In a CNET News comment piece headed up Stopping illegal file sharing a low priority for DOJ?, “after reading reports from the FBI and Department of Justice about efforts to protect the nation’s intellectual property, I was stunned to find so few cases involving online file sharing”, he says.
The RIAA filed some 40,000 anti-file sharing subpoenas against innocent Americans, including very young children. But the Big 4 extortion unit only managed to get two cases in front of a jury, both of which did more to further besmirch the already dirt-smeared names of the Big 4 record labels who rule corporate music — Vivendi Universal (France), Sony (Japan), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US, but headed by a Canadian) — than to have any appreciable impact on downloading or uploading.
All the failed, six-year Big 4 Sue ‘Em All campaign achieved was to massively publicise both practices.
Among the “significant” prosecutions the DOJ listed in 2010, only one involved the illegal distribution of digital media over the Web, writes Sandoval.
“In April, the DOJ won a conviction against the operator of USAwarez.com, a site that the feds claim used the Web to distribute pirated movies, games, and software”, he says. “The man was sentenced to more than two years in jail. Contrast this one conviction with the scores of sites that stream pirated movies and the millions of people around the world who use peer-to-peer networks to access unauthorized copies of films, TV shows, e-books, and games.”
CNET News goes on to repeat the hoary old “Media companies say piracy costs the U.S. economy billions and kills jobs, harming actors and musicians as well as caterers and truck drivers” line, continuing, “A bill introduced in the Senate last year called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act would have given the government sweeping power to shut down U.S.-based pirate sites as well as the authority to order Internet service providers to cut off access to similar sites overseas.”
But “Opponents called the legislation censorship” and “The bill never got out of the Senate and its future is unclear.”
As for the DOJ, “it appears the FBI and other agencies under its umbrella are making plenty of arrests for counterfeiting and copyright infringement”, says Sandoval, “But the kind of cases the department pursues speaks volumes.”
‘Protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens’
In a 28-page report report, “the DOJ provides a list of its priorities”, says the post, continuing:
“No. 1 is protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens. The DOJ reported that it successfully prosecuted people involved in the sale of fake cancer drugs, phony airplane parts, and dubious pharmaceuticals. Who can argue with that?”
Indeed. So why bring it up?
“Next on the DOJ’s list was taking down organized criminal networks, followed by the prosecution of large scale commercial counterfeiting”, says the OpEd, and, “Last was protecting the country’s trade secrets and battling economic espionage.”
But “the DOJ had little to say about digital music or movies”, he says, observing, “The only other action involving digital media in the DOJ’s report besides the USAwarez prosecution was a seizure last June of nine alleged pirate site domain names as part of a joint operation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.”
“With the shut down of domain names of nine alleged ‘movie pirate’ sites, taxpayer funded copyright cops, acting for, and on behalf of, Hollywood and the Big 4 record labels, have massively escalated their corporate-controlled attacks on P2P communities”, said p2pnet at the time, noting:
“Not at all incidentally, ‘Piracy is theft’, Hollywood Joe Biden, vice president of the United States of America, recently said in support of the corporate entertainment cartels, going on, ‘It’s smash and grab. It ain’t no different than smashing a window at Tiffany’s … ‘
Biden was there with her, we had another CNet News story stating, and, “Through reporters”, she “issued a warning to those who infringe on U.S. intellectual property rights”, it said. “We have committed to putting you out of business,” it also had her stating, “adding that copyright owners who are losing money to piracy can rest assure [sic] ‘help is on the way’.”
Biden and Espinel’s comments will be “welcomed by the large Hollywood studios and recording companies”, said CNet News, noting “The Obama administration has appeared very sympathetic to their antipiracy efforts.
Department of Homeland Security
In his comment piece, “It should be noted that ICE is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and not the DOJ”, says Sandoval, adding:
“In November, ICE oversaw a seizure of an additional 82 site domains, some of which were distributing digital music and films online. There’s no mention of arrests in either ICE operation.”
That was the ‘operation’ of which the EFF’s Corynne McSherry said, “It’s hard to believe that this kind of action is the best use of the Department of Homeland Security’s resources. What investigations didn’t occur while the DHS spent its time and energy pursuing the agenda of large media companies?”
“But in the report, the DOJ says it has a team consisting of 40 attorneys specializing in computer crime and Internet protocal [sic] law that ‘places a high priority on fostering international cooperation and coordination in its IP enforcement efforts.’ The group participated in an international investigation that brought down a Chinese seller of counterfeit Cisco networking hardware. So, the DOJ’s long arm extends into other countries, but apparently not to protect media.”
“The music and film industries can point to some successes in their antipiracy efforts over the past year”, says CNET News, adding:
“But for all the talk about the political might of big entertainment companies, when it comes to protecting copyright, it appears more and more that they’re on their own.
Not even nearly. This kind of argument is, however, extremely useful to the Hollywood and Big Music cartels, which never stop in their efforts to hijack even more of the publicly funded agencies and manpower resources in the interests of their shareholders and investors.
No need to stay tuned.
CNET News – Stopping illegal file sharing a low priority for DOJ?, January 7, 2011
massively escalated – The NinjaVideo manifesto, July 1, 2010
p2pnet – ICE steps up for Hollywood, Big 4 labels, July 2, 2010
CNet News – Biden to file sharers: ‘Piracy is theft’, June 22, 2010
EFF – U.S. Government Seizes 82 Websites: A Glimpse at the Draconian Future of Copyright Enforcement?, November 29, 2010
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma
Gandhi World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
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