just opinion. But come on–do you really think Hollywood would love Conyers so much if he were friendly to the cause of balanced copyright law?


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.