October 5, 2004
Professor Felten has posted a new draft of the Induce Act. At long last, the drafters have decided to focus more narrowly on decentralized P2P rather than the grab-bag standard of the original Induce. Well, good for them, but it’s still overbroad. Felten points out that the Web and perhaps the Internet itself would be covered. It could also apply to Windows networking, which allows sharing of folders over a network that certainly could be considered “public.” Furthermore, it could apply to IM systems that allow people to send files. “Locate and obtain” is in no way restricted to your typical search interface; consider an IM service with a chatroom called “Share Music” (this is basically how sharing on IRC works, with bots that you can query). Even if you think they could successfully defend themselves, they could still be dragged through a money intensive lawsuit. And the boundaries of this definition will be continually pushed by new technologies.
Shall we go on?
Update: Ernest reports on some letters sent by public interest and tech groups cautioning Hatch, Leahy, et. al.
[note: corrected a typo -10/6]