Here is an editorial via Dave from the News-Record of North Carolina on the proposed Berman/Coble “hacking” bill (See here for text of bill). Interesting quote that the bill:

“would give record companies and other entertainment industries the right to invade our personal computers, based merely on the suspicion that we might have illegally downloaded copyrighted material.

That would be tantamount to allowing Sears or Kmart to invade your home if they believe you have shoplifted merchandise from one of their stores. And if they should accidentally bang a door or shatter a window in the process, well, no harm, no foul.”

When you come to think of it, retailers have extraordinary rights to search and physically detain customers they suspect of shoplifting (not in our homes but perhaps in our bags and pockets – I mean search, not detain).  Retailers also have interesting exposure under tort law for false arrest and other horribles when they detain the wrong person for the wrong reasons. But an analysis of existing law on a proprietor’s right of self-help (and the exposure in exercising that right of self-help) is the right way to proceed in shedding light on this bill.