There’s this bill called the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006. It’s pretty scary. Some of you may have read about it on some of the standard geek web sites.
A lot of people seem to have drawn a lot of conclusions about Red Hat’s stance on IPPA 2k6, based on a very little bit of data. So let’s see if I can clear things up.
First, let me present what seems to be the prevailing opinion about Red Hat’s stance, with comments:
1. The bill in question is the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006. I’ll call it IPPA 2k6 to from here on out. It is widely believed to be a strengthening of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Yep. Read the statute in detail: http://static.publicknowledge.org/pdf/ip-protection-act-2006-20060413.pdf
2. IPPA 2k6 contains some provisions that scare the bejesus out of the typical geek: namely, even stronger tools for prosecuting “IP criminals”. For example, two new criminal offenses have been added to list of offenses in section 506: attempt to commit criminal infringement and conspiracy to commit criminal infringement are to have the same penalties as actual criminal infringement.
Agreed. A cursory reading of this act makes it look pretty ugly.
3. Red Hat is a corporate member of the SIIA. Not only that, but Red Hat’s Mark Webbink is chairman of the board of the SIIA.
4. There are quotes by a representative of the Software and Information Industry Association that seem to indicate the SIIA’s wholehearted approval of IPPA 2k6, to wit:
“The bill as a whole does a lot of good things,” said Keith Kupferschmid, vice president for intellectual property and enforcement at the Software and Information Industry Association in Washington, D.C. “It gives the (Justice Department) the ability to do things to combat IP crime that they now can’t presently do.”
So the question is, does Mr. Kupferschmid speak authoritatively for SIIA? According to Chairman Mr. Webbink, “For the record, Mr. Kuperschmid had no authority from SIIA to make these remarks, and they do not represent the official position of SIIA. You can take that as fact from the chairman of SIIA.”
Hope that clears things up.