Eric Holder Answers Question About Kim Dotcom Prosecution

from the blah-blah-blah dept

Attorney General Eric Holder was in New Zealand for a meeting of Attorneys General from the US, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the UK. Radio New Zealand got to meet up with Holder and after asking him about the meeting proceeded to ask him about the Megaupload case (mp3), which the interviewer noted was of great interest to New Zealanders.

Holder, in his usual fashion, answers with generalities that don’t actually answer the questions being asked. He gives his standard “intellectual property theft = bad!” speech:

Well I don’t want to comment on a case that is pending. But I will say, more generally, that we are very concerned about the theft of intellectual property. It’s something that we take very seriously, both in the United States, and I think our allies do as well. With regard that case, we’ve been cooperating with the New Zealand authorities. And I will just rely on the pleadings we have filed in court to talk about that.

First of all, we’ve pointed this out before, but you would think that the supreme “lawyer” for the government would know the damn law. There is no “intellectual property theft.” That’s a made up term by copyright maximalists. There is such a thing as copyright infringement, which is what he means. He should use the actual term. Otherwise it does make him look like a pawn of Hollywood…. Which leads right into the next question. The interviewer notes that Kim Dotcom has been saying that the case is all about the DOJ “heeding the beck and call of Hollywood moguls.” Holder immediately responds:

Well, that’s not true. I don’t want to comment on that case other than to say that it was brought on the basis of the facts and the basis of the law and it’s consistent with the enforcement priorities that this administration has had.

Well, yes, the enforcement priorities that have heavily been pushed for by Hollywood.

The interviewer notes the various screwups in the case, and Holder doesn’t bite, saying that there’s been good collaboration and they expect everything to turn out fine in the end. The next question is about how serious Holder is about pursuing extradition, and Holder makes it sound like no big deal:

We have made an extradition request. We have an existing treaty between the US and New Zealand that has been used a great many times throughout the years. And I don’t see how any individual would not be subject to that treaty.

Uh…. that’s a bullshit answer. Because the problem with the extradition issue is not whether or not Dotcom is subject to it, but whether or not the issues in the case are subject to it. The DOJ had to bolt on some questionable conspiracy claims to make this work, since mere copyright infringement is not an extraditable offense. Holder also responded to a question about New Zealand’s attempt to spy more on citizens and residents by saying he doesn’t see how that violates civil liberties. When questioned on that, he throws out some random statement about cooperation to stop terrorism, and again says that spying on people doesn’t need to violate civil liberties.

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Comments on “Eric Holder Answers Question About Kim Dotcom Prosecution”

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Jay (profile) says:

What is wrong with extradition?


Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist organization seeking legal redress to Tamil war victims said, “Santhirarajah was arrested on 14 July 2008 on the US extradition request. He was remanded in custody (for more than 4 years) until the date of this judgment in 31 August 2012. Court also concluded that “in or about November 2009″ was the time when it was reasonably practicable for the AG to make a determination whether to surrender Santhirarajah. Santhirarajah’s liberty was curtailed extra-legally for a period of 2 years and 9 months,” TAG noted.

But make no mistake that the US has successfully gone after hackers in the land downunder:

BEFORE he was extradited to the United States, Hew Griffiths, from Berkeley Vale in NSW, had never even set foot in America. But he had pirated software produced by American companies.

Now, having been given up to the US by former justice minister Chris Ellison, Griffiths, 44, is in a Virginia cell, facing up to 10 years in an American prison after a guilty plea late last month.

Still, it’s amazing that a man that’s never set foot in America can come to the US to be punished, ironically in the same way most Aussies were shipped to Australia to be exiled as criminals.

I don’t know which is worse. The fact that Holder advocates for more prisons in America when it doesn’t work or the fact that most people understand that he is greatly misleading the public about the pursuits of Hollywood. Better yet, why keep sending people to prison for the fact that Hollywood can’t be bothered to innovate? There’s story after story of their screw ups, their destruction of technology that people want, and their inability to adapt. After all of that, it’s time to get some new stories from new industries based around what the public wants, not what a trade industry wants.

anonymouse says:

Re: What is wrong with extradition?

The biggest point i think to make here is that the MPAA and its allies are stealing royalties and proceeds from the sale of content from artists.

Once this get the attention it deserves the copyright cartel will have a lot of explaing to do, there have been many cases where hollywood accounting has shown massive amounts of fraud on behalf of the copyright maximalists and they honestly need to be investigated in a big way by the IRS and CID and any other organisation that investigates fraud on in a big way.

I wish techdirt or one of the tech news sites would do a full investigation as far as they can and forward their findings to the corect department to investigate and charge those guilty.
It would make a great story and i think would help remove some of those people that will not want anythign to do with the copyright cartel then , or will not want to be associated with them if they are investigated, like the damn vice president of America who is also involved in this theft from content creators.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Constitution

How Democratic is our Constitution?

People make a lot of reverence to that piece of paper, yet our government is not working for the majority of people. And there’s a ton of reasons why:

Bicameral legislation – No other modern democracy has this because it’s inherently undemocratic. Just look at what it takes to get legislation that the public actually wants through Congress.

Tolerance of Slavery – Say what you will, but the fact that our government now depends on slave labor in prisons is rather telling. We’ve worked 40 years to bring about slavery for the masses by depriving them of wages, then depriving them of freedom and that’s morally unjust.

Judicial Review – I have found very few arguments for Judicial Review given that because of the Courts, we have inducement when it was never written into law as well as a very pro corporate court is one of the most dangerous things to a republic we can have.

The Framers (not the Founders) wanted a representative democracy because they were fearful of direct democracy. And you know what? The Framers found massive loopholes to exploit the system culminating into James Madison’s fears in Federalist Paper 10. However, James Madison would have gone in a more democratic way had he been told to bring about the Constitution in a different set of circumstances. Once he’d learned more about how the Constitution was being influenced by democratic measure, he lost doubts on democracy.

This doesn’t mean that the Constitution can’t be changed. It should be recognized that it has some massive weaknesses that have been exposed over the centuries.

In essence, with our Constitution, it’s Democracy 1.0 whereas most other countries are running Democracy 4.5. They have proportional representation. They don’t have an electoral college. They don’t have money in politics. We don’t have an effective government. We need universal healthcare and a government of/by/4 the people.

And that’s what we should all strive for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Constitution

Nice mix Democracy/Freedom/ and Socialism (cause its all gotta be free, and skip the part where someone pays.. but hey its not you directly so what the hell)…

Course you think Hugo was the best leader on the planet (which kinda makes me wonder about your actual critical thinking skills, where anyone thats actual dealt with said lunatic thinks he was a dictator asshat…)

out_of_the_blue says:

Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

) How much infringing content was on Megaupload?
) How much money did Megaupload pay to the owners of such content?
) What did you know and when did you know it?
) How could you remain blind to the infringing content?
) Do you feel any personal responsibility over the presence of infringing content?
) How many millions of dollars did Megaupload get from that infringing content?
) How many millions of dollars did you Kim Dotcom personally get from that infringing content?

Those would do for a start. Questions are easy: it’s the answers under oath in front of an impartial jury that Dotcom is trying to avoid.

Pirate Mike never misses a chance to defend grifters of infringing content. Here he’s leveraging the unpopularity of shyster Holder to do it.

And yet again, Mike just can’t see that “teh internets” and distance are NO absolute shield to prosecution. Megaupload was doing business in the US, despite not having a US address, and that’s jurisdiction. The process may be tangled because new that crooks can so easily sell someone else’s intellectual property, but — on the instant case — it’s thoroughly moral to prosecute.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

) Was the spying on Dotcom found to be illegal?
) Was the search warrant on Dotcom’s home found to be illegal?
) Was the removal of items of Dotcom’s property and then taken to the US against the authority of the NZ found to be illegal?

Anyone else like to give further questions?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

1) no-one knows the servers have been stolen
2) none (although Kim has repeatedly offered to “help hollywood” on numerous occasions presumably he would have offered them monies if he had not been rejected out of hand)
3)When he was informed of the infringing content.
4) When he was informed of a piece of content he had it removed.
5) I doubt it, see my note about rejected offers. It’s also worth saying that all this content was already out there anyone who didn’t feel like paying for the content could still have got it.
6) 0 he sold adds and the ability to remove a lockout timer not content.
7) 0 see above.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

How much infringing content was on Megaupload?

He can’t know because 1- only the rights holders can say it, 2- the nature of the service made it so the same file would be available for different people that tried to upload it and you can’t know if they actually own said file, 3- the DOJ is refusing to let them access the seized servers to dig for info like that.

How much money did Megaupload pay to the owners of such content?

Megaupload is merely a storage service, the company would only be obliged to remove content upon receiving DMCA notices. If it was American of course.

What did you know and when did you know it?

I don’t like tea with cookies, thanks. (This answer makes no sense? Neither did your question)

How could you remain blind to the infringing content?

MU did not. He complied with takedown requests and even had partnerships with major rights holders. I know you are implying he should have known every single stance of infringement but it’s not possible thus the need for notices from rights holders.

Do you feel any personal responsibility over the presence of infringing content?

Irrelevant to the case. But why would he if MU complied with DMCA notices even though they didn’t need to?

How many millions of dollars did Megaupload get from that infringing content?

How many millions has Ford gotten from drug dealers using their cars to transport drugs? Fair question? How much money did AT&T get from scamers using their networks to f-up people? How much money are you getting from your corporate masters?

it’s the answers under oath in front of an impartial jury that Dotcom is trying to avoid

So far it’s the US Govt that are avoiding those….

Megaupload was doing business in the US, despite not having a US address, and that’s jurisdiction.

US firms have businesses in Saudi Arabia. I’m sure you support extradition of US citizens to Saudi Arabia because someone there used a service they provide on the Internet to violate local laws, right?

Keep going ootb, we enjoy the laughs 😉

beech says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

1) who knows? There were millions of files on the site, how am I to tell who the owner is of each one and if they really wanted it there or not?
2)megaupload sent money to people who had popular files. Any rights holder who uploaded something popular made money.
3)I know l sorts of things which I have learned along the course ofmy life. AAny specifically infringing links I was notified About via a DMCA takedown notice were removed.
4.) There was a lot of stuff on that site and I don’t have time to comb every server, even if I found something suspicious see 1)
5) nope. Talk to the guys who put it there
6) impossible to tell, see #1
7) see #6

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

) How much infringing content was on Megaupload?
Impossible to answer, since legitimate sites were uploading their content to it as well. No one can answer this question, and pretending otherwise is a lie.

) How much money did Megaupload pay to the owners of such content?
Depends on how the account was set up, genius.

) What did you know and when did you know it?
It’s called the DMCA take down request. Seriously, are you really this stupid?

) How could you remain blind to the infringing content?
Because there’s no way to know if it is infringing. By pretending that everyone doesn’t have a license is pretty foolish. We trusted our customers, most of whom don’t understand how copyright is abused. Sorry, used.

) Do you feel any personal responsibility over the presence of infringing content?
Why should I? I offered a service. How people used that service was not my concern. By your account, every person who fires a weapon into a school should have the gun maker held accountable. Hopefully, you realize the stupidity of this situation.

) How many millions of dollars did Megaupload get from that infringing content?
Not a penny. We derived our revenue from ads and premium accounts.

) How many millions of dollars did you Kim Dotcom personally get from that infringing content?
Not a penny. Didn’t I just answer this question? You seem to think I personally uploaded this infringing content and distributed it. Either you’re pretty daft or you don’t understand how web services work.

Either way, we’re done with this interview. You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

Well, based on past actions in this case, yes. But that’s not because of the people involved – Dotcom is easily one of the most hatable people in the Cloud arena.

But this whole case has been fudged like a GM keeping their favorite NPC around, and now it’s backfiring.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

It’s sad that you people think in absolute terms like this, to the point where you no longer even attempt to debate the facts of the case. Nuance is something you cannot or will not understand.

Probably because you know you’re not going to be able to defend the atrocious conduct of the authorities here – even to people who don’t like Dotcom and/or think his actions were immoral or illegal. Imagine how little impact you’ll have on the opinions of people who think that much of what he did should not be illegal to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

“How much infringing content was on Megaupload?”
Less than was reported un DMCA, since many of the DMCA notices were false/inaccurate/outright lies

“How could you remain blind to the infringing content?”
See above, boy.

“Do you feel any personal responsibility over the presence of infringing content?”
Do you feel any personal responsibliity for being an idiot, boy?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

For God’s sake, why do these commenters regularly force your comments to be hidden? Even the paragraph where “PM” is mentioned concludes with a not altogether positive reference to Holder. I guess it is OK to say negative(in some cases vile) things about persons who comment in support of copyright law, which appear to be received with some measure of glee, but the converse is not true and a price will be paid on this site.

Spare me the “It’s not censorship because you only have to click a link.” That response misses the point entirely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

It’s because it’s a troll post from OotB. He doesn’t actually respond to anyone and most of us find his writing “style” an offense to the frontal lobe.

I don’t report him but to be honest it’s a waste of time trying to read or respond to him. When I see the pink I know it’s probably him and it’s not worth clicking unless I need a laugh.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Now let's have Dotcom answer some questions:

to delete (a word or passage of text) in one’s capacity as a censor.

to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable ; also : to suppress or delete as objectionable

vb (tr)
1. to ban or cut portions of (a publication, film, letter, etc.)
2. to act as a censor of (behaviour, etc.)

Three different dictionaries. All saying the same thing. To censor is to suppress and/or delete information.

Now, let’s look at Techdirt. Have a look at a pink comment, as they’re called. What’s actually written in pink?

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click to show it.

The community has flagged the comment. Not Techdirt staff or management. The community. The readers of the site, who click on the Report button. Just like when you see the comments on a Youtube video for example, and click on Report there.
“Click to show it”. A censor who DELETES information wouldn’t tell you how to see it, now would he? Nope, because the information being censored would be DELETED , gone, wiped out. On Techdirt, it is NOT.

As for why OOTB get’s reported on a regular basis? Because he has long since lost any claim to self-respect, any claim to deserving to have his voice heard here. We at Techdirt welcome debate, we want to hear from those who support copyright. What we, the community, want is a sane debate. Calm and polite back and forth. We want a pro-copyright person to say “Sorry, you’re wrong in your belief of Y because of X. Here’s why. And here’s some sources to back it up”. Instead, what Blue does is “PIRATE MIKE PIRATE MIKE!” while ignoring various truths (it doesn’t matter how guilty of copyright infringement DotCom is, if the guys prosecuting him, i.e. the US, fuck up in every way possible). So far, we’ve heard from the US all sorts of nasty things about DotCom, and so far, we’ve seen the US actually do all sorts of nasty things to try and move the case forward. Sorry, but from where I’m standing, it’s the US who are looking like the bad guys here.

Blue can support copyright all he wants, but he has to learn how to debate fairly. He has to learn to recognise facts that totally obliterate anything he says. He can say that someone who pirates a movie is evil, but he shouldn’t ignore the fact that the cartels regularly cause far worse harm in the name of copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

“”Mr Holder confirmed he had discussed the case with Mr Finlayson when the pair met this week and said he was satisfied with the cooperation the US had got from New Zealand authorities.

In cooperating with the FBI, Mr Dotcom, a New Zealand citizen, was spied on illegally by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and his mansion raided using an unlawful search warrant.””

The above as taken from:

I guess Mr Holder was satisfied and approved with the Illegal spying, illegal raid, search and seizure and the removal of property to the US against the authority of the NZ court. /sarcasm

Anonymous Coward says:

There is no “intellectual property theft.” That’s a made up term by copyright maximalists.

Theft has been applied to intangibles for over a century in many fields of law including copyright. I’d love to see your evidence that it’s a “made up term by copyright maximalists.” I know your such a fan of evidence, so let’s see yours. Or are you just basing that on faith?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Relatedly, in your article where you claim it’s “incredibly dangerous” to call infringement “theft,” you don’t actually bother to even define the term theft:

If you’re going to keep demanding that no one call it theft, perhaps you could tell us the legal definition that you’re using? Love to hear that definition while your citing your sources that show “copyright maximalists” made the term up. Thanks.

Nemesis says:

Re: Re: Re:

Theft: The unauthorized taking and removal of the Personal Property of another by an individual who intends to permanently deprive the owner of it; a crime against the right of possession.

If you download a file, you haven’t deprived the owner of it. Thus, the correct legal term is copyright infringement, not theft.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

They are? All I can see is something like 2 that went to court and lost. Rest have prevailed with the caes being dropped or dismissed.

Also they aren’t being hauled into criminal court at all. In fact, their own insistence on calling it theft when it is in fact infrongement has not done them any benefits in the court of law. So there’s all that.

Calling it theft is trying to convince the public to change social moores and start thinking of it as theft.

It’s not working.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

If it’s infringement, it’s charged as infringement since that’s the law on point. My point is that intangibles can be stolen. Mike seems to think–we don’t know because he insists that theft means something special which he can’t be bothered to define because, well, it’s Mike Masnick and that’s how he rolls–that intangibles can’t be stolen. I’m proving him wrong. His silence indicates that he has no response and can’t defend his claims with any evidence (despite being “Mr. Evidence-Based”).

squall_seawave (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

i am going to disagree

both of your examples are wrong the first one is not thievery is spionage the second i ll grant it as thievery but not for the reason you think they are depriving one seat avalaibility
and thats why by definition is thievery.

well now intangibles cant be stolen lets go on the other side a mother has two children and one acuses the other of stealing his mother love the mother has not a finite quantity of love so the acusation of stealing falls flat and thats what happens to copyright infringement right now you dont have a finite quantity of ideas so the claim of stealing again falls flat

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

So… all this effort has been expended making a point nobody cares about to disprove an argument you only think the other side is making?

– Infringement is not theft
– Pirating a song is in no way analogous to shoplifting a CD
– A pirate copy is not a lost sale

Those are the key points. All are demonstrable both legally and economically, and by your own admission, you’ve offered nothing to counter any of them, instead citing a bunch of unrelated laws to prove an inconsequential point…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

You do realize that the statue you just quoted uses the term theft in only three places and all three of them are explicit examples of physical property being stolen, right? Here, I’ll quote them just in case you’re having trouble finding them:

(1) section 641 (relating to theft of public money, property, or rewards [1] ), section 656 (relating to theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officer or employee), or section 664 (relating to theft from employee benefit plans);

That’s it, all three of them. All about actual theft. None about this made up version of theft you’re claiming it supports.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So why don’t you cite them and show people where the definitions differ? One of the many failings of maximalists here is that you tend to come in with an attitude of “I’m right, you’re wrong”, but neither provide credentials nor evidence to prove that you’re anything of the sort. Otherwise, you’re just an anonymous fool commenting online with less credibility that half the people you’re trying to attack.

Unless it’s proven to me otherwise, I will continue referring to “theft” as something where the owner has actually been deprived of something tangible, and “infringement” to refer to where the owner still has full usage of and access to the original item. I’m sure many will do the same. There’s a massive difference between the two, and as far as I’m concerned the attempt to conflate them is just an attempt at emotional appeals and confusing complex issues – presumably because the actual facts don’t support the actions attempted in this case and elsewhere.

So, come on. Convince me. Respond with evidence for once, not half-baked attacks and whining that someone isn’t debating someone so bereft of proof for what he claims?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:


Where’s Mike’s definition? What’s his source? He’s an evidence lover. Let’s see his evidence of his definition for theft and his evidence for his claim that “copyright maximalists” made up the notion of IP theft. Why don’t you ever ask for Mike’s evidence, Paul? I am always glad to show my work. Why won’t Mike?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Okay, Mr. Lawyer in Training. I’m going to ask two questions and I want you to answer them. If I am actually Mike, you’re getting him to debate with you. If I’m not Mike, then your reason to not debate with me (Rikuo) is false (since you’ve said that I’m merely Mike on a puppet account, and that’s why you don’t want to debate with me).

Question 1 – Is Copyright handled at State Level or at the Federal Level?

Question 2 – If it is indeed handled at the Federal level, then why, in support of your assertion that copyrights can be treated as property, did you cite a STATE level ruling?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

We’ve been over this countless times.

If you were actually interested in having a serious conversation, you wouldn’t be digging this up…again…for the millionth time.

This is yet another misdirection manoeuvre favoured by the – so called – maximalists used to derail the discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Mike has never defined theft or explained why intangibles can’t be the object of theft despite many examples of the law saying otherwise. It’s just a conclusory statement with no evidence backing it up, much like his claim that “copyright maximalists” made up the notion of IP theft.

For example, the Alabama Criminal Code defines “property” for purposes of its theft statutes as “Any money, tangible or intangible personal property, property (whether real or personal) the location of which can be changed (including things growing on, affixed to, or found in land and documents, although the rights represented hereby have no physical location), contract right, chose-in-action, interest in a claim to wealth, credit, or any other article or thing of value of any kind.” Ala. Code ? 13A-8-1.

Property has a very broad meaning–which Mike won’t admit–and it includes intangibles–which Mike won’t admit. Was the Alabama legislature accosted by “copyright maximalists” when drafting its criminal code?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Theft deprives the original owner of it. You can in fact steal intangible property, and by doing so the original owner of it is DEPRIVED of it.

Copywrite infringement does not. It is the act of copying. Nothing is removed from the original owner.

Thus the two are not equivilent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And yet, sneaking into a movie theater without paying is “theft of services” despite the theater owner not being deprived of his service.

“A person commits the crime of theft of services if . . . [h]e intentionally obtains services known by him to be available only for compensation by deception, threat, false token or other means to avoid payment for the services . . . .” Ala. Code ? 13A-8-10

The meaning is broader than you think.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You aren’t making much sense. I’m proving that intangibles can be the object of theft. Here’s a federal law for “theft of trade secrets”:

Trade secrets are intangibles, yet they can be the object of “theft” under federal law. I guess the “copyright maximalists” got to them too, right? Still waiting for Mike “Evidence Man” Masnick to explain how he determined that intangibles can’t the object of theft and how he determined that the notion of IP theft was “made up” by those pesky “copyright maximalists.” I mean, he wouldn’t say something based on faith, would he?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

But what are “trade secrets”? Are they solely intangible?

It’s a broad term. From the Restatement:

Definition of trade secret. A trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one’s business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it. It may be a formula for a chemical compound, a process of manufacturing, treating or preserving materials, a pattern for a machine or other device, or a list of customers.

Restatement (First) of Torts ? 757 (1939).

If you have a customer list that is protected as a trade secret, and I copy it without permission without taking the original, I have stolen your trade secret despite the fact that you still have it.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.”

This right here completely destroys any relationship “Trade Secret” may possibly have had with copyright.
John writes a book. According to copyright, John and John alone (or those he authorises) is allowed to distribute the book. He has a government granted monopoly over that book. Meaning…the government doesn’t allow for any competitors. No-one else is permitted to distribute John’s book.
That line up there pertains to a normal marketplace, where competitors are allowed to exist and function, in the selling of the same product. This doesn’t happen in copyright. John’s work is unique. You can’t say “just substitute it with another book!”, like I would if I were considering which of two brands of coffee makers to buy. In the real world, both are coffee makers, that do the same thing. But not with works. The content of one book is (supposedly) more or less unique to that book.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

This statement is false. If you actually read TechDirt on a regular and consistent basis you would understand this. Copyright can and has been stolen, but infringement isn’t the theft in question. In fact, the Supreme Court says that infringement is not analogous to theft (

Read up on Dowling. What you feel makes no difference to the courts.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“Mike seems to believe…”

…something entirely different to your strange assumptions on any given occasion. If only you’d spend as much time actually reading the words written as you do attacking them.

In this case, I don’t think that’s ever been stated. It’s certainly been stated in a recent article that infringement != theft, and it’s also been stated that Harper Lee’s copyright (an intangible) was clearly stolen, and that the theft via fraud that took place is one of the few examples where the term “copyright theft” can be accurately applied.

In other words, not only does your assumption not ring true, it’s in direct opposition to a recent article written by him on this very site. I can cite where he’s said that intangibles can be the object of theft. Can you cite the basis your strange assumption that he believes otherwise?

As ever – liar or moron? You have to be at least one to get things so often and consistently wrong.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

So, you don’t understand that something tangible was stolen in those cases (the finite resource of seat allocation and the service thereby provided), that is no way applicable to copying a digital file? That you example in no way invalidates or extends the definition you’re responding to?

Yet again – try understanding the actual points instead of being an obnoxious obsessed fool. You might get somewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I guess that would apply.

If Hollywood was a service industry.

Which it’s not.

And no, making movies doesn’t make it a “service industry”.

Also regarding sneaking into a movies, I’ve only ever heard of ONE case ever happening, and it happened a few months ago.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

To be fair, the “theft” would not be of the movie in those cases, but for the usage of a finite service without payment (the cinema seat, along with the overheads required to screen the movie). They’re logically deprived of the ability to sell that seat to someone else, and the costs involved in the show are already spent. So in those cases, the word theft can conceivably apply to the theatre’s services, even if most people aren’t dragged in front of a court if they’re caught doing so.

I still don’t know what that has to do with copying a digital file, where nobody is deprived of anything tangible. Unless you want to depend of easily disproven lies, of course (all downloads are lost sales, nobody who downloads ever buys, etc.)

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

They stole the service…of being one of perhaps 200 people to sit on a physical seat in a certain finite-sized room at a given time. And standing in the back wouldn’t be allowed anyway, violation of fire code and all that.
The room is only so big. There are only so many seats. There isn’t infinities in play, like you would get with a digital file. Therefore, it is correct to say they stole the seat.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The seat (and the service implied) is a tangible, finite property that is deprived from the owner. Nothing is deprived from the owner of a digital file being copied unless you buy into ridiculous fictions as I’ve previously described.

Are you going to provide evidence for your bullshit, provide credentials that prove that despite no evidence you’re more qualified than other commenters or just admit you’re a lying moron? Those are the only 3 choices I can see, given that you’re an anonymous commenter trying to pull an “argument from authority” fallacy without even demonstrating your authority?

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If I set up a stall selling Apples for 5p and someone sets up a stall down the road selling Apples for 3p I may be tempted to say that the person setting up that stall is stealing my customers but you think he should be arrested for theft?

Now lets say in this world of stalls underselling in such a way is in fact illegal but defined a civil offense under that term so that I could, if I chose, bring a suit against the stall seller for damages for “underselling” my product. That upshot would be that while I may want to accuse him of stealing my customers I can’t have him arrested for a criminal charge of theft but I can sue him for the civil charge of underselling.

At that point is it right to call “underselling” theft even if “underselling” is defined wholly differently and in this case in a civil sense, than theft which is clearly defined as criminal?

Theft is someone taking something that is “mine” and making it “theirs” in a way that means I no longer have “mine”. It does not include “what might be mine in future” or a copy of something that is “mine”. Colloquially there is some wiggle room but in terms of the law we’ve outright had to define who has the right’s to copy indepently of theft because the harm of theft in a legal sense is not comparable to the harm of a copy of an idea because inherently a copy is additive while theft is subtractive.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Re:

Well, I recently had a big long discussion about this, and rather than just redo it, why don’t you read the comments thread starting here — — and then come back if you like.

The tl;dr is that I don’t think it’s theft (save in a useless colloquial sense) and the courts don’t seem to either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I came away with a different understanding than you then. My point is that theft covers situations where the victim isn’t dispossessed of something tangible. Examples are theft of trade secrets (like copying someone’s customer list), theft of services (like sneaking into a theater), etc. Mike’s notion of theft (presumably, since he never actually defines the term he insists is being misused) is that it only applies to physical dispossession or intermeddling of something tangible. That ignore the century-plus of theft being applied to intangibles.

It’s much like, and very related to, his notion that “property” can only refer to tangibles. He ignores multiple centuries of usage of the word “property” to arrive at his predetermined conclusion. He insists that what some guy said three centuries ago (can’t remember who it was–Descartes?) is the only possible meaning, despite an incredibly dense body of law to the contrary. It’s silly and narrow to think like this. He just doesn’t want anybody to think anything bad about infringement or good about copyright. If copyright is property or if infringement is theft, that apparently challenges his narrative too much. And he’s willing to ignore anything and everything that disagrees with him to arrive at where he started.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

My point is that theft covers situations where the victim isn’t dispossessed of something tangible.

I agree that at the very least theft does cover some such situations. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that copyright infringement is dispossession of an intangible, or that even if it is, that it is theft.

Stop harping on tangibility not being an absolute requirement and follow through on the remainder of your argument.

cpt kangarooski says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You also may wish to read the linked to thread. IIRC toward the end the pro-theft argument had become this: Copyright infringement is theft because there is a tort (a civil, not a criminal offense) of Trespass to Chattels which vaguely parallels the crime of larceny, and one way in which to commit the tort is to harm another’s property (e.g. keying a car), and that infringing on a copyright causes some manner of harm to the copyright itself.

That’s what I understood the argument to be, as I remember it, and I can’t say that I agree with some of the particulars or with the idea that it eventually establishes that infringement is theft.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Okay, I’m going to bite and actually give you support for your claim that infringement has in the past been determined at theft.

There’s two amendments that label it as such:
The Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999
No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997

So at least you have some backing, even if I personally don’t agree.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Am I the only one that believes in justice? Why would a Jewish lawyer defend Nazi propaganda as freedom of speech?
These are the basics of US law. I would recommend that you all take a page from David A. Goldberger:

It’s not the view-point of the argument, but the fact that the people can express their opinions is important. Defend freedom of speech, and realize that this tangential balance is what keeps justice alive.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Holder's a shill

Other than the fact that he is of African-American descent, I have absolutely zero respect for him – his appointment as AG was a total farkup by President Obama. IMHO, he has been the worst sort of shill for big media and other special interests. FWIW, my grandchildren are also of African-American descent, and they have a LOT more of my respect than Holder – one is an engineering genius, and the other will be a top-flight surgeon some day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

should banks be hit? … wth does that mean?

Individuals broke the law, they should stand trial.
They should not be allowed to skate just because it would be a difficult court case. I do not recall seeing anything in the Justice Dept prosecutors job description about a “too hard bag”. There are people whose deeds are questionable at best being pursued for no apparent reason – to the point where they are physically and mentally harmed. And yet laundering money for the drug cartels is a-ok. Foreclosing property you do not own is fine and dandy. Justice Dept – yeah, right.

Anonymous Coward says:

for someone to hold the office that he does, the man sounds like a complete twat! the answers he gave definitely make him sound like a Hollywood pawn and if he cant see the infringement on privacy and freedom by carrying out unnecessary spying on ordinary citizens, he shouldn’t have the position he does. what makes me so unsettled about people with his opinion is how they would react if they were to find out that they were being spied on?

Milton Freewater says:

Theft of intellectual property

” There is no “intellectual property theft.” “

Small correction – there is intellectual property theft … hacking into a competitor’s computer to get information, for example.

But peer-to-peer file-sharing is not in any way intellectual property theft.

Yes, copying with an owner’s consent is the exact opposite of theft. But even more important, a DVD or video file is not intellectual property. It’s PHYSICAL property, owned only by the person who possesses it.

Milton Freewater says:

regarding sneaking into a movie theatre

Sneaking into a movie theatre is trespassing. But sneaking into a movie theatre is not a crime in any way against the maker of any movie. The law and theatre owner are correctly indifferent to whether you watch a movie or not while trespassing. The filmmakers have zero standing and no rights.

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