Copyright A Priority For The DOJ; But Identity Fraud Has Fallen Off The List

from the great... dept

Well, isn’t this just great. Just a little while back, the Justice Department announced that fighting “intellectual property crime” was a major priority. At the time, we wondered if there weren’t more important things for the DOJ to be working on. The answer is yes, of course, but the Justice Department has apparently decided to push them off the priority list. A new report on identity fraud notes that it has “faded” as a priority for the DOJ and the FBI. Ah, right, the stuff that actually harms individuals directly and isn’t a civil or business model issue? Why focus on that when you can prop up your friends in Hollywood?

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Comments on “Copyright A Priority For The DOJ; But Identity Fraud Has Fallen Off The List”

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Steve R. (profile) says:

What Comes Around Goes Around

Be careful of what you ask for. As has been pointed out on this and other forums, if you can’t innovate take legal action. Clearly this is a losing strategy. The hand writing is on the wall.

The New York Times recently ran an article lamenting the loss of US manufacturing/jobs to overseas firms. TechDirt also writes: Careful What You Wish For: Greater IP Enforcement In China Being Used Against Foreign Companies…

A person commenting on this NYT article logically pointed out that research related jobs in the US will eventually migrate to those countries doing the manufacturing. China may now be starting to enforce its own version of protecting its so called intellectual property. (note, their economic leverage in owning our debt too)

My point, if we pursue a self-serving strategy of draconian enforcement of so-called intellectual property we, as a nation, may eventually find ourselves at the loosing end. We may soon be paying China licensing rights to use their so-called intellectual property!

John Doe says:

IP is all the USA produces anymore

I think the big push for IP protection is because that is about all the USA produces anymore. We don’t produce real goods so we must protect what we do produce. The more I read about it and think about it, the sadder I am to see such enforcement. If IP was treated like Real P (RP), then most of the IP laws we have today would go away and should go away.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: IP is all the USA produces anymore

To expand upon this point, the act of discovery may be a creative one, but let’s not pretend that the number 1010001…010101 never existed until you explicitly wrote it down. Does the number 1,000,000 exist even if you’ve never counted to it?

It is impossible to invent or create information because it already exists before you thought of it. What you are actually doing is introducing it into the collection of human knowledge. This is still a valuable activity (and worthy of compensation). However, it is distinct from manipulating matter from one form into another (making a bike out of a block of metal).

Over the years, America has moved away from producing physical goods and moved towards discovering information (in the form of books, movies, and music, software, etc).

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: IP is all the USA produces anymore

How different is it? I don’t think your analogy holds up. Isn’t making a bike the act of assembling a bunch of parts? Isn’t that the same as putting together 1’s and 0’s in a unique new way?

If I made 1’s and 0’s out of clay and lined them up correctly, did I invent something? Now is it ok for someone to recreate it with a different medium (say stone)? If so, after you invented the bicycle, why can’t I make it out of a different metal?

This is not as cut and dry as you make it.

I don’t like our current IP laws, but your argument seems to have some holes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 IP is all the USA produces anymore

People often confuse the medium with the content. If you create a series of 1s and 0s out of clay, you have not invented anything. You have expressed a previously existing idea in a physical medium. If someone else comes along and expresses that exact idea in another medium, then another physical expression of the idea is made. However, the idea is still an immutable constant. Before you thought of it, the number 100010101…0101011 existed. When you discovered it, you introduced that knowledge into humanity’s overall knowledge base.

All ideas that can exist already do, we may have just not thought them yet…

John Doe says:

Re: Re: Re: IP is all the USA produces anymore

This sounds good until you actually think it through. Why does someone who makes a song get paid everytime that song is used but when someone creates a car, they get paid once? If I buy a pickup and start hauling wood to people, then I am using that truck in commerce to make money. Yet Ford got paid exactly once and had no right to tell me I had to use it in non-commercial activities. I buy a song and want to play it at a party and poof, I have to pay royalties. Every time. So tell me, why does IP get more control and pay than RP?

Colg says:

“Since the idea that one can own imaginary property was invented in the good old USofA, then I would think that China owes licensing fees upon their claims of intellectual property ownership.”

Um Nope:

The US didn’t invent copyright, It merely innovated it to the heights of stupidity in which it exists today. But it seems to have been outperformed by Britain in some areas.
See “natural rights debate” in the above link:

1729 “The judge assigned to the case sided with the publishers, finding that common law rights were not extinguished by the Statute of Anne. Under Mansfield’s ruling, the publishers had a perpetual common-law right to publish a work for which they had acquired the rights.”

However Brits also seem to have been responsible for much of the push for internationalization also. So I doubt we will be seeing a cease and desist order any time soon.


Anonymous Coward says:

When people think it is possible to create information, then they start to feel the ideas they “invented” are theirs. But the idea existed before you were even born. Not only that, but anyone could think it and thereby discover previously unknown knowledge. When you realize that you’re merely discovering an idea that already existed, it is a bit more humbling. It’s a tough pill to swallow because we’re always taught that artists create. And they do create. They create physical instances of the ideas they discovered using physical media. But they don’t create the ideas and that’s what people want to control.

Also, if it is actually possible for you to create information (and not just discover or organize it), stop posting on Techdirt and go save the universe from heat-death. :-p

John Doe says:

Re: Re:

Hmmm, maybe the rise of the arts is because the civilizations have gotten fat and lazy and quite innovating and thus died? They have too much free time on their hand from not working and thus turn to the arts as an outlet. Something to consider: Art = Fall of Civilization. Of course artists will tell you that arts are critical to a thriving civilization.

thom (profile) says:

Not surprising...

Now that the DOJ is being taken over by **AA attorneys, soon serious issues like identity theft, drug smuggling, and real terrorism will become minor issues. The **AA attorneys are only concerned abot issues that hurt the **AA. they don’t give a rats tushie about citizens. The DOJ was supposed to be for protecting the citizens, but I guess it’s now only to protect corporations.

John Doe says:

Re: Not surprising...

DOJ Mission Statement:
To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Notice the last part about impartial administration of justice for all Americans. Sounds more like it should read …all American corporations.

Anonymous Coward says:


Ah, right, the stuff that actually harms individuals directly and isn’t a civil or business model issue? Why focus on that when you can prop up your friends in Hollywood?

That’s because the US has become a corpocracy and large corporations rarely suffer from identity fraud, so it’s not a concern for the FBI/DOJ.


Anonymous Coward says:

Of course the DOJ thinks Copyright is a priority....

Of course the DOJ thinks Copyright is a priority.

Even though it’s a Department of Commerce issue. Doh!

The real problems with copyright aren’t in enforcement, they are with the very system itself, and the way which it provides a system of government-granted welfare. Trying to ratchet up enforcement is similar to shoving a pole up your ass.

It *IS* welfare for copyright holders. If they don’t do anything with licensing or actually creating commerce, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that they loose their copyright/patent/imaginary property welfare status after a few years.

ficwriter says:

As a writer, I can appreciate copyright laws. It isn’t right for someone to copy another person’s work and claim it as their own. But on the flip side, things like streaming videos of tv shows or movies or music (downloaded) is getting a little out of hand. I buy dvds. I buy CDs. I buy books. But sueing individuals for millions of dollars for copying something and posting it to the internet…and that the FBI and DOJ has made aiding these companies in civil cases is just getting to be ridiculous. These people aren’t claiming to have made the movie, 99% of the pirated movies uploaded by individuals are not charging anyone. If the movie companies were smart, they’d take advantage of the ad revenue that can be earned by putting movies directly out online when they come out in theater or on dvd. Or if they don’t do it for free, charge a monthly membership to get access to movies online. You’d think they’d figure out that they need to stop fighting it and join in on the internet users they are missing out on. Most people would prefer to watch things legally, and if that was an option they would probably choose that over illegal bootleg copies that are never good quality and aren’t technically legal. This would also save the tax payers from footing the bill for civil cases that the government shouldn’t even be involved in in the the first place.

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