Illegal Downloads May Destroy Computers

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said he favors developing technology to remotely destroy computers used for illegal downloads represents a dramatic escalation in the increasingly contentious rhetoric over pirated music.

During a discussion of methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.

“No one is interested in destroying anyone’s computer,” replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to deliberately download pirated material very slowly so other users can’t.

“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.”

“If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we’d be interested in hearing about that,” Hatch said. “If that’s the only way, then I’m all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize” the seriousness of their actions.

“There’s no excuse for anyone violating copyright laws,” Hatch said.

Source Billbord.com.

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