US Senator supports attacking P2P music pirates

— 2:50 PM on June 18, 2003

A number of TR readers have written in regarding US Senator Orrin Hatch's recent comments on illegally downloaded music. Apparently, Senator Hatch supports technology that would remotely destroy computers found to be downloading copyrighted material. Such technology would be illegal under anti-hacking laws, but the Utah Senator would support an exception for copyright holders:

"I'm interested," Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer "may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."

The senator, a composer who earned $18,000 last year in song-writing royalties, acknowledged Congress would have to enact an exemption for copyright owners from liability for damaging computers. He endorsed technology that would twice warn a computer user about illegal online behavior, "then destroy their computer."

Senator Hatch has a total of nine albums for sale online, though I have to wonder just how many of his songs are available over file sharing networks like Kazaa. Are Mormons big P2P users?

Either way, the idea of hacking into a P2P user's computer should be universally reviled among enthusiasts and mainstream users alike. Even with a three strikes policy that would warn users twice before unleashing an attack, it seems unlikely that any proposal that condones destroying a user's computer will make it very far.

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