An op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, by recently retired Intel VP Les Vadasz, urges the Senate to reject the INDUCE Act. News junkies may remember Vadasz’s testimony against the now-infamous Hollings CBDTPA at a Senate hearing, during which Vadasz was treated quite harshly. They may also remember that Vadasz’s view ultimately prevailed, because it was right.
Vadasz paints the INDUCE Act as the second coming of CBDTPA:
Two years ago, I had the “pleasure” of testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on the so-called Hollings bill, which aimed to protect entertainment content against piracy by getting the government involved in the design of the innards of personal computers. Far from protecting against piracy, the bill would have suffocated innovation in the high-tech industry. Rationality prevailed, and the bill never moved forward.
Yet last month, a bill with similar goals was introduced by Orrin Hatch. The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 – the “Induce bill” for short – would make liable anyone who “intentionally aids, abets, induces or procures” a copyright violation. As President Reagan once remarked, “Here we go again.” Sen. Hatch and others argue that the bill will protect kids from porn and punish those who “intentionally induce” piracy. In reality it will do neither. But it will do serious harm to innovation.
There’s a hearing on the INDUCE Act tomorrow. Who will play the Vadasz role this time?