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"Would U2 continue to make records and go on tour if all of their records, videos and fan paraphernalia were given out for free?"
——Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.)
SENATOR JOE: DON'T
BOGART THAT DISC
Biden Report Warns of Intellectual Property "Thieves," Doesn't Really Grok Grokster
Tuesday's testimony by Hilary Rosen was only one segment of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on global piracy, which bore the catchy title Theft of American Intellectual Property: Fighting Crime Abroad and at Home.

Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), Chairman of the Committee and ringmaster of the hearing, gave a rhetorical boost to the cause. He's running for re-election, by the way.

"This is a growing problem and will only get worse unless we address it immediately," Biden noted in his remarks, pointing out that bootleg DVDs, CDs and games were plentifully available for next to nothing on the streets of Pakistan, China and elsewhere.

"In addition to the financial loss to artists and innovators, and to entire industries, the creative talent of thousands of Americans is being stolen, and we ought to do everything in our power to encourage and support American ingenuity and creativity," Biden concluded. "It really is one of the things that makes America great. Man, this John Madden NFL Playstation2 football game is awesome."

While perhaps not technically precise in its characterization of unauthorized distribution of music online, Biden's report certainly can't be faulted for lack of passion.

"In September of 2001 alone," it reads, "1.5 billion songs were downloaded from Grokster.com, an Internet website which enables users to steal music."

Grokster is a client software, and music is shared between users of the client via a network, not downloaded from a website. What's more, a consensus has yet to emerge, legally or socially, about when file-swapping constitutes "stealing." Still, the report, which also refers to "thieves" who "steal millions of dollars of American intellectual property from its rightful owners" and deprive Americans of their jobs, indicates a strong commitment to the cause of rights-holders.

"Would U2 continue to make records and go on tour if all of their records, videos and fan paraphernalia were given out for free?" asks Biden's treatise.

Of course they would, Joe. My man Bono's not about the bucks, but the people.
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