Halt…In The Name Of The MPAA/RIAA/FBI/NSA! [Updated: Hoax]

from the you're-in-trouble-now dept

See update below. GeneralEmergency writes “I was performing a Google search on the phrase “this website has been closed” recently, and the sixteenth result was a link to http://vxbinaca.beevomit.org/party_van/ where you get treated to the following (which you may want to read before clicking):

“This website has been closed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, in association with the United States National Security Agency, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America; pending a federal investigation.

Your visit to this URL has been logged. Please stay where you are. You will be contacted for questioning regarding the investigations related to this website. Any attempt to evade questioning will be considered obstruction of justice, and is subject to fines and imprisonment, pursuant to 18USC1510(a).

The owner(s) of this site will no longer be available for comment. For inquiries or if you wish to assist in this investigation, please contact:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Attention: Internet Investigation Unit
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 7350
Washington, DC 20535

(202) 324-3000


My first thought was, “OK….Ummm…Wait for how long? I was really thinking about going to Lowes this afternoon for a new tube of Loctite.”

But the more I thought about this apparent method of “Honey Pot Trap” investigation, assuming it is genuine, the more silly this seems. If they were serious about this site being an investigatory tool, you would think that they would have the basic internet common sense to use a robots.txt file to keep Google (and other polite netizens) from indexing the site. Moreover, it only takes one guy like me to stumble across a site like this, post it’s URL elsewhere obfuscated as a TinyURL, and their little honeypot get overrun with ants!

If the F.B.I. is not serious about this method as an investigation tool, then why put up silly threats like this?

You can also find plenty of other sites that Google says contain the text string “This website has been closed by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Guess I’m in big trouble now! I’ll let you know if any suits show up on my doorstep!”

I actually don’t believe this is a honey pot at all. Just a bogus threat tactic. It’s the same message that goes up on every file sharing site that eventually gets taken down. Four years ago, we wrote about the same message on the front of Grokster’s site. It’s a blatant (and bogus) scare tactic, and pretty ridiculous as well. It is a bit silly that (1) the FBI and NSA allow their names to be posted with the RIAA and MPAA (2) that they imply just visiting the site is somehow illegal and worthy of being logged followed by a “visit” and (3) that they somehow think this is effective. Update: As pointed out in the comments, the particular site singled out above is a hoax… but really isn’t all that different from the site that actually did go up on the Grokster page…

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Comments on “Halt…In The Name Of The MPAA/RIAA/FBI/NSA! [Updated: Hoax]”

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Marcus Carab (profile) says:

“Please stay where you are.”

WHAT? That is the most bizarre thing I have ever read (okay, the whole thing is pretty bizarre, but I keep staring at that one line.) I’ll just wait here at my computer for a phone call from the FBI then, shall I?

Are they even ALLOWED to say that? For the FBI to tell random people to “stay where they are”? I can half-envision some poor old lady stumbling onto the site by accident and then dying of dehydration while she sits there, terrified, waiting for a G-Man to knock on the door.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Well, looks like everyone has cracked this one now. And I have to agree I am just a little surprised that nobody checked that before this was posted – checking the domain was the first thing I thought of, and clearly I wasn’t alone.

I also checked plain ol’ beevomit.org (Bee Vomit? Really?) – and that in itself is somewhat interesting. From the page: “The SDF community is made up of caring, highly skilled people who
operate behind the scenes to maintain a non-commercial INTERNET.”

Anyone know anything about that? Is it actually unique and interesting or is it just another walled garden?

soup, b says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yeah. I agree. And all this time, I thought I controlled 4chan. Been on there since 1997.


Whoever brought 4chan internal joke to Masnick needs to be punished for not understanding the rules of the internet. I will not stand for this, and not stand idly and allow people taking Mike for a ride. This is why GeneralEmergency needs to be punished.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Punish Away…

Once again, this story was submitted something like two weeks ago and I -did-, within an hour or so, submit another “Mia Culpa” retraction story to Mike pointing out that I -HAD- discovered this site was a hoax/joke, just not a very well known one.

Go ahead and spank me if you wish, but it’ll make Baby Jesus cry.

McBeese says:



GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

For the record...

Man…is it ever weird pulling up Techdirt and seeing your nom de plume in boldface.

For the record, I also managed to figure out it was a hoax site by navigating up a level… and I -did- submit an “Oops, Nevermind.” submission to Mike about an hour or so later.

Also, for the record, I did in fact actually go to Lowe’s that day and bought -four- tubes of Loctite.

(It’s the little things in life that are important.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


“If you’ve ever looked at the FBI Anti-Piracy logo and thought that it would make a great deterrent for your Web site or other creative work, think again.

The logo, first announced in early 2004, is only for members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

Unauthorized use of the logo as part of an anti-piracy campaign is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and is considered to be a form of impersonation. In fact, the law is so strict that I can not, comfortably, even display the logo on this this site as Title 18 Section 701 makes it illegal to even be in possession of such a logo, thus why I used a parody logo in its place.”

interval says:

Re: Re:

That link was in response to this little missive, from 2004 no less, in Information week;


“Movie execs also are worried about lost revenue from DVD sales and rentals. “We absolutely need downstream revenue to survive,” said Ken Jacobsen, senior VP and director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the MPAA, noting that only four of 10 movies earn enough at the box office to recoup the average of $89 million spent on producing and marketing a film.”

“We absolutely need downstream revenue to survive…”

Every year since 2001 the studios have had higher and higher grosses than the previous year. 2009, if you count “Avatar”, is the highest grossing year yet for all studios combined.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The question was not meant to be answered by an “Anonymous Coward” but by Mike. However, if you speak on behalf of Mike, I could setup an old computer and certainly find examples you so desire.

I remain lost why Mike would allow an anonymous coward to speak on his behalf of such a challenge. Perhaps we should wait for Mike’s response.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Oh, well, maybe you or one of your subordinates can change commenter names. Is this typical practice of TechDirt or do I have to find examples?

Uh, nope. We don’t change commenter names. I believe there is only one case where we did, a while back, and it was due to a legal issue (someone was impersonating someone else, and once we had ample evidence provided, we changed the name). But otherwise, it has not happened.

Please provide your evidence.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

some people (like myself) sometimes forget to log in.

When I enter a comment and I notice that I forgot to log in, I still enter a nickname and my email address, so that I can “claim” my comment later on. That’s when the commenter’s name can change from a not-logged-in version to his or her logged in version.

Mike had very little to do with that. It’s all the power of the commenter.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes! Yes! I admit it! (And thank God this is finally out in the open.)

It -is- true. Mike Masnick is merely a puppet in my tangled web of schemes within schemes. A lackey to do my bidding! When you hear that CTU ringtone on his cellphone go off…that’s me calling with marching orders.

My influence and control over Mikes editorial content is so complete and pervasive, I had Mike make changes to this very post SIX times. Each time, making it more powerful and slyly convincing. Can you feel it as these words bend your will and errode your confidence?

And for you my AC friend…In my benevolence I shall not upend your life with misfortune and destitution, but instead leave you with this sage advice from the Great Actor Warren Oates:


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