Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

DOJ: Protecting Private Businesses From Changing Business Models

from the then-what? dept

The Department of Justice is mighty proud of itself today, after announcing that it's met or exceeded many of the objectives set out for it by an "intellectual property task force" from 2004. It's not clear from the article who exactly made up the task force, but it certainly sounds like it was industry insiders who were more focused on protecting a business model than those actually concerned about real intellectual property issues. Among the accomplishments by the DOJ since then includes placing special intellectual property prosecutors around the globe to help shut down certain websites, even if they're perfectly legal in their home countries. Then there's this odd accomplishment: "Increasing the number of defendants prosecuted for intellectual property offenses by 98 percent between the government's fiscal 2004 and 2005 years." That's quite a strange benchmark from a task force, and suggests a "when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail" approach -- where increasing prosecution, without any look at other factors is considered a laudable goal. It certainly shows that the task force's report wasn't looking at how digital goods were changing business models, but about how to protect increasingly obsolete business models by sending their law enforcement lackeys after people. Of course, given these types of moves, it's no surprise to see openly dishonest groups like the BSA talk about how the DOJ has made significant progress (which is laughable in its own right). Still, it's unclear why private industries get to use the Justice Department as their own private police force to fight their battles against a changing marketplace.

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  • identicon
    Who me?, 20 Jun 2006 @ 5:17pm

    I got your "intellectual property task force" righ

    WIth any luck, that "intellectual property task force" report will be loaded onto a laptop and taken to an employee's home without prior knowledge or permission...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stu, 20 Jun 2006 @ 6:48pm

    private industries get to use the Justice Departme

    It's clear why the DOJ and the rest of the government is at the beck and call of big business - it's money. Political contributions, golf trips on private jets, high paid "thank you" jobs when you leave "public service". There's no secret about it - just read the papers every day.

    The difference between corruption in the USA and "third world" countries is that our corruption is at the higher levels of government. In third world countries, it is at all levels of society - paying a bribe just to get a phone installed, for instance. There is nothing stopping it from happening here.

    The question is - what can we do about it? Not much, I fear. The best we can do is employ the "once and done" voting technique, which is - if they are in office vote them out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      haywood, 20 Jun 2006 @ 7:40pm

      Re: private industries get to use the Justice Depa

      Government is always at the beck and call of business big and small. If you doubt that imagine the response you would get to the theft of a $5 item, now imagine the response if Walmart reported the same crime. I have a friend, a rancher who had well over $1000 of hay stolen from his field, the response to his reporting it was "what do you want us to do" again, imagine if the same had happened at a retail business. The government exists to protect business from us, not the other way around.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert Rittmuller, 20 Jun 2006 @ 7:05pm

    It's like an earthquake...

    I have always likened the resistance to changing market conditions to the forces that build up in techtonic plates before an earthquake. If the pressure to move (change) is handled frequently and the plates adapt (companies adapt to change) then nobody suffers or gets hurt. However, if the plates (companies) resist the external forces, pressure builds and ultimately results in a period of rapid, and often violent change. Moral of the story: manage change, don't resist it or you might find yourself dealing with an "earthquake".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    EverydayBS, 21 Jun 2006 @ 8:39am

    It's not just the entertainment industry

    It's no surprise to me that the industry is trying to maintain it's current business model. Historically speaking, most modern businesses resist change. It's not usually in their best interest at the time. Why take a risk when what you are currently doing makes you successful? The bottom line is to make money. Not to be innovative. Big Business stifles innovation on purpose to maintain theor profit margins for their stockholders. Not until a little guy arrives and proves that it can be done a different way, will Corporate change occur. Afterwards. because they have all the money they can either buy out the actual innovator or copy it at little cost to them. All this posturing by the industry is just to keep profits high until another model is proven to them. Then they will embrace it and make it their own. This is an opportunity for us as the little guys to make a killing off of the Big Fish. Come up with something that works, patent it, and offer them just enough of the cut to keep them off your back. Or better yet, use the oppotunity to start your own industry and call the shots yourself. It can be done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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