Why Are UK Police Allowing Entertainment Industry Employees To Arrest And Interrogate People With Their Help?

from the incredible dept

We've discussed in the past the oddity of how a UK anti-piracy group, FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft), which is a private organization set up and controlled by large entertainment industry players, being deeply involved in criminal investigations and cases against individuals. In the case against Surfthechannel, FACT was directly involved in seizing and keeping the computers involved and then in paying the police for the prosecution. Even if you can reasonably argue that they should be involved in helping with providing information for the investigation, you'd think most people would agree that that's where the industry's involvement should end. They shouldn't be present on raids. They shouldn't get to touch or keep the evidence. And they certainly shouldn't be financing and pressing the criminal case.

But, apparently, the industry's control over law enforcement in the UK continues. TorrentFreak reports on how FACT teamed up with local police to send five police cars to house to arrest a guy and seize his electronic equipment with FACT employees, because FACT claimed the guy had filmed a movie and uploaded it. Apparently, the person they were actually looking for no longer lived at the address, but it didn't stop police from taking the guy to the police station where he was interrogated mainly by FACT employees with the police just sitting back and taking notes.
“At the police station I was interviewed by the police together with FACT (Federation Against Copyright and Theft). During questioning they asked me about Fast and Furious 6, where I obtained a copy from and if I was the one who went and recorded it at the cinema.”

Despite police involvement, as in previous cases it appears they were only present in order to gain access to the victim’s property, sit on the sidelines taking notes, and for their powers when it comes to presenting crimes for prosecution.

“I was detained for 3 hrs 12 minutes, out of that I was questioned for approximately 40 minutes. One police officer and two FACT officers conducted the interview. The police officer sat back and let FACT do all the questioning, so FACT were running the show,” the man reports.
As for what charges were used to arrest the guy? The vaguely ridiculous: "Miscellaneous Offense." When the guy questioned the police, they said they "could not find the relevant charge." Wow.

In the meantime, the guy has been released on bail and told that he's not allowed to enter any movie theater in England or Wales "while the investigation is being carried out."

No matter which side of the debate you're on, I'd hope you can recognize how utterly insane it is to allow private parties to effectively run a criminal investigation like this.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    The UK has been a police state for well over a decade. This news isn't as shocking as much as it is expected.

    You should see what they do to people who illegally import blank disks. Their bodies are never found.

    It wouldn't be surprising if these FACT "officers" carry black badges with red cross-like emblems on them. Would be most fitting.

    /joke

     

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  2.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    I wonder if they wear brown shirts?

     

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  3.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Why Are UK Police Allowing Entertainment Industry Employees To Arrest And Interrogate People With Their Help?

    Because the corporations own the Government. Simple as that. And this won't change without some heavy protesting. Revolution if you will. And I'm afraid there will be blood. See how the Occupy movements were dealt with. Brushed aside as some hygiene problem, thrown out because they were disturbing some church somewhere...

    We've gone past the opportunity to turn this back without bloodshed for a while now.

     

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  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    By blood I mean with victims. I was talking half metaphorically and half literally. My bad.

     

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  5.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Just wait until the Justice and Security bill comes into effect. No more public trials, no more jury trials if government say so.

     

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  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    Yeah, we're DEEP in fascism, Mike, but I'm more worried about the Federal Reserve. I'm under the impression you went to an Ivy League college and so should be capable of dealing with larger scale matters, but I don't see any evidence of it. This is too small a step up from the broccoli just past.

     

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  7.  
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    Jessie (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Two by two....Hands of blue...

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Funny that the pot should proclaim the bottom is black, yet once again, ootb never fails to drum the usual.

    If that is your concern ootb, why aren't you on your own site doing that? No your real concern is your hidden love affair (in your head) you wished you had with Mike.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    I look forward to the blog where you pour your inane thoughts out for all to bask in.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    Swing and a miss...

     

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  11.  
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    Stig Rudeholm (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Well, that sounds alright!

    """At the police station I was interviewed by the police together with FACT (Federation Against Copyright and Theft). During questioning they asked me about Fast and Furious 6, where I obtained a copy from and if I was the one who went and recorded it at the cinema."""

    Federation Against Copyright and Theft? That sounds like something I could get behind, as copyright is being heavily abused to steal from the public.

     

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  12.  
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    Loki, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    No matter which side of the debate you're on, I'd hope you can recognize how utterly insane it is to allow private parties to effectively run a criminal investigation like this.

    Except the copyright True Believers don't think it is the least bit insane. They won't come right out and say so, of course, because doing so will show the true depth of their Zealotry. Instead they will attempt to obfuscate the matter, or even more likely try to change the subject altogether.

     

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  13.  
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    Jay (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    *facepalm*

    Somewhere, an MPAA executive is salivating over the idea of having the ultimate power to control markets just like FACT is attempting.

    I'm pretty sure that in the next round of legislation, that's going to be in the TPP. You just can't let FACT have all of the credit in a royally bad idea.

     

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  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Isn't this what you wanted?

    In the relentless push around here to undermine any ownership of intellectual property that gets in the way of Big Search making a buck, we're constantly told that it's wrong for the people to pay for protecting the content creators' rights. Nevermind that the people tax themselves to pay for the police to protect all of us. That's what we always hear from the looniest people here. They might as well argue that the murder victims alone should pay for their own investigations.

    So the content owners are just doing what you wanted. They're providing the manpower to solve the cases. They're helping the cops just like a burglary victim helps the cops. You're the one that wants the content producers to police their own content. Well now they're doing it. Why don't you just sit back and enjoy getting your way?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    What do the laws of England say on the matter?

     

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  16.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    Yeah, we're DEEP in fascism, Mike, but I'm more worried about the Federal Reserve.



    I'm more worried about the airspeed velocity of an unladen African Swallow and you didn't mention a damn thing about it in your comment, so I guess we are all even now.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    Re: *facepalm*

    More likely an MAFIAA executive is running FACT.

    And as far as the TPP is concerned, the MAFIAA is probably using FACT (among others) to show the world is doing this and succeeding already.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    So, can I pay the UK police to prosecute FACT for trespassing, theft of personal property, blackmail, false arrest, corrupting public officials (police and prosecutors), and bribery (paying police to arrest and prosecute people FACT wants)?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

    Maybe you need to conduct a search.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anynymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    I wouldn't worry about how UK is being UK. What I'm worried about is we're headed down that path .... and sliding fast. With corporate people and ICE (sigh!) leading the way....

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    This one's alive...

     

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  22.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    They're helping the cops just like a burglary victim helps the cops.


    Really? When do burglary victims get to interrogate the accused perpetrator or handle the evidence?

    Also, when we talk of the rights holder's having to pay for enforcement of their rights we are usually talking about civil proceedings. And that is how it should be. The cops won't spend resources to investigate your neighbor just because you wish to sue him for putting his fence on your property. That investigation comes out of your pocket.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    all your comments sound like the real life Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    What a bellend

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    PRMan, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    "thrown out because they were disturbing some church somewhere..."

    Link?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:21pm

    Why Are UK Police Allowing Entertainment Industry Employees To Arrest And Interrogate People With Their Help?

    They are just following the lead of the police in the USA.

     

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  27.  
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    PRMan, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    That depends...how much do you got?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    Don't touch your keyboard. EVER.

    In the UK, we have something called a private prosecution. That's what FACT do, with the assistance of the police. What is wrong and unethical is the collection of evidence. FACT should have zero interaction with that part of the investigations.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re:

    Plenty if I raise money from lots of small donors.

    And while we're at it, I also really hate those [insert hated & persecuted minority group here], so lets pay UK police to prosecute them for [insert illegal thing this minority group is typically associated with]. Who cares if we don't have evidence, we can just make it up, since we'll get to store the evidence in our homes and offices!

     

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  30.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    In the UK, we have something called a private prosecution.


    Interesting.

    What about the interrogation part? Wouldn't that sorta of fall under the collection of evidence part also?

     

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  31.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

     

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  32.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    According to wikipedia:
    Private prosecutions are permitted in the United Kingdom. They are governed by different rules in the different jurisdictions.
    Weird. I hear they drive on the wrong side of the road also ;)

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Sambo, May 28th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    I was shocked

    I was shocked when I read this.

    They really have now made made 6 Fast and Furious movies?

    There is the real crime.

     

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  34.  
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    Duke (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Thanks to rather excessive and one-sided lobbying over the last few decades the police in England have very broad powers, and even when they go beyond them no one usually cares (or in one high-profile case in 2011, the government subverted the courts and passed a new law in a week, to make what they were doing legal).

    That the police didn't know what law they were supposedly using doesn't surprise me - it is fairly common (police aren't taught the law); the TorrentFreak article refers to s17 Copyright Designs and Patents Act, which is relevant, but I think they really want s107. The last time there were prosecutions under the CDPA for this, the prosecutors got the wrong crime anyway...

    What worries me about this is the apparent lack of a defence lawyer in the interviews. From what I've seen of previous cases such as this (with the film and music industries) where a good lawyer has been involved from early enough on, the case has collapsed (in one case, when the prosecutors were forced to admit they had no idea what was going on as the music industry enforcers were running everything).

    There was a case a few years ago (over SurfTheChannel) where Federation Against Copyright Theft Ltd and a local police force were taken to court over their actions in an arrest (including the police's decision to hand over all their evidence to Fact Ltd after they'd decided not to prosecute), but the court of appeal sided with Fact Ltd. The guy in question is currently (iirc) in prison pending appeal of his conviction.

    Private prosecutions are rare but do happen from time to time; they're something of a historical oddity, but not all that unreasonable - it wasn't the Fact Ltd paying the police, but Fact Ltd paying for their own private prosecution (providing lawyers etc.).

     

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  35.  
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    Starke (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    The... wait, what?

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Google 'occupy st pauls', and get a lot of links.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    Yep. Which is what really pisses me off about FACT: they act like they have powers equivalent to the Stasi, and the Police tend ot let them.

     

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  38.  
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    Togashi (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 2:11pm

    So he's not allowed to go to the movies because somebody who used to live where he lives now may have recorded/uploaded one? That's insane.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    Re: I was shocked

    To be fair, there's only one that's unwatchable....on Youtube....

     

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  40.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Re:

    Welcome to copyright law.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    AY200, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Who is the president of FACT?
    Where does he live?
    Because I happened to hear from someone that he recorded Fast and Furious 6, and also he has about sixty gigs of child pornography on his computer.
    That's just a fourth-hand anonymous tip. Should fly in the UK.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    Re: I was shocked

    Vs3

    Fast and the furious is awesome.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    Re:

    The copyright cartel consider that everyone is a crook. It is so hard to prove this that living in a house that someone else they suspect lived in is all the proof they need.

     

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

  44.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Mistake

    > Apparently, the person they were actually looking for no
    > longer lived at the address, but it didn't stop police from
    > taking the guy to the police station where he was interrogated
    > mainly by FACT employees with the police just sitting back
    > and taking notes.

    That's not what the linked article says. It says the cops went to the first address, found out that the suspect didn't live there anymore, then went to the place where he currently lives and arrested him there. They didn't arrest anyone at the first address.

    > The person they were looking for no longer lived at the address
    > but in the space of 15 minutes three cars, four detectives and
    > two FACT officers HAD MADE IT TO THE CORRECT LOCATION.

    > Armed with an emergency search warrant issued out of hours
    > by a judge, police and FACT officers entered the suspectís home.

     

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  45.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    They're helping the cops just like a burglary victim helps the cops.

    What burglary victim gets to arrest their suspects themselves and then interrogate them at the police station?

    Please provide details. Thanks.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    You are hereby found guilty of being accused by FACT. How do you plead?

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 28th, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    Remember a while back when that scam was going around in which a message popped up on the screen and said that your activities had been monitored and logged, your files have been encrypted, etc.? I was on a public access computer a few weeks ago and that happened. Everything froze up. So I just manually turned the computer off with the on/off button, turned it back on, and voila! Everything was back to normal.

     

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

  48.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), May 28th, 2013 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Isn't this what you wanted?

    Bob has no need for your facts! (no pun intended)

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2013 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re:

    You mean the correct side.

     

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

  50.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 29th, 2013 @ 12:40am

    Re:

    Bonus: the evidence here may well just be an IP address, which is inaccurate for identification, could be spoofed, could be assigned to a router that had been hacked, etc. So, even the original guy may not be the person responsible.

    Meanwhile, the film in question (Fast & Furious 6) has taken $314 million worldwide so far (as of last weekend), and the guy who uploaded the movie is likely to have taken exactly $0 profit for himself. Aren't we all glad to be having our rights removed because a studio doesn't feel like they're making enough money? (Yes, before the trolls come in, this doesn't excuse his actions, but there's nothing in the actual actions that defends this kind of response).

     

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  51.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), May 29th, 2013 @ 12:40am

    This should really be in the Onion

    In a concerted effort with the Met Police, ICE, FACT, MPAA, MI5, CIA, and Interpol; movie piracy was finally vanquished completely.

    Special agents successfully raided the house of the 24 year old mastermind of worldwide movie piracy, and have the suspect in custody pending his extradition to the US and subsequent detention in Guantanamo Bay.

    Outside of a police station in the West Midlands, Chris Dodd, president of the MPAA proudly proclaimed, "Mission Accomplished."

     

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  52.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), May 29th, 2013 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No no. We drive on the RIGHT side, they drive on the other side, ergo the WRONG side. It's in their own language. ;-)

     

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

  53.  
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    Niall (profile), May 29th, 2013 @ 3:35am

    This doesn't sound legal...

    Quoting from a Guardian article linked to in the previous wikipedia quote, about if someone could bring a private prosecution against the Prime Minister (then Gordon Brown in 2009) (my emphasis added):

    "So, in principle, it is possible for a member of the public to prosecute a public figure for an offence under SOCPA or indeed for fraud. However, even assuming that the difficulties outlined above can be overcome there are two further practical problems. First, a private prosecutor does not have any of the powers of the police to seize evidence or question suspects, and he or she has no right of access to statements, evidence, or other documents held by the CPS. Putting together sufficient evidence to amount to a "case to answer" on the basis of publicly available material will often be tricky. Second, the court may make an order that a party pay costs that have been incurred as a result of an unnecessary or improper act or omission. If it considers that the prosecution was completely misconceived and the defendant incurred costs as a result then there may be a substantial bill to pay."

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    DP, May 29th, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: Nor should private parties be running the Federal Reserve.

    Can anybody actually translate this into readable English that actually makes any sense?

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    Dave, May 29th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re:

    Nah - we drive on the CORRECT side of the road. Everyone else is wrong! Nobody else does it properly. After all, most people are right-handed and that's where you keep your sword to do a bit of swash-buckling, fending off ne-er do wells, highwaymen and ruffians, which you can't do if you drive your carriage on the right.

     

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

  56.  
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    tqk (profile), May 29th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    After all, most people are right-handed and that's where you keep your sword to do a bit of swash-buckling ...

    I believe it's rather difficult for a "right-hander" to draw a sword when it's hung on the "right" side.

    On the (sigh) other hand, as the left side of the brain controls the right-hand side of the body, left-handers are the only ones who're really in their right mind.

     

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


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