Homeland Security Works For Disney Now? Announces Shut Down Of Movie Sites At Disney

from the civil-vs.-criminal? dept

Well, here we go. Remember how, a few months back, we noted how odd it was that the Justice Department (which, of course, employs many former RIAA/MPAA/BSA lawyers) was designating a special task force to fight copyright infringement? After all, copyright infringement is mostly a civil issue, between two private parties. For years, however, the entertainment industry has been working hard to convince the government to act as its own private police force, and following a totally one-sided "summit" with Joe Biden (who recently claimed that infringement is no different than doing a smash and grab at Tiffany's), suddenly the feds had a special IP task force... at the same time that it was downgrading the priority of crimes that cause actual harm, such as identity fraud.

Now, it looks like law enforcement isn't even trying to hide the fact that they're taking orders from Hollywood. Dark Helmet points us to the news that Homeland Security proudly announced raids on nine different movie sites, which they accuse of infringing on copyrights. But what's most interesting is where the announcements about these raids happened: at Disney. And who else was there on stage? Execs from other studios. Yup, Homeland Security isn't even trying to make the slightest effort to hide the fact that it now works for corporate interests. It will announce legal activity from the companies, which stand to benefit the most from such activity.

Imagine if the FTC announced plans to charge Google with antitrust from Microsoft's offices? With execs from Yahoo and Apple on stage. Wouldn't people cry foul?

Not only that, but the guy in charge of the raids blatantly admits that it's now a homeland security priority to protect movie studio interests:
The head of ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], John Morton, says that the number of illegal movie sites is dramatically rising both in the U.S. and abroad, and organized crime is behind some of them. ICE is putting movie piracy front and center in this new initiative, by making its first actions to protect the movie studios' intellectual property.
What does customs have to do with a domestic dispute over civil copyright infringement? And why are Homeland Security officials so closely involved with a few Hollywood Studios that they're not just protecting their business models, but also announcing these efforts from the studios' own offices?

I don't know anything about these sites that were shut down. I've never heard of any of them, but they're nine out of hundreds, if not thousands. It won't do anything to actually help Disney or these other studios. Users will quickly shift elsewhere. The content will still get released just as quickly.

The claims that these sites were run by "organized crime" could very well be true, but I'd like to see some actual evidence on that. It's a common refrain from the industry, but no actual proof has been presented. At best they've shown that some DVD counterfeiting operations have some mob ties, but that's not the same thing. Note that in the announcement no actual evidence of organized crime links were provided.

In a separate article, US Attorney Preet Bharara is quoted as saying that the government took these actions because "copyright infringement translates into lost jobs." Never mind the fact that the GAO just pointed out that such claims are highly questionable (especially the ones from the MPAA -- who won't provide their methodology), this raises a really serious question about government interference into private markets. The government's role is not to protect industries from losing jobs. It never has been. Otherwise it would have "raided" car companies for making horse buggies obsolete. Using that as justification has no legal basis whatsoever, and is really a very disturbing claim.

The whole thing appears to be a gross misuse of government resources to protect a few movie studios, which are unwilling to adapt to a changing market place. People should be outraged over such a misuse of government powers, but because these are "pirate" sites, everyone will look the other way.


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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Let's not gloss over the fact that the DoHS also proudly announced that part of this operation involved raiding residential buildings. The blackshirts have come to america...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:10pm

      Re:

      Hey, at least the republicans (supreme court) got the gun control ruling correct. The government simply doesn't have the resources to raid everyone's houses unless they want another civil war. History doesn't look good for tyrants and neither does the future.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re:

        (and I'm not suggesting violent resistance or revolution, I'm simply pointing out the inevitable. People will defend their rights).

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          not encouraging *

           

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            Hephaestus (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "not encouraging"

            Its actually very encouraging. Being a monopoly they dont know a thing about business, or fighting a battle. All they know is dictating terms to other. Sun Tzu's art of war ( another copy) is a great book it teaches you to not fight on multiple fronts, to not engage multiple enemies, to determine if you can win before fighting, to divide your enemys forces. This quote came to mind today, with the desperation of action coming from the IP types is "On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight."

            Everything coming out about ACTA in the past month has seemed to be of failing alliances, of knowing they are about to be hemmed-in by people out side the negotiations.

            JMHO ... David

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        The government simply doesn't have the resources to raid everyone's houses...

        They don't have to. Just a few will make the point well enough to terrorize the rest of the sheeple into compliance.

        History doesn't look good for tyrants and neither does the future.

        The tyrants have never had the power they do now.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 6:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "They don't have to. Just a few will make the point well enough to terrorize the rest of the sheeple into compliance."

          That never worked in the past. ie: prohibition, the drug war.

          "The tyrants have never had the power they do now."

          Yes, look how successful the war on terrorism is. For every member of Al Quida that dies how many U.S. soldiers die? Give me a break, what power? Non tyrants outnumber tyrants and as such tyrants will likely lose.

          How is the government going to recruit enough law enforcement personnel to enforce these laws when most people do not care about these laws? Hiring more police officers will not result in more police officers that care to enforce these laws. and in order to pay police officers for each infringement they catch the amount they would have to pay each officer to hire and convince enough officers to catch any meaningful number of infringers is going to cost a whole lot more than what any of these tyrants make and it still won't work. Police officers make up a very small fraction of the population, they can only do so much per unit time and their labor hours also gets channeled towards other enforcement activities. They would literally have to hire a significant proportion of the population to monitor the rest of the population and give each police officer sufficient incentive to enforce these laws. Good luck.


          The fact is that most law enforcement personnel (ie: cops) do not care about piracy, and that's not changing, and so the only people who care to enforce these laws are a very very small minority of law enforcement personnel and they make up an even smaller fraction of the population.

          and if there is a civil war that means that there is little to no economy doing meaningful labor to produce goods and services to pay back soldiers with and many citizens would refuse to join the military on principle alone being that they don't believe in a tyrant state. A draft? How well will that work when most of the people you draft into the military are against you? Look at how successful Vietnam war was. It's not that easy, tyrant states often have conflicts within their very own military personnel being that those members often don't agree with each other. A military split could occur and that would be a disaster. You have to look at war from an economics perspective just as well.

          These laws are doomed to fail.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The fact is that if these sites are shut down people will organize and create new and innovative ways to administer and get away with piracy, that's not changing (even if it's via sneakernet, trust me, sneakernet gets around), and the only reason we don't organize such methods right now is because there is no need. Most people don't care about anti piracy laws so who's going to report anyone? Heck, the people doing the reporting probably pirate stuff too and they don't want to be reported.

            You're going to offer a reward? In order give enough people enough incentive to report a meaningful number infringers the incentive will be economically infeasible. and those who deliver infringing material will create gangs if they have to, with their own rules, that seek to discover and punish anyone that reports anyone else, making the costs of reporting others high (ie: reporters would have to move or hide out).

            It could also open the door for all kinds of scams, I'll report you and split the money evenly with you afterwords.

            Rewarding citizens for reporting other citizens isn't going to work, it won't even come close to working.

            How are they going to enforce these laws? I'm sorry, I just don't see this happening. Some software suits cost $200, some even cost way more (thousands of dollars), there is HUGE incentive to make money off of that, by selling pirated software well below the legal price, when compared to drugs yet the war on drugs is a failure. The war on piracy will be equally as much, if not worse, a failure. Explain, how are they going to enforce this. I want to know the dynamics, be specific. How?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              and remember, those who pirate $2000 software packages and sell them for much cheaper also benefit from economies of scale, they will also have every $5 song imaginable in their piracy arsenal and they will have software and music and movies and content of all prices.

               

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                Hephaestus (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:38pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                With the internet there is no profit in piracy. You can find any software or movie or piece of music you want online. That reduces the profits for organized crime to zero.

                Selling software to businesses wont work, the software is serialized with databases of used and unused serial numbers.

                The only content that actually makes money is movies and music, the stuff street corner vendors do themselves now because the technology has gotten so cheap.

                You can go online to freecycle and get a free PC, or garage sale, or a swap meet, and pick up a 2-5 year old PC with DVD burner and monitor for less than 50 bucks now. Throw in the cost off 100 Blank DVD's and used printer you are under $150 USD.

                Content and software are pretty much zero profit for organized crime and terrorists.

                 

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                  Richard (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 2:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Content and software are pretty much zero profit for organized crime and terrorists.

                  and the only thing that would change that would be if the rights holders had a bit of success in their enforcement strategy.

                  So anti-piracy actions would (if successful - a very big if) benefit organised crime.

                   

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                    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:16am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "So anti-piracy actions would (if successful - a very big if) benefit organised crime."

                    Isnt that a Kick in the pants. Its not us thats supporting terrorism and organized crime, its the Labels and Movie Studios. :)

                     

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                  Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 2:52am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I believe the main thing that could really work is street hawking.

                  In the end, it's a similar practice to street scalping and the need to arrest citizens for just trying to make it through the day.

                   

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 10:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "That never worked in the past. ie: prohibition, the drug war."

            Let me also add the war on illegal firearms and the war on illegal weapons in general. Another failed war.

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    Piracy is somehow a threat to national security!!!!

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:03pm

    Was Captain Jack Sparrow on hand at this particular press conference?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:10pm

    Sigh

    Why doesn't anyone see that the fault lies on the government for granting the monopoly of copyright?

    If there wasn't a copyright law then businesses wouldn't have been incentivized to rely on such a bad business model in the first place.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    I fail to see how raids on piracy as well as using the government to disrupt their people's lives is really going to help Disney...

     

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      Jay (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

      Just to add...

      tvshack.net is still up...

      nowmovies is down...

      thepiratecity.org is down...

      thisninja.net was completely removed. (Maybe made up...)

      Basically I don't see how this was effective when out of some of these, I know of at least a few extra alternatives to watch movies if I want to.

      It's just more fear mongering along with added enforcement from boys on high to make it seem as if something is being done to combat infringement.

      As it stands, I had thought the 1930s had already happened once. Seems we need a refresher in it.

       

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        Blatant Coward (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

        Re: Just to add...

        Well that war on drugs thing is going sooooo well. No one dies in foreign countries due to funds from illegal american sales.

        Honest injun!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:25am

          Re: Re: Just to add...

          The war on drugs is going fantastically well. How much money is spent on waging this war? Where is that money going?

          A lot of people have become very rich fighting that war.

           

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      pixelpusher220 (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 5:51am

      Re: PORN!

      I can't wait for Vivid and other porn studios to start asking for the gov't to help them out in similar ways.

      Will be downright entertaining watching the DoJ explain why *those* companies don't deserve protection.

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: PORN!

        I was thinking the same thing. Who else has copyrights and the erotic movie industry came to mind. I was thinking it might be fun to forward a link to the news report on the raids to Vivid, Playboy, Penthouse, and of course the biggest trouble maker of them all Husters Larry Flynt.

        With something along the lines of ...

        Recently the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department of Homeland Security raided and took down several pirate movie sites. I see this as a trend that is going to continue. A trend that will continue without you, with none your Intellectual Property rights being supported in any way. This will lead to the demise of your industry as the federal government supports the rights of the morally just, and ignores organizations such as yours that are leading to the moral downfall of our great nation.

        blah blah blah .... more religious righteous crap goes here ...

        Throw in a chart showing how it will only take 2-3 years for them to fail (to light a fire under their asses) if they dont force the federal government to support their IP rights.

        I wonder what they would do?

        Big Ole GRIN ... David

         

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    AdamR (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Hmm, what's the greater danger to National Security?

    Backpack full drugs or backpack full of pirated dvd's?

    Organized crime gangs and terrorists must jumping for joy and laughing at our government..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    "The government's role is not to protect industry's from losing jobs."

    No, we live in a socialist society where the government guarantees your job.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:41pm

      Corporate Welfare

      No, we live in a socialist society where the government guarantees your job.

      Only if you're a rich banker, CEO or some other top executive for some big corporation.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 6:57pm

        Re: Corporate Welfare

        It's an odd use of the term socialist to define an action that's much closer to classic merchantilism that any known variety of socialism. You know, Hudson Bay Company, East India Company and all the rest of them?

        Still, it's odd that, somehow, downloading a crappy video of a Disney movie can be equated with any form of national security.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      I'm about to lose my job. In your view of things, how can this be?

       

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    WTF?!! Seriously. WTF is going on here? How has no one in the mainstream media decided to make a big deal about this? What a blatent misuse of power. I'm more angry about this than anything I've heard in a long time.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

      Re:

      WTF?!! Seriously. WTF is going on here? How has no one in the mainstream media decided to make a big deal about this?

      Most of "the mainstream media" business models are copyright based. As such, they usually won't report negatively on any kind of "copyright enforcement" story. They're a really sorry lot who would support Satan himself if he was pro-copyright (which I imagine he probably is).

       

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      Brian (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:31pm

      Re:

      Well for starters real events such as this don't generate ratings. Now if you can add in something about some pop star getting drunk and running around naked, or having a baby, or something along those lines, then this story will spread like wildfire.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:42pm

        Re: Re:

        In order for the piracy war to really make a difference everyone would have to know someone who has been busted for piracy and fined a significant number otherwise everyone would think this doesn't apply to them and they probably won't get caught. and if a cousin of mine or a good friend of mine got busted for piracy I and almost everyone that person is related to and good friends with will be even more furious at these copy protection laws and if the government really started going after a significant portion of the population keeping the issue out of the news won't work and it will create huge public outrage, enough to at least have voting significance (not to mention all the protests that will form). If the government really wants to make this issue an issue they will only build more and more resistance.

         

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          Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 6:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          " I and almost everyone that person is related to and good friends with will be even more furious at these copy protection laws and if the government really started going after a significant portion of the population keeping the issue out of the news won't work and it will create huge public outrage, enough to at least have voting significance (not to mention all the protests that will form)."

          That is the big problem with this, with approx 50% of the population of the US infringing. They can't go after everyone thats infringing. They only thing they can do is use it to educate people by making examples (creating fear).

          They haven't learned from their own history, fear, intimidation, and attempts to educate people out of doing what they do naturally doesnt work. The prime example is the lawsuits filed by RIAA. They did nothing but create a ton of negative publicity and new software for infringement.

          This is a big Tax supported publicity campaign that is not going to work, and more likely going to cause an acceleration of their financial failures.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    Our founders said it all. Along time ago....

    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles Austin Beard

    The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. - Thomas Jefferson

    A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. - James Madison

    But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. - John Adams

    History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly - Benjamin Franklin

    If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. - Alexander Hamilton

    Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. - George Washington

    Four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soapbox, ballot box, jury box, ammo box - use in that order.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:47pm

    its only a matter of time before they push too far and enough people toes are stepped on...

     

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    Karl (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    What does customs have to do with a domestic dispute over civil copyright infringement?

    Unfortunately, this is no longer "civil copyright infringement." Since passing the ART Act, camcording movies is now a criminal act (three years in jail for first-time offenders, plus penalties for criminal copyright infringement).

    I have no idea why customs was involved, though. I'm guessing the movies they "pirated" were recorded overseas?

    One interesting point: at least one of those sites (filespump.com) does not itself offer anything to download. All content is uploaded to third-party file lockers (e.g. uploading.com) by users; the site itself is just a search engine.

    ...Also, not to be a grammar Nazi, but you should really watch your "its/it's" typos. Also, it's "industries," not "industry's." Sorry to be an ass, but this stuff bugs me.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:04pm

      Re:

      ...Also, not to be a grammar Nazi, but you should really watch your "its/it's" typos. Also, it's "industries," not "industry's." Sorry to be an ass, but this stuff bugs me.

      I try to watch 'em, but miss 'em some times. As does my editor. Thankfully, we've got everyone here to act as secondary editors. Sorry... fixed.

       

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    R. Miles (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Great.

    I see a new trademark coming soon for HSA: Mickey Mouse handcuffing what looks like Goofy.

    Sadly, none of this matters until Glenn Beck says so.

    Geez, is there anywhere on this planet that's not corrupted, greedy, or ignorant?

    Anyone a ticket to the moon?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:57pm

    I believe these actions are associated solely with criminal infringement of copyright, and are not associated with civil infringement of copyright.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:05pm

      Re:

      I believe these actions are associated solely with criminal infringement of copyright, and are not associated with civil infringement of copyright.

      Point is the distinction is effectively meaningless. This is a civil issue.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 4:57pm

    I don't see why the Department of Homeland Security doesn't get involved in this oil spill issue as well. After all, isn't that a bigger threat to national security? We're being invaded by oil, it's costing jobs and ruining the economy. The Department of Homeland Security should better focus its efforts there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    Point is the distinction is effectively meaningless. This is a civil issue.

    I am not sure what you mean by this being a civil issue. Some form of criminal sanctions have been embodied in US law since the Copyright Act was amended in 1897.

     

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      Blatant Coward (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:46pm

      Re:

      Here's some distinctions I'd like to see made.

      So how many illegal immigrants were being brought in by website?

      How many American dollars were leaving the country for America due to the websites on American soil?

      Who got paid to make Elliot Ness the triggerman for the MPAA? At least when Clinton took bribes from the Chinese we were getting indirect trade tariff relief from china.

       

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    Fentex, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    Those actions are the very definition of Fascism.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    So this means the Mickey logo will appear on the north face of the homeland security building any day now?

     

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    Brian (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:29pm

    Said it before

    A quote that I believe applies very well to this and almost all copyright situations.

    "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to the public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

     

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    Ellen, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:00pm

    Piracy not just about big studios

    Online movie piracy hurts more than just the big Hollywood Studios. There are plenty of indie films who have no theatrical release who are getting slammed by online piracy. VOD/DVD is the only way for these filmmakers to earn money. They are part of small business in America, why not protect them?

    Piracy advocates say content creators (filmmakers, musicians, authors) need to think of new ways to distribute and earn income off their work. Funny thing is, when it comes to specifics, they have no answers.

    Tell all the folks who work as grips, PAs, caterers, etc that movie piracy is ok. Look behind the curtain and you will see that it damages everyone, not just the fat cats in the studio offices.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:44pm

      Re: Piracy not just about big studios

      It no more damages anyone than me opening up an ice cream shop next to yours and competing you out of business. It may "damage" you but such a damage is not a wrongful damage. No one owes you a monopoly on anything, piracy doesn't damage anyone anymore than me not giving money to some random person on the street who asks me for money. I can be nice and give that person money or I can refuse, but refusing doesn't wrongfully damage anyone because they aren't owed that money to begin with. and piracy is the same exact thing, pirating a song doesn't wrongfully damage anyone.

       

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      Jay (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 9:48pm

      Re: Piracy not just about big studios

      I really believe you need to talk to Nina Paley who IS making money as an independent.

      Furthermore, there are case studies of indies who may give up one movie but are getting recognition. With that recognition comes more interest in the next movie, that will usually generate more revenue.

      You say that VOD/DVD is the only way to make money. The thing is... It's not. You're taking the short sighted view of believing that the forest is the two trees in front of you.

      The question that the indies should be asking is this: How can I get my voice out? How can I be heard over the AAA title that's supposed to be coming out? How can I utilize the technology in this day and age to reach a new audience?

      What is inhibiting this voice? How can I avoid the mistakes that they have done?

      Bittorrent is a great tool. Kazaa, Limewire, Grokster, are again, tools. Just like PDFCreator and C++ are tools.

      It is up to the individual artist to use those tools to create. If Pioneer One can come out exclusively for Bittorrent and look very nice in the process then perhaps we should stop looking for a scape goat.

      It's time for the content creators to (Zombieland reference) "Nut up, or shut up"

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 11:24pm

      Re: Piracy not just about big studios

      Online movie piracy hurts more than just the big Hollywood Studios. There are plenty of indie films who have no theatrical release who are getting slammed by online piracy. VOD/DVD is the only way for these filmmakers to earn money. They are part of small business in America, why not protect them?

      It only hurts them if they don't adapt. VOD/DVD is *not* the only way. It's only the only way if you don't bother investigating many other options.

      And the reason not to "protect" them is because protectionism harms the economy and hinders innovation. Smart indie filmmakers have figured out how to do quite well while embracing file sharing. Why ignore them?

      Piracy advocates say content creators (filmmakers, musicians, authors) need to think of new ways to distribute and earn income off their work. Funny thing is, when it comes to specifics, they have no answers.

      We've discussed lots of specifics and pointed to examples of filmmakers making quite a bit of money while embracing piracy -- both in and outside the major studio system.

      Tell all the folks who work as grips, PAs, caterers, etc that movie piracy is ok. Look behind the curtain and you will see that it damages everyone, not just the fat cats in the studio offices.

      It's not file sharing that's the problem, but the failure of movie makers to adapt.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re: Piracy not just about big studios

        Just an observation. It seems that the terms "file sharing" and "piracy" are most often used interchangeably. One can be interpreted to embrace lawful activies, whereas the other is associated with unlawful activities.

         

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      AdamR (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:01am

      Re: Piracy not just about big studios

      "Online movie piracy hurts more than just the big Hollywood Studios. There are plenty of indie films who have no theatrical release who are getting slammed by online piracy. VOD/DVD is the only way for these filmmakers to earn money. They are part of small business in America, why not protect them?"

      What don't you blame or ask the big media companies and theater chains, they have a complete monopoly. They seem not to care about quality or expression, they always care about the short term.


      "Piracy advocates say content creators (filmmakers, musicians, authors) need to think of new ways to distribute and earn income off their work. Funny thing is, when it comes to specifics, they have no answers."

      Neither do you, and at least these so called "Piracy advocates" are trying and looking for new ways of generating income and most of all interest in their mediums.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re: Piracy not just about big studios

        "What don't you blame or ask the big media companies and theater chains, they have a complete monopoly. "

        Exactly, the government grants monopoly power over public airwaves and cableco infrastructure and those who control these monopolies almost only play content owned by a very small hand full of entities (ie: the RIAA and MPAA). It' simply not fair to independents and the rest of the world and that's the true reason why it's harder for them to succeed or get the necessary recognition to succeed.

        Not to mention the fact that it's harder for them to get their music played in restaurants because then some third party parasite will sue the restaurant for no good reason and most small restaurants don't want to have to pay these unnecessary third parties additional fees or have to spend the money necessary to fight lawsuits. The monopolists, and their lobbying efforts, are what costs independents their jobs and ruin the economy for everyone else.

         

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      Richard (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 4:13am

      Re: Piracy not just about big studios

      Online movie piracy hurts more than just the big Hollywood Studios. There are plenty of indie films who have no theatrical release who are getting slammed by online piracy.

      This is an illusion. Without piracy these films would probably have made even less money.

      What has happened is that the filmmakers have noticed that free copies of their films are being passed around and said to themselves "if I had been paid for all of those I would have made some money". However the truth is that if payment had been enforced the main effect would have been to discourage the distribution.

       

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    AdamR (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 12:36am

    "Tell all the folks who work as grips, PAs, caterers, etc that movie piracy is ok. Look behind the curtain and you will see that it damages everyone, not just the fat cats in the studio offices."

    I will tell them, just let me know which ones. The ones in Hollywood who lost jobs to NYC because of better tax savings for studios or the ones in North Carolina that took away jobs from NYC because of no union headaches and tax savings? I think you must mean the ones in Vancouver that has taken a whole bunch work for all the above?(Dam Canadians!)

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 12:37am

    more proof your country is doomed

    i just have to laugh and you htink this will increase the case to allow foreign investment into canada your utterly insane.

    People in canada will not tolerate such abuses of freedom.
    NOR will other countries and its why your ACTA treaty is now doomed.

     

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      AdamR (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 12:46am

      Re: more proof your country is doomed

      I believe ACTA will pass but it what form I don't know. Money and pressure talk. It's going to be the courts that will dismantle ACTA ultimately, none are going to happy that some foreign treaty is going to tell them how and what they have to do.

       

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re: more proof your country is doomed

        "I believe ACTA will pass but it what form I don't know. Money and pressure talk. It's going to be the courts that will dismantle ACTA ultimately"

        ACTA fails in the EU as internet access is a right, and three strikes violates it.

        In the US due process will break three strikes and the monitoring part of it.

        Wiretap laws in the US will also break part of ACTA.

        In the US there are 3 or 4 clauses of amendments of the constitution that are violated by ACTA.

        In EU they recently had a legal judgement that says putting a "You are a theif tax" on DVDs and recordable media is illegal or against EU??? laws.

        In the EU there is case addressing monitoring people online working its way through the courts. This one is predicted to make it illegal in the EU to monitor what people are doing online.

        yes the courts will dismantle ACTA in the end. Its going to be a fun ride.

         

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      Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 2:49am

      Re: more proof your country is doomed

      Have you heard of James Moore?

      Have you also heard of C-32? My suggestion is the make sure that does not pass or else you will be US Jr.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 9:52am

      Re: more proof your country is doomed

      "i just have to laugh and you htink this will increase the case to allow foreign investment into canada your utterly insane."

      There's this certain illusion with respect to CanCon that says that all the entertainment industry stuff somehow ends up on TV and radio and suchlike.

      Of course, that's false and always has been. Just tell that to the movie crews and television crews crawling all over the Lower Mainland of British Columbia most of whom are funded by Americans or the Brits. So the investment is already there.

      Recording studios litter places like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and are open to all regardless of CanCon. In fact, if they relied on Canadians they'd go bust, in all likelihood.

      As for ACTA itself, someone below mentions that it violates some provisions of the US Constitution and will likely be shot full of holes in the courts.

      I'd also say that it violates sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution, the BNA Act, precidence and even Magna Carta, come to that.

      ACTA may survive a minority Commons and may get through the Senate in some form or other but I certainly can't see it surviving in present form in the courts.

      Of course, if Harper wants to make it a matter of confidence then let's go! We need a winter election to break up the doldrums anyway and it's a nice stimulus measure. ;-)

      Happy Canada Day, all!

       

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 4:49am

    Joseph Goebbels lives on at DHS

    Yes, indeed, the Big Lie concept is alive and well there, and has been since their inception, as it is at all levels of government. Their lies will continue to get bigger and more ridiculous, because of their deep belief that most people will believe them because they think that nobody could possibly make up such a huge lie and expect to be believed, so it must be true. "It's for the children". "It's against terrorists". "This will save jobs". "It's those Mexicans". "It'll give you a 36 hour erection". Ooops! Same thing, really.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 7:24am

    more than anything, it is funny as hell to watch you guys all get your panties in a knot, and gloss over the minor fact that they stopped what is obviously illegal distribution of copyright material. not only distribution, but they were also in some of the cases charging a membership fee to have access.

    you guys are victims of mtv or something, because you are too concerned about a given image than the underlying issues.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 8:58am

    "GAO just pointed out that such claims are highly questionable"

    Tom Sydnor provides a quite thought provoking comment on this subject. See: PFF blog

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      Tom Sydnor provides a quite thought provoking comment on this subject. See: PFF blog

      Anyone who suggest Tom Sydnor's work is "thought provoking" is smoking something illegal.

      His response on the GAO thing was particularly hilarious, in that it basically amounted to "but... but... but... the GAO wasn't actually supposed to look at these numbers! The report was supposed to be about something else!" It was the mental equivalent of "how dare they look behind the curtain!"

      You do realize that Sydnor is basically the laughing stock of DC copyright policy circles, right? I've never seen so many eyes roll as the times I've seen him open his mouth at policy events.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re:

        Shooting a messenger (Sydnor) without (or so I am assuming) reading the message is not good form.

        Mr. Sydnor does provide a thought provoking message by taking the argument and applying it in another context to point out some of the holes in the original logic.

        Yes, he does lob some volleys at techdirt, but such gratuitous lobs are not relevant to the point he is making.

        And, no, I am not smoking something illegal (at least until the anti-smoking "mafia" succeeds in having a ban placed on smoking a cigar in a private residence).

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 1:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Shooting a messenger (Sydnor) without (or so I am assuming) reading the message is not good form.

          Oh I read it. It made me laugh. You did notice that I gave a critique of the actual content which was pretty laughable. The thing is, since Sydnor's ridiculous attack on Lessig, where he blatantly took nearly every quote out of context, he's lost pretty much all credibility, even among those who are ideologically aligned with him.

          It's reached the point where everyone knows you can't take him seriously, and that's not shooting the messenger. It's providing important context.

          Mr. Sydnor does provide a thought provoking message by taking the argument and applying it in another context to point out some of the holes in the original logic.

          We have a very different view of what counts as logic and what counts as blatant distortions. But, that does not come as a surprise give our previous discussions.

           

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    AnonCow, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 10:10am

    ICE has plenty of free time on their hands since they solved the illegal drug import and border security issues...

     

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    vastrightwing, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Fine line between crime and enforcement

    Have you ever stopped to think about the synergy between criminals and law enforcement? I have. Over the years the idea just popped into my little head that there is a vast synergy between people who commit crimes and the people enforcing laws. On one hand, we ask for law enforcement to protect us from bad elements of society. This works for a while and then a strange thing happens: the people enforcing the laws become attached to the very elements it's supposed to be controlling. My explanation is that the enforcement agencies become dependent on crime increasing, rather than decreasing. After all, this is how they derive their money and power. If crime decreased due to enforcement activities, then what would happen to the enforcement workers? What would happen to the budgets and the overtime? Just like the RIAA and the music industry, this "industry" wants to expand and grow. But this is not what we want, it's just what we get. In this case, what we clearly have is the opposite approach: let's create more crimes people can commit. BINGO! So instead of working with criminals and simply controlling them, we expand the idea of crime to include more people. Profit.

     

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    jjmsan (profile), Jul 1st, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Government Business

    If it is the business of government to preserve American jobs, why aren't they raiding Walmart. Its full of made in China knockoffs of American clothes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2010 @ 2:25pm

     

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      Karl (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      I am at work, so I can't download files (including PDF's). However, I did read the related PFF blog post, here:
      http://blog.pff.org/archives/2010/06/why_copyright-industry_cost-of-piracy_analyses_are.html

      It does raise some interesting points, but even I could debunk them, and I'm not a lawyer. But the basic premise of the whole article is just wrong.

      The main thrust of his argument is the fact that the GAO was asked "conduct a study to determine how the federal government could better protect manufacturers by quantification of the impacts of... counterfeit goods on... the overall economy of the United States." (Emphasis mine.)

      He then claims this means the "GAO was never asked to report on whether we can precisely quantify the 'net economic effects' of counterfeiting."

      Say what?

      By the time he described the EFF, Public Knowledge, and the CEA as "the usual defenders of deliberate, for-profit piracy," it was already obvious that he is a rabid lapdog for content creators, a foaming mouthpiece for copyright expansion.

      Mike's description of Snydor as a "laughing stock" seems appropriate.

       

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        Jay (profile), Jul 4th, 2010 @ 7:40am

        Holy crap...

        It's not even his head being in the sand...

        It's like somehow he put himself six feet under to ignore everything the GAO reported because it would throw away all of his beliefs.

        I couldn't even get past the bolded text it read so badly of rhetoric!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    pirated movies

    i thought the involvement of homeland security was crazy talk, too, until i started checking into it. i sell dvds legally, but i unknowingly bought a boatload of disney dvds that looked totally authentic. the origin of them is still unknown, but i believe it is tied to a large organized crime group that uses the profits to fund child pornography, terrorism,etc. the movies themselves don't hurt anyone, but the profits from them go to nasty sh**.

     

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    Neetish, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    Did you know?

    Some daytime lunches are consumed by people involved in organized crime. Let's ban all lunches!

     

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