Nation's "Top Cop" Goes For The Hollywood Party Line

from the priorities? dept

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, after telling a group of middle schoolers in California that he was the country’s “top cop”, then went on to spread some of Hollywood’s propaganda, telling the kids that downloading copyrighted music was the same as copying another student’s homework or stealing bluejeans — when, of course, it isn’t. You’d think the man in charge of the Justice Department might understand that, but when, as the Mercury News’ Mike Langberg points out, he’ll fly across the country solely to try to scare a group of seventh- and eighth-graders straight and comes from a department that apparently thinks the scourge of piracy is as big a threat to the nation as terrorism, it’s not too surprising. Other events in the students’ three days of industry propaganda learning the importance of IP protection, which was apparently more important than whatever else they’re currently studying, included testing a game intended to teach kids not to fence stolen computers and get into credit-card fraud, then a contest to design a poster promoting the game, where winners got $50 and had to sign a contract relinquishing all their rights to the posters to the game’s producers as “a lesson in the economic value of IP”. Hollywood’s done a pretty thorough job of making the government its lapdog, and it looks like maybe the public schools are next.

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Comments on “Nation's "Top Cop" Goes For The Hollywood Party Line”

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Jimmy Bear Pearson (user link) says:

For-profit media piracy, and the schools...

Real Piracy: I cannot condone people who pirate media for profit. I can’t think of a single reason why for-profit software/music/film/image piracy makes sense or is even remotely OK.

Casual Copying: Casual copying doesn’t really kill any industry. In-home copy use of music, movies, and images don’t kill the industry either. The classic example is to listen on a copy of the CD downstairs while someone might also listen to it upstairs on a different device.

Lessons to learn early: Helping young folks decide what is wrong and what is right starts at an early age, yes. What is the difference between having a beer (after 21 years of age, of course) and getting wasted with beer on a regular basis or driving after drinking beer? Most folks can tell the difference, especially as they mature. What is the difference between copping a copy of a tune to see if you like it enough to buy it and constantly dealing with gigs of internet/outside-the-home CD copying? Most folks can tell the difference.

You’re right. Copying media is not like stealing jeans or cars or other tangible items – physical theft does not have an analog in the digital world. However, I think it is important to find a way to define what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to copying. This latter bit is where the devil is in the details.

When the law begins to understand that physical theft and unauthorized digital copying do not compare – only then can agreeable and reasonable rules be found.

Brad L. (profile) says:

Let's just call it corporate sponsorship of federa

How about we make it aboveboard and just auction off the naming rights for the AG job. Alberto Gonzales is now the “RI/MP AA Attorney General”.

I’m glad I don’t work for the FBI and have to be the handmaiden of the *AA, busting 18 year old dunces who videotape first run movies after their shift selling popcorn at the local theater. A couple of cases like that and the Agents should think about patrolling city parks and issuing municipal citations for violation of pooper-scooper laws. Bad comparison, at least the local cops would be doing something productive.

icepick314 says:

Clothing with DRM protection...

Can you imagine if clothing you wear is DRM locked?


yes your older sibling’s old-ass out-style jeans and shirts are locked to him/her ONLY and will have to be bought again and again….even won’t be able to mend when small tear does arrise because once you bought, you won’t be able to do anything with it…

thank god RIAA/MPAA doesn’t have scheme to get clothing to have built-in biometrics/RFID to lock into only one person…..

Anonymous Coward says:

Using the word “piracy” in reference to copyright violations is an insult to anyone who has ever been raped, pilaged or had their ship forcibly boarded by real pirates.

To respect the victims of REAL piracy worldwide, I humbly suggest that if a term must be used, that the press and public use the less specific words “brigand” and/or “brigandry” ie: music brigand or music/software brigandry.

These victims of piracy have already been injured once, there is no need to bring up these old memories.

Yea... says:

Re: Define Piracy

The definition of piracy is as follows: hijacking on the high seas or in similar contexts; taking a ship or plane away from the control of those who are legally entitled to it; “air piracy”

plagiarism: the act of plagiarizing; “taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own”.

I used to download music. I don’t anymore unless it is paid for, because, like the definition above, if I take something that isn’t mine without paying for it, is constitutes piracy, and that in this country, is a crime.

As for preaching it to school kids, I think that is a little over the top.

Mark (profile) says:


This is the same guy who recently defended warrantless wiretaps on American citizens on the grounds that it was too much trouble to follow due process. He’s a dutiful flunky; when he weighs actual legal principles against orders from higher-ups, the orders always win.

And to think, for a while there he looked like he was destined for the Supreme Court. Maybe we dodged a bullet there.

Stoolio says:

Re: Bob

Are you a non-thinking political hack or have you always been a two dimensional thinker.

What happens when people you don’t like get back into office and decide they want to know what bad things Bob may be saying about them.

What happens when they outlaw something you love to do? Are you going to keep your mouth shut like the coward you brag to be?

But this is off subject….

Garfiode says:

Re: Re:

Reminds me of line from a recant movie. “People should not fear their Government, Governments should fear their people.

Looks to me like were heading more towards the first rather then the latter. What are you going to do when they start hunting down everybody that doesn’t agree with you. When they have some secret council of 5. When they have people out on the streets to enforce curfew that are corupt.

Tell me what your going to do then.

Bob says:

Call me what you want but we need government with more control. Bring back the 50’s when kids actually got paddled and respected the adults. Bring back the days when there wasnt any homos, and people actually took responsibility for their own actions and instead of blaming everyone else for their problems and wanting handouts all the time. We need to eliminate all government programs that give free money to lazy people or people that have kids and cant afford them. If you cant afford them dont have them.We as a country would save so much money we wouldnt have a national debt. Everyone who commits a crome shoud be thrown in jail for life. That would make people think twice about commiting a crime instead of saying oh well if I get caught Ill be out of jail in a week.

jokerman says:

Re: Bob

Thanks for the opinion Bob. Im assuming you are the mighty hero, White Middle Classed Suburban Man. I take it you missed the point of this whole discussion. In your 50s, there was no email or digital piracy or even home computers. And of course there were no “homos” since they became extinct after the fall of Rome and then magically reappeared in the 1980’s. Kids only began misbehaving recently too. And youre right, the government should end all programs that give “free” money and food to anyone this country who was ever persecuted for their race. Especially those Native Americans, they need to get over it.

btw Bob the country’s national debt increased roughly 5 trillion since 2001. I guess a lot of people got extra lazy. I would continue but this is way easy and could go on for way long.

Yea... says:

Re: Bob

I can’t agree with all of what you said, but I can’t disagree with all of it, either. Yes, fifty years ago, crime was lower, but welfare had already been ushered in (between the world wars), so if you want to go back to a time without government handouts, you might want to go a bit further.

People calling you names because you posted your opinion is just plain childish, and I would like to apologize to you on behalf of all of us who don’t do that. Which brings me to my second comment.

There was a time when people who fooled around and got pregenant outside of marriage (old word being wedlock) were looked down on. Times have changed. People who fool around and get sexually transmitted diseases, get pregenant and then end up with welfare dependants are considered victims. Interesting thought, since their situations are self inflicted. Sad all the way around.

I was raised poor, dirt poor, when I was a young kid we didn’t even have running water in the house for several years, no joke. I might sound old, but I am actually in my late twenties. My point is, we were very, very poor. My folks averaged under 15,000 grand a year, and we never used foodstamps, had very little debt, and lived clean.

Lifestyle is a choice, I now make very good money, own my home and am raising children on property with horses, cattle and a beautiful wife.

Lifestyle is a choice, yes things might have been easier in yesteryear, but lifestyle is a matter of how and where and what we choose to live like, call it morality, I do.

We can’t look at kids today without blaming ourselves to a degree for letting the standard.

Anyway, we can all make the world a better place, one day and one person at a time.

bjc (profile) says:

So, Bob. You’ve never exceeded the lawfully posted speed limit? Never made a tape of a CD or (in your case) record album to listen to in the car? Never torn the tag off of a mattress? Never crossed a street somewhere other than the corner? Never let a parking meter expire?

If you have committed any of these “cromes” (sic) you know where you belong.

I really tried to see your point of view, but I couldn’t get my head far enough up my ass.

Mr Rat says:

schools and propoganda

we dont have to worry about stuff like this in Australia – we know already that our kids only listen to TV – thats why one of the major TV shows: “Neighbours” is currently featuring a story line where by one of the main characters is downloading and selling DVDs – just a matter of weeks (things take time on soap operas) until his busted for piracy – subliminal brain washing – if Kimbo Timmins gets caught then so will you !!!

Jyotheendra says:

copying home work??who does the original work

when in school i always used to argue,there is no concept called copying home work,,

the guys who ‘sincerely’ do their home work do not CREATE their or answers or solutions they would have copied ideas from teachers or books

if thats the case even eachers should be accused of copying as they have ‘copied’ ideas and assumtions from books


top pop

That is pathetic, their are soooo many other meaningful issues today in which to illustrate and reinforce moral underpinnings such as violence in gangs and cronic drug use. Lap-dog, you bet and the scum that brainwashes the public under the guise of ‘entertainment’ well, i guess hogs can have lap-dogs too!

Gee, I wonder what movie will have him written into it or better yet maybe he’ll get a executive producer role in an upcoming Tom Cruz detective movie or an advisor on the next IP tragedy/comedy/thriller/animation.

DRM this (o)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Caught

Why because I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle? Nothing wrong with that since they choose to be that way. I dont hold anything against someone for something they cnt help like disabilities, race, age, etc.. but when you choose a disgusting and immoral lifestyle I have every right to disagree and not want to see it. Nothing more disgusting than seeing to men or 2 women holding hands or kissing in public.

Nilt says:

Re: Re: Caught

“Nothing more disgusting than seeing to men or 2 women holding hands or kissing in public.”

Wow. Guess we really *should* be out there raping and pillaging then. As long as we’re neither holding hands with nor kissing others of the same sex we should be fine.

Who’s up for raping old ladies and little children?

It’s idiots like this guy that really allow the government to do whatever they want.

icepick314 says:

Re: Caught

that tag on the mattress is legal to remove by the consumer after it’s bought…it’s only there to tell the potential buyer what it’s made of….like ingredient listing on food stuff….

and what’s with homophobic remark there?

Back in the good old days, weren’t there class systems by monetary values and segregation?

god i hope United States isn’t all that close-minded…

Times are changing constantly…what was unacceptable once could change with views of the masses…will there be resistance? course there are always people who disagrees but that’s America for you….no matter who you are, you can be heard…

but no one likes extreme left or right…too much of good thing isn’t good…always….

Dustin Ashes says:

RIAA or KKK ? the Intellecual connection.

i don’t get it.

what is truth, is what the Advertisers SAY truth is at that MOMENT. and this applies to Computers in a big way.

Advertising Example (1): the Pc mags used to run anti Macintosh ads that stated:

“REAL Men….don’t use a Mouse “Real” men issue COMMANDS as if they were the King of the Command-line”.

remember those ads ?

so when IBM came out with a mouse, they called it a “Pointer”, to avoid the obvious contradiction to those earlier Ads.

Advertising Example (2): to get workers, to ACCEPT the PC in the work-place, the computer industry would spawn articles and advertisements on how the PC was

going to make our JOBS so much EASIER.

so next thing, you know, PC’s are popping up on desktop after desktop.

secretaries are typing in memo after memo. form letter after form letter.

“I only have to do it once, then i’ll simply press CNTRL-P anytime my boss tells me to type the memo. Life is GOOD !!! “.

what the secretary did NOT know was this: her BOSS was getting a

DIFFERENT form of Advertising about the PC.

while the SECRETARY was being told: “the PC will make your job EASIER”….

the BOSS was being told by the advertisers:

“once your secretary get’s all those memo’s typed

into the computer…DOWN-size her. FIRE her ! ”

heck, THEN you don’t need to PAY someone ten dollars an hour,

just to CTRL-P for ‘ Print ‘ ……”

and just think of what you’ll save in Health Benefits !!!! ”

SO: what they did was RECORD her keystrokes, then would PLAY them back

without paying her any royalties.

they called that “AUTOMATION.”

they didn’t “link” automation to somthing Evil called “Theft”.

they linked it to something Beautiful….called “Progress”.

the 1990’s saw secretaries and mid-management people hit the

unemployment line in record numbers.

the secretaries were not Alone in this workplace slaughter. technical draftsmen in droves were “replaced” by the AutoCad files on their hard-drives.

“no hard feelings they were told……it’s just ‘ Automation ‘ …..a natural consequence of ‘ Progress ‘ ….”

Advertising Example (3): the computer companies, and record companies,

are PRESENTLY running advertisements on TV,

These new ads are trying to convince us that

RECORDING guitar licks of musician, and then sitting back

and pressing PLAY….without paying him a Royalty is STEALING.

copying a secrataries *.DOC file, the draftsman’s *.DWG file or a record company’s *.MP3 file…..

(A) is it “AUTOMATION” ? or …

(B) is it “STEALING” ?

If an industry’s response to that question is: (A) the secretary’s/ draftsman’s keystrokes are MANUAL labor and (B) the musician guitar licks are INTELLECTUAL property.

and then adds this comment:

“the FIRST is NOT protected by law. the SECOND one IS protected by law. ”

Then laws on protecting “Intellectual” property, while NOT protecting “Manual” labor property are a form of RACISM.

Here’s why:

The more we learn from genetic studies; the more we realize that Cerebral output levels are related to Genetic traits.

the Ability to achieve Cereberal work output, is as Genetic as the ability to work at “Heights” (ie: Tower Climbing).

some people “Have” it. some people “Don’t”.

What’s important, is that each individual SWEAT and TOIL to IMPROVE their individual skill…and receive Compensation BASED on the AMOUNT of sweat they emit.

on the EFFORT they put forth.

on the PAIN they endure to achieve a goal.

and if the laws on intellectual property are a form of Racism; what does it tell us?

It tells us the following…

the RIAA is the Plantation Owner.

and the Worker replaced by a Machine is the:

N___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___R .

i find it spiritually interesting, that Attorney General Gonzales, the son of migrant farm workers, would side with the Plantation Owner.

Harvard ACCOMPLISHED it’s mission in YOUR soul, sir.

Nobody says:

Well, how about this?

According to Carlo’s story, the nations top atttorney had kids participate in

…a contest to design a poster promoting the game, where winners got $50 and had to sign a contract relinquishing all their rights to the posters to the game’s producers as “a lesson in the economic value of IP”.

The winner of the contest could use his $50 to hire an attorney to:

1. Give formal notice that the kid disavows the contract; and

2. Demand some very high royalties from any use the game’s producers make of his poster design.

The law is very straightforward: a minor cannot be bound by a contract, except in situations where specific statutes permit it.

At least the legal battle would be fun to watch, maybe enough fun that some bigtime IP lawyers would take the kid’s case on contingency for a piece of any awards.

Sentimental Fool says:

MP3 Stealing

I’m no fan of this administration. But in this case they are right. An artist writes a song. Obtains rights to that song. You take it withoiut paying – that’s stealing.

Hey if you don’t believe me ask your Mom. It’s horse sense. It doesn’t belong to you, you take it – stealing.

No matter what pain you go through to justiify it – you are a thief.

You take candy from a store – your are athief.

You take blue jeans you are a thief.

That being said the top cop is still and idioit who’s main joib seems to be defending illegal actions by top politicians – but that doesn’t change things. Get it? You take something that doesn’t belong to you – yoiu are a thief. You become him, you don’t want to be him do you?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: MP3 Stealing

You take it withoiut paying – that’s stealing.

Hmm. Wev’e gone over this about a thousand times, but it’s not quite that simple.

Hey if you don’t believe me ask your Mom. It’s horse sense. It doesn’t belong to you, you take it – stealing.

Actually, if you ask my Mom, she’ll explain to you that *making a copy* of music isn’t theft, because the original owner still has his copy. She’ll explain that it is copyright infringement, but it’s not theft.

You take candy from a store – your are athief.

You take blue jeans you are a thief.

Again, both examples involve tangible goods, where the original owner is now missing his or her goods. That’s theft. That’s not the case with music sharing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: MP3 Stealing

its only copyright infringement because they refuse to license the songs collectively – I’d be glad to pay $5-$10 a month on top of my internet connection to support artists – they can make money without controlling every copy – in fact they would make more money by encouraging more copies – the copyright brainwashing of children is nothing more than ensuring the preservation of mass media congolmerates – they’re worried about their future – they couldnt give a rats arse about the artists

Anonymous Coward says:

I am disabled as well for a back problem and I still work. But even if you are disabled to the point that you are confined to a wheelchair you can still work for a living. You could work at Walmart as a greeter, You could work as a data entry person since it appears you can type. You could work at a hospital at the reception area telling people where to go etc…

Josh says:

” then a contest to design a poster promoting the game, where winners got $50 and had to sign a contract relinquishing all their rights to the posters to the game’s producers as “a lesson in the economic value of IP”. ”

These were 7th and 8th graders… so none of them would have been 18 years old. The “contract” they signed then has no legal value. The winnders should copyright their works and then hope Hollywood uses the work in a commercial, ad campaign, or something. They’d sure as heck get more than $50 that way, and teach a lesson about IP to Hollywood.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

AG = Top LAWYER not “top cop”… but it makes for a good soundbite.

Downloading, as has often been pointed out, it Copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is not (always) theft… but it makes for a good soundbite.

Seems to me that he is more interested in soundbites than facts.

Let him try that on a law class and watch them take him apart.

M. Marbles says:

wouldn't a Bulletproof Vest be Nice... when they F

how would feel…if you were serving in the armed forces in Iraq…

and you noticed that a few spoiled rich kids had BULLET-PROOF Vests.

but nobody ELSE had ’em !

Weird, hey ?

especially if HE and YOU got shot at the same time.

be an interesting side-by-side COMPARISON, hey ?

a real Test of “all men are created Equal”…right ?

well…what if they want to DO that

in YOUR workplace ?

check this out….


a MUSICIAN gets Vicious if tell him:

“hey, i don’t need to go to your CONCERT,

i got an MP3 of you.

ill just PLAY you whenever i want to hear your song.

so GET LOST ! don’t BOTHER me.

that muscian under law, can file legal action and punish me up to

FIVE YEARS and/or $250 thousand dollars fine, for Music PIRACY.

you see that FBI warning on every VCR and DVD.

he’s PROTECTED from my Replay of his work.

i can’t FIRE him…he’s got a Bulletproof Vest !


on the Other hand:

a Data Entry clerk, enters her data on a TEMP job. no benefits. no retirement

plan. then finishes. gets LAID OFF, and frantically begins to search

for a New job.

the company says:

“hey we don’t NEED you to come to work.

we got your DATA files,

we’ll just do REPRINT S of your WORK

anytime we need your work from now on.

“BYE lady !”

the data entry clerk under law, better get busy….or she’ll STARVE.

she’s NOT protected from her bosses Replay of her work.

she gets FIRED….no Bulletproof Vest !


“why buy the COW….when i ALREADY got your MILK”.

a manager SAYS that to himself, when firing workers, no longer needed

because he’s got all their work

on the computer hard-drive.

does THAT sound Honest ?

does THAT sound like they’re NOT stealing ?

OR does it sound as SLEEZY as the guy who wants to BED a woman,

but not make a life-long COMMITMENT to that woman ?

so the guy gets her pregnant.

then throws her out onto the Street.

“Harlot !” he shouts. “get a Job”.

THEN turns around…winks…jokes to his buddies:

“why buy the COW ? i got the MILK ? ”

when the PC first entered the worldplace in the early 1980s;

the AFL-CIO did NOT accuse those companies of THEFT.

WHY ? because Union Workers ACCEPTED it as “Progress”.

they accepted it as a SACRIFICE workers must make

for a Better World.

the ACCEPTED computer users REPLAYING their work,


even if you were REPLACED by automation,

even if you temporarily lost your Livelihood

the theory was your life would STILL improve

in OTHER ways.

Human “Progress” !!!!

and you would THINK:

if dubbing SECRETARIAL files is NOT theft.


dubbing MUSIC/MOVIE/SOFTWARE files is ALSO not theft.

Right ?

BOTH are simply “Progress”.

the ORIGINATOR of that data file made a SACRIFICE


like SOLDIERS…every worker DISPLACED by the PC

has made a SACRIFICE to technology

to make a Better world…a better AMERICA.

a RICHER life we could ALL partake in.

UNless of course…

you’re in the MUSIC/MOVIE/SOFTWARE industry

YOU got “Bulletproof Vests”.

it’s always good for the Morale of the troops,

really gives you the goosebumps of Esprit de Corps,

or Brotherhood in Arms….

when NObody’s got Bulletproof vests…

EXCEPT a couple spoiled Rich Kids, hey ?

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