Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Ethics, Money, and Digital Copyright

In a true display of how absolute power corrupts absolutely, Senator Orrin Hatch stated publicly he was interested in finding ways to disable the computers of people downloading music on the Internet in violation of copyright restrictions. I have never seen a larger display of irresponsibility.

What the Senator is proposing appears to be in violation of Federal anti-hacking statues. Even if that is not true, what he is proposing—what he is interested in—is essentially executing legal punishment without due process and allowing that punishment to be executed by corporate entities instead of government authority. This is a blatant abuse of Constitutional power; and Mr. Orrin needs to resign as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He is obviously unfit to serve in such a post.

I intend to send that statement to him in an e-mail this evening.

John Dean, the former White House Council, has stated that if President Bush manipulated intelligence data or gathering to justify the war in Iraq, his actions would fit the definition of “high crimes” under the Constitution, making him eligible for impeachment. A CNN poll shows that 61% of the people responding feel Bush overstated his case for weapons of mass destruction in justifying the war. I felt all along that his behavior clearly demonstrated a personal agenda. Are well all sensing the truth but are afraid to say what it is? I don’t personally believe the President purposely manipulated the intelligence data. I do believe he heard what he wanted to hear out of it, and it’s also very likely that, knowing that, people presented him with what he wanted to hear for their own private reasons.

I’m just now beginning to appreciate how dangerous this Republican administration is.

I sent the following e-mail to Senator Hatch (see the section in quotes) and, after examining Senate rules, also sent e-mails to the Chairman of the US Senate Ethics Committee and the Vice Chairman of the Committee. Quote:

“Dear Senator Voinovich,

Below is a copy of an e-mail I just sent to Senator Orrin Hatch:

‘Dear Senator Hatch,

Though I am not a Utah resident, I am a computer user and have been for several decades. I am also a writer and videographer. While I am sensitive to copyright issues, I find your public comments concerning disabling the computers of people downloading music in violation of copyright irresponsible.

What you propose appears to be in violation of Federal anti-hacking statues. Worse, you directly advocated breaking the law to enforce the law, something that usually sends law enforcement personnel to prison. You advocated allowing corporations to execute legal punishment without due process. This is a blatant abuse of power.

The press has been reporting that you earned $18,00 last year as a songwriter. Your chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee while it is hearing matters of copyright, especially those connected to the music industry, directly violates Senate Rule XXXVII, part 2 which states: “No Member, officer, or employee shall engage in any outside business or professional activity or employment for compensation which is inconsistent or in conflict with the conscientious performance of official duties.”

Your apparent violation of Senate rules and your apparent disregard of due process leave me no choice but to ask you to resign as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.’

I'd really love to hear from you why Senator Hatch is not in violation of Senate Rule XXXVII, 2 and why ruke XXXVII, 4, is written to state that a Senator may not pass a bill that furthers only his pecuniary interest vice specifying any pecuniary interest.

Thank you for your time.”