Can occur online and thus falls in the broad-based category of “cyberspace theft.” An example is copying another’s work, such as songs, articles, movies, or software, from an online source without being authorized to do so. In January 2000, one of the cases to make headlines in the United States was the Internet free speech and copyright civil court case involving 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, Universal Studios, and members of the Motion Picture Association of America. Here, legal issues emerged around 2600’s alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) when in November 1999 the hacker publication linked to and discussed a computer program called DeCSS, which is DVD decryption software. The complainants objected to the publication of DeCSS because, they argued, it could be used as part of a process to infringe copyright on DVD movies. In their defense, representatives of 2600 claimed that decryption of DVD movies is necessary for a number of reasons, including to make “fair use” of movies. In the end, the hacker magazine lost the case.
The social issue of infringing intellectual property rights and copyright has drawn considerable debate from those who fight for freedom of information and from those who fight against abuses of artists’ rights. For this reason, during the 2004 U.S. Presidential campaign, the INDUCE Act, or Inducing Infringement of Copyright Act of 2004, was proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). If passed, the Act could have killed the market for digital music devices such as Apple iPods, which copy music from users’ computers. The INDUCE Act would have criminalized digital music technologies because they could be viewed as inducing others to infringe copyright. When news about the INDUCE Act surfaced, hacktivists went to work, constructing Websites such as www.Savetheipod.com to motivate music lovers to send letters of opposition to Congress. The electronics Industry and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also lobbied against it. The INDUCE Act met its demise in October 2004, but if it had passed, this far-reaching piece of legislation could have forced electronic companies and Internet services to get permission for each new technology developed.
Dixon, G. Proposed Act Could Have Killed Digital Music Devices. The Globe and Mail, December 4, 2004, p. R12; Schell, B.H., Dodge, J.L., with S.S. Moutsatsos. The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How. Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002; Schell, B.H. and Martin, C. Contemporary World Issues Series: Cybercrime: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004; www.Savetheipod.com. Save the ipod, Stop the INDUCE Act. [Online, May 3, 2005.] Savetheipod.com Website. http://www.savetheipod.com/index1.php.