The ever-amusing Senator Orrin Hatch firmly put his foot in his mouth yesterday at a hearing for copyright abuses.
From the Washington Post:
During a discussion on 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 disrupt music downloads. One technique deliberately downloads 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 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.”
The REALLY amusing part is that Laurence Simon, a poster on the tech site Amish Tech Support has done some cybersleuthing and determined that Senator Hatch's own website fails to comply with a licensing agreement for software that he uses on it. Read the whole story here.