The Department of Justice is mighty proud of itself today, after announcing that it's met or exceeded many of the objectives set out for it by an "intellectual property task force" from 2004. It's not clear from the article who exactly made up the task force, but it certainly sounds like it was industry insiders who were more focused on protecting a business model than those actually concerned about real intellectual property issues. Among the accomplishments by the DOJ since then includes placing special intellectual property prosecutors around the globe to help shut down certain websites, even if they're perfectly legal in their home countries. Then there's this odd accomplishment: "Increasing the number of defendants prosecuted for intellectual property offenses by 98 percent between the government's fiscal 2004 and 2005 years." That's quite a strange benchmark from a task force, and suggests a "when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail" approach -- where increasing prosecution, without any look at other factors is considered a laudable goal. It certainly shows that the task force's report wasn't looking at how digital goods were changing business models, but about how to protect increasingly obsolete business models by sending their law enforcement lackeys after people. Of course, given these types of moves, it's no surprise to see openly dishonest groups like the BSA talk about how the DOJ has made significant progress (which is laughable in its own right). Still, it's unclear why private industries get to use the Justice Department as their own private police force to fight their battles against a changing marketplace.
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