California AG Pretends Copyright Infringement Is Theft; Charges Streaming Site With Grand Theft
from the hmm... dept
“Digital piracy is theft. It is a serious crime that harms one of California’s most important economic engines – our entertainment industry,” said Attorney General Harris. “This case sends a clear message that the California Department of Justice will investigate digital piracy and prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”Except that infringement and theft are two very different issues, which are taken care of under two very different laws. I know that the MPAA loves to call infringement "theft" but it does not make it legally "theft."
Separately, it's worth pointing out that the details of this case, once again show that the claims of people that various "pirate" sites are making tons of money doesn't have much support:
Over the 18 months of the website’s operation, the brothers earned approximately $150,000 in advertising revenue.So, 18 months, 3 brothers, $150,000. That's $50,000 per brother. Or, about $33,000 per year, per person, not counting expenses. If the sites were even remotely popular, most of that money went towards hosting. So, not exactly a huge moneymaker.
Either way, the bigger issue here appears to be the attempt by the MPAA and AG Harris to redefine copyright law as "theft" to avoid a federal case concerning copyright. That's an incredible attempt to change the meaning of the law, which one hopes a judge will toss out on preemption grounds. If these brothers actually did what they're accused of, why not go after them on copyright infringement grounds? It seems likely that the MPAA has been just waiting for a case like this to try to circumvent the basic tenets of copyright law, to pretend that laws on theft apply.