Hollywood's Strategy For The Future: Pretending The Government Can Save Them

from the yah,-ok dept

We were reasonably troubled, earlier this year, when the ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] division of Homeland Security started acting as Hollywood's private police force -- not just seizing the domains of a bunch of sites it accused of being "pirate sites," but announcing this at Disney's headquarters. It's difficult to understand why the US government -- and Homeland Security specifically -- is helping protect a single industry's obsolete business model. It's even more troubling when it's doing so in such close association with that industry, and proudly noting that it's now a priority of Homeland Security to protect Hollywood's obsolete business model. Imagine if the FTC announced antitrust actions against Google from, say, AT&T's headquarters. People would call that into question, as there's a clear conflict of interest. Yet, somehow, Homeland Security and ICE get a free pass on this.

A few weeks back, I went to Hollywood to appear on a panel for the Filmmaker Forum event, all about "piracy." You can see a short clip of the panel here. One of the panelists was Kevin Suh, who has the title "VP of Content Protection" at the MPAA. Of course, just the fact that the MPAA has a position that involves "content protection" suggests that there's a pretty big problem with how the MPAA views where the market is heading (hint: protectionism is not going to get you very far). Kevin was extremely nice -- and we had quite a pleasant conversation prior to the panel. But, at one point, he made some assertions (not in the video) that seemed odd to me. First, he went on and on about how much money these new "digital locker" sites make, and then in the very next sentence said that Hollywood couldn't offer a competing service because it would make no money.

At one point, I challenged him on the idea that taking down these sites was effective, and he insisted that the sites that were taken down had stayed down, and no others had stepped up to take their place. While I don't follow these sites all that closely, I'd already seen that this wasn't true, as lots of our users like to send in tips about new sites popping up (or where those "downed" sites reappeared). And, in fact, the press is noting that at least one of the sites taken down went right back up days later.

But what's really troubling about the article that has that info, is that it focuses in on how the US government has pledged to continue to be Hollywood's copyright cops, based on questionable legal authority (this, by the way, is one reason why the government is so keen to pass COICA, which would give the feds some authority that they're lacking here). But the simple fact is that this is a huge waste of taxpayer money, trying to stop the unstoppable and protect the unprotectable. There are all sorts of great opportunities for better, smarter business models for the industry, and yet rather than explore those, we have VPs of protectionism, running to the government and getting them to run crazy, legally dubious domain name seizures that do little, if anything to help.

About the only good thing that I can think of is that more and more filmmakers are realizing this. Following the panel, I was (quite pleasantly) surprised by just how many filmmakers spoke to me about how ridiculous the MPAA's position on all of this is, and saying that it's time for the industry to actually compete. Unfortunately, the industry hasn't had to compete in so long, thanks in part to lobbying efforts by the MPAA, that the legacy players don't seem to know how to do so. That's why it's going to be the up and coming filmmakers that figure it out.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    Hmm... Could it be less difficult than you make it out?

    "It's difficult to understand why the US government -- and Homeland Security specifically -- is helping protect a single industry's obsolete business model."

    Merger of gov't and corporations openly displayed, yet you refuse to believe it. Must be a correlation with how much one indulges in fantasy: "willing suspension of disbelief" for watching a movie with "willing suspension of *belief*" for anything in reality. I'll work on it.

     

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    Ima Fish (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:33am

    When your entire business model is merely milking rents from your government granted monopoly, it's quite easy to depend on the government to enforce your model.

    It'd be great to live in a world where all IP litigation was civil. The government would grant the monopoly but leave it up to the rent collectors to enforce. (Why should the government both grant and pay to protect the monopoly?! If the middlemen do not feel its worth protecting themselves, why should the government bother?)

    But the copyright middlemen in the US give too much money to too many political campaigns to be ignored by the legislative and executive branches. Thus, they get what they want. If Disney wants an armed police forced to protect the collection of their rents, they'll get an armed police force. I'm imagining a future where Disney and Viacom combine and demand a nuclear deterrent. They'll get it.

    Our coming war with China will not be based on economics or politics, but on the RIAA and the MPAA's attempt to eliminate piracy in Asia. Hong Kong will probably become a nuclear wasteland.

     

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      Jay (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      "
      It'd be great to live in a world where all IP litigation was civil. The government would grant the monopoly but leave it up to the rent collectors to enforce. (Why should the government both grant and pay to protect the monopoly?! If the middlemen do not feel its worth protecting themselves, why should the government bother?)"

      Then we'd have more Performance Rights enforcers like ASCAP.

      Best method is probably to take out the copyright. That should be a movement.

       

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        Ima Fish (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re:

        "Best method is probably to take out the copyright."

        Well, yeah. Of course. I completely agree.

        But I live in reality not in a dream world. Heck, even my modest and rational proposal, let middlemen protect their own rents, will never happen. Starting a movement to eliminate copyright stands about as much chance as starting a movement to make the earth rotate slower so we'd have more hours in a day.

         

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          Qritiqal (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What if we all ran east? (by all, I mean all 7 billion of us)

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Then the people who live with water on the west boundary of their countries would drown a little bit sooner than the rest of us?

             

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          Almost Anonymous (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          """...starting a movement to make the earth rotate slower so we'd have more hours in a day."""

          I fully support this initiative. Begin work at once.

           

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            ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The moon is already slowing us down...just need to bring the moon a little closer to the Earth and we'll slow down drastically due to tidal friction. It is why we have to add a second to our clocks every once in a while...but as the moon moves further out, tidal friction lessons and we slow down slower.

            When the Earth didn't have a moon, the planet spun around its axis at a dizzying 13 hours a day...but the moon slowed us down to the current 24 hours a day. The trick is to bring the moon closer, but not too close...it would kill everything if it got too close.

             

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    VoDo

    VoDo.net is one film company that's biting the bullet and competing in a free market - instead of one ineffectively 'protected' by copyright.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Follow the money!

    Why is this happening, very simple: Look at who some of the biggest campaign contributors are, those being Hollywood stars, moguls, etc. They want their "industry" protected, and they are paying big bucks to do so, hence the enforcement. Now through that in with the "breaking news" coverage of such stories as Celebrity A's latest arrests, the constant fascination with the daily lives of these people, hell even TIME nominating Lady ****ing Gaga as a finalist for Man of the Year and it's obvious, Hollywood is pulling some serious strings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    We were reasonably troubled, earlier this year, when the ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] division of Homeland Security started acting as Hollywood's private police force -- not just seizing the domains of a bunch of sites it accused of being "pirate sites," but announcing this at Disney's headquarters. It's difficult to understand why the US government -- and Homeland Security specifically -- is helping protect a single industry's obsolete business model. It's even more troubling when it's doing so in such close association with that industry, and proudly noting that it's now a priority of Homeland Security to protect Hollywood's obsolete business model. Imagine if the FTC announced antitrust actions against Google from, say, AT&T's headquarters. People would call that into question, as there's a clear conflict of interest. Yet, somehow, Homeland Security and ICE get a free pass on this.

    You've been whining about this one for a while, and I just don't get it. Your Google/AT&T analogy doesn't work since both of those companies are legit. When Homeland Security made their announcement from Disney, they were making their announcement from a legit company against pirates. Pirates are not a legitimate competitor. Your analogy is just stupid, Mike. You can pretend that you're not pro-piracy all you want, but anyone who reads posts like this one can see that you think pirates are legitimate competitors. Heck, in your mind they're so legit that when law enforcement decides to enforce the actual laws, which by the way aren't nearly as dubious as you think/want them to be, you think it's a "conflict of interest" and that they are getting a "free pass on this." You're not trying too hard to hide your friendly pro-piracy feelings, are you? I really hope they pass COICA just because I know how much it will burn your ass. It makes me grin just to think about it.

     

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      Ima Fish (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:05am

      Re:

      "Your Google/AT&T analogy doesn't work since both of those companies are legit"

      Every time someone suggests prior restraint on speech, it is argued that the law will only go after speech that should be illegal and it will never be used to hinder perfectly legal speech. My question, how can you tell the difference between legitimate and illegitimate websites?

      I'll be interested to hear your explanation as to how Google or an ISP is legitimate while a search site such as the Pirate Bay is not.

      Question for discussion, was Youtube illegitimate because it hosts infringing files? Is Youtube now legitimate solely because it's owned by Google?

      Continuing on the Youtube discussion. Youtube actually hosts infringing content. The Pirate Bay hosts nothing but is merely a search engine with links to torrents. Why is the Pirate Bay less legitimate than Youtube?

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:18am

        Re: Re:

        "Why is the Pirate Bay less legitimate than Youtube?"
        Because Google goes thru all the motions of attempting to remove 'illegitimate' content, while Pirate Bay goes like this:

        ......................//)
        ....................,/../
        .................../..../
        ....... ......//'...'/`
        ........../'/.../..../......./\
        ........('(.......... ~/'...')
        .........\.................'...../
        ..........''...\.......... _.
        ............\..............(
        ..............\.............\

        Even though the Pirate Bay is entirely in the right, in doing so defending their rights--it pisses off the idiots who are paid to defend the status quo.

         

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          Ima Fish (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "while Pirate Bay goes like this..."

          But the Pirate Bay is not hosting a single bit of infringing content. Exactly how is the Pirate Bay supposed to comply?

          Google has to bend over and capitulate because it is actually hosting the content, just as an ISP does when it hosts an infringer's website.

           

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        Realist, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Too bad you don't understand the law and prior restraint.

        Was Grokster a victim of prior restraint? Nope. And the Supreme Court agrees with me.

         

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      Planespotter (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      Is going after people sharing the latest Bruce Willis film or Madonna's latest album and proper use of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement team? Would the time and tax dollars not be better spent hunting down foreign nationals who have murdered people/raped children, traffic humans heading into slavery? You know the sort of thing that actually does make a difference!

       

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      Gwiz, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      I thought copyright infringement is a civil offense, not a criminal one - so why is law enforcemnt involved at all?

      If I wanted to claim copyright infringement against my neighbor I can't go to my local police station and have them arrested can I?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re:

        I thought copyright infringement is a civil offense, not a criminal one - so why is law enforcemnt involved at all?

        It's both. You should learn how to use Google. It's amazing what you can learn with a little effort.

        If I wanted to claim copyright infringement against my neighbor I can't go to my local police station and have them arrested can I?

        I don't know. Did your neighbor commit criminal copyright infringement? That's a federal crime. You might try calling the feds.

         

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          Gwiz, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's both.

          Ok, fair enough. Thanks for answering my question. I guess it has something to to with scale to be considered "commercial copyright infringement" or perhaps that's just semantics.

          You should learn how to use Google. It's amazing what you can learn with a little effort.

          And thanks again - this time for being such a condescending asswipe.

           

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      techflaws.org (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:10am

      Re:

      You can pretend that you're not pro-piracy all you want, but anyone who reads posts like this one can see that you think pirates are legitimate competitors.

      Bullshit. He says they are competitiors. Which is a fact no matter the content industry complains, they got to compete.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re:

        Bullshit. He says they are competitiors. Which is a fact no matter the content industry complains, they got to compete.

        LOL! Yeah, right. They are not legitimate competitors. To complain that law enforcement does not treat them like legitimate competitors is just ridiculous. Would you complain that law enforcement busts the guy who robs a warehouse and sells the goods out of the back of his van? He's just trying to compete, right? LOL! You guys are too freakin' funny!

         

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          Ed C., Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Conflating copyright and property right is what is ridiculous, and demonstrates how little you understand either of them.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Conflating copyright and property right is what is ridiculous, and demonstrates how little you understand either of them.

            Um, I know there are differences and similarities between the two. Don't insult me. I was focusing on the similarities. Perhaps you haven't heard, but the law recognize property rights in intellectual property.

             

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            Realist, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Trying to pretend we're talking about copyright and not the illegal taking of intellectual property is ridiculous.

            You're not fooling anybody.

             

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      Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      When Homeland Security made their announcement from Disney, they were making their announcement from a legit company against pirates.

      Such "pirates" being non-commercial offenders.

      For the sites that had Google caches I could view, they were mostly forums, where users (not site owners) posted links to infringing files.

      It's doubtful that the forum sites were guilty of infringement at all. It's doubly doubtful that they were guilty of criminal infringement. Even if guilty of "contributory infringement" (doubtful), they wouldn't be criminals - as there is no such thing as criminal contributory infringement.

      So, there is no reason for any federal law-enforcement agency to get involved.

      Also, one site that I could see was setting up crowdfunding for indie films. So, in this case, it would be entirely appropriate to call them "competitors."

      I really hope they pass COICA just because I know how much it will burn your ass.

      I don't, because they'll likely use it against "whistleblower" sites like Wikileaks. And sooner or later, you know they'll block YouTube.

      I prefer an America that is not following in the footsteps of, say, China or Pakistan. Especially not when the loss of free speech won't even do a damn thing about "piracy," and wouldn't help content providers make money even if it did.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      You've been whining about this one for a while, and I just don't get it. Your Google/AT&T analogy doesn't work since both of those companies are legit.

      I love how folks like yourself make these claims with the benefit of hindsight.

      When the VCR came out, it was not "legitimate." When radio came out, it was not "legitimate." When photocopiers came out, they were not "legitimate."

      Hell, when Hollywood first started producing movies, it was not "legitimate."

      According to you, they should all never have existed.

      "Legitimate" competition is decided in hindsight.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        I love how folks like yourself make these claims with the benefit of hindsight. When the VCR came out, it was not "legitimate." When radio came out, it was not "legitimate." When photocopiers came out, they were not "legitimate." Hell, when Hollywood first started producing movies, it was not "legitimate." According to you, they should all never have existed. "Legitimate" competition is decided in hindsight.

        Nope. Those technologies are inapposite to what we're discussing here, which is websites that are devoted to piracy. These websites are not technologies, they are people using existing technologies to intentionally violate the rights of others. They are not attempting to compete. These websites are as much "competitors" as the guy selling stolen goods out of the back of his van. Can you really not tell the difference between a competitor and a person who just takes what they want?

         

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          Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          These websites are not technologies, they are people using existing technologies to intentionally violate the rights of others.

          This is exactly what Hollywood, the VCR, radio, and photocopiers were (and, in some cases, still are).

          These websites are as much "competitors" as the guy selling stolen goods out of the back of his van.

          You keep making this analogy, and it's bogus. Infringing copies (even physical copies, like vinyl bootlegs) are not "stolen goods."

          Also, please point me to the last time the Department of Homeland Security went after guys selling stolen goods out of the back of their vans.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Um, VCRs, radios, and photocopiers are not people. That makes no sense. Mike's response to me was that the people using the internet for piracy are just like the invention of the VCR, radio, and photocopier. The technology at play here is the internet. The technology is not the problem. It is the people who are using the technology for the express purpose of breaking the law that are the problem. Mike's conflation of the people who use a technology with the technology itself misses the point.

            And by the way, Homeland Security actually does law enforcement work. Imagine that!

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Um, VCRs, radios, and photocopiers are not people.

              Forum websites are not people either.

              The technology at play here is the internet. The technology is not the problem.

              You really don't even understand this issue, do you? If you don't realize how the technology at play here is not "the internet" but certain websites on the internet, you really should avoid commenting.

              It is the people who are using the technology for the express purpose of breaking the law that are the problem. Mike's conflation of the people who use a technology with the technology itself misses the point.

              I have made no such conflation. However, you are making exactly that mistake. You are suggesting that people who set up a forum website that is used by others not to infringe, but to link to content that may be infringing are some how liable and worthy of censorship.

              That's downright scary and a total abuse of the First Amendment. That you would defend such things is disgusting.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

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

                I have made no such conflation. However, you are making exactly that mistake. You are suggesting that people who set up a forum website that is used by others not to infringe, but to link to content that may be infringing are some how liable and worthy of censorship.

                That's downright scary and a total abuse of the First Amendment. That you would defend such things is disgusting.


                You are just being downright silly here, Mike. You know exactly which types of websites they are going after. I know you desperately love piracy, so I'm not too surprised at how you'll twist things to make a point.

                My God, does Mike love his piracy or what? It's so freakin' funny how he denies it. LOL!

                 

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                  Gwiz, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

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

                  You know exactly which types of websites they are going after.

                  Let me fix that for you:
                  You know exactly which types of websites they are going after at this point in time.

                  That slope sounds pretty slippery to me.

                   

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

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

                  You know who else loves piracy? Hundreds of millions of people! And they're all wrong and should go to jail.

                   

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              Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Um, VCRs, radios, and photocopiers are not people.

              Yet when they came out, Hollywood (and other copyright-dependent industries) tried to make the technology illegal, because of "piracy."

              It is the people who are using the technology for the express purpose of breaking the law that are the problem.

              People like 20th Century Fox, who moved to Hollywood (in part) so they could be pirates.

              And by the way, Homeland Security actually does law enforcement work.

              Just not against people who sell stolen goods out of the back of their van.

              So, felony theft: not important. Non-commercial (and likely non-criminal) contributory infringement: Send in the SWAT team!

               

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        Realist, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Another stupid analogy from Masnick the piracy defender.

        No one is trying to outlaw the tech here, as you so lamely tried to suggest above.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Mike, I'm waiting for you to answer my question as to why you won't respect my privacy in your comments section. Are you such a coward that you won't even answer the question? I bet so. If you don't want to address the issue now, I can just keep on asking you. I know how much you love to be called out on things.

         

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          coldbrew, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: Who's is the weasel?

          Seriously, be quiet about "respecting your privacy." What are you so scared of exactly? I've read this entire thread and cannot see any personally identifying info. It is truly unbelievable you call Masnick a weasel, but insist on using "Anonymous Coward" as your generic handle. You can't even use a unique handle? Talk about weasel...

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

          Dear Anonymous Purple Pansy

          I named you that, because I respect your privacy.


          You are the fool. This is an innocent until proven guilty country. Do you deny this?

          So there are people who believe the sites are infringing. Okay. So these people want to challenge these websites' legality. Thats fine too.

          But why is it okay to just shut down websites? There isnt even a court hearing, or something similar.

          So why do you think its okay to simply decide right from wrong? Why do you think you deserve this right above the judicial system?

          In addition, why cant Mike challenge your anonimity? Just as you have the right to challenge him, he has the right to challenge you.

          You are labeled an Anonymous Coward for a reason...


          As to why Mike hasnt responded to you yet, dont get your panties in a bunch. He has a large and successful website to run, while you seem to have all the time in the world to push your useless propaganda.

          You cant come here and tell us WE are wrong. WE are a massive group of people, with important views on the way WE think the world should work. You need to respeect these views and approach the situation from an ADULT standpoint, rather than just firing off useless garb and claiming it proves your point.

          The opinions expressed here are expressed by everyone in my age group (16-24). I have studied people views, and I know this to be true. Within 20 years, these views will become reality. You can wimper away with your tail between your legs, because you are wrong.

           

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    RandomGuy (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    It's difficult to understand why the US government -- and Homeland Security specifically -- is helping protect a single industry's obsolete business model

    Control of the media is vital in a police state. This is why some of the more oppressive three letter agencies are interested in protecting it.

    Physical muscle is vital to enforce unfair laws. This is why the industry is so keen to involve the state law enforcement apparatus.

    As an illustration of the cozy arrangement the media and the government have in the "land of the free", compare the difference in coverage of the Wikileaks Iraq war docs leak between the New York Times and the rest of the world.

     

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    cc (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:21am

    Speaking of COICA, it's being looked at again this week...

    http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=4859

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    If copying is all it takes to hurt the MPAA, I can tell anyone right now, I will die copying everything I can put my hands on and I will never feel guilty about it ever!

     

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    The Mad Hatter (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Translation Issues

    Heh. The problem is that most people don't translate what the politicians and/or police are actually saying. Take Conor Lenihan, an Irish Politician, who has admitted that he is bought and paid for. He didn't say this directly, but when you parse what he did say, that is what he meant.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    "Hollywood's Strategy For The Future: Pretending The Government Can Save Them"

    How is that any different from their current or past strategy?

     

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    Freetard, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Yea, why is that business asking the government to enforce the law? What the hell? Did they pay them off or something? Why don't they just let me take their work for free and stop complaining?

    Copyright needs to go away. Every idea needs to be donated and everything needs to be made for free. Oh, and go make me a sandwich and bring it to me right now.

     

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      Gwiz, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      Yea, why is that business asking the government to enforce the law?

      A better question is why is that business asking the government to enforce a CIVIL law?

      If I want to sue my neighbor the government does not assist me other than providing a court to do so.

      PS: I made a digital copy of my sandwich for free that you can have. :)

       

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    Nina Paley (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Out of touch

    I watched the clip. My mind boggles at how out of touch the highly paid suits are.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:23am

      Re: Out of touch

      I watched the clip. My mind boggles at how out of touch the highly paid suits are.

      I imagine your mind boggles at all sorts of things.

       

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        Almost Anonymous (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re: Out of touch

        You are assuredly correct. For her and myself, include in that list of things: Idiotic commenters like yourself.

         

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    Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:06am

    COICA

    Folks, COICA is up for vote on Thursday and would give the Attorney General the power to take down websites exactly the way Homeland Security is doing here (by shutting down the domain), with only a judge's rubberstamp to make it official.

    I've posted the story to Slashdot (here), but it's being ignored. I've also submitted the story to Techdirt, but so far nothing.

    We need to start fighting this law now, before it gets passed.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:29am

      Re: COICA

      Folks, COICA is up for vote on Thursday and would give the Attorney General the power to take down websites exactly the way Homeland Security is doing here (by shutting down the domain), with only a judge's rubberstamp to make it official.

      Fear-monger much? Do you have any evidence that judges will not make deliberate, well-reasoned decisions, or are just saying "rubberstamp" for dramatic effect? I'm guessing it's the latter.

       

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        RandomGuy (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re: COICA

        Yeah, the judiciary is well known for making impartial decisions based solely on reason, not politics.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:47am

          Re: Re: Re: COICA

          Yeah, the judiciary is well known for making impartial decisions based solely on reason, not politics.

          Federal judges will sign the requests if they are valid, and they won't sign them if they aren't. To suggest otherwise is 100% pure FUD.

           

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            DH's Love Child (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

            Federal judges will sign the requests if they are valid, and they won't sign them if they aren't. To suggest otherwise is 100% pure FUD.

            So you're telling us that federal judges NEVER rubber stamp requests put before them? Never, ever, EVER?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

              So you're telling us that federal judges NEVER rubber stamp requests put before them? Never, ever, EVER?

              The federal judges I know and work with actually read requests carefully and apply the law to the best of their knowledge and ability. They are obsessed with getting things "right." Perhaps your personal experience differs? Or are you just buying and selling the FUD as well?

               

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            Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

            "Federal judges will sign the requests if they are valid, and they won't sign them if they aren't. To suggest otherwise is 100% pure FUD."

            Bullshit. They'll sign them as quickly as possible according to a much lower standard of evidence than you'd normally see if the infringement claim went to trial.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

              Bullshit. They'll sign them as quickly as possible according to a much lower standard of evidence than you'd normally see if the infringement claim went to trial.

              You're being dramatic again with the "sign them as quickly as possible" bit. A judge will sign the warrant in due course after he is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause.

              And yes, the standard of evidence for a warrant is less than the standard of evidence for final judgment. This is nothing new.

               

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                Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:18am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                You are being disingenuous. Of course they will sign them as quickly as possible. Judges generally have lots of other things to consider besides any single warrant, so they'll always take only as much time as they have to before issuing the warrant. This is nothing new and often results in innocent people being brought to trial.

                Illegal content should not be taken down without a trial, or at least not without a preliminary injunction as a step preceding such a trial.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:52am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                  You are being disingenuous. Of course they will sign them as quickly as possible. Judges generally have lots of other things to consider besides any single warrant, so they'll always take only as much time as they have to before issuing the warrant. This is nothing new and often results in innocent people being brought to trial.

                  The judge will not sign a warrant until he has assessed that sufficient probable cause has been alleged. Period. And, yes, sometimes sufficient information is alleged against people who turn out to be innocent. The law is not perfect. That is nothing new. And please, stop making it so dramatic. It's getting ridiculous.

                  Illegal content should not be taken down without a trial, or at least not without a preliminary injunction as a step preceding such a trial.

                  That is your opinion. That is not how things are already done though. Civil forfeiture of domain names is already happening.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                    The guy who says we've been "whining about this one for a while" says I'm being dramatic? That's funny.

                    As for the judge only signing a warrant once he or she determines probable cause, that much is not in dispute. The point is that such determination are hardly sufficient compared to the degree of scrutiny you see during trial.

                    As for civil forfeiture of domains, if it's happening without a trial then it needs to stop. It is simply not acceptable in a democracy that claims to protect people's rights.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                      Civil forfeiture is nothing new. Yawn. All of the sudden, when the things being forfeited are precious websites devoted to infringement, people get all worked up about it. What's the real fear here, that law enforcement will be in some way successful?

                      If the criminals don't like their domain names being forfeited, they can challenge the action. Can't imagine we'll see anyone dumb enough to try it though. And seriously, guys, tell me how many seconds it takes to look at a website and determine if it's devoted to infringement or not.

                       

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                        Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                        Civil forfeiture is nothing new. Yawn. All of the sudden, when the things being forfeited are precious websites

                        You really ought to read the First Amendment.

                        Can't believe they let people out of law school these days without understanding the basics.

                        If the criminals don't like their domain names being forfeited, they can challenge the action.

                        You see, normally, we here in America default to allowing speech, rather than having you defend your right to speak in court before you're allowed to.

                        You really ought to look up the basics here. Or do they not teach the First Amendment in whatever correspondence course where you're getting your degree?

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          I've asked you nicely to respect my privacy, Mike. Why can't you do that? If I choose to not sign in, that's my choice. It is wildly inappropriate for you to betray a poster's privacy. You don't care, though, do you? You're all talk about protecting your posters' privacy when it comes to subpoenas, but then you yourself show no respect to a poster's privacy in the comments section. Can you not match me on the merits in the debate? Why must you go and get personal? I guess you don't like it when people point out what a weaselly little creature you are.

                           

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                            Any Mouse, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 5:00pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            Like you didn't let that cat out of the bag, yourself? You mentioned 'the federal judges I work for' in a post. We already KNOW you're a lawyerly weasel.

                             

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                            Modplan (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 9:37pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            I've asked you nicely to respect my privacy, Mike. Why can't you do that?


                            It's pretty obvious who you are Joe. Why didn't you respect other peoples reasons for privacy, but now consider it convenient? Could it be you don't want to be called up on your prior trolling, foot stomping, hypocritical nature?

                            Nice try Joe, nice try.

                            http://www.techdirt.com/profile.php?u=average_joe

                             

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                            Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 12:45am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            I've asked you nicely to respect my privacy, Mike. Why can't you do that? If I choose to not sign in, that's my choice. It is wildly inappropriate for you to betray a poster's privacy.

                            I did nothing to betray your privacy. No one posting here knows who you are. No one can identify you.

                            I did not identify you. I said nothing about who you are. And, if you are wondering, the only reason I think I know who you are (and, by that, mean that I know what username I believe you've posted under in the past) is by the tone of your comments -- the same thing everyone else can see, and which some others have figured out was you as well.

                            I'm at a loss as to how that violated your privacy in any way.

                            Separately, if making a small crack about you sets you off on a vendetta like this, it's going to get very difficult for you in court. Trust me, opposing lawyers will exploit this weakness in your ability to stay calm under pressure. I would suggest, at the very least, that you avoid litigation as a focus.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 7:21am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              I did nothing to betray your privacy. No one posting here knows who you are. No one can identify you.

                              Bullshit. I feel totally violated. If I choose to post here as an AC, you need to 100% respect that.

                              You posted things that you knew about me, e.g., law school.

                              That is completely unacceptable. I know you can see my IP address, Mike. Don't pretend like you don't see it.

                              Respect my privacy. Do NOT EVER do that again.

                               

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                                Jay (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 7:36am

                                It's time to change your diaper.

                                Grow up man. You've outed yourself when no one said ANYTHING about who you were. Also, all we know is your style of posting. We don't know your actual name, Joe, until you start talking about law school and such. Then you go on a rant about poor you and picking on Mike.

                                Perhaps we should just use your regular name, TAM?

                                 

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                                Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:03am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                If I choose to post here as an AC, you need to 100% respect that.

                                I see. So I need to respect some made up rule that you have come up with, while you are free to disrespect me, my positions and this site in every posting? Just look at the language you have used against me in the last day, and ask yourself what you have done to deserve respect.

                                You posted things that you knew about me, e.g., law school.


                                Again, you made it quite clear who you were through your tone and your comments. Others pointed out who you were as well. If you make it clear who you are through your public actions, your privacy has not been violated.

                                That is completely unacceptable. I know you can see my IP address, Mike. Don't pretend like you don't see it.


                                It is true that I *can* see it. But it is not an easy process, and I did not, in fact, identify you via your IP address, but via your words -- as did others here.

                                And, once again, mentioning that you happened to attend law school is not, in any way, violating your privacy. No one knows who you are.

                                If you wish to command respect from others, you might wish to start by showing respect to others.

                                Respect my privacy. Do NOT EVER do that again.


                                I respect your privacy and have not violated it. I would suggest that you do not make personal threats. It does not look good.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 11:37am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                  You are abusing your position of power and you know it. Don't be so dishonest. I know that's a lot to ask from the likes of you. No threats, Mike, promises. Do it again and you'll see.

                                   

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                                    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                    You are abusing your position of power and you know it. Don't be so dishonest. I know that's a lot to ask from the likes of you. No threats, Mike, promises. Do it again and you'll see.

                                    If you are going to demand respect you do not deserve, could you at least respond to the actual points I have raised? I did not, in fact, "abuse my position of power." As many other people noted, it is easy to tell which commenter you are from your comments. And yet no one knows who you are. I did not reveal who you are. I did not "abuse" any power.

                                    I am not being dishonest. You, on the other hand, have repeatedly made false statements about me and my views, and yet you have the gall to demand "respect"? I respect your rights to say what you want, and for everyone here to make their own decisions.

                                    But I did not do anything, and making idle threats as you keep doing is not going to convince many people. What are you going to do? Be a man. If you're going to make a threat, why not make it specific. Seriously. What are you going to do?

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                      The fact is, you did it to me in another thread as well. In that thread, I gave no indication of who I was, and you "outed" me. You can lie all you want, but I know my privacy is not important to you.

                                       

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                                        Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 4:15pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                        The fact is, you did it to me in another thread as well. In that thread, I gave no indication of who I was, and you "outed" me. You can lie all you want, but I know my privacy is not important to you.

                                        I don't know how many times this needs to be explained to you, but I did not "out" anyone. NO ONE knows who you are.

                                        Anyway, why will you not describe what you "promise" to do to me if I do the same thing again?

                                         

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                                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                          In the other thread, I posted as an AC, and you called me by my previous screen name. That's outing me, Mike. I hadn't posted anything in that thread that could tie me to that screen name, but you spilled the beans.

                                          I shouldn't have to explain to you that you need to respect people's privacy. You can go on playing dumb, and believe me I think you're pretty dumb, but I know you did it on purpose.

                                           

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                                            Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                            In the other thread, I posted as an AC, and you called me by my previous screen name. That's outing me, Mike. I hadn't posted anything in that thread that could tie me to that screen name, but you spilled the beans.

                                            "Spilled the beans"?

                                            At this point we're repeating ourselves. I am acting like an adult, you are not. This is not a child's game. You are making accusations and threats against me, neither of which you can back up.

                                            Anyone is free to read this page and see that I did nothing to violate your privacy. You can go on pretending to make up rules that don't exist, but I will not play that game any more.

                                            Once again, in all seriousness, I need to suggest that you don't become a litigator. Your history of throwing childish temper tantrums on my site suggests you are not cut out for it. Opposing counsel will eat you alive once they figure out that you have so little self-control.

                                            So once again, for the record, and then I'm leaving this page: At no point have I violated your privacy in any way, shape or form. No one knows who you are. No one knows any private information about you. You make it quite easy to determine who you are by your tone and your temper tantrums. I have better things to do than go look up your IP address.

                                            I am done with this thread.

                                             

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                                              Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                              You can't possibly think that I would take any career advice from you? Are you really that stupid? Oh, never mind. I know you are.

                                               

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                                        Jay (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 4:42pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                        Stop crying. Not only do you have a straw house, you're looking to make idle threats while in law school? Hello? Don't you have to pass the BAR at some point? I guess thinking about your long term actions is just too much work...

                                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          You really ought to read the First Amendment. Can't believe they let people out of law school these days without understanding the basics.

                          I know you think the First Amendment trumps all, but people who actually study the law know better. First Amendment doctrine is far more complicated than you make it out to be. Clearly you are ignorant in this department.

                          You see, normally, we here in America default to allowing speech, rather than having you defend your right to speak in court before you're allowed to.

                          Don't you think the constitutionality of civil forfeitures has been challenged? Have you researched the issue in a law library? I have. Get back to me when you have something of substance to say. I won't hold my breath. And what law school did you go to? Oh, wait, never mind. You're just a poser. How could I possibly forget?

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            "I know you think the First Amendment trumps all"

                            The problem is that you think the first Amendment only applies to speech that you agree with.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 7:14pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              The problem is that you think the first Amendment only applies to speech that you agree with.

                              That's not it at all, but nice try. The fact is, I know how the First Amendment interacts with other laws. I know how the contours of its doctrine are defined by caselaw. I know that it's way more complicated than simple-minded fucks like Mike make it out to be. Mike thinks the First Amendment trumps all, end of story. His legal analysis is at best that of a ten-year-old. And he tells me I need to read the First Amendment? What an asshat. He wouldn't last two seconds in a court of law with the stupid shit he spouts.

                               

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                        Ed C., Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                        Oh, it's all OK as long as it's just some infringing website--as if no one would *ever* file a false complaint to have a legit website taken down. Just like *everyone* who was accused and detained for being "terrorist" were in fact all terrorist or were associated with terrorist. I guess in your ideal world, everyone would be guilty until proven innocent.

                        Seriously, how would the judge know that the alleged website is infringing, and not the target of a malicious false claim? Based on the evidence presented by the party issuing the claim? How many judges do you know have the technical knowledge to evaluate the validity of these claims? How many of these claims will they have to evaluate in the month, in addition to their other duties? Will the damages done to the innocently accused be worth the cost--even if it does little to actually stop piracy?

                        I doubt that you have really given this much thought at all, and just want to see some "pirates" swinging from yardarms, because *anything* is worth the cost in the war against piracy.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          Oh, it's all OK as long as it's just some infringing website--as if no one would *ever* file a false complaint to have a legit website taken down. Just like *everyone* who was accused and detained for being "terrorist" were in fact all terrorist or were associated with terrorist. I guess in your ideal world, everyone would be guilty until proven innocent.

                          Seriously, how would the judge know that the alleged website is infringing, and not the target of a malicious false claim? Based on the evidence presented by the party issuing the claim? How many judges do you know have the technical knowledge to evaluate the validity of these claims? How many of these claims will they have to evaluate in the month, in addition to their other duties? Will the damages done to the innocently accused be worth the cost--even if it does little to actually stop piracy?

                          I doubt that you have really given this much thought at all, and just want to see some "pirates" swinging from yardarms, because *anything* is worth the cost in the war against piracy.


                          If the possibility of someone filing a false complaint is your criteria for whether or not something should be a law, then I guess you don't think there should be any laws. That's just silly.

                          And how hard do you think it really is to look at a site and determine if it's dedicated to infringement? Give me a break.

                           

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                            Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            And how hard do you think it really is to look at a site and determine if it's dedicated to infringement? Give me a break.

                            Had you looked at YouTube back when it was just getting started you might have concluded its primary purpose was to enable copyright infringement, even though it wasn't. Had you looked at YouTube from Viacom's perspective just a few years ago you might have likewise concluded its primary purpose was to enable copyright infringement, but it wasn't, and it isn't.

                            YouTube survives to this day because Google is a behemoth. Similar websites might not be so lucky.

                             

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                              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              Had you looked at YouTube back when it was just getting started you might have concluded its primary purpose was to enable copyright infringement, even though it wasn't. Had you looked at YouTube from Viacom's perspective just a few years ago you might have likewise concluded its primary purpose was to enable copyright infringement, but it wasn't, and it isn't.

                              YouTube survives to this day because Google is a behemoth. Similar websites might not be so lucky.


                              YouTube was built from the ground up on piracy. They changed their ways later, but initially, their site was filed primarily with pirated material--and they knew it.

                               

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                                Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                One of YouTube's founders once made some kind of statement about infringing material helping their site become more popular (or something to that effect), but YouTube has always been about getting people to post their own content.

                                Even so, your comment proves my point: Had YouTube been shut down back then, we wouldn't have YouTube today.

                                 

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                            •  
                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              If you look at the documents introduced into evidence at the trial you might have a more nuanced view than is now the case.

                               

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                              •  
                                identicon
                                Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                                There's no proof that YouTube has ever broken any laws, but it still might have been shut down under COICA had it existed at the time. Any law that would shut down YouTube (as it is or as it was) is a law that is seriously flawed.

                                 

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                        Karl (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 4:32am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                        All of the sudden, when the things being forfeited are precious websites devoted to infringement, people get all worked up about it.

                        Okay, let's say this same law was used against non-websites.

                        The book "Coming Through the Rye," was found to infringe on Salinger's copyright. Its American distributor was SCB Distributors.

                        You would have no problem with a law that allowed the government to seize all of SCB's assets, preventing them from distributing any of their books, before any trial started? Because that is exactly what COICA is designed to do.

                        And SCB's actions are orders of magnitude more likely to be "criminal infringement" than some forum whose users post links to file lockers.

                         

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      •  
        identicon
        Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: COICA

        "Fear-monger much? Do you have any evidence that judges will not make deliberate, well-reasoned decisions, or are just saying "rubberstamp" for dramatic effect? I'm guessing it's the latter."

        There's no trial prior to a website's domain being taken down, so I'd say rubberstamp is pretty damn accurate.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:49am

          Re: Re: Re: COICA

          There's no trial prior to a website's domain being taken down, so I'd say rubberstamp is pretty damn accurate.

          The seizure warrants are based on probable cause. If the evidence submitted to the judge is insufficient to establish probable cause, the judge won't sign the warrant. These warrants already exist and are being used. They are not new to COICA. Do you have any evidence that judges are signing the warrants based on less than probable cause? I doubt it.

          And if the website operator wants their day in court, they can have it. They can explain to the judge why they have a website full of pirated material. I'd love to see that one.

           

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            identicon
            Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

            As far as I'm concerned, probable cause is way too low a standard for the takedown of any website. Should copyright holders object to a particular website, they should seek a preliminary injunction and take the case to trial. A simple takedown without trial is altogether unacceptable.

            COICA not only gives the US Attorney General the power to seek takedowns without trial, but it forces ISPs to block access to blacklisted websites foreign and domestic. If the current system were so similar to COICA, as you claim, there wouldn't exist any pressure to make it into law.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

              As far as I'm concerned, probable cause is way too low a standard for the takedown of any website. Should copyright holders object to a particular website, they should seek a preliminary injunction and take the case to trial. A simple takedown without trial is altogether unacceptable.

              Considering how vast the piracy problem is, I think these actions are a great resource for law enforcement. And don't forget that these piracy website operators can have their day in court if they really want it. I seriously doubt that they want that though.

              COICA not only gives the US Attorney General the power to seek takedowns without trial, but it forces ISPs to block access to blacklisted websites foreign and domestic. If the current system were so similar to COICA, as you claim, there wouldn't exist any pressure to make it into law.

              In rem actions already exist and are used. They are nothing new. COICA streamlines the process and makes it more efficient for law enforcement to do their job.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                "And don't forget that these piracy website operators can have their day in court if they really want it. I seriously doubt that they want that though."

                Except the law has it backwards. Copyright holders should have their day in court if they want it, but website operators should not have their websites taken down without trial.

                "In rem actions already exist and are used. They are nothing new. COICA streamlines the process and makes it more efficient for law enforcement to do their job."

                Translation: "COICA lets the government do things it otherwise couldn't do quite as easily, but I happen to agree with what the government is doing so let's call it 'streamlining' to make it appear benign."

                To the degree that the government can already do what COICA enables I say there's no reason to make a bad thing worse by "streamlining" it.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                  Except the law has it backwards. Copyright holders should have their day in court if they want it, but website operators should not have their websites taken down without trial.

                  The plaintiff in these actions is the government, not the copyright holders. The copyright holders can commence civil proceedings if they want to.

                  Translation: "COICA lets the government do things it otherwise couldn't do quite as easily, but I happen to agree with what the government is doing so let's call it 'streamlining' to make it appear benign."

                  Again, the government can already seize domain names, so it is incorrect to say that it allows them to "do things it otherwise couldn't do."

                  To the degree that the government can already do what COICA enables I say there's no reason to make a bad thing worse by "streamlining" it.

                  Yeah, because stopping criminals from operating websites devoted to crime is a bad thing.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                    "The plaintiff in these actions is the government, not the copyright holders. The copyright holders can commence civil proceedings if they want to."

                    The government is acting on behalf of the copyright holders. If the government wants to take down an allegedly infringing website, then let them take it to trial.

                    "Again, the government can already seize domain names, so it is incorrect to say that it allows them to 'do things it otherwise couldn't do.'"
                    Here's where you make yourself out to be a liar, Mr. Anonymouse, as you know very well that's not what I said. I said the law "lets the government do things it otherwise couldn't do quite as easily". Those last few words make a huge difference -- enough of a difference that you chose to omit them.

                    "Yeah, because stopping criminals from operating websites devoted to crime is a bad thing."

                    Is that what I said? Again, your dishonesty is showing. You know full well I'm talking about taking down websites without a trial.

                     

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          •  
            identicon
            Freetard, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

            Oh we know there will be due process. We just don't want to lose our free music and movies.

            Isn't it obvious that's the real bottom line to us?

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

              I don't download illegal content, so that's not my motive at all. I just want there to be a trial before any takedown such that the website operator's guilt (with respect to direct or contributory infringement) is firmly established. If you don't care about people's rights enough to demand that, all I can say -- quite sincerely -- is fuck you.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Not a douchebag pirate, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 11:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                What part of 'due process' did you not understand? And go look up 'summary judgment', Einstein.

                I love how everyone here is pissed off about artists being protected from being ripped off. You people are the worst.

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                  "I love how everyone here is pissed off about artists being protected from being ripped off. You people are the worst."

                  No. Idiots like you who support taking down a website without a trial are the worst.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Realist, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                    Who do you think you're fooling with this? Nobody, that's who.

                    Everybody knows what sites we're talking about. And if they feel it's in error, they have legal protections. But we won't see a single one instance of a pirate site defending themselves.

                    And it's funny you post all this drivel when it's obvious to everyone that gov and the attorney general care more about rights and the law than you do.

                     

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                      And it's funny you post all this drivel when it's obvious to everyone that gov and the attorney general care more about rights and the law than you do.

                      So completely true. It's incredible how little Mike cares about artists' rights. Ask him, and he'll deny it. He'll say that he's all for artists' rights. Don't just let that go, though. Ask him what he means. You'll find out that he doesn't believe that artists should have the rights that copyright law secures to them. He pretends like he cares about artists but he really is rooting for the pirates.

                       

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                      •  
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                        I believe you will find that most challenges to those who are versed in the vagaries of law are based upon an understanding of law as articulated in the "Restatement of Law, Techdirt Edidion".

                        From this tome one quickly learns that the First Amendment is an absolute that renders copyright law unconstitutional.

                        Intellectual property is not "property", even though in society "property" is a legal construct. The fact caselaw has treated intellectual property as a class of property to which the protections of the Fifth Amendment pertain is of no moment.

                        Etc.

                        Etc.

                         

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                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          Edidion should obviously be Edition.

                           

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                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          I believe you will find that most challenges to those who are versed in the vagaries of law are based upon an understanding of law as articulated in the "Restatement of Law, Techdirt Edidion".

                          From this tome one quickly learns that the First Amendment is an absolute that renders copyright law unconstitutional.

                          Intellectual property is not "property", even though in society "property" is a legal construct. The fact caselaw has treated intellectual property as a class of property to which the protections of the Fifth Amendment pertain is of no moment.


                          OMG! Stop making me laugh. People in the library are looking at me funny. :)

                           

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                        •  
                          icon
                          Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          From this tome one quickly learns that the First Amendment is an absolute that renders copyright law unconstitutional.

                          That copyright conflicts with the First Amendment is not controversial at all. We have debated whether the First Amendment (being an amendment) should make copyright unlawful ("Congress shall make no law..."), but so far courts have ruled they must be "balanced."

                          Intellectual property is not "property", even though in society "property" is a legal construct.

                          Property is usually considered a fundamental human right, i.e. a natural right. Copyright, on the other hand, is a statutory right. The Supreme Court agrees (see Dowling v. United States and Wheaton v. Peters, among others.)

                          The fact caselaw has treated intellectual property as a class of property to which the protections of the Fifth Amendment pertain is of no moment.

                          Domain names are also considered IP, thus by your argument "a class of property." But apparently, you have no problem when the Fifth Amendment doesn't apply to them.

                           

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                      •  
                        icon
                        Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                        It's incredible how little Mike cares about artists' rights.

                        I can guarantee that Mike has helped more artists than you have.

                        I know for a fact that I've personally helped more artists than you. Since I am one, know many, booked shows, provided crash space, run sound boards, etc. Many of the other commenters here are also writers, filmmakers, musicians, etc.

                        You, on the other hand, have done nothing but fling insults anyone who disagrees with you. It's a sure sign that you can't actually debate the facts.

                        I know you and your other anonymous friends have found your own little corner of the comments to engage in your anti-Mike circle jerk, but trust me, anyone with a brain sees right through it.

                        Now, if you want to rationally debate facts, do so. If you have an opinion, state it, but be aware that until you cite facts, it's solely your opinion. But quit it with the ad hominem and straw man attacks. It's just annoying.

                         

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                        •  
                          identicon
                          Realist, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                          I contributed more to music last week than you have your entire life, so don't you dare try to act like you fucking speak for artists.

                          I work with artists every day and piracy has bankrupted them both financially and spiritually.

                          Masnick is a notorious piracy apologist and all around disingenuous scumbag, and we come to this site to educate the masses about reality and refute the bullshit he posts here.

                           

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                          •  
                            icon
                            Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            I contributed more to music last week than you have your entire life, so don't you dare try to act like you fucking speak for artists.

                            Yeah, by insulting people on message boards. Nice one.

                            If you're the same AC that I argued with previously, I asked to to actually name a single thing you've done for artists, and you wouldn't do it. Maybe it would reveal who you're working for? Just a guess.

                            I do know that you certainly don't speak for artists.

                            I work with artists every day and piracy has bankrupted them

                            Piracy hasn't bankrupted anyone. Incompetent labels are what bankrupt artists. They have been doing so long before the internet came along, and they are doing it now.

                            Mike works with artists every day, too. I know some of them personally. You just say you're hot shit, and anyone who disagrees with you is a "pro-piracy douchebag."

                            You are orders of magnitude more of a "disingenuous scumbag" than anyone else here, that's for sure.

                             

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                          •  
                            identicon
                            Adrian Lopez, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            "I work with artists every day and piracy has bankrupted them both financially and spiritually."

                            Has piracy really bankrupted them, or is piracy merely the way they explain their failure in the market? Artists who are most often pirated are generally also the most successful. Your friends must be quite unusual indeed, assuming they even exist.

                             

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                            •  
                              icon
                              Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              is piracy merely the way they explain their failure in the market?

                              The thing is, it's usually not the artists themselves who do this. It's almost always some non-artist in the recording industry, who claims to speak for them.

                              If you want to know what the actual artists think, go to Pirate Verbatim and get it straight from the horses' mouths.

                              Some are against file sharing, an equal amount encourage it. But most are in the middle: they feel a bit peeved that people get their stuff for free, but recognize that file sharers are fans, and recognize that the same internet that allows piracy also gives them more avenues to make money. Even the ones that hate piracy recognize that the labels are equally to blame for the state of the industry. Almost none think the RIAA tactics are a good idea.

                              You might also read Jeff Price's blog at Tunecore for a more reasoned take on the state of the industry.

                               

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                          •  
                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                            Masnick is a notorious piracy apologist and all around disingenuous scumbag, and we come to this site to educate the masses about reality and refute the bullshit he posts here.

                            So incredibly true. Mike really is a douche. Keep up the great work!

                             

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                            •  
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                              Jay (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 7:57am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                              "So incredibly true. Mike really is a douche. Keep up the great work!"

                              Wow... such a well thought out argument has truly convinced me to think that I too can change the fact that Masnick fights for all artists. Preach, brother!

                              Mike, you're so mean for thinking up ways that Kevin Suh can compete with Rapidshare.

                              You're incredibly shortsighted for writing well written articles about how enforcement of copyright law hasn't worked in the last 10+ years.

                              You've not changed anything by criticizing the ones that think all lawyers who practice copyright law, such as the Copyright Group or ACS Law, are doing it for the wrong reasons.

                              Shame on you Mike for trying to change the world!

                               

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                      Which rights and which laws? I suspect cherry-picking.

                       

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                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                      "Everybody knows what sites we're talking about. And if they feel it's in error, they have legal protections."

                      I know very what kinds of websites I'm talking about. Do you?

                      Under COICA, any website the Attorney General thinks is infringing may be taken down with only a judge's approval. Such a standard is way too low considering what's at stake.

                      If a website is indeed infringing, as is claimed, the government should have no problem proving its case in court.

                       

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                •  
                  icon
                  Karl (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

                  I love how everyone here is pissed off about artists being protected from being ripped off.

                  Nothing that these laws do will protect artists from "being ripped off."

                  Even if piracy was 100% eliminated tomorrow, there's not a shred of evidence that any artist would make even a penny more than what they make now.

                  Of course, none of these actions will make a dent in piracy, so we'll never know for sure.

                  What it will do, however, is allow the government to go after sites like Wikileaks. And arrest lots of people who broke no felony law, of course.

                   

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    •  
      icon
      Almost Anonymous (profile), Nov 16th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

      Re: COICA

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Not surprising if you see it from their point

    "It's even more troubling when it's doing so in such close association with that industry"

    Not to defend their actions, but I can see how they could think that this is perfectly reasonable. If you think like the government in that

    a) Corporations are entitled to the same protections as citizens
    b) The corporation is the victim of a crime perpetrated by the "pirates"

    This is no different than a County Sheriff holding a press conference in front of the house of a victim of a kidnapping or some other such crime and saying that they will catch those criminals responsible.

    Sure it's delusional for the government to beleive A & B, but once you get to their level of thinking it kind of makes sense.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Ed C., Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Not surprising if you see it from their point

      Right... As if citizens get anywhere near this level of protection. And as if no one would ever be falsely accused. Oh, that's right, false claims would somehow *never* get by a judge. Your faith in the justice system is quite heartening.

      Since you have no qualms with false accusations, how would you feel if you were the target of one of these claims and had to fight it in court while your business tanks because your website got taken down? Sure, you'd probably be acquitted--eventually, but having your business and reputation tainted by the accusation is just a small price to pay, because it was done in the fight against piracy, right?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    "...based on questionable legal authority..."

    Citation, please?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Jay (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 8:10am

      Re:

      What laws give the ICE powers to enforce copyright law?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re:

        What laws give the ICE powers to enforce copyright law?

        Are you asking what gives law enforcement the power to enforce the law? I'd start with Article II of the Constitution.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Jay (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Judging from the original sentence:

          "But what's really troubling about the article that has that info, is that it focuses in on how the US government has pledged to continue to be Hollywood's copyright cops, based on questionable legal authority (this, by the way, is one reason why the government is so keen to pass COICA, which would give the feds some authority that they're lacking here)."

          I'm assuming he needs a citation. I've been pretty close to the takedowns from June regarding 9 sites taken down at the behest of Disney for first run cams. I'm mainly answering the question of the first AC by asking how the ICE can enforce those laws. IIRC, it should be the FBI. If not, there should be other litigation that allows them to enforce copyright law. As it stands, it's dubious how they can do such a thing.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 9:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm mainly answering the question of the first AC by asking how the ICE can enforce those laws. IIRC, it should be the FBI. If not, there should be other litigation that allows them to enforce copyright law. As it stands, it's dubious how they can do such a thing.

            Criminal copyright infringement is a federal crime, and when done on the internet, it is international. I think it's ICE's "Cyber Crimes Center" that investigates: http://www.ice.gov/cyber-crimes/

            According to that page, one "cyber crime" they combat is "Intellectual property rights violations, including music and software."

            I can't think of any good arguments of why they wouldn't have the authority to investigate these crimes.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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