March 20, 2018

RIAA Blowing Smoke About INDUCE Act

Today’s New York Times runs a brief story by Matt Richtel and Tom Zeller, Jr. on the growing criticism of Sen. Hatch’s INDUCE Act (now given a less bizarre name, and a new acronym, IICA).

Sellers of clearly legitimate products, such as those in telecom and electronics industries, argue that the bill is too broad.

The RIAA shoots back with this:

But Mitch Bainwol, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America, a recording industry lobbying group, said the legislation was meant to be narrowly tailored to address companies that build technology focused on illegal file sharing.

The RIAA is just wrong here. There is nothing in the bill that limits it to companies. There is nothing that limits it to technology. There is nothing that limits it to file sharing. Any of those limits could have been written into the bill – but they weren’t. The language of the bill is deliberately broad, and it appears to be deliberately vague as well.

Advocates of the Act have said little if anything to justify its breadth. This will be a key issue in the debate over the bill, if any serious debate is allowed to occur.