Hollywood Astroturf Group Releases Ad Saying It Needs SOPA To Shut Down Megaupload... Five Days After Megaupload Is Shut Down

from the you-guys-make-me-laugh dept

CreativeAmerica, the astroturfing group that pretends it's a "grassroots" operation -- but which is funded by the major Hollywood studios and run by former studio/MPAA execs -- is amazingly inept at communicating with the public, especially considering these guys are supposed to be communications experts. Remember, this is the same group who, while fighting for stronger laws against copying, flat out copied the email of anti-SOPA activists, and changed a few words to push their own pro-SOPA message.

Their latest move is even more bizarre. The group is touting its latest slickly produced propaganda film, insisting that SOPA/PIPA are needed for a variety of reasons -- almost none of which are true. It throws out the bogus claim of jobs being at risk, even though the evidence shows otherwise. But where it gets totally ridiculous is that the video focuses mostly on Megaupload and Kim Dotcom/Schmitz. The point of focusing on Megaupload? To claim that it can't be reached under existing law. Seriously. It talks about Megaupload for a while (claiming that it brings in $300 million per year -- which turns out to be 10x the actual number, by the way) and then says:
US law enforcement is only permitted to shut down US-based IP addresses. Overseas sites, like Megaupload and Megavideo, and the Swedish-based Pirate Bay, are out of reach.
Yes. And they're releasing this video five whole days after the US government showed that existing laws actually do allow them to reach Megaupload and shut it down. So, um, why do we need these new laws again?

Seriously, the video shows the level of lies that CreativeAmerica and the MPAA will spread to try to pass new, even broader laws. What's stunning is how blatant they are about it, releasing this video even after events from a week ago already proved it wrong.

Furthermore, almost everything else in that sentence is wrong, beyond just the idea that Megaupload was supposedly out of reach of US law enforcement. Current law enforcement can seize US domains, which are different from IP addresses. And, even more ridiculously, in the video, right before they claim that US law enforcement can't reach foreign sites... they show a clip of TVShack.net -- a UK-based site that the government seized and shut down (and is now trying to extradite its founder, student Richard O'Dwyer).

Why must CreativeAmerica lie? Perhaps because the facts just aren't on its side.

The video has a number of other problems. It relies heavily on Erik Barnett, Deputy Director for ICE, regularly seen in various press releases about ICE's program of illegally censoring websites. It really makes you wonder why a government official is appearing in a video for a lobbying group trying to pass new laws. Perhaps it's not illegal, but it certainly raises serious questions about the cozy relationship between ICE and the MPAA. Barnett has a history of being less than truthful about ICE activities. Last summer, you may remember, he flat out lied, in claiming that none of the sites seized by ICE were challenging the seizures, when he knew that a bunch of sites had already brought up challenges.

Now Barnett is claiming that this program of seizing domains without any due process is a huge success because they seized "the nine most popular content theft sites out there." Even ignoring the misuse of the word "theft" (shouldn't law enforcement know how to use the word properly?), this is laughable. I mean, elsewhere in the video, they claim that TPB and Megaupload are the two most popular, but they weren't seized when the video was made. Instead, what ICE seized was a bunch of hip hop blogs (that weren't even that big), including one that it held for a year before the Justice Department was forced to effectively admit that ICE totally screwed up and the domain had to be returned. Other domains are still being held in this manner as well. The fact that Barnett would flat out lie and pretend that this program of blatant censorship is some sort of big success... in an industry propaganda film, certainly raises some significant questions about ICE and how it's run these days.

The video has some other laughable moments... such as talking to Bruce Leddy, the writer/director of the film Wedding Weekend (originally called "Sing Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace" or "Shut Up And Sing"), who freaks out over the fact that his movie was available online, and is decrying all of the "losses." A couple problems with this. Wedding Weekend was apparently a terrible movie. The movie made a grand total of $15,998 on its opening weekend on 11 screens, and was out of theaters a week later, grossing a grand total of $20,903. And it wasn't because of infringement. It was because most people thought it was awful. Most of the professional reviews make it sound pretty bad, using words and phrases like "uneven," "less tolerable," "clunky narration," "one-trait characterizations," "the title is the least of the film's problems," etc. User reviews are more harsh. Over at Rotten Tomatoes one user notes:
This film is horrible. It has no redeeming features what so ever. I could criticise every single aspect of this film but I can't be bothered, it would be quicker for me to tell you about what is good about it. So here it goes, the only good thing about this film is that it has damaged the careers of everyone who worked on it. Hopefully. Never have I wanted to punch every single person on screen....
Somehow, I get the feeling that its availability online was the least of its problems. I'd be surprised if it actually got that many downloads at all. Meanwhile, we keep hearing stories of smart filmmakers embracing the internet, and giving people reasons to buy (starting with a better quality movie). He claims, "there's no recourse," but that's ridiculous. One only needs to look at the experiences of Louis CK to know that, even if your videos end up on torrent sites, if you handle it properly, you can still cash in. Leddy's failure to make a good movie and his subsequent failure to put in place a good business model is no excuse for passing a bad law with massive unintended consequences.

Still, this really shows the incredible desperation of the MPAA, though. The astroturf group it has created is really reaching in its efforts to come up with some sort of justification for SOPA/PIPA...


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    Pjerky (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Grrr

    What I can't understand is how our government can legally prosecute someone in another country that is operating in that country (not America and the internet doesn't count because it has no borders). Especially when the person is not an American citizen.

    How is this even legal??? Our government has way too much power. They must be stopped, not the pirates.

     

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    John Doe, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

    I was tempted to laugh at Mike again in the way Mike is laughing at people Mike in his crazy mind thinks he is better than - but after thinking about it for 10 seconds, and I am not ethics expert, but I think laughing at Mike, any insane person, or anyone in general is the sin of pride.

    I can tell you with 100% professional confidence that Mike is an economics idiot, but I think his ethics are also as bad. But if someone (Mike) is to dumb to understand his bad ethics (or economics for that matter) is it a sin for him to have bad ethics?

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:43am

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      If laughing at you is wrong I don't want to be right.

      (p.s. try worrying a little less about sin and a little more about syntax)

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:43am

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      0/10 - Your village called... they miss you.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:49am

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      Troll. Ad hom attack, not responding to anything said.

      Why are you wasting our time with your literally pointless words?

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

        Lobbyists need to do something to sharpen their teeth twixt sessions of hookers & blow with legislators.

        Many of them come here and do some lite trolling.

         

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          Gwiz (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

          Many of them come here and do some lite trolling.

          Now introducing......

          Trolling Lite!.

          The same bullshit and blatant lies you've come to expect, but now with 52% less facts and 78% less cognitive thinking!

           

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

        Trolls are actually a good thing. They make us think through our responses. They make us refine our logic. And they do the exact opposite of what they intend to. So here is to all the trolls!!

         

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          Rikuo (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

          So...we get smarter by responding to statements that have no thought, fact or logic to them?

           

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            Hephaestus (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

            We get smarter by spotting the lies, the misdirection, and we think things through. We also learne from peoples responses to Trolls. Personally, between Marcus, Dark Helmet, and a bunch of others, chewing up the trolls and spitting them out, I have learned a lot.

            How about you?

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

        Interesting fact:
        Trolls are just pseudonyms for regular commentators so they have some one to fight with.

         

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        John Doe, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

        You are mistaken that I am "not responding to anything said"

        The SUBTITLE of Mike's post is "from the you-guys-make-me-laugh dept.

        Please try to READ if you can or else your friends may laugh at you as the village idiot - but I am not sure it's ethical to laugh at village/Internet idiots like Mike, or ANYONE.

         

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      Simon, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:57am

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      "to dumb" ?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      I note you don't actually address the subject of the article, but attempt to smear the author instead.
      No wonder your nom-de-plume is another name for a nobody.
      Very appropriate, boy.

       

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      blaktron (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      Please punctuate. Please.

       

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      Glaze (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

      Re: Is Laughing at Mike - or anyone - a sin?

      It's not a sin to have bad ethics... but it is a sin to have horrible grammar while trying to bash someone who may or may not have questionable ethics.

      Honestly, how do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you can't even get your subjects, predicates and verbs straight? Troll harder!

       

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Shall we start another petition to have someone examine the emails of Erik Barnett?
    He seems dumb enough to have been openly discussing his future position with one of the **AA's lobbying.

    He is a government official, who has REPEATEDLY lied.
    He has violated the rights of people based on claims with no merit.
    He has managed to show ICE in an even more unfavorable light, and this was no small trick.

    He won't answer questions put to him by the people, but he has time to make a video for a lobbyist group. Would someone like to explain why we are paying him again? If you can get him out of his office at Disney to answer some questions about his total lack of intelligence we'd appreciate it.

    CreativeAmerica is neither creative nor america.
    The fact they managed to put out this pile of crap AFTER they managed to get what they wanted without the law, claiming they have to have the law is amazing.

    I look forward to someone outside of ICE looking at the documentation used in the Grand Jury against Mega and pointing out the lies handed to them by the industry that a rational person would have verified before proceeding.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:43am

    They live in a fantasy world

    Creating fiction is what MPAA members do. They don't care if the movie is plausible. Is it any surprise they seem to live in a fantasy world?

    Depriving artists of getting paid for music is what RIAA members do. They don't care if the music sounds good. Is it any surprise that they are tone deaf to what happens in the real world?

    Creating Doublespeak is what Lobbyists and PR people do. They don't care if it has direct contradictions. Is it any surprise they think they must have SOPA to take down Megaupload?

     

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    jakerome (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Time for a petition to investigate Barnett

    But it needs to be better written than the Dodd petition, which was broad and imprecise. A petition that calls out the specific instances of his lying, misuse of language, operating as the enforcement wing of the MPAA/RIAA and so on. But using neutral tone, unemotional. 100% factual.

    Who's up for it?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

      Re: Time for a petition to investigate Barnett

      Put it up there...I'll sign it, then link it. Go Go!

       

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      Derpford, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 3:07pm

      Re: Time for a petition to investigate Barnett

      Hail yeah. We need evidence, after all, and what better evidence than an unemotional video documenting his horrid mistakes?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Existing LAWS didn't bring down MegaUpload. Existing diplomatic pressure and intimidation toward another sovereign state to do the bidding of their US overlords did.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    As usual, when you compare the industry claims against the actual evidence, you have to wonder how people actually take them seriously about anything.

    One of their biggest problems, now is going to be now that they are getting cases into courts, is proving the vastly inflated numbers they've been floating for years. Making broad claim, and then expecting politicians to except those claims (in exchange for campaign contributions) at face value is one thing. Being able to pass those inflated numbers by in a court of law seems to proving a wee bit more difficult.

    Also, it has now been a week. At $300 million we should have seen an uptick of at least $4 million in business already (not counting actions taken by other companies), right?

    Also note that ever since Napster I've heard we need tougher laws because business is failing. We get tougher laws, business falls some more. We get even tougher laws, business falls even more. I'm sensing a pattern here.

     

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    Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Bizarre

    Actually in this case I would agree with CreativeAmerica that MegaUpload cannot be touched... at least in that way... under existing laws.

    The DoJ accuse Mega of Racketeering. Unless you want to slid MegaUpload in amongst a list including the Mafia and the Triad then that claim is obviously false.

    Then we have their Money Laundering claim. So what are the examples given for this criminal act? Paying their server costs and rewards programme. So again another falsehood unless every business paying their website hosting charges is doing money laundering as well.

    Make no mistake that it was these two key lies which allowed the FBI to take Mega down. Lying about the law does not make that implementation of the law valid.

    Their only real claims are all copyright related. So let me ask people this. Would all these countries have allowed a multi-million dollar company to be destroyed for mere copyright infringement? That is double as hard seeing that MegaUpload have never been convicted of Copyright Infringement in Civil Court. No they lied to them and said Mega were the new Ninja Triad with drugs, guns and shit load of violence.

    Our end sum then is... Lie + Lie + Weak = No law to take down MegaUpload.

    CreativeAmerica are correct. The Mega attack was pure unlawful bullshit.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

      Re: Bizarre

      Racketeering: like the Labels' known collusive behaviours, the studios rampant cultural theft and then using their "trade organizations" to bribe politicians into making laws for them.

       

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        blaktron (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        The best part about the RICO charge is that the US government for the past 30 years (or 40, however old RICO is) have claimed it takes the better part of a decade to bring a good RICO case. Something tells me this wasnt done in this case....... that something of course, being simple math.

         

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          Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          If you want to know how well planned this one was then here is an example.

          When they came to arrest Bram van der Kolk in New Zealand those damned Americans handed the New Zealand Police a photograph of the WRONG PERSON.

          I think that says a lot in their very deep and detailed examination of all members involved when they are left going "Now what one was Bram van der Kolk again?"

           

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

      Re: Bizarre

      But holding Mega up at the reason for the law, while Mega has just been raided (right or wrong) shows a total lack of creativity.

      Maybe they were afraid if they targeted TPB again it would have just boosted their visits again.

       

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      Yakko Warner (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

      Re: Bizarre

      So, basically what you're saying is, they already have the tools (lie, deceive, make up facts, get the right people to believe them -- tools they've proven and continue to demonstrate they're very adept at wielding) to take down any site they want.

      Conclusion: no law needed.

       

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        Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        Nice theory. The flaw is when it comes to a trial then all these lies are examined and soon tossed out.

        The problem is of course that the "dirty deed" has already been done and it was the lie which brought them to court.

        I believe once these lies are officially uncovered then Mega will begin to make much gain and the return of most sites excluding the main MegaUpload.

        You are correct though that the Administration can often run on lies and deceit. They should keep in mind Watergate.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          I believe once these lies are officially uncovered then Mega will begin to make much gain and the return of most sites excluding the main MegaUpload.

          To the extent the other Mega enterprises were funded from the profits of a criminal Megaupload, they'd be subject to forfeiture as well.

           

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            Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

            Mega running a criminal enterprise has yet to be proved.

            Kim Dotcom was a millionaire before he started MegaUpload and his other sites were quite cheap compared to the beast. So it is all very subjective.

            Well let me ask you this. Why should the DoJ in the service of the RIAA be able to take down a "lawful" rival to the RIAA as two of Mega's music sites were?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

              Why should the DoJ in the service of the RIAA be able to take down a "lawful" rival to the RIAA as two of Mega's music sites were?

              First of all, I think you mean labels because the RIAA is a trade association and has no other business enterprises. Second, where's your citation of it being RIAA directed? I've seen no public information, have you?

               

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                Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                Yes the RIAA is a trade association of record labels which makes my comparison quite valid when the RIAA represent their interests.

                If you want to narrow it down then try UMG. And I mean not the nice friendly innocent UMG but their bedfellows of that bad nasty UMG who took down that Mega Song video.

                As to the RIAA then I would be totally shocked to believe anyone could think they were not involved. The RIAA infect Congress like a plague. The RIAA even write their own international trade agreements. Then the Administration has been lobbied hard by them and Joe Biden is their messiah.

                Joe Biden did cause ICE to attack domains in their "Operation in Our Sites". The RIAA have certainly infected the DoJ and DHS/ICE when the RIAA is to blame for that DaJaz1 mess.

                All that has happened here is the change from DHS/DoJ to FBI/DoJ and that was simply because the DHS was not powerful enough to take down Mega. You can rest assured through that the MPAA and RIAA were still hanging around.

                Even this charges sheet does not like a professional FBI job but it certainly looks worded by the MPAA/RIAA. True there is no exact report yet but it is easy to guess what is going on there.

                So my point stands why should be thousands of parts behind the RIAA be able to take down lawful independent music channels?

                 

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                The eejit (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                IT's a lobbying group masquerading as a trade organization. Get it right.

                 

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Bizarre

      The DoJ accuse Mega of Racketeering. Unless you want to slid MegaUpload in amongst a list including the Mafia and the Triad then that claim is obviously false.

      You obvious don't understand how racketeering statutes work. They can be applied to any organized, continuing criminal enterprise. For decades RICO statutes have been used to eradicate street gangs. It's not just the Sopranos who have to worry about it. Anyone whose business model includes criminal activity is subject to the penalties.

      http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/19/us/using-the-racketeering-law-to-bring-down-street-g angs.html?pagewanted=all

       

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        Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        I may not be familiar with the exact law but I understand how Racketeering works. Namely an unlawful business model backed up by threats of violence.

        Yes your street gangs mention may well be valid but MegaUpload removed millions of links as part of their act of complying with DMCA "safe harbour" law.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          I may not be familiar with the exact law but I understand how Racketeering works. Namely an unlawful business model backed up by threats of violence.

          Well, you could try Wikipedia. If you did, you might discover that threats of violence doesn't have to be a component.

          Yes your street gangs mention may well be valid but MegaUpload removed millions of links as part of their act of complying with DMCA "safe harbour" law.

          Well, there's a problem there too. Since they didn't have a registered DMCA agent until 2009, it's unlikely safe harbor provisions applied before that time. As far as criminal culpability after that, we'll have to wait for the evidence to laid bare. If the allegations in the indictment are proved- I doubt that Fat Bastard stands a chance of escaping a decade or more in a penitentiary.

           

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            Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

            If you want another definition of Racketeering then that would be in creating a problem and then offering yourself as the solution to that problem.

            Again it would be hard to see how MegaUpload would fit seeing that the Internet Piracy problem existed years before their company did.

            One thing that has been ignored so far is to recognize a business's desire to comply with the law even if they are doing a weak job of it.

            MegaUpload is a Hong Kong business and usually is not subject to US law. So they only joined the DMCA scheme when it became important to them.

            Being a DMCA "safe harbour" company and in complying with millions of take-down requests is a very good sign in their desire to stay lawful.

            So any faults are best dealt with through a fine and a "you must do better" note.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

              Obviously, the US Attorney disagrees with you. Sorry about your pirate friend, Fat Bastard. The good news for him is that prison food in the US is reputably awful and he'll probably be able to trim down to a svelte 300 lbs during his stay.

               

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                Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                You're just jealous when Kim Dotcom can go to bed with 2 or 3 models at a time.

                Well the saying goes if you want to find a liar then find a politician. Then the days of the Administration upholding the law are long gone when they now only abuse the law to their advantage.

                I still remember when Obama promised us all he would respect the rule of law. We may recall that his predecessor Bush violated the law to such an extent that he exceeded every President before him combined. That was his little lawful notes that said "this plan does not violate the US Constitution and Bill of Rights IN MY OPINION". Even if people claimed they did violate the law then Bush overruled them.

                 

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        Richard (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        You obvious don't understand how racketeering statutes work. They can be applied to any organized, continuing criminal enterprise.
        So why have the MPAA/RIAA survived so long then??

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          "You obvious don't understand how racketeering statutes work. They can be applied to any organized, continuing criminal enterprise.
          So why have the MPAA/RIAA survived so long then??"

          I believe their was an attempt to charge RIAA with RICO, price fixing and extortion when they were suing the college kids. Few people realize that RIAA was only successful in 1 or 2 cases. Tens of thousands paid for it through settlements.

          And none of the money went to the bands, musician's and artists whose work was "stolen".

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Bizarre

      Their only real claims are all copyright related.

      That's not true unless you think the world should agree with you based on a conclusion that was made without ANY knowledge of evidence of racketeering and money laundering.

      So let me ask people this. Would all these countries have allowed a multi-million dollar company to be destroyed for mere copyright infringement?

      What if the evidence shows that his ENTIRE multi-million dollar empire was derived from copyright infringement? As far as I'm concerned, the wealth and scale of his operation demonstrates his willful criminal intention.

       

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        lucidrenegade (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        Thankfully your opinion means nothing.

         

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      •  
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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        "As far as I'm concerned, the wealth and scale of his operation demonstrates his willful criminal intention."

        You could say that about Lehman Bros, AIG, Countrywide, Wells Fargo, BofA, Citi group, Goldman Sachs ... but that would be class warfare.

         

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        Gwiz (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        What if the evidence shows that his ENTIRE multi-million dollar empire was derived from copyright infringement?

        Then he should be punished. What if the evidence only shows that 5% of his wealth was gained from illegal activity? He should allowed to keep the other 95% minus court costs and fines, right? But, since the DOJ appears to take their marching orders from Hollywood lately there's only a snowball's chance in hell that will happen.

        As far as I'm concerned, the wealth and scale of his operation demonstrates his willful criminal intention.

        Again with that dumb logic? I guess you also think Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are bona fide criminals too, since they also have a lot of money.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          If just 5% of his revenue came from infringing, it has no business being a criminal matter. "Willful criminal intention" is a statutory standard that must be met in order for infringement to rise fro a civil infraction to a criminal one.

          What I was trying imply (unclearly) is that the scale of his operation matters. I think there are two ways to get yourself bounced up from civil to criminal infringement. First, a small player can get charged criminally is a very large percentage of his content was infringing (Ninjavideo). Second, a very large player can be charged if lesser percentage (albeit significant) is infringing and the overall volume is great.

          I have no idea what the Gates/Buffet comment means- and suspect you don't either. The discussion was about infringement and Megaupload. Having great wealth doesn't mean you're a criminal..... usually.

           

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            Gwiz (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

            What I was trying imply (unclearly) is that the scale of his operation matters. I think there are two ways to get yourself bounced up from civil to criminal infringement. First, a small player can get charged criminally is a very large percentage of his content was infringing (Ninjavideo). Second, a very large player can be charged if lesser percentage (albeit significant) is infringing and the overall volume is great.

            Fair enough. I understand what you are saying now.

            I have no idea what the Gates/Buffet comment means- and suspect you don't either. The discussion was about infringement and Megaupload. Having great wealth doesn't mean you're a criminal..... usually.

            Unfortunately, there is an inherent risk of confusion when someone comments as an Anonymous Coward. An AC yesterday basically based his argument of guilt on the scale of wealth involved. My apologies, since it appears it wasn't you.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

              Apologies unnecessary. I think Dotcom is a fool for his sticking his outrageous lifestyle and wealth in everyone's face. Most juror's are ordinary people and when a very wealthy defendant comes before them with a cloud over their head, and the trappings of reckless wealth and excess..... it does usually evoke much sympathy. We will see what happens, but if he's extradited I think he's a goner. It appears underlings are already rolling. Eastern Virginia is not a good jurisdiction for him to be tried in either- a very conservative bench.

               

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                Gwiz (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 8:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                I have to agree with you on all of that. I find it extremely unfortunate really. Not that I give rat's ass about Dotcom, I first heard his name when he was indicted. And not really because of MegaUpload either, only ran across it few times surfing and knew of it mostly from Techdirt articles. I find it unfortunate because this seems to be some sort of power grab by the government in order to cement their legal theories into legal precedence. This is the stuff the internet public wants to have open debates about. Perhaps a more surgical approach might have been prudent.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 3:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                  Seizure laws are very strong medicine and have been wielded against a variety of bad actors for decades. The precedent is well established. I doubt the tide will flow against it. Far more often it is used as a weapon against drug cartels and gangs. For those reasons alone it's unlikely to change. I think NZ values its relationship with the US more the it values the (questionable) protection of Dotcom and Megaupload. If I were you, I'd be on the look out for laws that state that foreign companies are subject to the laws of the US in payment processors and ad networks if so stated in the TOS. That would effectively extend current US copyright law to virtually every pirate site. Then you'll have a situation that is far worse than SOPA extended globally.

                   

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                    Gwiz (profile), Jan 26th, 2012 @ 7:38am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                    Yeah, I am aware of seizure laws and their precedents. I have problems with the whole in rem process itself because it seems to turn our basic belief of innocent until proven guilty on it's ear by suing property and making the owner prove it's innocence. But, that is a discussion for another time.

                    The legal theories I was eluding to are more towards the type of argument the government is making the Puerto 80/Rojadirecta case. The government can possibly prove civil infringement against the Rojadirecta's users and possibly prove civil inducement for Puerto 80. But then they combine those two separate things (against separate defendants, no less) to say it all equals criminal copyright infringement and seize the domains on that basis. That is a blatant power grab in my eyes.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 3:49pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                      A small aside; it's alluded, not eluded. Sorry for being the spelling Nazi. Honestly, I don't how where the threshold is that constitutes criminal infringement other that the "willfulness" component is key. I assume that inducement requires proof of similar "willful" conduct.

                      Ironic that the proposed SOPA bill would not have led to such seizures isn't it? (assuming these sites didn't otherwise avail themselves to US jurisdiction)

                       

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                        Gwiz (profile), Jan 26th, 2012 @ 5:57pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                        A small aside; it's alluded, not eluded

                        Heh. Sorry, I am a terrible speller. Spellcheck mocks me daily with it's blank stares as I struggle to get close enough to the word I want.

                         

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                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 6:43pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

                          Sorry. I usually try to ignore it, but you actually seem like a relatively reasonable person to exchange opposing viewpoints. Your lack of spelling acumen is more than offset by a willingness to have an honest discussion- a rare commodity here.

                           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re: Bizarre

        >As far as I'm concerned, the wealth and scale of his operation demonstrates his willful criminal intention.

        Wait, did you honestly just say that the only possible way he could have gotten that much wealth was through criminal acts, and therefor as an expansion of that idea the only way a business can be successful is to commit illegal acts?

        Now I'm just tossing this out, you know, as a sort of random idea, but maybe they got so big due to providing a desired service to a lot of people, and offering that service at a price people were willing to pay. Just a thought though.

         

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          Violated (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          Yes and the real reason for this attack is that Mega was the biggest and most successful. This is their "cut the head off the chicken" policy.

          Then they also usually like to run with "shoot first and find out if they are guilty later". Innocent and guilty make little difference when you can f**k them over and trash their place in the market whatever the court verdict.

          Unfortunately both these points (and more) they once did to my own business. Innocent and never even arrested but still f**ked over.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Bizarre

          Wait, did you honestly just say that the only possible way he could have gotten that much wealth was through criminal acts, and therefor as an expansion of that idea the only way a business can be successful is to commit illegal acts?

          Perhaps you'd better head back and get your GED.

          Now I'm just tossing this out, you know, as a sort of random idea, but maybe they got so big due to providing a desired service to a lot of people, and offering that service at a price people were willing to pay. Just a thought though.

          Sure. I think that's highly likely. The only problem is that it appears he did it in a criminal manner. And it's far easier to make that kind of money when you are not compensating the lawful owner.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Can anyone tell me how to access the megaupload site Creative(imaginary)America is talking about. Since the megaupload I used is gone(without SOPA I might add.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Uh?

    Does anyone else think that this sounds like a Monty Python skit?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    I hear CreativeAmerica is making a new psa that talks about the dangers of dinosaurs and their interaction with humans.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    Oh c'mon, Mike!

    Oh, come on.

    It's obvious that this video is the work of hundreds (if not thousands) of man-hours of work. It's equally obvious that the producers had a specific release date, which was set months ago.

    You can't *honestly* think that a group consisting of MPAA members would spend money producing something, and then *not release it*, would you? Think of all of those grips, writers, makeup artists and other "little people" who would have gone hungry if this video wasn't produced!

    You should be ashamed of yourself - instead of blaming Creative America for releasing the video after the MegaUpload bust, you should be blaming the DoJ for jumping the gun! If the DoJ had just waited a couple of weeks, this video could have been released as intended, and you would have nobody to laugh at!

    I demand that you ignore the real timeline, and turn your internal clock back to make it look like this is accurate!

     

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    SD (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    another thing i read concerning the Mega raid was that Kim and others had barricaded themselves in the house. what i dont understand is how they managed to have time to do that, given that the house was raided by 76 armed swat/police officers. either they were very slow at executing the raid or Kim and co were extremely quick at erecting the barricades! maybe someone tipped off the Mega people or perhaps someone is lying about the events that took place?

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      He had, from what I gather, a panic room and other countermeasures he activated slowing down their progress. He is not exactly well loved and is rich. Rich people tend to have ways to protect themselves.

      They made such a big deal out of the sawed off shotgun, and less over the fact it was loaded... with real rubber bullets. Not the kind you fire... bullets made of rubber.

      There is quite a bit of character assassination being done in the NZ press, out of context quotes and such... sorta like the "evidence" shown the the Grand Jury.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re:

        "... sorta like the "evidence" shown the the Grand Jury."

        It really is a shame that judges don't read anything but what's handed to them.

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 6:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I didn't think there was a Judge around for Grand Jurys.
          I thought they just tried to make their 1 sided case and get them to give them the green light so they can pretend justice is being upheld.

          United States
          Main article: Grand juries in the United States
          A grand jury investigating the fire that destroyed the Arcadia Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts in 1913.

          In the early decades of the United States grand juries played a major role in public matters. During that period counties followed the traditional practice of requiring all decisions be made by at least twelve of the grand jurors, (e.g., for a twenty-three-person grand jury, twelve people would constitute a bare majority). Any citizen could bring a matter before a grand jury directly, from a public work that needed repair, to the delinquent conduct of a public official, to a complaint of a crime, and grand juries could conduct their own investigations. In that era most criminal prosecutions were conducted by private parties, either a law enforcement officer, a lawyer hired by a crime victim or his family, or even by laymen. A layman could bring a bill of indictment to the grand jury; if the grand jury found there was sufficient evidence for a trial, that the act was a crime under law, and that the court had jurisdiction, it would return the indictment to the complainant. The grand jury would then appoint the complaining party to exercise the authority of an attorney general, that is, one having a general power of attorney to represent the state in the case. The grand jury served to screen out incompetent or malicious prosecutions.[8] The advent of official public prosecutors in the later decades of the 19th century largely displaced private prosecutions.[9]

          While all states in the U.S. currently have provisions for Grand Juries,[10] today approximately half of the states employ them[11] and only twenty-two require their use, to varying extents.[12]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_jury#United_States

          This will more than likely begin to unravel once they have to make a real case in a real courtroom, but for now they are holding several people, tons of cash and property, because a group of people in a room heard 1 side of an argument.

           

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Something entirely different....

    On a semiunrelated topic, has anyone else noticed the tremendous drop in the quality of troll?
    I wonder if these new trolls are part of the contract with General Dynamics to monitor the blogosphere for people speaking poorly of ICE and such....

     

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    identicon
    Logo, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    This part made me laugh out loud: http://youtu.be/B7mjDHXtSp0?t=3m17s

    Why would you ever willingly include a statement from a group that completely destroys your argument while also mocking you.

    The narrator reading out that statement makes me laugh every time I see it (and I've rewatched it a bunch).

     

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    somestuff, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Lynching

    Those negroes have not even complained to the mayor about being lynched, of course they dont mind.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Orpheus, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Legal streaming

    If they want to stop piracy, the only way is to offer a legal streaming online. The fact that films are free online is not the only reason to watch films online, Internet has a variety of films, music, games that often people can't find in shops or cinema. I'm from Italy, and sorry if my english is not good, but there are a lot of films I want to watch, and I know I can't since my country won't buy them. So, dear majors, offer a legal streaming online, I will be happy to pay. Steam is going great, for example. We can find all the games we want, and it's useless to search games via web, risking to catch virus.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    What would make me laugh, is that if they actually did need the SOPA/PIPA bills, and that the take down of megaupload was infact illegal

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    proper use of words

    > misuse of the word "theft" (shouldn't law enforcement know how to use the word properly?)

    The 'forcers aren't in the truth, law, or justice business. They're in the business of conducting busts, which are fun to a certain type. Proper language use is whatever lets them go on more busts.

     

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    ECA (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    STILL using international numbers

    The main problem is WHAT the USA can do HERE, for international difficulty.

    Who in many of the other countries would pay $5 (US) to watch a movie(thats about 1 months wages in many countries). So the international market is TIGHTER, and less profit margin.

    In the end, all that would happen/could be done, is to LOCK the site out from the USA. THAT ISNT EASY.
    Tracking down the OWNER? Someone in 1 nation, with servers in 4 others?? International borders?? this isnt a good thing.
    So, you have a movie in the USA and doesnt DO VERY WELL, and you try to re-coup, in the foreign market.
    With a Saturation level of around 30%,(including DIAL UP) and most of the areas affected are in the middle east thru china...WHERE do you think these movies are going to be seen?

    FOR ANYONE that has seen a NEW STREAMED movie on the net, the Quality SUCKS.. its more of a SAMPLE of what you might get to see.
    IF you had the chance to SAMPLE a movie, to see if its the TYPE/STYLE/WANT to see besides/PAST the grandiose ADVERTS(LIES) what are you going to do?

    Another strange point.
    With a 30% saturation rate of computers around the world. Thats an estimation.. 2.1 billion people with access, MOST of this is in China. HOW do the movies get released early? REALLY..

    An American language, Video recorded, Theater view of a First released movie? And a few are pretty good quality(high end cam, audio still sucks)
    (hmm, just started thinking about this)

    THE LOGIC ISNT THERE..

     

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    identicon
    Ziggy, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Plausible guy explains SOPA corruption

    I think this guy may know what the hell he's talking about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzS5rSvZXe8&feature=channel_video_title

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    Just watched the clip. Well, there's 5 minutes of my life I'm never getting back.....

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:02pm

    Correction on the e.g. part:
    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzS5rSvZXe8">ACTA TRUTH HORROR STORY SOPA Exposed in the UK Richard O'Dwyer by Mike Mozart</a> by <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/JeepersMedia">JeepersMedia</a> on Jan 18, 2012
    <a href="[website address here]">[any text here]</a>

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

    CreativeAmerica has turned into a zombie.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:59pm

    C'mon, Nuge! We know you're CreativeAmerica's paid, dispensible shill to defend the name of your organisation. Why don't you pop down here and challenge us, who challenged your numbers? Or did you already get replaced by the next dispensible shill?

     

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


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