Eric Holder Claims Terrorists Are Involved In 'IP Theft'

from the oh-come-on dept

You may have heard about a fair bit about Attorney General Eric Holder testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning. He was -- quite reasonably -- raked over the coals by members of both parties for the incredible decision to obtain phone records from AP reporters, under very questionable circumstances.

There was one other odd tidbit that might be worth discussing around here as well. Suddenly, in the middle of all the questions about the Associated Press, Rep. Mel Watt -- who, during the SOPA markup famously declared that he didn't understand the technology, or why tech people were concerned, but also that he didn't care and wanted to pass SOPA without bothering to understand -- started asking questions about copyright and "enforcement." Yes, Mel Watt is the ranking member on the IP subcommittee (scary enough in its own right), but it seemed completely off topic.

Most of the coverage on Watt's questioning has focused on the fact that he did most of his questioning with his two-year-old grandson on his lap, who interrupts the questioning at one point. But the questions were ridiculous, as were the answers, and deserve some scrutiny. First, despite it being soundly rejected when SOPA went down in flames, Watt asks Holder if Congress should make online streaming of infringing material a felony, rather than the misdemeanor that it currently is. There are all sorts of problems with this idea, as we've discussed in the past, but Holder embraced the idea wholeheartedly, saying that the Justice Department would love to have "another tool," ignoring just how widely the DOJ has abused existing tools to shut down legitimate companies and websites.

And then Watt directly asks about a connection to terrorism:
Watt: Are there increasing indications of links between this problem and terrorism? Have you found any of those links and would you describe them for the committee?

Holder: Yes, that's a very good question. It's something that's very worrisome. As we saw organized crime get into a variety of other businesses in order to support their efforts, we're now seeing terrorist groups getting into the theft of intellectual property. Again, to generate money to support what they're trying to do for their terrorist means. So we have to broaden our enforcement efforts, broaden the investigative efforts that we take, to examine what are the precise reasons why people are engaging in this kind of intellectual property thievery. And to consider whether or not there's a terrorist connection to it. This is a relatively new phenomenon, but one we have to be aware of.
Watt then asks about things that Congress can do to help, and Holder says he's "particularly concerned" about this problem, and he asks for "enhanced penalties" for "intellectual property theft."
That all sounds very interesting. And it might be, if there were any truth to it at all. Unfortunately, there's not. We've yet to see a single piece of evidence supporting the idea that terrorists are involved in infringement. The claim has been around for years, and we've asked for evidence for years, and none has ever been provided. Because it doesn't exist. Researcher Joe Karaganis looked into the issue a few years ago and found that there were some very vague reports of organized crime being involved in counterfeit CDs/DVDs in the 80s and 90s. But that was small and short-lived -- in large part because online infringement basically made that business obsolete:
Arguing that piracy is integral to such networks [organized crime and terrorism] means ignoring the dramatic changes in the technology and organizational structure of the pirate market over the past decade. By necessity, evidentiary standards become very loose. Decades-old stories are recycled as proof of contemporary terrorist connections, anecdotes stand in as evidence of wider systemic linkages, and the threshold for what counts as organized crime is set very low. The RAND study, which reprises and builds on earlier IFPI and Interpol reporting, is constructed almost entirely around such practices. Prominent stories about IRA involvement in movie piracy and Hezbollah involvement in DVD and software piracy date, respectively, to the 1980s and 1990s. Street vendor networks in Mexico City--a subject we treat at length in the Mexico chapter--are mischaracterized as criminal gangs connected with the drug trade. Piracy in Russia is attributed to criminal mafias rather than to the chronically porous boundary between licit and illicit enterprise. The Pakistani criminal gang D-Company, far from "forging a clear pirate monopoly" in Bollywood, in RAND's words, plays a small and diminishing part in Indian DVD piracy--its smuggling networks dwarfed by local production.

The US record isn't more convincing in this regard. Jeffrey McIllwain examined the Department of Justice’s IP-related prosecutions between 2000 and 2004 and found that only 49 out of the 105 cases alleged that the defendant operated within larger, organized networks. Nearly all of these were "warez" distribution groups for pirated software--hacker communities that are explicitly and often fiercely non-commercial in orientation. McIllwain found "no overt references to professional organized crime groups" in any of the DOJ's criminal charges (McIllwain 2005:27). If organized crime is a serious problem in these contexts, it should not be difficult to produce a stronger evidentiary record.
In other words, Rep. Mel Watt, a well known supporter of Hollywood's position on copyright, tossed a bogus softball FUD talking point to Eric Holder in the middle of an important hearing about a very different subject, and Holder proceeded to make claims to Congress that have been made for decades without a single bit of evidence to support it.

Holder has plenty of other serious issues to deal with these days, but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable to see our Attorney General appear to be spreading known scare stories that have been proven bogus from decades ago as if they're new, despite a single bit of evidence concerning any modern connection to terrorism.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    rw (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Who needs foreign terrorist? We have the best ones in Congress and as head of the DOJ.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    That all sounds very interesting. And it might be, if there were any truth to it at all. Unfortunately, there's not. We've yet to see a single piece of evidence supporting the idea that terrorists are involved in infringement.

    Maybe the Attorney General is privy to evidence that you are not? I mean, he is the Attorney General after all, and you're just a tech blogger. I dunno, Mike. You haven't shown that there is no such evidence.

     

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  3.  
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    jameshogg (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    "You haven't shown that there is no such evidence."

    You haven't heard of Russell's Teapot, have you?

     

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  4.  
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    Titania Bonham-Smythe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Stop resisting!

    When they say that people who infringe IP are terrorists, isn't that just the same as when the police shout "stop resisting" when they're aggressively subduing someone who isn't resisting arrest?

     

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  5.  
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    Simon, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Maybe they found an xvid copy of "The Hangover" in the Bin Laden compound?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    Really? You want to prove a negative?

     

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  7.  
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    Ro, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    US Congress is so ****ed up.

    This is how it should have been recorded.

    Watt: I am taking massive campaign contributions from the MPAA.

    Holder: Great I need more power to arrest people for nothing.

    Watt: Lets play ball.

    Watt: Im going to serve you up some self serving questions and you knock them out of the part.

    Holder: Because Terrorism?

    Watt: Because Terroism!

     

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  8.  
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    some guy, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    average joe you don't think he would share that evidence if he had it. Isn't it the right of the people to see this evidence before all of their tax dollars are wasted chasing internet "terrorists" from sharing content. Maybe, just maybe, it would be beneficial to try and enforce laws that are actually enforceable. Can't wait for Antigua's legal piracy site to be launched.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    I know how this works, intellectual property theft means terrorists are not spending money on entertainment, and so can spend more money on terrorism.
    /s

     

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    out_of_the_blue, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    through on-site advertising and direct fees they get MILLIONS grifting off infringing content, which courts find a reasonable connection, bu you'll still argue narrow legalisms and hold that they're not committing CRIMES.

    Mike's purpose here is to again leverage unpopularity of Holder to attack copyright. -- And of course it helps that Holder is a slick thug frequently using fear of "terrorism".

    But no matter how many wrongs there are with those who hold or wish to extend copyright, it's also wrong to attack copyright as such rather than those specific actors. I can't be with Mike when his agenda overturns obvious common law principles to advantage grifters, and he uses whatever levers he can to accomplish his goal.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    Just like I haven't shown that you haven't raped and murdered hundreds of women...

    You are the average_joe, after all, and I am not, so I may not be privy to evidence that you are in fact innocent.

     

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    Violated (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Reality

    Politicians are common liars where I am sure they would also claim to 4-year old terrorists in kindergarden had this made some point to support their cause.

    There is no organized criminal gangs in the file sharing community where there is no profit to be made. If anything free media has gone a long way to wipe out counterfeiting when people wont buy second rate crap if they can get it themselves.

    I have been a part of file sharing in past years and these are simply home users enjoying media. One day they get asked to help out with some distribution job. Should they be successful then sure they can be sucked up deeper into the community. Then if you look at the core then simply no one can be there who does not work hard for little more than free credits and respect.

    I did think the MAFIAA realises this fact when no one beyond AFACT goes and calls infringers as "terrorists". Unfortunately they are more likely to get infringement listed under the counterfeiting label.

    Anyway guess who has a political agenda and will make up rubbish to drive that home.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    When Obama selected Biden as VP, one look at who was backing Biden's nomination got me worried. He was in tight with the studios.

    All in all, given how transparent this administration has been, shouldn't we have seen shit like this coming? Not saying the other guy would have been better but Obama's administration has been no real benefit to the public in any real way.

     

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  14.  
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    Nigel (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    When I turned this on Holder was in mid sentence conflating "IP Theft" with terrorism again.

    For what its worth, he got lambasted for the rest of the afternoon.

    His interactions with Issa are popcorn worthy. As for Sheila Jackson-Lee(TX). Well, you can see where her motivations are as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q4dEOfef-R8

    Nigel

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re:

    to prove a negative is impossible. Good attempt, fail execution.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:37am

    Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    Blue, answer this for me?

    What does it take to convince you? You've been corrected here thousands of times, by many different people, and yet you still puke the same bullshit, like common law. At what point will you read someone's comment, go "Hmm...ya know what, you're actually right, you've presented convincing evidence, I guess I was wrong"?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    We should just ban water since terrorists use and need it to survive

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    If you are in favor of common law principals, are you also in favor of drastically reducing the length of copyright to bring it more in line with its common law heritage?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    If you are in favor of common law principals, are you also in favor of drastically reducing the length of copyright to bring it more in line with its common law heritage?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    Maybe the Attorney General is privy to evidence that you are not?

    Then he violating the people's right to know and should be removed from office.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    The Attorney General also tried to argue that he had no part in the organization he controls requesting 2 months of phone records from the Associated Press.

    ...And I'm supposed to sit back and trust this guy and what he says compared to the (lack of) evidence out there?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    Even if terrorists do infringe copy'right' that doesn't make infringement any worse a 'crime'. Terrorists breath air, they drink water, they eat food, they do many of the same things that non-terrorists do and yet why doesn't congress complain about doing something about the water supply?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re:

    After all, the water supply facilitates terrorist activity. Terrorists can't live without water.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    What does it take to convince you?

    Common sense.


    I think we should change the troll's food or feeding schedule. Maybe that would help?

     

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  25.  
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    AC Unknown, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    Probably never. His belief in the absolute "correctness" of his RIAA/MPAA paymasters is that unwavering.

     

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  26.  
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    Michael, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re:

    average_joe said: "Maybe the Attorney General is privy to evidence that you are not? I mean, he is the Attorney General after all, and you're just a tech blogger. "

    Funny, that was exactly the rationale for invading Iraq. Anyone who bothered doing any research at all could see that Iraq was no threat to the U.S., and no threat to any other country (any more so than the whole rest of the despotic countries in the region). The Republican party line was, "He's the PRESIDENT -- don't you think he's privy to information that you're not?"

    The answer was no, just as the answer to average_joe's ridiculous supposition is no. If there was evidence, there would be a million reasons to release it, and no reasons not to.

    Going through life trusting that "daddy government will take care of me" is dangerous. For all of us.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re:

    and if the argument is that terrorists are financed through selling infringing content and software and whatnot then the best way, like with prohibition, to solve that issue is to legalize infringement. Then no terrorist or illegal operation, like the drug cartels do from drugs, can profit from infringement. Doing more to make infringement more difficult for the average person, if anything, will drive infringement, like with prohibition, into deeper and deeper markets making it easier for terrorists to sell infringing content and to sell it at a higher price. Right now it's difficult for anyone to make money off of selling infringing content because there everyone can pretty much find a million freely available infringement avenues. So the terrorists will be hard pressed to profit from it. But make infringement more difficult for the average person (ie: by restricting bit-torrent and other infringing avenues that most people use) then it becomes more possible for terrorist organizations to sell infringing material and profit from it. Just like with prohibition and how it funds the drug cartels. If infringement funds terrorist organizations then that's just more reason to legalize infringement.

     

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  28.  
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    Rapnel (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    More shit from the shit factory spewing forth shit via their shit master appointed shitheads. Eat shit.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re:

    Since Mike doesn't know whether there's such evidence, maybe he should stop pretending like he knows there is none.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Re:

    Seems to me that they wouldn't release such evidence since these are ongoing investigations.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    If the AG said I had done that, and you had no evidence to the contrary, then you would have no basis for saying that such evidence does not exist.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re:

    Not at all. Mike has no evidence that it's not true, and the AG, the one who would have such evidence, says it is true. I know that Mike can't prove it's not true. Hence, my point. He shouldn't be saying it's not true just because he can't prove it. Under your logic, I can say all kinds of things aren't true even though I'm in no position to have any basis for my claims, and that's perfectly normal. How about some evidence instead of faith? I know. I know. It's Techdirt.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You are being absurd, and you know it. Typical, though.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re:

    What is the source of your right to know about ongoing investigations? You have none.

     

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  35.  
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    Bengie, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    phones

    I hear Terrorists are people, we should ban the production of humans.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh good, an appeal to authority. You're just pulling out all the things you were supposedly taught not to use today, I see.

     

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    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm being reasonable. If you think I'm being absurd, how about explaining exactly how. Your conclusory statement is not an argument.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So really, IP law facilitates terrorist activity. Abolish IP law.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    The statist mind: how does it work?

    So downloading a movie is a terrorist activity but seizing legally purchased guns and giving them to the drug lords you claim to fight isn't? US Department of Justice is an oxymoron, especially with globalist traitors (another oxymoron, as "traitor" implies they were even on our side to begin with) like Holder in power.

     

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  40.  
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    Rikuo (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    At which point, after explaing, (and linking back to comments) how you were being absurd (to say the least) you will dismiss all claims, only to return later, demand an answer to a question and spew forth the exact same bullshit.

     

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  41.  
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    Rikuo (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:10am

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

    *after explaining

     

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  42.  
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    Nigel (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    Holder is privy to exactly jack shit when he finds it convenient.

    Nigel

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    Appeal to Authority
    Burden of Proof

    Ladies and gentlemen, it's a two-fer.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    I rolled my eyes so hard at the title.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You stopped being reasonable when you said to prove a negative.

     

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  46.  
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    Pragmatic, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Re:

    And the children!

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe he has evidence you are absurd that you are not aware of. Please prove you are not absurd or stop pretending like you know you are not being so.

     

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  48.  
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    Pragmatic, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    As usual, you're dancing around the fact that copyright is the excuse for all these abuses, and the actual creators don't always own the copyright.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Prove that he doesn't have evidence that there is no evidence? Maybe he, as a journalist (or blogger to humor you) is privy to more evidence than you. I mean he does report news for a living and you're just an anonymous internet commenter.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You have no evidence that Mike has no evidence that the AG has no evidence. Prove me wrong.

     

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  51.  
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    Julian P., May 16th, 2013 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If there was evidence terrorists were involved in copyright infringement, the DOJ would have shown evidence criminals were involved in copyright infringement.

    Instead, he gives vague blanket statements that it is - despite the fact surveys like the ones outlined above show infringement was a minor, short-lived revenue stream eventually replaced by online piracy.

    There's plenty of evidence it doesn't happen and the DoJ didn't present any evidence it did.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    Since terrorist organizations are financed through infringing activities we should simply legalize infringement so that they can no longer profit from infringement and we would have no more terrorist organizations.

    IP law supports terrorism and so we should abolish IP law.

     

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  53.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    Of course they're organized blue. They're all businesses! It's very hard (or at least extremely time-consuming) to operate a business without a minimum amount of organizational structure!

    That being said, I think that this "IP Theft=Terrorism" bull is just a red herring for Holder to distract from the fact that a) he should have been fired a long time ago, b) he's completely incompetent, and c) he's trying to distract everyone from the whole AP records debacle.

    And for the nth time, it's not IP theft. It's IP infringement! You can't steal a copyright, you infringe on a copyright. You can't steal a patent, you infringe on a patent. You can't steal a trademark, you infringe on a trademark.

    However, you can steal trade secrets, but that usually falls under "corporate espionage". So while trade secrets are considered Intellectual Property, they're the only one of the four IP categories that is actually considered stealing.

    The phrase IP Theft is misleading to the common man, because you turn around and go "copyrights/trademarks/patents are IP", which leads to people incorrectly believing that illegal downloads are considered stealing, when in fact it's actually infringement. There is a big difference.

    The fact that the people at the DOJ don't understand this kind of important difference (or they do and keep parroting the "copyright infringement=theft" meme anyway) is rather disturbing.

    Now the question is: will Rep. Watts try to get a bill through Congress effectively saying something "IP Theft is helpin teh terrorusts (including copyright in that definition since he supports Hollywood's interests), so we need to make it a a felony, and if you don't support this bill then you're with the terrorists!"?

    As the Zen Master says, "We'll see."

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    seems to me that the investigations have been going on for an awfully long time. I know how reluctant they are to arrest people just to pressure them into a plea deal but even so I would think there would have been at least one case by now.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    where do you dig these fucking idiots up from? how the hell can you be hoodwinked so completely that you give people like him such a high profile and highly responsible job? he's as bad as the DoJ guy, McBride and coming out with absolute bullshit to try to justify the ridiculous things he is doing and promoting. if i were the President, i would be embarrassed to be associated with these people!

     

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  56.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    below average joe
    /\
    abject authoritarian

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    BS, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    IP "theft" is as related to terrorism as food and air are. If at all.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Eric, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Terrorist can monetize better than the content producer?

    So if I understand this correctly:

    1) Infringement is all over the place, thus making it difficult to monetize content, which leads to the need for these laws
    2) Terrorist are able to fund themselves via monetizing this infringing
    3) Which leads to the final logic that terrorist are able to monetize content that is available everywhere better than the producers of the content???

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    average_joe, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    I'm a butthurt guy, saying butthurt things, because mike was mean to me. Please help by busting a cap in my brain pan.

     

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

  60.  
    identicon
    average_joe, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re:and we all know

    Holder don't LIE!!!

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    what is your's joey?

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    out_the_blow_and _into_average_joes_bunghole, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Kill 'em all and let allah sort 'em out

    It's clear that our esteemed Attorney General is on the right track. He just doesn't go far enough. Public execution of copyright infringers is the only way we can ever start to get a handle on this problem. Our very way of life is at stake.

    This would also stem the need for a eugenics pogrom as the world population could be cut by more than half in a short amount of time. The gubmint could hire team Prenda to take the wheel in discovering all these miscreants through their stellar discovery techniques we could be sure we had the right terrorists.

    Problems solved on many levels. Thank you, I'll be here all week.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    The President is just as bad as the rest of these yahoos.

     

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

  64.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Speaking from the point of view of justice (something you may or may not be failure with), it's not AC's job to prove that you're innocent. It's not my job, nor is it your job. We, all of us, are not responsible to prove that you're innocent.

    You want to know who is responsible to prove anything? The Attorney General. It's his responsibility to prove that you did do something. And it's his responsibility to prove that terrorists are somehow using something that everyone knows how to get for free to fund their actions.

    This isn't about terrorism. This, and most things on this blog, is about justice. And justice isn't just about punishing the guilty, it's about protecting the innocent. The innocent are far, far more important then the guilty.

     

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  65.  
    icon
    iambinarymind (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    "Our" Attorney Genital?

    As I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange (as opposed to the State's monopoly on force/aggression/violence), I emplore you to not use the all encompassing "our" when referring to the people that claim ownership over others (see organized theft/"taxation") and call themselves "government"...in this case, the Attorney Genital.

    Complex social issues cannot be solved through State force/violence (or threat thereof), it only makes the issues worse in the long run.

     

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  66. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    RD, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Re:

    "Maybe the Attorney General is privy to evidence that you are not? I mean, he is the Attorney General after all, and you're just a tech blogger. I dunno, Mike. You haven't shown that there is no such evidence."

    Spoken like a true proto-nazi. Naked appeal-to-authority. You are all ready to just goose-step your way to a fascist police state where the government runs your life and decides when you live or die. You disgust me.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Declaration of Independence.

    What's yours?

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re:

    Twenty years long? Most RICO investigations don't take that long, especially when the department that deals with this is mostly made after that time.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Terrorists are involved with drinking water since they, too, drink water and so drinking water can be linked to terrorism. Congress must do something.

     

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

  71.  
    icon
    Shaun Wilson (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Doesn't lying to congress = prison time?

    I believe people who have been convicted of lying to congress in the past have been sent to prison on occasion. Wouldn't it be interesting to see a response to a change.org petition requesting Holder be prosecuted?

    Of course such a petition would most likely be ignored like all the other ones that said more than "We love Obama!" but it might help to get some media attention to those lies at least.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Ferel (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    Conflating digital copying with terrorism.
    Wow.



    Just wow.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    Great... "Terrorists" are IP infringers... now that means the Gov't will feel justified in using serious firepower (the cops love playing "soldier") when dealing with computer nerds. Law enforcement is seriously out of control.

     

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

  74.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

    Coupled with drone strikes over US territory...

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    Wolfy, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    What really grinds my coconut is, a federal agent may lie to you, but if your lie back, that's a felony. A congress person may lie to the public, but if you lie to congress, its a felony.

    Check me if I'm wrong, but isn't something seriously out of balance here?

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re:

    That way the government can kill two birds with one stone. They can protect corporate profits and claim that they're going after terrorists. See, it's for your own good.

     

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

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    In this case Mike oversold the story which you are completely correct about. However, the sarcastic ask for proof of a negative is below your generally ok standard of reasoning, though it is pretty well in line with your emosional side.

    Unfortunately you come off as far less knowing when arguing based on feelings. For a lawyer in spe, I would look into that, since it can be used against you in court.

     

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

  78.  
    icon
    Dirkmaster (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Well, Rapidshare, Depostfiles, and Mega are ORGANIZED,

    Maybe OOTB is related to that crazy lady in a previous story who runs the bakery. Nothing anyone says would convince her either. I'm pretty sure it's an illness.

     

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

  79.  
    icon
    Togashi (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And under your logic, I can say that my closet is lined with unicorn fur, and you couldn't say it's not true because you can't prove it. I am the one who would have the evidence, not you.

    See, a rational person would just not believe that what I say is true until I showed them some compelling evidence. As the person making the positive claim, the burden of proof is on me.

     

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

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except on the basis of assuming you're innocent until there's proof that you aren't - that's how our justice system is supposed to work.

    After all, wouldn't you want people to actually stick up for you if you were accused of a crime without any evidence?

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    Parking Violations too

    I hear terrorists commit parking violations - we're really concerned about that, perhaps we need stronger penalties for parking violators, as there's a high probability that they're terrorists.

     

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

  82. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    icon
    average_joe (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    Re:

    Mike Masnick just hates it when copyright law is enforced.

    And he thinks piracy is not OK because (and only because) the victims don't like it. Reminds me of the argument that rape victims should just like it. I mean, they're getting laid, so it's OK, right? Funny how he's not man enough to actually discuss his beliefs on the merits. And by funny, I mean sad.

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Parking Violations too

    Terrorists drink water too!!!!

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    Since terrorists drink water and I drink water I must be a terrorist.

     

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

  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    It's funny how you're not man enough to discuss anything.

    And by funny, I mean sad.

     

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

  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Parking Violations too

    Also, if you drink water you're also a terrorist since terrorists drink water too. That makes everyone a terrorist!!! Congress needs to do something about the water supply. Wait, why would they, they're all terrorists too!!!!

     

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

  87.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:and we all know

    Was that a command or an affirmative statement?

     

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

  88.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Did you just compare rape to copyright?

    ...

    Whenever I see "arguments" like that, it just sickens me.

     

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

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    Re: "Our" Attorney Genital?

    miss sarcasm much there binary boy?

     

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

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    That's completely true: USA Gov is involved in IP Theft.

     

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

  91.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

    Eric Holder needs to be removed from his position.
    He is uninformed and has consistently mislead Congress about things happening on his watch.
    His actions have a body count, and nothing has happened.
    Some IRS workers get overly zealous and we need 4 hearings, many firing and demands of jailtime from our leaders... but the man in charge of Justice in this country perverts the course of it and they say nothing. They try to shift the blame onto the President because they need to win political hearts and minds... how about we stop the whole left right bullshit and fix the country instead of scoring soundbites.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You still have not proved to me that you did not cheat on every one of your exams.

    Judging by your total lack of understanding and comprehension, I cannot take your faith based assertions that you did not cheat.

    Are you finally going to provide proof that you did not cheat???

     

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

  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet you want us to take it on faith that the AG does have this evidence. That isn't how it works, as well you know. Argumentum ad ignorantiam. An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

     

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

  94.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    Re:

    Maybe the Attorney General is privy to evidence that you are not?

    Maybe he - or anyone else, ever - should actually show any evidence to back up his claim.

    After all, Holder is the one claiming there is a connection to terrorism. The burden of proof is on him to provide evidence for his assertion.

    He has provided none. Nobody else has provided any. The reason is that none exists.

    And before you ask Mike to show "that there is no such evidence," you know very well that this is factually impossible. You can't prove a negative.

    Example: there is no evidence whatsoever that Santa Claus does not exist. That does not mean that Santa Claus exists. And it does not mean that, if someone asserts that Santa Claus does in fact exist, we can't rake him or her over the coals for it.

     

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

  95.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 11:55pm

    Re: Re:

    And he thinks piracy is not OK because (and only because) the victims don't like it. Reminds me of the argument that rape victims should just like it.

    The fact that you just equated rape - a crime of violence, involving physical violation - with copyright infringement - which involves no violence, no physical violation, and affects the "victims" so little that they can't even tell when it happens - shows that you have no moral center whatsoever.

    But, leaving that aside, and saying for the sake of argument that they are even vaguely equivalent, what your saying still doesn't make any sense.

    Because if copyright infringement were rape, Mike would be saying, "rape is not OK, because it happens against the victim's will."

    This is not very controversial, and it is not even remotely like the argument that rape victims "should just like it."

    So, not only are you an immoral scumbag, you're a lying immoral scumbag.

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2013 @ 1:01am

    Re:

    Actually, he hates it when copyright "enforcers" lie, extort and terrorise innocent people...

    Hey...

    Holder's right, terrorists *are* "involved" in infringement, just not the side allegedly committing it.

     

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

  97.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 1:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "something you may or may not be failure with"

    Nice Freudian slip. We all know he's a failure ;)

     

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

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2013 @ 2:13am

    You don't understand what "terrorist" means. Terrorist means someone they don't like. Whenever you hear about "terrorism", remember the federal government is behind most terrorist plots.

    If "terrorists" are involved in IP theft, then that means "people we don't like and will frame or kill given the opportunity" are involved in IP theft.

     

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  99.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    See, it's the unauthorised trafficking of dihydrogen monoxide that is aiding and abetting terrorism and must be stopped! These terrorist criminal drug gangs are misusing chemicals that we should be controlling!

     

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

  100.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:36am

    Re: The statist mind: how does it work?

    Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist, Timothy McVeigh used fertiliser.
    Farmers use fertiliser, therefore farmers are terrorists!

    DOJ 'logic'...

     

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

  101.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:37am

    Re: Terrorist can monetize better than the content producer?

    This, 9000 timees this!

     

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

  102.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:40am

    Re: "Our" Attorney Genital?

    And the libertarian cavemen crawl out from under the rocks...

    Please, feel free to reject 'your' government and set up your own Galt commune... just remember not to use the government-funded roads to get there, nor to organise it over the government-established internet.

     

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

  103.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So, not only are you an immoral scumbag, you're a lying immoral scumbag."

    Does this mean his training as a lawyer is complete?

     

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  104.  
    identicon
    Roman, May 17th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Another tool

    The Justice Department needs another tool? I think Eric Holder is enough of a tool already.

     

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

  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's OUR GOVERNMENT YOU STUPID IDIOT!!! I WANT TRANSPARENCY and it is my right to have it. It is not the governments right to govern us, we voluntarily give it permission to and we want, demand, and are entitled to full transparency.

    Also, if the government knows something it shouldn't know did it violate privacy rights to acquire that info?

    This is a democracy, the government should serve the people and for us to determine how to be governed we need and demand transparency. It is our right.

     

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

  106.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re:

    He has provided none. Nobody else has provided any. The reason is that none exists.

    And before you ask Mike to show "that there is no such evidence," you know very well that this is factually impossible. You can't prove a negative.


    Contradict yourself much? You claim that it's impossible to prove there is no such evidence, but then you state categorically that there is no evidence. LOL! If you admit that you can't prove there is no evidence, then why are claiming that there is no such evidence? You can't prove that, as you admit.

     

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

  107.  
    icon
    average_joe (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because if copyright infringement were rape, Mike would be saying, "rape is not OK, because it happens against the victim's will."

    This is not very controversial, and it is not even remotely like the argument that rape victims "should just like it."


    Wow. So it's reasonable to think that the only reason rape is not OK is because it goes against the victim's will? That strikes me as very controversial. What about the fact that it causes harm to the victim? What about the interests of society?

    So, not only are you an immoral scumbag, you're a lying immoral scumbag.

    Getting personal much? It's one thing to disagree with me, but you needn't call me names like this.

     

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

  108.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, Holder is correct in saying terrorists are involved in the distribution of porn. There was a ton of porn found on Bin Laden's Computer right next to folder for Bit Torrent.

     

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

  109.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    porn should read IP

     

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

  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe...the allure of money has yet to trump his inflated ego.

     

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

  111.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 18th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. So it's reasonable to think that the only reason rape is not OK is because it goes against the victim's will? That strikes me as very controversial. What about the fact that it causes harm to the victim? What about the interests of society?

    We're off topic here, but I'll bite.

    If an act "causes harm to the victim," but is genuinely consensual, then it's not unreasonable to think it's OK. Or, at the very least, not outright immoral. Obviously, I don't know (or care about) Mike's stance on this issue, but as far as I'm concerned, consensual acts between adults are nobody's business but theirs.

    As far as the "interests to society" - again, if the acts are consensual, then what business is it of society's? How are the "interests to society" harmed by consensual acts between adults?

    In fact, those who tout the "interests to society" line tend to be those whose not-so-subtle goal is to outlaw pornography. People like the religious right, or mid-80's anti-porn feminists. I'm a fan of neither group, to put it mildly.

    But, getting back on track, this doesn't apply to copyright infringement. You have said that it is wrong even if it does not do any harm to the copyright holder, and even if society's interests are harmed in enforcing those rights. You are concerned solely with persecuting infringers, regardless of whether that helps society or not, regardless of whether that helps creative artists or not. So, obviously, you don't care about those things.

    In fact, between you and Mike, it is Mike who is much more concerned about "harm to the victim" - since he, and not you, is the one who examines practical means to minimize the harm from infringement (or even to turn it into an benefit). It is he, and not you, who is concerned with "the interests of society" - since he has made it abundantly clear that copyright laws are supposed to serve the public first and foremost. (Something you continuously deny.)

    Face it, Mike is far more moral than you are when it comes to copyright. I believe you already know this. It's why you lash out at him so much.

    It's one thing to disagree with me, but you needn't call me names like this.

    Those are the exact names that you call Mike all the time. I think you've even called me that once or twice, long ago.

    I guess I should try to avoid sinking to your level. It requires an immense amount of restraint, and sometimes I slip up.

     

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

  112.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 18th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Does this mean his training as a lawyer is complete?

    He did say he just got his JD...

     

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

  113.  
    identicon
    Bitrat, May 19th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    IP Terrorism

    Ha ha ha ha! Guess next time I download a movie, I should expect a visit by Homeland Security, BATF, FBI, etc ad nauseum.
    Get a grip Eric! All those poor kids torrenting movies, then selling copies on the streets of every major third world city of the world are NOT members of any terrorist group!
    Oh well, guess one should expect this....the "authorities" are so busy chasing phantoms that the biggest criminals (Wall Street bankers, multinational corporation tax evaders, etc) are just laughing while they count their ill-begotten billions.....business as usual.

     

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

  114.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), May 19th, 2013 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I should have also pointed this out.

    What about the fact that it causes harm to the victim? What about the interests of society?

    What about non-consensual acts that do not cause physical harm to the victim? Are they somehow not rape?

    And, what about when society decides that the rape doesn't harm their interests? Does this make it better?

    The act doesn't need to physically harm the victim to be rape. It does not need social disapproval to be rape.

    So, yes, the main evil is that it is done against the victim's will.

    I'm saying this less to rebuke your statements, and more because these things simply need to be said. I didn't say them, and that was wrong of me.

     

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

  115.  
    identicon
    stealthmouse, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re:

    That's why I'm certain that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus must be real, since no one can prove conclusively that they are not. Ah, the straw man, one of my faves! :)

     

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

  116.  
    identicon
    stealthmouse, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problem today is that the cries keep going out about patriotism and terrorism, that we should have our rights infringed using the guise of making us somehow safer, protected by the same fools who have let terrorism occur, and is the largest weapons supplier in the world, to both sides. This then trickles down to a bastardization of our justice system, where you're innocent until proven guilty, unless of course Eric Holder or Watt think you might have thought about being a terrorist, or looked at one in a news article, or some other completely illogical and non-factual connection. It's a theatre of the absurd, but it's actually happening before our eyes.

     

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


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