Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

U.S. Joins Hollywood in War on Piracy 358

Section_Ei8ht writes to mention a Washington Post article about a new joint initiative between the U.S. government and the entertainment industry. The government will now be aiding efforts abroad to stop copyright infringement. They cite the recent Pirate Bay fiasco, as well as the problems Russia is having with the WTO as a result of their thriving IP black market. From the article: "The intellectual property industry and law enforcement officials estimate U.S. companies lose as much as $250 billion per year to Internet pirates, who swap digital copies of 'The DaVinci Code,' Chamillionaire's new album and the latest Grand Theft Auto video game for free."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

U.S. Joins Hollywood in War on Piracy

Comments Filter:
  • by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:31PM (#15544497) Homepage
    This is dumb for two reasons. One is that it is the US meddling in other nations purely internal affairs. The other is that it is yet another war on an abstract idea. (joining the war on terror and the war on poverty) Bad news, you can't win against an idea, only against a group of people (terrorists, pirates, the poor?). And yes there are too many pirates to even think about "winning" against them. They probably make up more than 50% of the population.
  • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:35PM (#15544528)
    I'd like to see a study that looks at if people that pirate software and other copyrighted materials would pay for them to begin with. I'd also like to see a study of the commercial gains from piracy. For instance, downloading an MP3 from a friend of a song. The downloader likes the song, so he buys the entire album from iTunes. He now kmow about the band and enjoy them and will likely purchase more. All I see are press releases from the record and movie industry claiming they "lost" money.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:35PM (#15544536) Homepage Journal

    I think we need a war on politics, personally. Might actually have some benefits for the public in the long term.

  • Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LainTouko ( 926420 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:37PM (#15544554)
    Ah, the democratic will of the people in action. At last the US government is listening to the cries of its people to punish those Swedish guys who make free stuff available and aren't breaking any local laws. Oh, wait...
  • by Screwy1138 ( 976897 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:37PM (#15544555)
    It's unfortunate, but this is just more of the same.

    But what are we going to do? Intervene more in the politics of other nations? Yeah they love that. We can go to war to get all our copies of Grand Theft Auto back (right before we ban them for being obscene).

    Sooner or later India and China will have a larger say in global economics, and their positions on these topics will carry more weight. I wonder what things will be like when other countries don't bend so easily to the will of the U.S.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:38PM (#15544561)
    Don't forget the war on drugs.

    But of course, not prescription drugs, since the makers donate to campaign funds.

    And not alcohol, that's OK, even though people drive drunk, because again, Anheuser-Busch has lobbyists.

    Of course, tobacco is fatal, too, but that's fine, because the tobacco companies make a lot of money, and know who to talk to in Washington.
  • by fohat ( 168135 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:42PM (#15544586) Homepage
    I for one had never heard of "Chamillionaire" until this article. Why site these specific items? It's almost as if they WANT me to go download it! Which I won't because piracy is bad bad bad. Everyone knows Ninja's are where it's at these days.

    I forsee the future, and it is bleak. What's next, Cory Sherman for President??

    "Remember kids, when you download MP3's, you're downloading Com^H^H^HTerrorism."

    -Some Bloke
  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:47PM (#15544645)
    One is that it is the US meddling in other nations purely internal affairs.
    Indeed. And because of that, the article opens with some pretty shoddy journalism:
    Last month, Swedish authorities briefly shut down an illegal file-sharing Web site after receiving a briefing on the site's activities from U.S. officials in April in Washington. The raid incited political and popular backlash in the Scandinavian nation.

    As the Pirate Bay folks are fond of pointing out, what they do is not explicitly illegal in Sweden, nor has it been tried in court. It would be silly to say that they don't facilitate infringement, but stating flatly that they are "an illegal file-sharing Web site" is like saying that "people who drive on the left side of the road are driving illegally." It's true in the U.S... but not everywhere.

    Then we get this garbage:

    In Russia, the government's inability, or reluctance, to shut down another unauthorized file-sharing site may prevent that nation's entrance into the World Trade Organization...

    Whether or not this site is "authorized" is still up for debate. Just because the RIAA doesn't like what they're doing doesn't mean it's illegal or even unauthorized. The RIAA is not a governing body, though they certainly seem to be headed that direction.

    Later we get the words "intellectual property theft" and still later we get "Working against Russia, the lawmakers say, are its plans to make intellectual property rights violators subject to civil, rather than criminal, penalties." This entire article is shilling for the MAFIAA and for the glorious powers of infringing on the sovereignty of other nations. Criminal penalties for infringement? "Suggestions" on how to improve domestic laws?

    These people are monsters.

  • by anicca ( 819551 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:47PM (#15544647) Journal
    Since the war on drugs has made drugs cheap, pure and ubiquitous, the war on terror is doing the same for terrorists, do you really want more politics? While everyone is rushing to war on one another, the fox is in the henhouse.
  • IP not property (Score:1, Insightful)

    by slothman32 ( 629113 ) <pjohnjackson@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:48PM (#15544651) Homepage Journal
    I of am the type who doesn't think IP is property.
    Unlike real property it'sn't in limited amounts.

    The Const. reason was to help create more works.
    It was designed to prevent people from selling others work.
    It wasn't designed to prevent people from doing what they want with their own, including time-shifting and backing up, though of course those weren't thought of then.

    Thomas Jefferson: "Just as a man could light his taper from an existing candle without diminishing the original flame, so, too, could he acquire an idea without diminishing the original source."

    You could think that "stealing" the fire would make them need to use money to buy matches but that still doesn't affect his saying.

    Now I am not completely against copyrights.
    I do think that the current implementation is worse than having none at all but a better one would be to just penalize sellers and make the time [b]actually[/b] limited.
    1e6 years is technically limited but I don't think they, the founding fathers, mean something like that.
    No 70+ years. 10 is better.
    I was thinking that the length should be related to how long it takes to promalgrate around.
    Back in the 1700's it took decades. Now it takes seconds.
    That means more people can access it sooner and decide if they want it.

    For computer and movies it gets obsolete so quickly that even 5 might be reasonable.

    Just remember that "Happy Birthday," "I have a Dream," and "Mein Kampf" are all copyrighten.

    I want someone to do those in public to show how stupid the laws can be.
    Especially since MLK jr. probably didn't want it to be private.

    P.S. "it'sn't" is a contraction for "it is not"
    P.P.S. I like using the word "property" because I get to quickely type the letters "e,r,t,y" which are next to each other.
  • SO how much (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:51PM (#15544689) Homepage Journal
    is the industry giong to pay for our government to do this? oh wait, taxpayers will.

  • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:56PM (#15544732)
    "One is that it is the US meddling in other nations purely internal affairs."

    Internal affairs? International trade is not an internal affair, by definition. When you're violating the copyright of citizens from other countries, it has moved out from being "purely internal" to "international".

    "You're allowing wholesale violation of our citizens' internationally recognized copyrights" is hardly the worst reason I've ever heard for objecting to membership in trade organizations, too.

  • by shogarth ( 668598 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:58PM (#15544748)
    In the aftermath of the raid, members of the Left and Moderate parties in Sweden have proposed scrapping last year's law that criminalized illegal file-sharing, reported the Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden.

    It looks like a reporter has a hard time distinguishing between legal jurisdictions. I doubt that the Swedes would have wasted time criminalizing something that was already illegal. This is a perfect example of the fuzzy thinking that most people bring to this (admittedly complex) issue.

  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigCheese ( 47608 ) <dennis.hostetler@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:01PM (#15544773) Homepage Journal
    The whole article sounded more like a RIAA/MPAA press release then anything resembling news.
  • Double standard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:07PM (#15544821)
    The US picks and chooses which of its laws it will enforce in other countries -- the general trend seems to be that if there is a belief that some US corporation can profit from the law being enforced, it will be; otherwise, the US government couldn't give a shit. Consider the laws here in the states (and recognized by several international groups) regarding chemical factories. Does the US start meddling with other countries when a US chemical company decides to open up a plant somewhere and blatantly breaks the laws it would be required to follow here in America? No. Labor laws? No. But turn it around,so that the company is producing its products here in the states and selling them overseas, and suddenly, the US is interested in enforcing American laws outside of America. Double standard?
  • Re:IP not property (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stubear ( 130454 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:15PM (#15544884)
    "Just as a man could light his taper from an existing candle without diminishing the original flame, so, too, could he acquire an idea without diminishing the original source."

    Thomas Jefferson is right but you, and pretty much everybody else misunderstands copyright when they quote him as you did here. His analogy basically gets it wrong, regardless of how poetic and insightful it may initially seem. Ideas are free to use and take as you like. Copyright doesn't stop this, never has, never will. What copyright protects is the expression of an idea in a tangible medium. What does this mean? Let's use the Da Vinci Code fiasco as an example (because it was mentioned in the summary). Three authors jointly wrote a book called Holy Blood Holy Grail where they established the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene sired a child and his bloodline is potentially still in existence today. That's the idea. These three authors expressed their idea in the form of a non-fictional historical account of the facts behind this theory. Dan Brown took the idea and wrote a fictional story around the premise. the subsequent court case against Dan Brown failed simply because his expression of the theory (idea) was vastly different from the HBHG historical account. It doesn't matter how unique an idea is, and the theory presented by HBHG is rather unique, the only protection one will receive is for the uniqueness of the expression once it's fixed in a tangible medium (book, music, play, sculpture, painting, etc.).
  • by blibbler ( 15793 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:24PM (#15544943)
    The problem with studies into things like that is the effect of piracy is very nebulous. While it is unlikely Adobe loses a sale if a 13 year old "software collector" downloads photoshop, there is a reasonable chance that they lost a sale to a 30 year old hobbiest photographerwho does the same. The music situation is similarly difficult to pin down. While I have bought many CDs of artists that I have first been introduced from downloads, there are many albums that I have been content to have downloaded MP3s of. Would I have bought them otherwise? Maybe, maybe not. In the hight of the original napster, CD sales were very large and "pirates" argued that the CD sales were being fed by the napster downloads. Music downloads have continued to rise, while CD sales have collapsed, however today "pirates" claim that the low CD sales are caused by the labels not releasing any good music. It doesn't take much of a brain to see the problem with that argument.

    The other problem with such studies are their credibility. Would you believe the results of a study that was funded by the RIAA (or even a copyright friendly government.) A study conducted by a group like downhillbattle.org or the FSF would have the same level of credibility (remember the adage 'Just because you agree with a statement, does not make it true). Ultimately, any study conducted would be hailed by interest groups that agreed with the outcome and ignored by interest groups that did not. Leaving everyone right back where they started, just angrier.
  • Joins the war? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:25PM (#15544950) Journal
    If they do as well as Iraq and their mission in finding Osama Bin Ladden - then Hollywood has nothing to worry about.

    Mission accomplished!
  • by RareButSeriousSideEf ( 968810 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:26PM (#15544962) Homepage Journal
    Not to mention the question of why the US government should act as stop-loss agents for a private industry?
  • 250 Billion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Just Jeff ( 5760 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:27PM (#15544965) Homepage
    Someone thinks that russian kids have 250 Billion dollars that they would spend on Hollywood creations? Even if their counts are close, those copies are floating around because they are (relatively) cost free. If Hollywood managed to obliterate every pirated copy of everything they created, they would not end up with one additional dollar. People do not have 250 billion extra dollars in their pockets. They will just never see another Hollywood movie and not care when one comes to thei movie theaters.
  • by shodai ( 970706 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:30PM (#15544980)
    I bought 5 books last night, knowing fully well that I could easily get them online for free.

    I haven't bought any music or movies in at least five years due to the greedy ****ing **AA - that and everything released has been a -2/10.

    Make stuff worth having and we will probably buy it... or you can just sue grandma for downloading without a computer, that always works.
  • by b0nj0m0n ( 899670 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:36PM (#15545012)
    I say congrats on finding an apt subject title for your comment. If you wonder whether they're "winning" the war on pirates, just take a peek at legal download statistics. That's what you call a "victory". It's pretty stupid to claim that if we had a war on porn, then 70% of the population would be criminals. If 70% of the population supported porn in a democracy that criminalized porn, then they would be a shining example of stupidity in action. Get out and shout and vote until it's legal again. The US government isn't meddling in other nation's internal affairs. It's acting as part of the world community and the global economy. If this were actually considered logic, we'd be shipping a shiny new crate of nukes to the *real* "fundies" in Iran, since that's their own soveriegn right, and their own affair, right? Piracy is harmful to the economy, plain and simple. It's a self-centered attack on the principle of the market economy - produce a product and sell it. Just because *you* can't afford to buy the product doesn't mean that you can steal it. And if you can afford it, but you choose to spend your dollars elsewhere, then you don't really want it, and shouldn't have it anyway. The definition of property sucks in the current state of world government. You can patent the mathematical formula you "invented" using a common mathematical language, and you're a genius, but you're an evil corporate oppressor when you want to own the movie that you financed, produced, wrote, shot, edited, marketed, and distributed.
  • Lost opportunities (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alexo ( 9335 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:40PM (#15545041) Journal

    "The intellectual property industry and law enforcement officials estimate U.S. companies lose as much as $250 billion per year to Internet pirates [...]"

    Yup. Potential loss of extortion money always pisses the mob off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:41PM (#15545043)
    The end goal is to maintain the US economy. We no longer mass export fuel, textiles, machinery, electronics, or computer components. No one wants our cars, and they wouldn't fit on many foreign roads anyways.

    What's left? Since 1996, cultural products (films, music, television programs, books, journals, and computer software) became the largest US export.

    There are at least four things that could seriously hurt the economy, and one may cause the others to happen:
    - lose our biggest export
    - a housing bust
    - other nations stop paying for things, like oil, with US dollars
    - China stops lending us money

    If these were to happen, a great many people will be standing in line at the soup kitchens, and it would be more than just the ones who made cultural products.
  • by Arivia ( 783328 ) <arivia@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:43PM (#15545054) Journal
    How can I be downloading his album if I've never even heard of him?
  • by badxmaru ( 545902 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:45PM (#15545076)
    Wow, I can't think of a more beautiful thing you stupid politicians could be doing.
    I'm going to write a letter right now to you all telling you how wonderful an idea this is, to force other countries to adopt our laws so they can pay for entertainment,
    Why don't we force them to wear gold stars and send infringers to death camps?

    Honestly, with the amount of HIV, poverty, malaria, influenza, strife, famine, and general nastiness out there in the world, I'm glad my hard earned tax dollars are going to supposed a 3rd party that doesn't give a rat's ass on this, and is instead out to make money for itself to support a bloated and outdated business model.

    And us Americans wonder why the rest of the world hates us.
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:53PM (#15545126)
    The article repeats the falsehoods that The Pirate Bay and the AllOfMP3.com are illegal file sharing websites. One is a legal under Swedish law and is a torrent site that does not host any copyrighted material. The Russian site, AllofMP3.com sells mp3 tracks legally by a quirk of Russian copyright law. The reason the RIAA is pissed is for 2 reasons, the first is that the songs are sold cheaply to both Russians and foreigners who go to the site which screws with their regional price fixing system, and the other is that they are not collecting the royalties to which they are owed because of those who are supposedly representing foreign copyright holders in Russia pocket the money themselves or they simply choose not to make the effort to get their share from those entities. This also infringes on the RIAA's patented business model which is mostly based on cheating artists out of royalties. If the writer did even a scrap of research beyond the press releases from the RIAA then at the very least the word "allegedly" illegal file sharing might be used instead.
  • by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:55PM (#15545142) Homepage Journal
    Whenever I've run across any of these purported piracy numbers, I've often wondered how many of the people who "pirate" a copy would never dream of paying for a copy? I know there are lots of things available like computer games, productivity software, music, etc. that I wouldn't pay a penny for but would play, try, listen to, etc. once to see what all the fuss is about. I'm guessing the MPAA, RIAA, SBA, etc. would all count any of these copies as potentially full retail sales thay have lost in ariving as the "cost of piracy" even though I would simply not buy the product if my only choice was to pay retail.

    My gut level reaction is that most people who end up with a pirated copy of something would find a no-cost or low-cost alternative if they had to. This isn't to say that they don't get value from their pirated copy but just that there are enough low cost or no-cost alternatives (e.g., OpenOffice for software productivity) that most people would simply find a legally free alternative if they were somehow forced not to use the pirated copy. Bottom line is, they wouldn't pay full retail for a copy. I'd guess the same holds true for entertainment, music and games. If someone has no money to buy a copy, they'll find a no cost alternative if they have to pay retail for a legal copy.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:58PM (#15545158) Journal
    The intellectual property industry and law enforcement officials estimate U.S. companies lose as much as $250 billion per year to Internet pirates,

    Think for a moment about this sentence. No not about the amount or how they arrived at it. Think about that sentence and and the saying, "you can't spend a penny twice".

    That amount X is perhaps lost to the content owners BUT it is not somehow evaporating into thin air, that amount saved is being spend on other things.

    So if the content industry gets the amount X then other industries will lose an amount X. Put simpler, that kid who has a allowance who just got a movie for free will now spend that money on his cellular phone, fast food, clothes etc etc.

    It is the real problem with the content industry. They used to have to contend only with clothes for young kids pocket money. Now there is games and the phone to contend with. If you ever worked for a phone company you will know how many people get into trouble with their mobile phone bill. That is money they can't spend on music/movies/games. You can't pirate cell phone minutes but you can pirate content.

    The industry world wide isn't being hurt by pirating, just the industries that are being pirated.

    As to the amount, well you then have to simply ask, where the hell would the economy come up with a spare 250 billion dollars. Since that amount of money is unlikely to be stuffed behind the couch, even Bill Gates, the figure is meaningless. You may as well make it a gazillion for all the relevance.

    If piracy was eleminated today the only thing that would happen is that you would see a shift in spending patterns. Perhaps the fashion industry needs to get in on the side of the pirates, cause if everyone has to pay for every bit of content they used to get for free, they will have a lot less money to spend on clothes.

    The economy is not a infinite idea, there is X money and you can't just wish up an extra amount. That 250 billion just doesn't exist.

  • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:05PM (#15545204)
    We live in an age were every individual can have their own printing press.
    Obviously we cannot have that much freedom. Information is dangerous for the masses.
    Only the publishing/media companies know best.
    To restore order, publishing should only be done by the big media companies.
    The material should of course be screened by the Department of Homeland Security, to fight Terrorism.
    120 years for copyright is not enough. 1000 years would be fair.
    Restore something even better than the Stationers monopoly of 1557!!
    Down with "Freedom of Press (Piracy)".
  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:15PM (#15545262) Journal
    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    No, not your write-up, but that you mailed the author of the article.

    This has been in the paper, seen by many thousands. You want to try to educate one guy?

    Send it to the opinions/letters to the editor instead.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:25PM (#15545327)
    "War on drugs", "war on poverty",....

    As some political commentator once said, once the feds declare war on anything the cause is already lost. How is a "war on piracy" going to actually accomplish anything? All it will do is provide an arena for posturing and bribery^h^h^h^hlobbying.

  • by Wildclaw ( 15718 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:41PM (#15545432)
    RIAA/MIAA isn't losing $250 billion every year. The real truth is that society is gaining $250 billion/year because of file sharing. In other words, filesharing is very good for society. Without it, society would be a lot poorer.
  • by eh2o ( 471262 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:05PM (#15545561)
    The Davinci Code? Puhleeze. Who would download that garbage? I only use bittorrent to download cheezy british scifi sitcoms from the 80s.
  • by hajo ( 74449 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:21PM (#15545642) Homepage
    The whole of Hollywood is about 10 Billion. Video games are about 10 billion, Porn is about 12 billion, Music is about 6 billion. While these figures are nothing to sneeze at (A billion is still about a thousand million!) It makes me wonder what idiot pulled the $250 billion number out of their Arsche.
    (On a sidenote with all the attention being paid to "Celebrities" and how much press the whole of Hollywood gets: The payroll of Norfolk Southern is about half of all the revenues of the whole Holywood film industry. Puts things in perspective doesn't it?)

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:23PM (#15545648)
    Get out and shout and vote until it's legal again. The US government . . .

    . . .is not a democracy.

  • by kocsonya ( 141716 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:30PM (#15545929)
    > When you're violating the copyright of citizens from other countries, it has moved out from being "purely internal" to "international".

    Well, do they violate it? By *your* laws maybe. By theirs, they don't. The USA is just one country of many and just because it happens to have a massively corporatist and anti-consumer law with regards to intellectual works (not as if the word "intellectual" would be relevant to most Hollywood films) doesn't mean that all other countries have it or should have it. If citizens of a foreign country, in their country, do something that the USA doesn't like, well, that's just tough. I guess you would oppose if Saudi Arabia demanded the public beheading of US citizens who violate some Saudi laws? Even if they commited it overseas (but not in Saudi Arabia)?

    > "You're allowing wholesale violation of our citizens' internationally recognized copyrights" is hardly the worst reason I've ever heard for objecting to membership in trade organizations, too.

    Well, maybe the problem is that "internationally recognised copyright" is not exactly the the same as the "Sonny Bono Act", at least not on that side of the US border where that insignificant 95% of the world's population happens to live.
  • by M0b1u5 ( 569472 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:34PM (#15545947) Homepage
    Might as well declare a war on human nature.

    Because that is what enforcing music copyright is all about. The single reason why there are music pirates is because music has ALWAYS been free. Since the dawn of time, it has been free. Free to listen to. Free to create. Free to copy (when copying became possible). Free to share.

    People have always shared music, and no one has ever thought they were criminals when they did it. ESPECIALLY not the publishing industry in the USA when they flagrantly spent decades ripping off sheet music from Europe, and printing it for local consumption. (Hello China! I'm Pot, are you kettle?)

    See, this is the whole ball of wax right here: There's NOTHING WRONG with sharing music. There never has been, and there never will be. Fuck the law - the law is a TOTAL ass in this regard. When did musicians get the idea they should earn 20 Million a year? That's fucked.

    Sharing music isn't "copyright infringement". It definitely isn't "piracy". (Piracy involves sailing, murder and grappling hooks). It's just Civil Disobedience. And it's great!

    It is only in recent times that music has been deemed to be "property" (LOL - what a concept) and that it can be "stolen" (LOL! "Theft" removes the item from the owner. Ipso facto, sharing is not stealing, and it is not theft.) but the population has NEVER accepted these laws.

    In general, copyright laws are acceptable to a population provided they are not affected by the law. Americans have been stupid to allow Congress to repeatedly rape the public domain of the vast majority of material that should be in it right now. Just why this has been allowed to happen, I am not sure. Nor do I really care: I live in New Zealand!

    One day, the American public will quite literally, stand up and say "ENOUGH IS E-FUCKING-NOUGH! IF YOU CAN'T MAKE YOUR MONEY IN 7 YEARS - FUCK YOU!".

    There's no reason why anything should be protected beyond 7 years.
  • Re:Unbelievable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:36PM (#15545960) Homepage
    saying that "people who drive on the left side of the road are driving illegally." It's true in the U.S... but not everywhere.

    It's not even true in all cases in the US. One-way streets spring immediately to mind.

    At any rate, you're right to criticize the reporting; in fact the article would be grounds for both a civil lawsuit and a motion to dismiss the case. By omitting the term "alleged," the paper has criminalized the defendant and tainted potential jurors. Of course, they're not based in Sweden, so it may be difficult to argue damages, and more trouble than it's worth, but such reporting is reckless and violates the principle of objective journalism. It's impossible to remove all bias, of course, but wanton disregard for basic principles of journalism is a plague on the industry today.
  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:59PM (#15546091) Homepage
    Copyright law in the US was intended to protect our cultural heritage, not to provide profit to copyright holders in perpetuity.

    There's nothing about "protecting cultural heritage" in the Constitution, and I'm pretty sure we didn't really have much of a cultural heritage when that document was written. It did say something about furthering the arts and sciences though, and there's a good argument to be made that modern IP law is hindering development more than it's protecting it.
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:12PM (#15546149)

    The whole of Hollywood is about 10 Billion. Video games are about 10 billion, Porn is about 12 billion, Music is about 6 billion.


    Based on those numbers, I'd say it's reasonable to assume that porn is a very large (if not maybe the largest) category of pirated copyright infringement. (Can't imagine much argument with that on /.)

    So, in the name of the Equal Portection Clause, I want to see those "porn artists" get the same level of government assistance and publicity to protect their intellectual property as they give to the RIAA and MPAA. It's only fair.

  • by Scudsucker ( 17617 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:44AM (#15546734) Homepage Journal
    Copyrights aren't to protect "cultural heritage", they're meant to give authors/artists/musicians etc an incentive to create works, as they will have a monopoly over the distribution rights for a limited time, and then be open to the public. The key part here is limited time, which Congress keeps extending every time Mickey Mouse verges on going into the public domain. IMO, these extensions violate both the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and should have been smacked down two or three exensions ago.

    Much piracy happens because the media is there and it's easy to get. If all methods of copyright infringment ceased to exist, these industires would not see anything close to $250 billion a year. And in any case, as failure to gain is not a loss, the amount of money lost to piracy is zero. You can't lose what you never had in the first place.

    And I wouldn't have gone for the "facism" angle. I would instead have pointed out that the government is supposed to be looking out for the welfare of the people, not corporations.
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @02:37AM (#15546860) Journal
    *looks at the Da Vinci Code box office [boxofficemojo.com]*

    Oooh, it cost $200 million to make, and just made $650 million in worldwide profits so far.

    I feel so sorry for them. :-(

    You guys must stop downloading that movie right now!

    You aid crippling the movie industry! Just look at where we are today! :-/
  • by Crayon Kid ( 700279 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:47AM (#15547030)
    Stop right there. You accepted the figures fed to you by them and that's the first mistake.
  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredsh o m e.org> on Friday June 16, 2006 @03:58AM (#15547056) Homepage
    If 70% of the population supported porn in a democracy that criminalized porn, then they would be a shining example of stupidity in action.

    Indeed, it would be plain proof that the legislator is out of touch with what is going on in the country. Kind of like what's going on with file sharing worldwide.

    The US government isn't meddling in other nation's internal affairs. It's acting as part of the world community and the global economy. [...] Piracy is harmful to the economy, plain and simple. It's a self-centered attack on the principle of the market economy...

    You seem to thing that there is only one state the world can be in, only one concept of market, of property, of exchange. Yet lots of people worldwide (including in your country) think differently. Things change, have changed and can change again. The "market" you seem to be so fond of is just a component of a larger network of exchanges. And this specific segment of the market economy is failing to adapt to changing conditions. It should therefore adapt or wither and die.

    Because in the end, there is one thing that you haven't taken into account :
    "the people are always right"

    However braindead their choices at times. Governments which ignore this do it at their own risk.
  • Re:pretended war (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @07:40AM (#15547574)
    In summary, imagine if every individual in the country voluntarily gave up drugs (producers, distributers, consumers, the whole nine). Does anyone think government would pack it up and cease the "war"?

    Hint: The answer is measured in billions and billions of tax dollars, and thousands and thousands of laws representing raw power over you and me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:50AM (#15547882)
    Total Criminalization

    Christians call this the Doctrine of Original Sin.

  • by LinuxLuver ( 775817 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:41AM (#15548217)
    A war on dishonest politics and politicians would be more accurate.

    Politics is necessary and good. Dishonesty is neither.

    If the US were to move to a proportional voting system for electing the US House of Representatives, the lock the (arguably corrupt and unaccountable) Democrats and Republicans have on that sad chamber would be broken......and voters would have real choice.

    How many Americans know that every two years more than 98% of incumbents are re-elected......thanks to the often profound gerrymandering of district boundaries by state legislatures? This has been going on for a VERY long time.....with the incumbency rate being over 90% since 1954 (except for "only" 88% in 1964). The past 5 House elections have all been over 98% and two of those have been over 99%. Once in the House, it is almost impossible to lose your seat.

    This extreme level of "incumbency" in a multi-party democracy is a large part of what the "problem" is in America.....and all the consequent problems that flow fomr it won't be fixed until this fundamental structural failing of the US system is addressed in a way that actually fixes it.

    A move to proportional representation would eliminate gerrymandering and make the House truly representative of American voters in a way that it isn't and hasn't been for many, many years.

These screamingly hilarious gogs ensure owners of X Ray Gogs to be the life of any party. -- X-Ray Gogs Instructions