Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Homeland Security Protects Us All From BitTorrent Users

from the phew dept

Ever since BitTorrent first became popular, people have pointed out that it's not a good way to share unauthorized material, as it clearly broadcasts everyone's IP address. Still, obviously many users haven't been paying attention. Combine that with the MPAA's hatred of BitTorrent, the BitTorrentable copy of Star Wars that probably stopped no one from actually going to see the movie, and (oh right) the federal agents who are begging to be controlled by the entertainment industry, and is it any surprise at all that the FBI and Homeland Security (?!?) are announcing that they've shut down a BitTorrent-based file sharing system that, among others, had the Star Wars movie? Again, though, BitTorrent is just the protocol. That the announcement focuses on BitTorrent, is like them announcing they had shut down an FTP file sharing network. Of course, where this story may get ever more ridiculous is the suggestion in the AP article that some of the movies being offered may have gone up on the system before they were released. Remember, it was just a month ago that we got a wonderful new law that could throw people in jail if the copyrighted material they share hasn't been released yet. There's no reason to have sympathy for people who were knowingly sharing material they weren't authorized to share. However, doesn't it seem that getting Homeland Security involved and all of this grandstanding is overkill?

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  1. identicon
    bsturner, 26 May 2005 @ 6:15am

    Re: Homeland security - I feel safer

    When I read that homeland security was involved, it sounded to me like the guys that were supposed to be out catching terrorists were serving warrants on p2p rings. According to the CNN article, it was actually Customs Enforcement that did the job. When they did the realigning of departments post 9/11, that deparment fell under the umbrella of homeland security. Thats no excuse for government making whats essentially a civil matter into a criminal matter, but according to current law, customs is the right agency to enforce this kind of thing.

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