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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."
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U.S. Joins Hollywood in War on Piracy

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  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:37PM (#15544548)
    > 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.

    Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

    - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957.

    In other words, This is smart 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 and the war on some drugs, which that other guy forgot.)

    Good 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, meaning that there's about a 50/50 chance that when we need to put someone in prison, or just sue them into the stone age, we'll be able to do so.

    All we need now is a war on pr0n, and we'll have around 70% of the population as criminals. Then we turn power over to the Democrats, they can declare the Christian fundies that make up our voting base as McVeigh militia whackjobs, and we'll have absolute power over everybody.

    Power corrupts. Absolute power is pretty cool.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:39PM (#15544566) Homepage Journal

    ...such a this one []. I used it to send a letter to the author of the linked article. This letter is enclosed below. If it contains factual errors, let me know; I may have listened to the wrong slashbots.

    In "U.S. Joins Industry in Piracy War" you seem to allude to the shutdown of The Pirate Bay early on when you say mention an "illegal file-sharing Web site" in Sweden. Numerous Swedes have been working to set people straight on this - The website "The Pirate Bay" was in no way illegal under Swedish law because it does not itself contain any copyrighted materials, only links to the same. Your assertion that their site is illegal is libelous at best, since Swedish law does not prohibit such a site. In fact, their law only prohibits the exchange of copyrighted material - having it unshared on your hard disk is not a crime.

    Copyright law in the US was intended to protect our cultural heritage, not to provide profit to copyright holders in perpetuity. It is now little more than a shield that megacorporations can hide behind so that they have no need to innovate and bring us something NEW. The two acts which extended copyright were far from being in the interest of the American people.

    The seizure of TPB's servers illustrates that fascism is alive and well, and spreading throughout the world. The police in fact seized numerous servers that did not even belong to TPB as an apparent scare tactic to bring ISPs in line with their wishes, even though they were not backed up by law - if you harbor those who are practicing their legal rights, you may in fact lose business because we will interfere with it, deliberately and without cause.

    By referring to TPB's actions as illegal, you are helping to perpetuate a fraud against the entire planet.

    Hopefully I was correct about all this, but the claims I have made above were made in many long-standing high-score comments in the last discussion about this subject, and not refuted, so hopefully peer review will have made me sound like I know what I'm talking about.

  • And in other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:43PM (#15544594) Journal
    Hollywood will be teaming with the government to bring you candidates who although short on substance and integrity, are guaranteed to have voter appeal and provide a vehicle to forward the Republican party platform.
  • by clevershark ( 130296 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:46PM (#15544634) Homepage
    ...the figures for the "lost revenue" they pull out of their *sses gets larger and larger. I think the industry is goatseing itself there...
  • by Hinhule ( 811436 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:14PM (#15544872)
    Studies have been done.
    Here is one: Reports/MusicLessons-DL4.pdf []

    It has some interesting stuff.
  • A corollary quote... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:39PM (#15545031)
    Eventually it was discovered
    That God
    Did not want us to be
    All the same

    This was
    Bad News
    For the Governments of The World
    As it seemed contrary
    To the doctrine of
    Portion Controlled Servings

    Mankind must be made more uniformly
    The Future
    Was going to work

    Various ways were sought
    To bind us all together
    But, alas
    Same-ness was unenforcable

    It was about this time
    That someone
    Came up with the idea of
    Total Criminalization

    Based on the principle that
    If we were All crooks
    We could at least be uniform
    To some degree
    In the eyes of
    The Law

    Shrewdly our legislators calculated
    That most people were
    Too lazy to perform a
    Real Crime
    So new laws were manufactored
    Making it possible for anyone
    To violate them any time of the day or night,
    Once we had all broken some kind of law
    We'd all be in the same big happy club
    Right up there with the President
    The most excalted industrialists,
    And the clerical big shots
    Of all your favorite religions

    Total Criminalization
    Was the greatest idea of its time
    And was vastly popular
    Except with those people
    Who didn't want to be crooks or outlaws,

    So, of course, they had to be
    Tricked Into It ...
    Which is one of the reasons why
    Was eventually made

    --Frank Zappa (from the booklet of Joe's Garage, Acts II & III - 1979)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 15, 2006 @07:47PM (#15545087)
    Here's [] one such study (it's a .pdf, sorry).

    (T)here is strong evidence that the impact of file-sharing has been to bring significant harm to the recording industry. The basic evidence in the United States over the last few years--the birth of file-sharing and the subsequent decline in CD sales--makes for an extremely compelling and simple explanation in spite of the protestations to the contrary from the large and vocal group of individuals supportive of file-sharing. The recent reversal in the decline in CD sales matches a reversal in the activity of file-sharing, providing additional support for this conclusion.

    This conclusion is not likely to have been a surprise to most anyone, prior to this topic becoming so highly politicized. The basic intuition of most economists is not much different than that which occurs to members of the general population: when given the choice of free copies versus purchased originals, a significant number of individuals who might have purchased originals will chose to substitute the free copy. It would be amazing if there were not a strong substitution effect.

    Although there are conditions which might work to mitigate or even overturn this theoretical expectation, those conditions are unlikely to occur in the case of file-sharing. Although the concept of 'sampling' has been mentioned as a possible mitigating factor, theory does not appear to support this surmise. A broad analysis of the various theoretical factors at work supports a view that file-sharing is likely to cause damage to the owners of copyright materials that are so shared.
  • by PB_TPU_40 ( 135365 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @08:48PM (#15545462)
    According to your logic, so is everyone who purchases the material. Her statement pertains only to creation of material. Also she wasn't talking just about IP, she was actually refering more towards the physical, for a man who has no ability to hunt, fish, or grow his own food will surely starve without the help of others. I can survive however without my downloads.

    One thing I'm suprised no one has brought up, all my friends have said the same thing, if they charged a more reasonable price for music and didn't limit what we can do with it, we'd be more than happy to buy it. When you go to the store though and buy only 4 cds and it runs you 80 bucks and that was at Walmart, thats pretty damn steep. Now according to the RIAA ripping the discs and placing them on a file server makes you a pirate. Because I have all my cds there on my server so I can play them easily through winamp, I can also create an MP3 CD to play my music in my car. The reason I use MP3 cds, dont have to change discs as often, as well as the fact if I'm in a major accident, all my music survives on my server. I speak from experience on that line, I lost 50 CDs in a violent wreck because I hadn't burnt them onto CD-Rs yet. It would have cost me over 1000 bucks, but my friend had many of the same disks as me, so I copied the ones he had, I still have the damaged disks, but I use the copy I got from him... PIRACY according to them.

    Now lets say you buy it off of I-Tunes. 99 cents a song. I haven't browsed much, but lets see here approximately 15 songs per album, 4 albumbs, 60 bucks. You saved 20 bucks, however its not in MP3 format, and to use it on anything other than an I-Pod and in I-Tunes takes serious work. Piracy is not just because we want something for free, at least not among my circle, its because they over charge, we already own it, and we believe that once we purchase it we have the right to listen to it however we want, we bought it.

    Don't quote Ayn Rand thinking that makes you sound smart while at the same time trying to insult people. She happens to be one of my favorite authors. There is a reason this debate is so hot, because they are trying to blanket legit issues as piracy. I would suggest pulling your head out of that dark crack on your back side. Coward!
  • by TenLow ( 812875 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:10PM (#15545580)
    I think you missed a good portion of his point. The point was not piracy = good or piracy = bad, it was declaring war on an abstract idea = bad because it does nothing but criminlaize those who politicians choose to make examples of. Chances are you're guilty of something right now even though you havent broken any laws you know about. And on to your point, I think more than 70% of the population supports freedom of speech, however we've given that up under the guise of "security" because it's "for our own good". We let them take it from us. Now that they've proven we as Americans will give up anything if we're told "it's for your own good" just think of the field day the politicians will have when the anti-porn lobby starts making "contributions". It will be fed to us as a measure of protecting our children. It's for our own good. The same idea can be applied to any law that would never under any circumstance be allowed to pass because it's grossly unconstitutional, yet because it's for our own good, we must ignore rational thought and act quickly before someone realises what's going on.

    The world will never be a safe place to live as long as we let others decide what's in our best interest.

    That rant being over, Piracy is bad. But forcing other countries to do what we want is not the answer. Our problem only exists in this country. Outside of America, it's not our problem, it's Their problem. Let them deal with it however they want to.

  • copyright in Mexico (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cool_arrow ( 881921 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:28PM (#15545671)
    I worked in Mexico for about a year and I'm not sure if it's even possible to buy a legitimate version of software, music, or video. I'm sure you can somewhere but you'd have to look around whereas pirated versions are everywhere. I especially liked the modified sony PS2 with perhaps all availabe ps2 games pre-loaded into the console for only slightly more money than a legit machine ; )
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:31PM (#15545680)

    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.

    Think about alcohol Prohibition. Before and after Prohibition, a majority of adult Americans drank alcohol at least occasionally. (Perhaps even during it, though we'll never know.) Yet the idea was popular enough to get passed via constitutional amendment, requiring the approval of two thirds of both houses of Congress AND all the state legislatures. Not that it wasn't stupid, it was *so* stupid that 13 years later it became the only amendment ever repealed.

    Never underestimate the ability of the American electorate to be precisely that stupid.

  • by dognuts ( 699368 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:54PM (#15545761)
    There's a huge difference between perceived loses & real loses.
    They appear to be taking a page out BSA's [] book to reach such conclusions.

    Using the entertainment industry's analogy, every P2P download represents a lost sale,
    & it sounds & looks good to the average Politician!

    Now if we use an example the flaw will become apparent.

    Example: If Photoshop's [] latest version get's downloaded via P2P 100,000 times does
    that mean they lost those sale's?

    Answer: At $649 US a pop I very mush doubt it!

    Being generous I'd guess only 1% to 2% of those 100,000 people would truly pay
    $649 US for Photoshop if that was the only way they could get it.

    I think it would be safe to say the true cost of Piracy isn't $250 billion, but closer to the
    $2.5 to 5 billion mark anually.
    In all likelyhood the U.S. government will spend more than that amount each year hence
    forth in fighting Piracy, thanks to the lobby groups mystical figures.
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:01PM (#15545788) Homepage Journal
    When the US government gets involved and demands favors, things get done. Take Pirate Bay, as an example. If you try going to [] you'll find - Oh wait a second, the US pulled some favors, had the site illegally taken down, and what - it's back? No fucking way!

    Notice what they're doing now. They're flaunting it - before they had cannballs fired from the ship at a Hollywood sign, today they're using an abstract phoenix in the shape of the pirate ship as their logo, and in the blog (see link above) they have offers from many in various servers to set up redundant hosts. The MPAA and RIAA cannot and will not win. They HAVE to come to grips with today's technology or face extinction. Whether or not they want to admit it, P2P and sales CAN coexist. Some folks use it as try-before-you-buy (I've done this, quite recently in fact), and the folks who won't buy, are likely not the target consumer anyway.

    Personally, I often wait for movies to hit cable or DVD before I watch them (usually cable first and if I like it I buy the DVD), unless it's a movie I want to see in the highest possible resolution, then I'll go to the theater and hope they bothered to focus the projector. I am mainly part of the secondary market - the market that the MPAA fought tooth and nail against when they tried to block home video from becoming reality. I buy lots of DVDs (although admittedly not since the MPAA illegally caused to come down for all of three days), probably too many, but I rarely go to the theater because so few new movies are worth the hassle.

    As an aside where politics is concerned, rather than just the MPAA's stupidity: Is it IP that will be the final straw and get people to say "enough is enough" and actually get out and VOTE, or run for office, or do whatever else it takes to institute change? Will the reality that Joe Sixpack's Hi-Def television will not display Hi-Def from legitimate content with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray but will display pirated content at full resolution make him realize that it is the politicians he put in power which enabled this sort of bullshit to happen? Don't mess with Joe Sixpack's television, because he gets pissy when the telly goes on the fritz, and I would not want to be the one responsible! It'll be the boston tea party of the new millennium, only it'll be HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs! ;)

    Actually, if it is IP which causes major changes for the better, it would be a pretty sad statement of today's society.
  • by vgmtech ( 957686 ) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:05PM (#15545799)
    I'm starting to see a cannon battle of the US and the Pirate Party and it's bay.
    But now The Pirate Party of the United States is emerging what could happen now? []
  • pretended war (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hany ( 3601 ) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:02AM (#15547071) Homepage

    Since the war on drugs has made drugs cheap, pure and ubiquitous ...

    One correction: pretended war on drugs ... thanks to what the saying "what does not kill you makes you stronger" kicks-in.

    I think that real war of people agains politics will kill politics quite effectively in very short time. Same as real war on drugs would have killed drugs and real war on terror would kill terrorists.

    Because we can't consider war on drugs being serious when for example even some US soldiers deployed to fight drugs are smugling drugs themselves. Or when some politicians get bribed by narco-mafia (because why would they bribe them if drugs were legal or nobody wanted those drugs?).

    Of course real fight against drugs or terror is most probably not fought with guns and bombs but then, politicians braging about fightng this or that without guns would look ... well ... boring, less entertaining, ... :|

    It looks like to me a lot of people just want fun (majority also with drugs) with a little bit of suffering (terror) mixed in. So the politicians (as any good vendor) just deliver to the peole what they want while trying to profit from that as much as bearable (bearable to those fun+terror loving customers).

    What a nice world we're living in. :)

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.