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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 21 - 40 of 96 Add Comment < Page of 5 >

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 2:51 PM

20813 this is about internet regulation. nothing more.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:10 PM

67173 I recognize, as a patriotic American that, since I am only a flesh and blood human being, my legal rights are definitely less important than those of legal constructs. I want to stop being a real person and to become a corporation, instead. So I too can receive trillions of taxpayer dollars, participate in the great orgy of tax-breaks, strip fleshies of their property through eminent domain, poison whole cities and ecosystems, all without any negative consequences. Today, this is what it means to be a patriotic American. Damn it! I wanna be a patriot, but I can't because I was born and not invented by lawyers.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:12 PM

205240 Anger makes me incoherent.
You know what, this is utter bullshit. How are you representing your people when practically EVERYONE downloads stuff. What's funny is the last 10 years the MPAA (sans the writers strike) and the RIAA have had increasingly more profitable years. Want to know why? Because of pirating. With that aside, let's look at the other side. If your population thinks this should be obtainable at a lower cost then you are putting out find a new way, you can't just throw the entire US into jail, you have to find a way to compete with it. I say we put copyright up to the vote of the populous. Don't let the greedy corrupt politicians vote on this, give it to the people! I swear if this goes through I will be running in the next election cycle to get rid of these jokers and there laws that hurt the citizens of the united states.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:26 PM

15656 One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist, and this is no different.

What the fat cats and big companies see as stealing and piracy, I see as a liberation of what I love from the hands of those who would misuse it or bury it.

Before the internet I was paying ten times what an album was actually worth, and seeing my favorite artists get pennies from it. Rich white men pocketed most of what I paid for and bought themselves a new boat.

I'm sick of this parasitism. They don't create anything, they don't do anything other than collect fat paychecks for work other people did. The American ideal rewards innovators and makes them rich. What are we rewarding here? Greed?

Let their outdated business model go as the dinosaurs did and we'll all be better for it. These guys don't enrich our society, they don't produce anything. For once we have an opportunity to let a very corrupt sector of our economy go, let it die....

PS: They might get more sales if they actually kept with the times instead of thinking like it's 1975.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:37 PM

15656 And furthermore why should we continue to allow this exploitation of our bank accounts for services that should be relatively cheap? Why should I pay $1 a song, when it's just a digital copy I can just as easily make on my computer? I'm not getting any physical object, I don't have any insurance that it will play if formats get changed or I buy a new computer in a few years. At least with a record you know your record player will still play it 30 years down the road. Records are worth every cent and I buy them regularly. It's not about money, its that there's no guarantee that I will get anything out of a short term play and then you have to buy the same song again and again.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:38 PM

20734 To those who say that business suffers as a result of piracy, watch this from start to finish and see your thinking changes:

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:41 PM

99162 Fuck obama " Hack the world"

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:44 PM

99162 This seriously solidifies Obama as THE WORST President in the entire history of the United States of America. Good job with allowing the MPAA and RIAA full reign to wreak their havoc.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 3:47 PM

68106 I recently blogged Three Arguments against Copyrights, see

In brief:
1. When performing mechanical tasks, an incentive such as money improves performance, but when the task is intellectual, it doesn’t! In fact, it leads to lower performance.

2. The duration of copyright is waaaaay too long -- over 100 years.

3. The automatic granting of copyright has the effect of locking up all creativity for a hundred years.

These three elements come together to create a de facto privatization of ideas. The creative thoughts of all — ideas, sayings, images, quotes — used to be part of the public commons by default, available for all to use, repeat and rework at will.

Now everything is potentially private. By taking a photo of a building, you may infringe copyright. You can’t sing “Happy Birthday” in public. Beware of background music in your video.

The solution is:
1. shorter copyright terms
2. opt-in rather than opt-out for registration

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:05 PM

137200 Obama just lost all of my support; this is absurd.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:18 PM

7597 it's a crock

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:22 PM

7597 They should be thinking about getting out of the WARS and do something constructive for all the people not for the big money contributors.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:24 PM

7597 Anything can be made leagel, remember Hitler.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:27 PM

68169 I don't care how any of you feel about IP, or your personal opinions.

As someone who labors to create art, I can tell you, it doesn't come for free. Time is money. I want to be paid for my time. As much as I WISH I could sit, write songs, write poetry, and stories, pass them out free with a smile, and live for free - that's a fucking pipe dream.

This is the real world, and if you're an Artist you are frowned upon by the majority of society, because most artist are POOR. As artists, we would rather labor in our gifts, than work in a cubicle. So we need to be able to SELL our art to SURVIVE. I need food! I need a roof over my head! Gas is expensive!

And you know what? YES, those 1 million illegal downloads could have been a healthy paycheck. That's not so wrong is it? Why as an artist can't I demand payment for works I've labored over?

Some of these arguments on here are disheartening, because it not only shows an overall lack of appreciation to pay for the arts, it shows the ignorance associated with the general populace in concern to IP theft.

Please. Pay for the art you love.

- James Marshall Phillips

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:44 PM

97127 This stupid mother fucker has just lost any support he had from me. The more i see this bs the more im going to pirate. I haven't download anything in months but this type of news makes me want to.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:45 PM

97127 Whats bank rupting this nation is the 2 wars of choice. GET US THE FUCK OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND STOP MAKING US CITIZENS CRIMINALS.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:46 PM

15918 This is not about helping media companies or artists, but helping the companies that make money by incarcerating people and keeping them incarcerated. With an exploding world population, jailing people is a great business opportunity. And chickens thought they had it bad.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:48 PM

2413 Criminal offenses for "potential crimes" sounds a lot like the Bush pre-emptive strike doctrine... good going Obama.

Also, criminalizing the development of software that has perfectly legitimate uses is absurd. How users employ software should not reflect on the developers.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 4:54 PM

66191 The problem with that 68169 is most of the time it's the record/movie company (etc) that gets the money for the download... not the actual artist. The artists make the vast majority of their money performing art. People that DON'T create anything get the money for distributing it.

Posted: Jun 25 2010, 5:15 PM

173202 This is really to easy of a discussion target.. Its the decoy to lessen the focused view with the BP situation.. Hell they were happy the BP situation came about so people would be distracted from the war.. we calling it spinning
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