Bush Administration Spending More Taxpayer Money On Intellectual Property Prosecutions

from the ain't-that-great? dept

Back when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was running around pushing for stricter copyright laws, including making "attempted infringement" a crime, we figured that he was just looking for some sort of distraction from the Congressional investigation concerning some of his other actions in office. However, it appears that pressure from the entertainment industry has actually been effective in turning the Justice Department into the personal enforcement agency of Hollywood. The Bush Administration is proudly talking up how the Justice Department has increased its investigation and prosecution of intellectual property violations. Considering that this is mostly a business model issue, and given the current state of the economy (not to mention the war we're still involved in), aren't there somewhat more important things for the administration to be focused on?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 11:59am

    How is it a business model issue?

    Is it wrong to expect the law to actually be enforced?

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

    • identicon
      Etch, 12 Feb 2008 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      This is not about enforcement, this is about "introducing" new laws, and "tweaking" old ones.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      The only law that gets enforced, is the one that has some lobbyists handing out stacks of money to politicians to enforce. Forget about the real threats to society, like murder and rape, just as long as ppl pay their $10 to go see a movie. Hopefully, the parking lot is well lit when you leave the theater, because the cops are busy escorting britney spears through the paparazzi so she can get some dental floss, and your politicians could care less if you get murdered or raped.

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

    • identicon
      Donavan, 12 Feb 2008 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      It isn't really about enforcement; I mean look at all the laws that aren't enforced. Immigration is a key law rarely enforced adequately. I am just saying that since we are in a "WAR AGAINST TERROR" that maybe, just maybe, they would like to plow tons of our tax dollars into, say Terrorist-like subjects? Well if we are really going to get crazy maybe even protecting our borders, wait never mind the corporatocracy likes cheap labor, and so do the American with crappy jobs.

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

    • identicon
      [a], 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      AC, it is a business model issue in the that distribution channels for media have changed drastically in the last 15 years, but the way the recording industry tries to make a buck has been far slower to adapt. Copyright infringement is a federal issue, but it's placement in the federal arena often seems ludicrous when more pressing national issues are taken into account. I assert that it is wrong to enforce a law when it's enforcement ties up taxpayer resources that could be spent far more beneficially on other projects that are more closely aligned with the interests of teh general population, as opposed to the interests of lobbying groups. But then again, democracy is just the tattered shawl that the players in our government use to conceal our country's capitalist innards. Looks good from a distance, but when examined it's full of holes.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 3:37pm

      Re:

      You clearly know nothing about the situation.
      Why open your mouth and let everyone know?

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

  • identicon
    Etch, 12 Feb 2008 @ 12:05pm

    Not very shocking

    Bush/Cheney Administration is the embodiment of corporate America at its absolute worst.

    Lobbying, Bribing, Kickbacks, violations of Personal Freedoms, Pressure Tactics, Spying, Corporate & Political Bullying, Policies of FEAR, and outright corruption have been very visible throughout this administrations history, it was very obvious form the beginning what their goals were, and they achievement everything they've set out to do! All their "financial backers" got what they were promised, plus they made they're little tight circle of friends 10x richer, and convinced half the country that Bush is on a mission from god!

    At this point, the Bush admin doesn't care about approval ratings or even if history paints them as vilians.
    They are simply trying to make as much money as they can before they leave office. Why does that come as a surprise to anyone?? Is anyone who's followed this administrations policies and attitudes really shocked by any of this?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Mike is trying to say that there is little value added in the legal system. And it's at taxpayers expense. Personal vendettas using the legal system are worthless when you arrive at the same conclusion at the end of the day-

    You will still die, and no, you can't anything with you, even though Harvey Birdman may try to pursuade you to think otherwise.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Yes, we have a terrible economy and a war. Lets stop enforcing laws. Nice logic.

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

    • identicon
      Chronno S. Trigger, 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      How about the government works on the big things like terrorism and the economy and leave civil issues with the local courts. Copyright infringement is a civil matter not criminal nor is it federal. So how about you quit trolling and learn your facts.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Really? That sounds more like your opinion than the law. Ever read a the Federal Warning at the beginning of a movie? So maybe you should keep your opinion out of the facts.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Really? Really? chronno, really? Do you even know copyright law or do you just believe everything mike says?

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

      • identicon
        Nismoto, 12 Feb 2008 @ 3:37pm

        Re: Re:

        Chrono's right. It is a civil matter. The fact that a Federal warning appears at the beginning of all movies is proof that the system has run a muck.

        Since when SHOULD intellectual property disputes and copyright infringement be anything but a CIVIL matter? The problem is that the BUSINESSES that are pushing for laws in their favor and special attention happen to be the SAME businesses that are lining the pockets of our elected officials: you pay enough, you get to have things your way.

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

  • icon
    Nick (profile), 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:15pm

    There is such a point when enforcing laws delivers no tangible befits for most of society. You you AC's suggesting that we enforce laws at costs, even when they impinge on civil liberties and freedom? This leads to lack of respect for all laws, a possibly greater threat to society.

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

    • identicon
      Matt, 12 Feb 2008 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      Precisley, and I believe it was here at Techdirt that I first read one of my (now) favorite quotes: I'll start respecting the law once they make a respectful law.

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

  • identicon
    Robin, 12 Feb 2008 @ 1:46pm

    riaa shill

    this "report" is authored by a certain chris israel. mr israel was in the news a couple of months ago aggressively defending some new proposed i.p. law.

    i did my research and discovered that this gentleman, before he went to washington, worked as a p.r. flack for the record industry up in new york :)

    looks to me like he is just trying to please his old bosses so he can go back to work for them as soon as the bush admin is out of town. his position is what's known as a political appointee, so: new administration, new appointees.

    back then i also took the liberty of sending him an e-mail outlining my analysis. shockingly, i got no reply :).

    this was written by the converted for the converted.

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

  • identicon
    Mudlock, 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:20pm

    To echo M. Anonymous Coward (but in, perhaps, a less aggressive tone); "there are bigger problems" is really a cop-out defense. You can attack the foolishness of this on its own (lack of) merit without stooping to that level.

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

    • identicon
      Chronno S. Trigger, 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:34pm

      Re:

      I'll respond to you since you were nice about it. (I thank you for that)

      Yes "there are bigger problems" is kind of a cop-out but it is still appropriate.

      Copyright is a civil issue to be taken up in a civil court. This is why the cops don't come busting down your door when you copy music. It is for civil courts. It is not to be taken upon the federal government to track down and prosecute these people.

      A civil issue is to be handled outside of the cops. First the offended party is to file a civil suit with the courts. The courts serve the papers to the offender. Then they go to court (note: no jail involved) and (if found guilty) a fine is placed (note: still no jail). Nowhere in there are the cops or the FBI or any other federal body tracking anyone down (except if you don't show up to court).

      These issues are best left in the civil courts and out of the federal budget. Wouldn't you prefer your tax money go to solving some issues like homelessness, murder, actual theft instead of enforcing something that was never meant to be enforced by the federal government?

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

  • identicon
    Etch, 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:31pm

    SCARY

    To all the people saying that this is simply about enforcing copyright laws:

    "She said the Bush administration is still hoping that Congress will enact a set of sweeping intellectual-property law changes recommended last year. It would like politicians to criminalize "attempting" to infringe copyrights, permit wiretaps for piracy investigations, and increase penalties for intellectual-property violations, among other things."

    From:
    http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9869492-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=25 47-1_3-0-20

    WOW. "wiretaps for piracy investigations"
    That's scary shit!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:31pm

    In NYC, police cracked down on "minor" crime like turnstyle jumping and grafitti. Major crime also dropped.

    People that often break "small" laws usually have no problem breaking big laws. A criminal is a criminal, no matter how serious. Some deserve more punishment than others, but no law should be allowed to be broken.

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

    • identicon
      Chronno S. Trigger, 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      Point me to the law that made copyright infringement a criminal offence.

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

    • identicon
      [a], 12 Feb 2008 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      'In NYC, police cracked down on "minor" crime like turnstyle jumping and grafitti. Major crime also dropped.'

      Statistically meaningless, as there is no way to prove any causation between the two.

      'A criminal is a criminal, no matter how serious'

      So the man who steals a loaf of bread to feed himself should be persecuted with the same fervor, committment of resources, and extent of punishment as the man who engineers an ethnic genocide?

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

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 12 Feb 2008 @ 3:45pm

    "So the man who steals a loaf of bread to feed himself should be persecuted with the same fervor, committment of resources, and extent of punishment as the man who engineers an ethnic genocide?"


    Nice strawman, but I think when I posted "Some deserve more punishment than others" covered your objection.

    And no, you are not free to only obey the laws you agree with. You can protest them, you can work to have them changed, but no, you can't just ignore laws you don't like. People who do that are known as criminals.

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

  • identicon
    Iron Chef, 12 Feb 2008 @ 4:05pm

    Ask yourself.. how much revenue would be released back into the general economy if these transactions were managed by a business-backed process instead of being brokered through the legal system?

    There's several skill sets that speak to increasing the maturity level of processes, They are OPM3, CMMI, Six Sigma, Toyota Production System, and TQM. They are all focused on lowering operational costs, increasing transaction quantities and dollar value, revenue and profitability, and automating processes.

    A study should be completed on the entire overhead cost of the current system. I believe once numbers are compiled, and costs are realized, real discussion could occur on how to lower these costs, and increase productivity and sales for our customer set.

    The alternate approach is to wait.
    This has it's own troubles. If a 3rd party study was commissioned that detailed the true costs involved with maintaining the process, if those numbers were shared with the public people start asking if:

    1.) Is this a business problem that should be handled in the board room?
    2.) Does public funding even need to be allocated?
    3.) Should laws be created to change Interest in Copyright/ Patent Law?

    I was speaking with a consultant of a large retailer based in Minnesota during Christmas time... You would be surprised how many business plans they have created to re purpose the entire CD section...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 7:34pm

    Yes, it is reassuring to know that all other more pressing issues have been solved .......

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2008 @ 11:01pm

    Anonymous Coward sure likes posting constantly

    Might as well throw up a name, else you'll get confused with me. Oh wait, I'm not completely ignorant of the situation so never mind.

    Flames aside, copyright law has _recently_ been changed and pressure to enforce it over more important matters (such as preventing murder, rape, public shootings, making sure Telcos are held accountable for violations of wiretapping laws) has been present.

    Yes, downloading music is illegal. It used to be 'just' a case of copyright infringment, with a reasonable fine. Now instead of being forced to pay damages equal to what you've done however (eg pay 16 bucks because you downloaded a single CD) you have to pay several thousands of dollars, AND THEY ARE TRYING TO RAISE THE FINE TO OVER A MILLION. That's not justice. Hell, that's not even remotely reasonable.

    Oh and there's more! Before if you made a personal video for fun and no vested commercial interest, you were fine. But not now, oh no! Now you get sued because the crappy quality clip of a song that was on your homevideo is "stealing."

    Anonymous Coward, shut the hell up. You're obviously either an ignorant hack or a corporate tool. Next you'll be telling me Disney has a right to trademark the name 'Cinderella' even though the real story has been public domain for hundreds of years.

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

  • identicon
    mike allen, 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:51am

    un just law

    The copyright liers have many laws these are unjust to the owners of a copy in fact there is no theft of anything with copyright as i have yet to hear that the master recordings have been stolen if so then that is theft.

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

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 13 Feb 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re #30

    You forgot to mention "with federal taxpayers dollars".

    Chrono got it very right.
    So did the rest of you with similar arguments.

    Those arguing against what they are saying.
    Well, you haven't really presented any good reason why it requires my tax money to prosecute.
    Let the companies spend their money.
    And IF they use federal money for it, the government should get it back, not the companies.
    That way they can afford to waste the 22K$$ on a freaking 3 foot mini fridge sent to Iraq like they are spending right now.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 13 Feb 2008 @ 3:46pm

    Copyright infringment is the 21st century's version of heresy. Welcome to the inquisition V2.0!

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


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