Per the ever-penetrating and perspicacious Declan McCullagh in CNET:
- Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said he could no longer support a proposal titled Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002 because of changes that came just before a committee voted in July to send it to the Senate floor.
The bill originally targeted the kind of large-scale pirates who manufacture fake Windows holograms and enjoyed broad support from software makers such as Microsoft. But, in a little-noticed move previously reported by CNET News.com, the Senate Judiciary Committee rewrote the bill to encompass technology used in digital rights management. Following the revisions, companies that had previously backed the measure pulled their support for the bill.
“Opening this legislation to the digital realm has caused the virtually unanimous industry support behind it to evaporate, and it has raised a host of troubling liability issues that cause substantial harm to Internet service providers,” Allen, who chairs the Senate Republican High Tech Task Force, said in a statement.
A Verizon Communications executive said in a recent interview that her employer opposes the revised bill, as does Microsoft. A spokesman for Allen said Apple Computer, eBay and Yahoo have lobbied against it.
Because the bill has been reported favorably out of committee, it is ready for a Senate floor vote at any time. Its sponsors include key Democrats and Republicans, including Senate Commerce Chairman Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the top GOPer on the Judiciary committee.
The original bill, drafted by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., made it a crime to counterfeit “physical features” such as holograms or special boxes used to certify software, CDs or DVDs as authentic. (Current federal law covers only “counterfeit labels,” not physical holograms or other packaging material.) The revised version, however, covers “any feature” used to guarantee authenticity….