Feeds

Hollywood, software groups push DoJ copyright busts

A most unholy alliance

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Music bootleggers and software crackers tired of wading through the entire United States Code to see if they're about to break the law, or incur daunting criminal liabilities in excess of the potential value of their planned activities, may now consult a handy reference guide on line.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has published a manual for prosecuting intellectual property violation and copyright infringement, including the maximum penalties for each sort of infraction and related sentencing guidelines.

It also lists common-sense strategies for the Feds to score a win in court, including a breakdown of fair-use exceptions which can be profitably exploited, and value estimates of the allegedly infringed works engineered for success.

For example, when seeking a felony rap, "prosecutors should be careful simply to charge a value greater than $2,500," the Department advises.

We deeply appreciate the banana-republic prosecutorial ring of that wording. 'Go on, pick a number out of a hat; just ensure it's greater than 2,500.' *wink*

That damned Internet

The DoJ reaffirms its deeply held conviction that the Internet was conceived principally as some diabolical mechanism to shield terrorists, paedophiles and copyright violators from law enforcement agents and prosecutors.

"Internet cases raise unusual evidentiary and proof issues," the Department observes. "One substantial challenge for Internet cases is to accurately determine the identity and quantity of the infringing items (pirated copyrighted works) that were distributed."

However, baffled Feds are encouraged to seek assistance in developing their cases. "Law enforcement agencies should utilize all available resources in identifying victims and determining loss," the DoJ says.

By which they mean: 'when in doubt, contact your friendly neighbourhood software or entertainment industry front group.'

"In certain circumstances, assistance might be sought from the private sector. Certain private industry business associations, such as the Business Software Alliance, the Interactive Digital Software Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Software Information Industry Association, have provided significant assistance in previous investigations," the DoJ recommends.

If that sounds like an unholy alliance, we mustn't blame the Department. It's not their fault, they insist. "In recent years, Congress has taken an especially strong interest in intellectual property crimes as well as intellectual property law generally," the report emphasizes on about eight different occasions.

The culprit here is the US Congress, whose members take in vast campaign donations from these industry groups and are then, obviously, required to deliver legislation favourable to their benefactors if they wish to see the money spigot remain open.

House Members are particularly susceptible to this sort of manipulation, being compelled by law to mount a campaign every two years. Indeed, one barely has time to take the oath before the next fund-raising cycle commences.

US legislators have grown so dependent on entertainment and software industry succour that "Congress took the unprecedented step of singling out intellectual property crimes for detailed accounting in the Attorney General's Annual Accountability Report," the DoJ laments.

We've long observed the ways in which these industries influence the US legislative agenda; here we see that they're influencing national law-enforcement and prosecutorial priorities as well.

Ain't Democracy wonderful? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.