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Article posted Jun 23 2010, 11:45 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: DailyTech Print

Obama Administration Announces Massive Piracy Crackdown

Jason Mick

The entire idea of intellectual property is a fraud. Beyond that, this is merely an excuse to crackdown on the free internet. If you view the stories just today you'll be shocked how much good news is all the sudden coming out, this is the best I've ever seen things news wise, it's as if this year we're experiencing some complete and total societal renaissance. - Chris"It's smash and grab, no different than a guy walking down Fifth Avenue and smashing the window at Tiffany's and reaching in and grabbing what's in the window." -- U.S. VP Joe Biden

While they may never be able to truly defeat piracy and drive it from the lurking depths of the internet, copyright protection attack-dog organizations like the RIAA and MPAA have long dreamed of the day when they would no longer have to pay for their own copyright enforcement. Now that dream is on the verge of coming true, thanks to the Obama administration.

After countless lobbyist dollars from the music and film industry and a brief "public review", the administration rolled out its vision to fight piracy yesterday afternoon. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden -- whose blunt speech has sometime left him in trouble -- did not mince words.

He states, "This is theft, clear and simple. It's smash and grab, no different than a guy walking down Fifth Avenue and smashing the window at Tiffany's and reaching in and grabbing what's in the window."

The sound-byte comparing downloads to stealing jewels from New York City's finest jeweler quickly lit up the web. Bob Pisano, interim chief executive officer at the Motion Picture Association of America praised the VP, "It is especially critical that the United States has an effective framework for protecting creative content online and enforcing intellectual property rights in the digital environment."

According to the Obama administration, the RIAA, and MPAA, the world economy is pretty much doomed if we don't start prosecuting pirates at home and abroad. Without such a crackdown, businesses will go bankrupt the coalition argues. Biden states, "Piracy hurts, it hurts our economy."

Interestingly, the statements seem to fly in the face of a recent Government Accountability Office study released to U.S. Congress earlier this year, which concluded that there is virtually no evidence for the claimed million dollar losses by the entertainment industry. That study suggested that piracy could even benefit the economy.

Another noteworthy study from three years back notes that virtually every citizen violates intellectual property laws in some way on a daily basis.

The White House press release was full of buzz phrases, but short on details. It did however indicate that the U.S. government may increasingly monitor filesharing networks and BitTorrent sites and assist media groups in their prosecution/threat letter efforts. It speaks of improved "law enforcement efforts at the Federal, state and local level."

The biggest effort, though, will be devoted to cracking down on piracy websites in the U.S. and overseas. The administration was short on details of how exactly it would convince piracy-loving nations like China to change their ways, but it did say it would try to do so by "being as public as we possibly can" about infringement.

The press release states, "As we shine the spotlight on foreign governments that have rogue actors doing illicit business within their borders, it's the government's responsibility to respond."

Such efforts have shown mild success. After lots of threats against the Swedish government by the U.S., the European Union nation finally tried admins with the nation's largest torrent site The Pirate Bay last year and found them guilty. The trial was later exposed to be a perversion of the justice system, with the judge who gave the verdict have multiple ties to copyright protection organizations. The verdict -- $3M USD in damages and a year of hard prison time for the admins -- is currently being appealed.

The White House's vision is perhaps a prelude to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which will go before Congress later this year. The bill would make P2P or BitTorrent client development a criminal offense if the distributed software was used for infringement. It also implements an interesting provision called "imminent infringement", which allows the government to charge people who they think might be about to infringe with a civil offense (for example if you searched "torrent daft punk"). This is among the first official "thought crime" provisions to be proposed by the U.S. government. The bill also makes it a criminal offense to bypass DRM.

Ultimately, it should be interesting to see how American taxpayers react to President Obama's decision to spend their money on efforts to prosecute them and try to choke out piracy at home and abroad, particularly when the current evidence is inconclusive of its effects. One thing's for sure, though. Top politicians on both sides of the aisle are firmly behind the music and movie industry anti-piracy and money-collection efforts. - DailyTech

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Comments 1 - 20 of 96 Add Comment Page of 5 >

Posted: Jun 24 2010, 9:05 AM

88106 Most available media on torrent site stuff IS a form of theft, and it's right it's treated as such! Be honest! However a fair issue to keep an eye on is if this legislation such as this is abused or give a precedent for further clampdowns on the internet in some way. Time will tell...

Posted: Jun 24 2010, 11:26 AM

17362 Your right, it is a form of theft, a fiat form. IP is completely void of any intrinsic property right valuations. It's totally made up and arbitrary.

For one to have legitimate rights to property, the property in question must be a scarce resource, and ideas are not scarce, they are infinitely reproducible. The movie and music industries are rackets, and rather than advancing their business model, they're trying desperately to force their outdated, outmoded business model on the world through legislation.

The real thieves are IP advocates themselves since they effectively attempt to dictate to third parties how they're supposed to utilize their actual, physical, scarce property, and to impede speech. As far as I can tell, that is partial slavery dictated by random third parties via arbitrary "laws". The only just laws are those that protect property rights, and so called intellectual property is not property at all. It is a farce, and everyone has bought into it not by actual valuation of the issue, but rather they take it for granted because it has been around for over a hundred years, so it must be right. Right?

Utilitarian arguments are also seriously lacking. There is no evidence that IP helps innovation (there are actually many examples of how it does the opposite), and there's absolutely no reason why someone who is a good actor or writes a good song SHOULD automatically become a multi-millionaire. If they do it in the market, then more power to them. But IP is not the market, it is intervention and it tips the table.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 12:30 AM

220234 Ideas are not scarce? Let's see you write today's version of Huckleberry Finn. Let's see you produce today's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Let's see your solution to the Gulf oil spill.

People's time and energy to create a work has value, and it has costs. You've got to pay the piper if you want to dance.

When people have a right to the value they create, industry and economy are encouraged. When people have no right to the fruits of their labors, as when someone believes they have a right to any information they please (based on what, exactly?), unrewarded behavior extinguishes, and industry will falter.

It's like a restaurant that cuts quality to make up for losing customers, and loses more customers, and cuts more quality, until they go out of business. Misery begets misery.

People who advocate for "free information" want something for nothing. Please rebut me if you have a job but refuse to accept a salary. Otherwise they should admit that they do value the profit from their own productivity. Why would they deny others this right? Are they hypocrites?

Instead of "shoulds" take a cold hard look at what you "do".

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:34 AM

As someone who has a job but refuses a salary, allow me to be the first to tell you what you're saying is not just wrong, but the complete opposite of the truth.

People who advocate for copyrights want "something for nothing." You feel because you did work you have some "right" to "the value you create." In other words, someone else has to give you money because you did some sort of work, and therefor you are entitled to it, regardless of the fact technology deems they can copy it without depriving you of any of your property.

That's Marxism.

"What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another." - Karl Marx

The market is what determines the value of what you produce, how much work you put into some work is meaningless. Ludwig von Mises put a massive amount of work into his writings and yet hundreds of thousands of trash books have no doubt outsold it many times over.

By saying you believe in copyrights what you're saying is you believe in using the violent power of the state to coerce free people from "copying" your ideas through the barrel of a gun. Someone "steal" your idea? Stick 'em up and jail them, kill them if they resist.

That's fascism, that's totalitarianism, that's not freedom and it sure as hell is not a civil society. Imagine if Jesus claimed copyright on all his ideas, the bible never would have been written. Same goes for any genius of old.

No one is saying people's work doesn't have value, we're saying the idea you own an idea and no one else can "copy" it is 1984 times a thousand. Ideas are not scarce because they can be copied without depriving anyone of any of their property.

If you wrote a book, you own that physical book. In no reality based world do you own the arrangement of the words in it, nor the ideas contained in it. The second you publish it you're giving those ideas to the world and if they choose to copy them that's their right as a free human being. What you want is a Marxist system of labor vouchers.

"In order to increase the productive forces, it is necessary to resort to the customary norms of wage payment that is, to the distribution of life's goods in proportion to the quantity and quality of individual labor." - Leon Trotsky

Listen to this:

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:09 PM

6942 I am begining to hate Obama more and more each day !

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:17 PM

63171 Chris, I disagree with much of what you said. But mainly, you don't seem to know much about fascism beyond knowing that it's bad. In fact fascism was created largely in response to the rise of communism, by people who were afraid of a communist revolution in their own country.

Amusingly, then, your "This is bad because it's Marxism" is the same argument a fascist would make. Should I label you a fascist? Then don't label your opponents as Marxists for agreeing with one statement of Marx's.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:41 PM

7219 One thing they always forget to add is that both the RIAA and MPAA have seen an increase in their profits since "piracy" has been around. And an increase is BILLIONS not thousands to them. They make their money a hundred times over so do not feel abd for them. Obama and Biden just want to distract the people with more stupid and in the end worthless agendas. LAME. America. GREEDY AMERICA.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:42 PM

128193 I agree with intellectual property rights. I code, and I'm very sensitive about who has copies of my code. But I absolutely disagree in levying millions of dollars of fines for individuals. Outright ridiculous. Fines should be proportional to the actual crime, not proportional to a forecast of income lost by record or movie companies.

On the subject of search engine terms, beginning to censor people's thoughts is the beginning of the end. I absolutely disagree with pirating, but being inquisitive on a search engine shouldn't be a prosecutorial evidence.
Bradley Fogleman

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:42 PM

74226 I'll gladly stop downloading torrents when they can show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Internet piracy hurts the industries. I'd also like to see a government watchdog monitoring the doings of the RIAA and MPAA.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:43 PM

97148 My problem is content is ever changing. How many people have bought the same movie that was once on vhs, then converted to dvd and then again to blu ray. I think its insane to expect people to pay for the same exact content 3 diff times. I don't care if its a dvd or blu ray its still the same content and unless you give me a credit for already owning it, I will not ever pay full price for the same content more than once. Really think about this, how many of you reading this have paid more than once for the same content. For me paying once is enough.
When it comes to the new movies and new releases of music that is when I can agree that something must be done. And for the people who are reading this that do download and do feel bad about not paying for it. I have one suggestion, go to the theater and buy a ticket, but for gods sake don't go in the theater because we all know how terrible the theater experience can be and how ugly the video quality is. just throw away the ticket and feel good that you did contribute.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:50 PM

75132 "Ideas are not scarce? Let's see you write today's version of Huckleberry Finn. Let's see you produce today's version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Let's see your solution to the Gulf oil spill.

People's time and energy to create a work has value, and it has costs. You've got to pay the piper if you want to dance.

When people have a right to the value they create, industry and economy are encouraged. When people have no right to the fruits of their labors, as when someone believes they have a right to any information they please (based on what, exactly?), unrewarded behavior extinguishes, and industry will falter.

It's like a restaurant that cuts quality to make up for losing customers, and loses more customers, and cuts more quality, until they go out of business. Misery begets misery.

People who advocate for "free information" want something for nothing. Please rebut me if you have a job but refuse to accept a salary. Otherwise they should admit that they do value the profit from their own productivity. Why would they deny others this right? Are they hypocrites?

Instead of "shoulds" take a cold hard look at what you "do"."
Ok,have you ever heard of open source?and ideas are not scarce,i have about a minimum of 5 a day and im a every day idiot...and i dont want "free information" i want cheap information. Like take Netflix for an example.Netflix is a good idea but not executed in a high enough degree."Big Media" is out of date and needs to be updated. Like a paid service where you can watch movies and tv shows the DAY it was released and also a HUGE library of older movies and shows and not OLD like from the 1950's but like 1980's till present. The day this happens is the day piracy drops and not rises.But the pandora box has been open and no matter hard you push its not gonna close anytime soon.
Anonymous 2

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 1:51 PM

131252 This is disturbing. It will represent an added cost to our society that will not lead to a higher level of social benefit overall. This is a tragic money grab. Instead of creating more and better avenues to deliver content to consumers (ie Spotify) copyright holders are focusing on maximizing profit by controlling access. I look at services like Netflix and Amazon unboxed. These services make it easier to the consumer to rent movies online then even bittorrent.

My hope is that this will drive us to the overhaul of patents and copyrights in general. In the end the concern of the RIAA and MPAA is not for the artists themselves but the ancillary structure needed support the status quo.

To me this is has less to do with totalitarianism, fascism and Marxism and more to do the stifling of innovation. Imagine it patent law was similar. Today a copyright is good for a number of years after an artists death. Imagine after Phil Knight had invented the running shoe other companies could only produce competing models after his death. There would be only one brand of running shoe today and it would cost a fortune.

A similar argument can be made for music and movies. The marginal cost to produce and distribute a movie is minimal and ever decreasing. This are advantages the MPAA and RIAA should be looking to exploit not hinder.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:00 PM

64183 All that happens on the same day as Ibi Kopimi Botani-one of the founders of the Piratbyran group died. That is the group that started The Pirate Bay.

And the remaining group founders decide to shut Pirate Bay down...

Coincidence? I DO NOT THINK SO

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:02 PM

67251 Dude this is awesome.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:07 PM

71237 Anon you're missing the point. Whether or not Chris jumps to conclusions with his rapid throwing out of quotes from Marx and Trotsky shouldn't matter. What matters is the government deciding what we do with our property and what value can be placed on IP. To say that one person's IP is more important then another or that we should be fined or jailed for even google searching something with bittorrent in the title IS 1984. You can't just jail or fine someone for a thought.
Not to mention that Biden is talking about an item being stolen and being re-sold for value. It's true, if you steal a lamp and you sell it then that's wrong. You're taking money away from people without ever paying for it. But should have gone to jail when you made a mix cd for your friend in high school and they took the songs form that cd and put them on their computer? Should you go to jail if you let someone copy YOUR payed for dvd of Batman Begins?
The truth of the matter is that it does help out the system. It evens it out and makes it more fair. The movie industry gives us shit and jacks up movie ticket prices to 20 a pop. If we ever want to watch it again it going to be at least another 20 to own it. Same with music. In terms of music the only time artists get money is when they're on tour. Since the world has progressed past really ever needing a company to mass produce CD's, you can get famous by just spreading your music throughout the web.
There are plenty of movie stars, big ones and small ones. Music artists, big ones and small ones that all believe in the pirating system. You can't just through your totalitarian system on us because a lobbyist is willing to pay you off. It should be the people's decision, not a set group of people who never have to pay for a movie, who get free concerts, who don't minimum wage jobs that barely pay rent or even upper middle class jobs that barely pay their loans and debts.

I voted for Obama, I still think he's better then McCain. But this is utter bullshit.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:11 PM

8517 Technocracy.
The only economic and governance system designed to deal with the existence of abundance; that is, resources that are not subject to scarcity and therefore, not subject to supply and demand.

It's time to end capitalism.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:13 PM

137197 I pay for all this stuff in the form of a subscription to the cable company for bandwidth. Today's p2p networks are little different than the dual-tape decks of the 1980's.

If the MPAA and RIAA feel they aren't being compensated for content, they should take it up with the telecoms. It is inefficient to fee pump the consumer at every avenue - this is what promotes piracy in the first place. The administration is way off base and I won't vote for them again if this legislation is passed, nor will it prevent me from downloading content with the freedom I currently enjoy. The networks that enable freedom will simply adapt. There is no law that can restrict the free-flow of information in a digital age.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:24 PM

166205 it's an easy fix stop paying an actor 20 million to do a movie to keep costs down bye byr piracy. keep charging 9 to go see a movie and 22 for the DVD and the problem will still exist. as you can see the drug war is not working and this will be fought the same expensive and useless way.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:25 PM

7228 I see a quick change in Obamas popularity ratings on the way. What is that flushing sound?
Anonymous /b/

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:26 PM

16295 Fuck Obama.....he ran on a platform of no special interests and now after the movie and music lobbyists pumped millions of dollars in to DC, they want to take a shot at it. In doing so, he contra-indicates a study done by his own administration in the the alleged losses and effects of music piracy

fuck the MPAA, fuck the RIAA, burn em all off the net

rally @/b/
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