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Patriot Act Used to Enforce Copyright Law? 725

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-big-shocker-there dept.
iter8 writes " The Stargate SG-1 Information Archive is reporting that the Feds filed charges against Adam McGaughey, creator of SG1Archive.com. The website is a fan site for the television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that Adam used the website to engage in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. Two interesting things about the charges are that they were apparently set in motion by a complaint by our friends at the MPAA and the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?"
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Patriot Act Used to Enforce Copyright Law?

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  • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

    by byolinux (535260) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:29AM (#9809922) Journal
    Site seems very slow already, so here's the article text.

    Donate [paypal.com]

    Buy T-Shirt [cafeshops.com]

    Federal charges were filed against Adam McGaughey, creator of the popular SG1Archive.com website - a fan website devoted to the MGM-owned television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that the website engaged in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. The charges were the culmination of a three-year FBI investigation, set in motion by a complaint from the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) regarding the content of the SG1Archive.com website.

    SG1Archive.com is one of the most popular fan-run websites among the Stargate community. In addition to providing very active fan discussion forums, broadcast schedules, production news, and episode guides, the site heavily promotes the sale of the show on DVD. As of this writing, direct links from SG1Archive.com to Amazon.com have resulted in the sale of over $100,000 worth of DVDs. Many more DVDs have been sold to international fans of the show through sites like Blackstar.co.uk. Upon hearing this news, Stargate executive producer Brad Wright called the site "cool" - which Adam took as an endorsement of his work.

    However, instead of thanking Adam for his promotion of their product, officials at MGM and the MPAA have chosen to pressure the FBI into pursuing criminal charges. Adam was first tipped off about the investigation when the FBI raided his and his fiancee's apartment in May of 2002 and seized thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment. Adam later received a copy of the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant, and was shocked to discover that this document, prepared by the FBI, contained significant amounts of erroneous and misleading information. For example, two social security numbers were listed for Adam, one of which is not his. References were made to a cease and desist letter sent by the MPAA to an email address that did not exist. His online friendship with other Stargate fans across the globe was portrayed as an international conspiracy against the MPAA. And perhaps most disturbing of all, it was later revealed that the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. The FBI's abuse of its powers did not stop there. When they seized Adam's computer equipment, he was given written documentation stating that it would be returned within 60 days. The equipment that they did return did not arrive until more than 8 months later, and only then after much prodding from his lawyer. Much of it was damaged beyond repair - one laptop had a shattered LCD screen, an empty tape backup drive was ripped apart for no apparent reason, his fiancee's iBook was badly damaged when it was pried apart with a screwdriver. The FBI's computer crimes staff is either incompetent (at least when it comes to Macintosh computer equipment) or else they just don't give a damn.

    Adam has has received positive feedback about his site from multiple members of the Stargate cast and crew at fan conventions. In addition, a representative of MGM's fan publication interviewed Adam about his website several months prior to the FBI raid. As a result, Adam sincerely believed that the show's creators did not have a problem with the content of his website. Many other sites are currently serving content of questionable legality, without promoting the sale of DVDs or offering a community for fans to discuss the show. Why the MPAA and FBI have chosen to ignore these sites and target SG1Archive.com is unclear.

    Up until this point, Adam has been fortunate enough to receive pro bono legal counsel in his current hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. However, the charges were filed in Los Angeles county. The cost of travel, trial, bond, etc. is likely to be quite high.
    • OY MODS! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:00AM (#9810178)
      It seems you don't have to dig too far to find out this is a scammer, and shouldn't really be an argument about the PATRIOT act. And worst of all, now he's been hit by the FBI, he's making a scam out of it and asking us to donate to his "defense fund". How many slash dot reader have already donated without reading the comments below? Couldn't the main text could do with an edit?
      • Smells bad.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:22AM (#9810417) Journal
        Third click after typing his name into google I find a forum on sg1archive.net. Quote: "The creatior of that web site,Adam McGaughey (aka Arcady) has frauded me and at least 1 other person i know of out of $265 each for a dvd player he was selling. I am posting this so that if anyone else has been frauded by him you can countact us at urs234b@yahoo.com If you could take 20 minets of your time to help me get back at him pls email me. Thanks ChrisR "
      • patriotic duty (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:40AM (#9812173) Homepage Journal
        "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." - Voltaire [telemanage.ca]

        People might defend the guy without deciding whether he's worth defending. OTOH, the government is prosecuting the guy as a terrorist, justifying an invasion of his privacy (financial records) unwarranted by the act of which he's merely accused, not even convicted. Now that the "Patriot" Act is used to prosecute mere copyright violation, Slashdotters can choose to defend our rights to privacy by protecting our rights to copy, even when the copyright violation is valid. Even we nerds and geeks who make our living from copyright protection are more threatened by unjust laws like the "Patriot" Act. If only the rest of the population would participate in such central decisions of our democratic society, with the degree of organization that counterbalances the lawyers at the "Justice" Department, we might actually resolve some of these issues, and debunk these false choices.
      • Re:OY MODS! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jim Starx (752545) <JStarxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:51AM (#9812326)
        Whether he's guilty or not doesn't matter. The point is that when the patriot act was passed the gov't said don't worry, this is just so we can prosecute terrorists, we have no reason to use this in everyday investigations. And now they are using it in everyday investigations.
    • FUD ALERT (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brightest Light (552357) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:12AM (#9810302) Journal
      Many other sites are currently serving content of questionable legality
      If that isn't a case of the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is. Have a look here [archive.org], at the episodes of the show that Mister McGaughey kindly put up on his site for download. I certainly do not see this as a case of busting fansites; it seems to me that the MPAA has a legitimate complaint here.

      How he has interpreted the feelings of the show's creators/actors does not matter; their feelings and opinions count for nothing if they don't hold the copyrights to the show (which they clearly do not).

      Perhaps the FBI did step over the line here, but from reading the Patriot Act (which you can find here [loc.gov]) one can see that the FBI is simply using the tools they've been given to bust the bad guys (the ranks of which this gentleman belongs to). If you feel that the Patriot Act is a bad thing, write your congressman [aclu.org]. Join the American Civil Liberties Union [aclu.org] and the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org]. But don't sit here on Slashdot and bitch, you're not changing anything.

      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drooling-dog (189103) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:33AM (#9810552)
        But don't sit here on Slashdot and bitch, you're not changing anything.

        The airing of grievances in a public forum (like Slashdot) is an essential part of achieving change. Nothing happens until a critical mass of people become aware.

        • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Brightest Light (552357) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:59AM (#9810796) Journal
          Except the problem is that whining on /. is not going to do anything to increase awareness. Bitching about nearly anything here is preaching to the choir. Writing one's congressman is increasing awareness. Passing out fliers/etc is increasing awareness. Posting rants on Slashdot about how the FBI/RIAA/MPAA/etc is evil is not going to do anything to help us reach this "critical mass" of people. I agree that airing of grievances in a public forum is essential to democracy; but airing grievances to people who know full well that the Patriot Act/etc is a bad thing does nothing to help matters any. If you want to increase awareness, go tell 5 of your friends (those who do not read Slashdot) why you think $issue_of_the_day is important. Explain to them why it matters, and make them aware of how it affects everybody's lives.
          • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Interesting)

            by rpg25 (470383) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:47AM (#9811369)
            Actually, I don't agree with this claim; whining on /. about this case may be very important. Here's why:

            If we're going to write to our Representatives and Senators about problems with the Patriot Act, we need to have a good understanding of the issues.

            I haven't been able to discern the details yet, but if it is true that the Patriot Act was used to bust this guy, then it's an important thing for us to know about. Why? Because it gives us a concrete example to cite when we write our Senators and Representatives to say that the Patriot Act is being abused for non-counterterrorism purposes.

            Note that there are a load of "if's" in the above! All we have so far is one person's assertion that the Patriot Act was abused to bust him. We need to get some kind of corroboration before using this example in letters. Letters citing this case could blow up in our faces if it turns out there was no Patriot Act abuse.
            • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:4, Insightful)

              by LuYu (519260) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:15AM (#9811790) Homepage Journal

              I have to agree with this and to add that if the Patriot Act was used, I do not care what sort of criminal this guy might have been. He is innocent to me.

              I agree that the government should track and jail scumbags. This guy sounds like a real scumbag. However, there is a reason we have the rights we were given in the Constitution, and the FBI is wrong to make use of inappropriate laws in order to make it more convenient to catch someone. I really do not care if the guy has a rap sheet that streches from Texas to Canada. Copyright infringement is not a terrorist act (even if Jack Valenti may think so).

              • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Insightful)

                by b-baggins (610215) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @02:29PM (#9814133) Journal
                Your personal disagreement with a law does not make it an inappropriate law, unless you were recently appointed king.

                Secondly, the Patriot Act is nothing more than streamlining the search warrant, wiretaps, and property seizure laws to bring them in line with modern technology.

                Slashdotters constantly whine about how out of touch with technology gov't is. That is until it comes to law enforcement. Then they want the cops to be restricted to using laws designed for 1960 on criminals using technology from 2004.
                • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:3, Informative)

                  by bugnuts (94678)
                  Actually, the cops should be restricted to using laws designed for 1700's, not the 1960's. It's called "checks and balances" and is a fundamental concept to prevent the corruption of any particular branch of government.

                  Secondly, the Patriot Act is nothing more than streamlining the search warrant, wiretaps, and property seizure laws to bring them in line with modern technology.

                  The patriot act streamlines, only in as much as it removes essential checks and balances by different branches on the executive
                • by Audacious (611811)
                  Slashdotters constantly whine about how out of touch with technology gov't is. That is until it comes to law enforcement. Then they want the cops to be restricted to using laws designed for 1960 on criminals using technology from 2004.

                  I do not think this is quite true. The Patriot Act does not say to throw out all of your 1960's equipment and to buy new equipment created in the 21st century. Nor does it say to stop using the laws which were written in the 1960s. It simply broadens those laws as well as
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:46AM (#9810677)
        Check out the DATE on that archive snapshot!

        The guy was asked KINDLY by the MPAA to take down the episodes (which were of very crappy quality to begin with) and he DID so. That was in 2002, if I remember correctly. I've followed the site's development over the years and they haven't done anything illegal since then. Apart from posting a few spoilers here and there for overseas fans.

        So it's you who's spreading FUD here.
        • by twiggy (104320) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:29AM (#9811149) Homepage
          I'm really upset that this article made /. and here's why:

          First: Re "YOU are FUDding here!" -- no, he's not. Read the guy's post about the raids etc for a minute and forget about whether you liked his site or liked Stargate. It's totally misleading crap that doesn't even remotely mention that the raid was related to him (even at one point in the past) having hosted entire episodes. No, he makes it out to be an issue of linking to amazon that got him raided by the FBI.

          Second: Giving this /. volume traffic, a bunch of dumb monkeys are going to paypal this clown $5 or $10 or whatever, and he's going to pocket it and/or use it for his legal defense. He doesn't deserve $5 or $10, even if he was somehow magically innocent, or even if you argue that "hey, he took the clips down and they still raided him!". He wrote a misleading post trying to get money from the public while not admitting one iota of the truth about the situation.

          Also, as people mentioned there's discussion over at metafilter, and someone there stated that he knew he was going to be raided and had been moving around quite a bit before it happened, etc...

          The ONLY valid point of discussion here is whether or not the PATRIOT act should be used, and if measures / activism need to be taken to get it repealed. Linking to this scammer's donation/"help my sorry ass" site without even realizing what a scammer he is, however, is upsetting to me.
          • by syberanarchy (683968) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:52AM (#9812337) Journal
            So the ends justify the means? What the fuck about due process? Do you really value copyright over the due process of law?

            That's what this is about. The government, bought and paid for by the folks in the cartel, bowing to their masters. If I have to explain to you why this is fucked, I am wasting my time - THE GOVERNMENT IS PROSECUTING COPYRIGHT CASES WITH A LAW MEANT TO PREVENT THINGS LIKE PLANES CRASHING INTO BUILDINGS!!!

            Of course, that's probably a moot point to types like you, who will gleefully state that hey, the US govt can do anything they want with their laws, it's their intellectual property, and if you don't like it, you don't have the right to make them do anything...

            Oh wait...

        • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:36AM (#9811241)
          "The guy was asked KINDLY by the MPAA to take down the episodes (which were of very crappy quality to begin with) and he DID so."

          From what I've heard, he just made the episodes a little less public. Apparently, the archive of episodes was still being hosted and still being updated with newly aired episodes. The only catch is that the files weren't linked off of his site. Instead, the files used a predictable naming scheme, and details on how to find the files was given out via word-of-mouth.

      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Insightful)

        by teromajusa (445906) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:48AM (#9810696)
        If you feel that the Patriot Act is a bad thing, write your congressman. Join the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But don't sit here on Slashdot and bitch, you're not changing anything.

        How about joining the ACLU and bitching on Slashdot? The article may not give both sides of the story, but regardless of whether the guy is a 'bad guy', its not ok for the FBI to take legislation specifically drafted to fight terrorism and use it whenever they see fit. And I don't see any problem with bitching about things that are wrong.

        • RTFL (Score:5, Informative)

          by Goobermunch (771199) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @12:36PM (#9812851)
          Has anyone here actually read the PATRIOT Act? It was kindly linked in earlier in the thread. Here's some relevant parts: 18 USC 2516 was amended to permit wiretaps relating to computer fraud and abuse. There's no language in this amendment limiting its application to terrorism. 18 USC 2703 was amended to permit the government to obtain a significant amount of information from a "provider of electronic communication services," including name, address, connection times, length of service and type of service, phone number or IP address, and credit card number or bank account. All it takes is an administrative subpoena. There's no language in either the amendment or the statute itself limiting its application to terrorism. (This one is one of the provisions exempt from the sunset clause). Not all of the PATRIOT Act was designed to deal with terrorism. Some of it was designed to allow the FBI greater access to information they couldn't get elsewhere. You might well point this out to your Senators and Representatives when you write your letters. That said, there's little point in raging that they're using "provisions of the PATRIOT Act" in a non-terrorist case. The powers they're using aren't limited to that purpose. They're part of the expanded powers of your government. --AC
      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Informative)

        by some guy I know (229718) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:57AM (#9810774) Homepage
        It's not the "Patriot Act"; it's the "USAPATRIOT Act".
        It has nothing to do with patriotism, so calling it the "Patriot Act" is misleading.
      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @10:42AM (#9811303) Homepage Journal
        Perhaps the FBI did step over the line here, but from reading the Patriot Act ...one can see that the FBI is simply using the tools they've been given to bust the bad guys (the ranks of which this gentleman belongs to).

        When people first started warning that USA-PATRIOT granted the government absurdly broad powers, its supporters replied, "Oh, don't worry about it, it's just to go after terrorists -- they won't use it in other kinds of cases." Now that it's being used as a blunt instrument against people who are not terrorists by any reasonable definition of the word, we're being told, "Well, what can you do, it's the law." Great.

        If you feel that the Patriot Act is a bad thing, write your congressman. Join the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But don't sit here on Slashdot and bitch, you're not changing anything.

        Talking about these things, getting the word out, does have an effect -- in the long run, more of an effect than any single letter or donation. FWIW, I was an ACLU member before /. existed, but I had never even heard of the EFF before I started reading /., and I joined them largely because I was impressed by other posters' positive reports about their activities. Electronic forums like /. and K5 are, to some degree, the modern equivalent of the Green Dragon [greendragoncoffee.com].
      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:3, Informative)

        by demachina (71715)
        I don't think it really matters what the target of this investigation did or didn't do, except the key fact that it had nothing to do with terrorism. They key point here is it shows how much the Patriot act broadened the DOJ's powers in areas that have NOTHING to do with preventing terrorism.

        On a tangent here [counterpunch.org] is an interesting article on Homeland Security trying to enforce security through obscurity in the physical world and the virtual world too. Someone walked around the DNC and took photos of all the
      • Re:FUD ALERT (Score:3, Interesting)

        If you feel that the Patriot Act is a bad thing, write your congressman [aclu.org]. Join the American Civil Liberties Union [aclu.org] and the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org]. But don't sit here on Slashdot and bitch, you're not changing anything.

        I think you left out an essential one: Join the Libertarian Party.

        Yeah, yeah, the [insert your favorite of the big two parties here] party was only kidding when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the patriot act, they're real nice guys, and they promise
    • Material support? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550)
      >
      >Donate
      > Buy T-Shirt

      1. Donate to legal defense fund / Buy T-shirt.
      2. Get charged with providing material support for terrorists.
      3. ???

      I think I'll pass.

      I preferred it when #3 was "Profit!", even though I still haven't solved for the old #2.

  • Homer (Score:2, Funny)

    In the words of Homer Simpson, this is bull plop! But seriously, it's a fan site. If someone made me a fansite, I wouldn't sue them. Hell, I'd be grateful! Anyone want to make me one?
  • Yes it is... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771)
    ... Thanks to our pandering polticians, Democrat & Republican alike. Vote Libertarian & stop this silliness.

    Jaysyn
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:31AM (#9809939)
    No, its not. You've merely been suckered by the spin that the PATRIOT Act is in some away a counter-terrorism measure, rather than noticing that the terrorism angle was just to stop you from noticing that the Bill of Rights was being recinded.
    • This is true. But, I would consider it more than a "Spin". The Document Comprising the USA-PATRIOT states:
      (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'.
    • by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:29AM (#9810500)
      You've merely been suckered by the spin that the PATRIOT Act is in some away a counter-terrorism measure, rather than noticing that the terrorism angle was just to stop you from noticing that the Bill of Rights was being recinded.

      Actually, when the Patriot Act was passed there was considerable discussion regarding this exact issue, and assurances were made that the PA wouldn't be used except for clear-cut cases of terrorism.

      Here's an excerpt from the Patriot Act Myths [lifeandliberty.gov] government site:

      Myth: The ACLU claims that the Patriot Act "expands terrorism laws to include 'domestic terrorism' which could subject political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy." They also claim that it includes a "provision that might allow the actions of peaceful groups that dissent from government policy, such as Greenpeace, to be treated as 'domestic terrorism.'" (ACLU, February 11, 2003; ACLU fundraising letter, cited by Stuart Taylor in "UnPATRIOTic," National Journal, August 4, 2003)

      Reality: The Patriot Act limits domestic terrorism to conduct that breaks criminal laws, endangering human life. "Peaceful groups that dissent from government policy" without breaking laws cannot be targeted. Peaceful political discourse and dissent is one of America's most cherished freedoms, and is not subject to investigation as domestic terrorism. Under the Patriot Act, the definition of "domestic terrorism" is limited to conduct that (1) violates federal or state criminal law and (2) is dangerous to human life. Therefore, peaceful political organizations engaging in political advocacy will obviously not come under this definition. (Patriot Act, Section 802)

      If the Patriot Act were invoked in this case, it is a clear abuse that should be quickly corrected. The FBI personnel involved should be severely reprimanded or fired. That is, I suppose, unless viewing SG1 DIVX movies is potentially fatal... ;-)

      However, this is an obvious example of the "slippery slope" problem the Patriot Act represents. Once new repressive legislation is enacted, people get used to it. Then the government starts to push the envelope. As long as this process is gradual, the public will be too caught up in "bread and circuses" (what is Jessica Simpson doing today, eh?;) to notice...at least that's the theory. Are you asleep?

      Remember, Income Tax was originally supposed to be temporary. The government is not your friend. This is the case whether it's controlled by Republicans or Democrats.

      "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - BF
      • Actually, when the Patriot Act was passed there was considerable discussion regarding this exact issue, and assurances were made that the PA wouldn't be used except for clear-cut cases of terrorism.

        Actually, when the Patriot act was passed, there was no discussion. That only came after it was passed.

        ssurances were made that the PA wouldn't be used except for clear-cut cases of terrorism.

        Yeah, they always do that. Then, when the furor dies down, they push it as far as it will go.

      • Actually, when the Patriot Act was passed there was considerable discussion regarding this exact issue, and assurances were made that the PA wouldn't be used except for clear-cut cases of terrorism.

        That's not quite true. The Patriot Act made a lot of changes to how law enforcement works, only some of which had to do with terrorism. For those portions relating to terrorism, you're correct. But much of the Act was things like "the FBI can have roving wiretaps on cell phones in addition to landline phones
  • Of course.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...everything is a terrorist act now. Haven't you read the text of the Patriot Act? Oh wait, not even the people who voted on it read it...
    • Re:Of course.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by malsdavis (542216)
      If you think about it, anything can be called a "terrorist act".

      Shoplifting, for example: steal a can of coke, the state (as in the government and the governing collective) loose x cents taxation. Hence, you have just committed an attack against the state and can be immediatly sent for an indefinate stay at a small jail in Cuba during which friends and relatives may or may not be told about your detention.

      Hitler and Stalin would both of envied being able to do such legally. ...ofcourse they won't living i
  • by tiltowait (306189) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:31AM (#9809944) Homepage Journal
    It was invoked in an embezzlement case against a strip club [lisnews.com] -- hardly a matter of national security if you ask me, Tony.

    Metafilter [metafilter.com] has some comments too. Apparently the site had downloads of episodes available, despite their claim that it was just Amazon links that got them in hot water.
  • Abuse? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BinaryWolf (792555)
    Sounds to me like just another case of abusing power. The Feds are just taking advantange of the Patriot Act to get all the information the want/need.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:32AM (#9809953)
    Did anyone notice this bit on the SG-1 Archives forum post about this [sg1archive.com]:

    Posted: Mar 30 2004, 11:46 PM

    Surely this is interesting and all, but VERY outdated. I would think there is quite likely some more current information available. What has happened in the last four months?
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:33AM (#9809958) Homepage Journal
    *BREEEEEET!* Blatant FUD, twenty-yard penalty!

    Firstly, as one of the comments on the MetaFilter [metafilter.com] page on the article points out,
    The Patriot Act amended many laws that were already on the books that were not directly related to "national security." (Amendements to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are just one example.) Waving that flag around is just a misunderstanding of the Act.
    Secondly, other comments on that same page (as well as the US DOJ press release [usdoj.gov]) point out what the somewhat self-serving press release does not: sg1archive was hosting copies of Stargate episodes for download. Directly; apparently Mr. McGaughey wasn't even smart enough to use an peer-to-peer intermediary so he could claim he was just linking, not hosting.They were apparently low-rez rips intended to allow fans to catch up on missed episodes but not something you'd want to keep, but I'm afraid that's not a positive defense to copyright infringement. Neither is "But we were helping sell the DVDs" (despite what peer-to-peer folks would have you believe) or "Gee, but the people who made the show liked my site, really!"

    It's a shame that his computer equipment got trashed, but the FBI (and other law-enforcement agencies) are somewhat prone to do that over the course of an investigation. If you don't even check online FAQs about what constitutes copyright infringement (anime fansub and fanfic FAQs were doing an adequate job of covering that more than ten years ago; I'm sure there are even more comprehensive ones out there by now that would have told him this was Not a Good Idea) before you go ahead and do it anyway, you deserve what you get. This is not another Steve Jackson affair [eff.org], folks.

    And I won't even go into what a Google Groups search [google.ca] on Mr. McGaughey turns up...though if you click on that link, the blurbs from the posts it displays are fairly instructive without even clicking on any of the articles to display the full text.

    I only wish I hadn't kicked in $5 to the guy's legal defense fund before I found out about all this. Oh well, it'll teach me to do a little research first next time.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:38AM (#9809984)
      Waving that flag around is just a misunderstanding of the Act.

      Which just goes to show that the act's promoters were basically lying, since that's the flag under which they sold it.
    • by schmaltz (70977) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:53AM (#9810111)
      The Patriot Act amended many laws that were already on the books that were not directly related to "national security."

      It would be nice for you if that were the whole story, but it's not. It should be written "amended many laws that were already on the books so that the FBI wouldn't need to be distracted with pesky Constitutional requirements such as judicial oversight.

      Whether this guy willingly broke copyright law, which it sounds like he did, is another matter. Whether copyrights, previously litigated, should be a matter for door-kicking-in police/feds, is an issue that needs to be revisited.

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    • It's a shame that his computer equipment got trashed, but the FBI (and other law-enforcement agencies) are somewhat prone to do that over the course of an investigation.

      What? It's okay to have your property seized and trashed -- OVER A TELEVISION SHOW?! If what you say is true, then sure, he's an idiot. But shouldn't there be a difference in response between being under suspicion of terrorism, kiddie porn, or murder, versus under suspicion of trading low-quality (or even high-quality!) dubs?

      If you're

  • Now... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gregoryb (306233)
    Sigh... well, at least there's some more evidence to cite _against_ the Patriot Act, so when its supporters challenge "Show me evidence of who it's actually hurting and rights its infringing.", we can point at specific things.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The-Bus (138060) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:37AM (#9809974)
    This is certainly the next step down in the slippery slope. Can you imagine the FBI then subpoenaing PayPal and getting the names and addresses of everyone that contributed?
  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:38AM (#9809982)
    ... the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP.
    The reality is that law enforcement in the United States is going to use every tool at their disposal to try to catch the bad guys, provided the tool doesn't cost too much. Laws can be invoked for (basically) free, so they get used, abused and stretched a lot.

    This Patriot Act thing really needs to be refined. While parts of it may be good, it's worded so that it can be invoked in far too many cases. This escapade with The Stargate SG-1 Information Archive is just the latest example.

    Will the law be redefined? The Powers That Be won't do it on their own, as the Patriot Act is (according to their collective mentality) too good a tool to throw away or change. The public needs to call for the change, loudly.

  • Look at this (Score:5, Informative)

    by Almace (216500) <Jeffery.YearyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:38AM (#9809991) Homepage
    Gee hosting [archive.org]episodes of a show on your website never causes any problems. How evil of them to enfoce thier copyright.
    • Re:Look at this (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:14AM (#9810317)
      "How evil of them to enfoce thier copyright."

      You might figure out at some point that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the government organ for handling internal federal problems, and currently is enagaged in everything from counter-terrorism thru to tracking down bank robbers. Enforcement of copyright is generally down to a civil action rather than getting a government body to kick your doors down. For one thing, every taxpayer is now engaged in protecting the copyright holders, so now you're not only buying their products, but paying for them to keep the prices where they want them.

      Next time someone detonates a large-ish bomb in a city centre, think about whether the FBI's manpower is better spent working for the good of society or the good of a corporation.

      As for the moral aspect of it, usually it's considered polite to send some contact first, and generally to a postal address. Getting a PI to serve papers has to be easier on the taxpayer than invoking an anti-terrorism law, just not as scary.

  • This is what... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian...abraham@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:40AM (#9809997) Homepage Journal
    the rest of the country dont think would happen, or hopes never happen. These isolated incidents are just the harbingers of numerous other instances where FBI and other law enforcement agencies under the clout of Ashcroft will use their newfound power, power that was bestowed on them by our representatives, in the name of making this nation more secure against faceless terrorists, to serve their corporate masters.

    What we as a collective need to do, and need to do now, is to take a look at the ambiguities in this act, and the scope of it and put down strict guidelines as to when and where it could be enforced and put some damn oversight while you are at it.

    The Govt has cleverly chosen depictions of late night arrests and mysterious black cars/helicopters as the evidence of a communist/totalitarian regime. They hope you would never equate that with Feds in uniforms. They hope to turn your attention to daily terrorist warnings, to turn your attention away from the extent to which these antiquated laws can be abused.

    You all have a clear choice this November. Even if that choice is starkly different from the other half of the nation, act now to ensure you still have civil liberties when all this is over.
    • Re:This is what... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Erwos (553607) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:54AM (#9810122)
      "You all have a clear choice this November."

      Do we? I keep forgetting that /.'ers convieniently ignore the fact that Kerry isn't repealing the PATRIOT Act. Go to JK's website, do a search for "patriot act". There's no talk of repealing it, only "enhancing" it. And we all know what "enhance" means to a politician: take out the obviously scary stuff, and put in less-obvious scary stuff. I mean, the talk of "intelligence sharing" and "terrorist lists" should be raising big red alarms in your heads, but since Kerry's not Bush, it doesn't... or something like that.

      http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2 00 4_0417a.html

      If you think Kerry is just going to hand you everything you wanted on a silver platter because he's "not Bush", you're foolish and naive. You'll have civil liberties and rights with whomever wins. I find it repugnant how members of both parties have resorted to scare tactics at this point.

      -Erwos
      • Re:This is what... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian...abraham@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:15AM (#9810339) Homepage Journal
        Ok..

        The Patriot Act and its proponents has done a fantastic job in making America feel safer under its umbrella, hence I would not go deep in to why Patriot Act and other regulations wont keep americans any safer (it will probably save the land, but not its citizens who choose to travel beyond its boundaries). What I believe would keep its people safe is when its Govt decides not to trample over the collective will of the rest of the world over starkly contrasting priorities and beliefs.

        You are admitting that Kerry does want to take out the obviously scary stuff while leaving some behind. We have an administration who is backing the law in its current state, with all the scary stuff thrown in, and they want to make it Permanent!!!

        Bush had his shot at the White House. He could have chosen to unite the country on the wake of 9/11. He took the path of the religious right, choosing to align himself with right wing nuts like Falwell and folks like Apostolic Congress. He chose to wage a crusade, he chose to go to war over vague notions as to what a WMD is. He chose to divide this country, rather than unite it.

        Kerry might do a double take like Bush when he becomes President, but my perspective of him is more of a statesman, of a masterful politician, a man who chooses his words wisely, a man who did not have the Presidentship handed to him on a platter. Him, I can trust, atleast for the next 4 years. Bush, I have lost that trust.
      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @11:43AM (#9812211) Journal
        Do we? I keep forgetting that /.'ers convieniently ignore the fact that Kerry isn't repealing the PATRIOT Act.

        You, sir, are full of shit [cnn.com].

        Kerry supports letting the PATRIOT Act expire, Bush supports renewing it.
        • Um, the problem essentially boils down to:
          1. You posted an ambiguous statement from CNN.com. The way _I_ read it was that Kerry supports keeping the PATRIOT Act in a form that lets it expire without Congress specifically voting as such. This is not _at all_ the same as saying "I will let it expire".
          2. Kerry's OWN WORDS contradict what you just linked to, if we go with your interpretation.

          I think someone's full of it, but it's not me.

          -Erwos
  • need more info... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by natron 2.0 (615149) <ndpeters79.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:40AM (#9809998) Homepage Journal
    I am not sure we are getting the full story here. I think he obviously did something to trip up the MPAA and cause the to play the "patriot act card". I am not saying the MPAA or the FBI is right for what they are doing but he must have done something to get thier attention.
  • by eske (211780) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:42AM (#9810018) Homepage
    from boingboing:
    Matthew sez, "There's a press release on the US DOJ site from April 2004 describing the charges. From this, you can learn the guy's name: "Adam Clark McGaughey". (link: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2004/050.html)

    The funny thing is that after searching google groups for "Adam McGaughey", you find a bunch of people that seemed to have been ripped off by him around 2002 on some SG-1 sites (as well as ebay) (make sure you sort by date to get more recent stuff). (link: http://groups.google.ca/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8& scoring=d&q=%22Adam++McGaughey%22&btnG=Search)

    I won't comment on any of the stuff here, but it's some interesting extra information that adds to the story.

    So lets clap the horses...
  • It's very clear from the article that the MPAA committed outright fraud and lied to the FBI.
    They also abused laws and I would not be surprised if they were the ones that damaged the equipment.

    Perhaps the FBI are in leauge with them. How else could such gross incompetance be explained.

    The MPAA should face charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and the FBI should be put under review.

    Oh wait. This was a little guy and the MPAA has a lot of money. Ergo, the law does not apply. They probobly threatened the guy with legal action when he asked for his stuff back.

    Expect such underhanded dealings when the MPAA drags 12 year olds/protestors/Apple/Independant Movie makers into court.
  • by dykofone (787059) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:44AM (#9810040) Homepage
    If you would like to contribute to the SG1Archive.com Legal Defense Fund, please make a paypal donation by clicking the button below.

    The FBI claimed that SG1Archive was part of an international conspiracy, raided his home, and used the Patriot Act to obtain his financial records. Man, I'd hate to see what they do to the people that fund this kind of site...

    Kidding aside, I'm kind of curious as to what happened. This is definitely a biased article, but what were the official charges brought against him, where do the chargest stand now, and why did the MPAA get the feds instead of just sue?

    • If the Google Groups archive is correct, he appears to have been defrauding international customers by selling them region-free DVD players and not delivering. Sounds like an international conspiracy to me (which would be a conspiracy to defraud that reached across national borders).
  • Here comes a rant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grunt107 (739510) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:45AM (#9810044)
    How many times will the misuse of this 'Patriot' act occur before we get enough politicians to support its repeal (I would say rework but IMO the partisanship in America will prevent that)?

    Proof that this act was dangerous came in the 1st weeks when the Vegas strip-club owner got arrested. This act has also been used against kiddie-porn and drug traffickers. Although I like the fact that these bastards get caught, the ends do not justify the means.

    This case proves that government and business have gotten to intermingled and inbred, and every politician aligned with these afronts needs voted out. Normally, I would say the erroneous affadavit would lead to his acquittal but I cannot predict our justice system anymore.

    As soon as this guy can afford it, a massive counter-suit against the MPAA, MGM, and the government needs to be filed.
  • Wayback machine (Score:5, Informative)

    by mattso (578394) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @08:46AM (#9810065)
    Looks like up until Jan 2002 he was actually linking copies of all the shows as ASF and AVI files. It's hard to tell if he hosted any of them, but the site does claim some of them came from the site itself.

    In Jan 2002 the site "changed" into a fan site/info site.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20011012011922/www.sg1a rchive.net/ [archive.org]
  • by {tele}machus_*1 (117577) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:00AM (#9810175) Journal
    I'd like to point out two things to all of you throwing up your arms in dismay about the alleged abuse of the Patriot Act in this case: the linked article is hosted at sg1archive.com, and it clearly is anything but fair and unbiased. The article makes it seem as if this gentleman never did anything except run fan forums and provide information about the show. However, one of the other posters here on Slashdot used the Wayback Machine to find out that this guy was hosting copies of episodes, which is unquestionably copyright infringement.

    I also observe that the "article" asks for donations to this guy's legal defense fund. Before anyone clicks to donate, I suggest that you consider that the "article" is a clearly biased view of the facts. He admits to no wrongdoing, but even a Slashdot poster has been able to show that this guy has some culpability. Shame on Slashdot for accepting this submission and allowing it to be passed off as truth.
  • Do a little research (Score:5, Informative)

    by weez75 (34298) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:06AM (#9810226) Homepage
    Before blindly jumping on this guy's bandwagon run over to BoingBoing [boingboing.net] to read about how this guy started ripping people off on eBay and newsgroups starting in 2002. You may think twice before buying a shirt or contributing to his legal defense.

    While I don't think this is an appropriate use of the law, this guy is surely no angel. Terrorist? No way, but he doesn't sound like a real nice fellow.
  • by sjs132 (631745) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:06AM (#9810233) Homepage Journal
    Pulled from the forum on the site:

    Now lets be a little objective here. Newcomers don't know but those that have lurked around for quite a while (myself) and have appreciated the site for a number of years know. The REAL reason for this lawsuit was that divx bootlegs of nearly (all?) every episode, up until a couple years ago, were available here for download. THAT'S why he got raided. So don't let the one sided story that's on here fool you. If it were truly for linking to legitimate dvd sales, I would be standing in line to donate to the legal fund. As it stands, it's a legitimate lawsuit.

    Oh... and of course... don't believe ME... Check it out for yourself. The internet wayback machine has the pages archived.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20010418190842/...sg1ar chive.com/

    Just click on the links for the seasons and you can see that they were available for download via ASF and DIVX.


    Now, the FBI probably was involved because of the overseas links to the DIVX contents when he was originally sent a "Cease & Desist." But, INAL...

    Point is, there was copyright infringment, I'm sure the DCMA would have been the better act to follow, I don't know why they pulled the patriot act, other than it's another "TOOL" at their disposal....

    BTW, the fact that this was from 2002, and it is just now being brought up, makes you wonder if it wasn't a planted story because of a certain election that is going to be playing out soon...

    You know, FUD by the DNC? - Interesting thought, thats all I submit, no flames please, not trying to make any political points...

  • Um, wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:08AM (#9810255)
    What the summary and the biased sob story from Adam, otherwise known as "Arcady" leaves out is that he was hosting full length versions of every SG-1 episode for download [usdoj.gov] . This isn't some nebulous copyright infrigement case of him using logos or names improperly. He was unabashedly and blatantly hosting copyrighted content, i.e. the shows themselves, for download. Somehow he neglects to mention that in his little bullshit "summary", and that when he was ordered to stop, he moved the episodes to a server overseas (and of course slashdot swallows the PATRIOT garbage hook, line, and sinker). The charges were felony trafficking of counterfeit goods and misdemeanor copyright infringement.
    • Re:Um, wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maxpublic (450413)
      He was unabashedly and blatantly hosting copyrighted content

      And as a taxpayer, one of the folks who supposedly gets to decide the mission of his government bodies (including the FBI), I really don't give a fuck what TV show the guy was illegally hosting on his site. I'd much rather the FBI (which, remember, I support with my tax dollars) goes after REAL criminals and not copyright infringers.

      Copyright infringement is a case for civil, not criminal courts. Anything else is a waste of my tax dollars.

      Ma
    • Re:Um, wow (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
      "leaves out is that he was hosting full length versions of every SG-1 episode for download "

      Yeah, so lots of people have pointed this out and um....I hope its not to tasteless to ask.......but um....could someone link to the files already?

  • by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:13AM (#9810308) Homepage

    Copyright infringement is not a terrorist act. The USA PATRIOT Act wasn't designed to fight terrorism. It was just sold as a law to fight terrorism. (If I were the wild-eyed type, I'd say the PATRIOT Act is a terrorist act.)

    Virtually every provision of the USA PATRIOT Act was on John Ashcroft's Police State Wish List well before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 ever happened. After the attacks, it didn't take long to wrap every rotten proposal up with a great big red-white-and-blue ribbon and ram it through Congress. Ashcroft demanded it be passed within three days with no amendments [peacecouncil.net]. In the heat of that moment, only a handful of legislators from either side of the aisle dared to suggest that we should be more careful with our liberty.

    Easy come, easy go, I guess.

    • > (If I were the wild-eyed type, I'd say the PATRIOT Act is a terrorist act.)

      I guess you are the wild-eyed type, because you pretty much just said it.

      Or would you be okay if GWB said, "If I were the conspiracy type, I'd say that John Kerry eats babies."

      Would you be quiet if the president said that?
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:36AM (#9810590) Journal
    Organized crime associations derive a large part of their incomes from a number of shady economic activities-- sports betting, sales of pornography, cigarette smuggling, the numbers game, and the production of counterfeit goods. Under the RICO laws, the penalties for such minor crimes could be vastly increased, if the prosecutor could show that this activity was somehow tied to a certain predicate acts and a pattern of illegal activity.

    Terrorist organizations are believed to sometimes engage in similar activities. It's easier to prosecute such cases and easier to secure funding if the case is treated as a "potential terrorism" case.

    Remember those anti-drug tv advertisements that ran a few months back. The odds are that ones local drug supplier are not connected to a terrorist organization. But the remote possibility raised by that series of ads might have convinced some that they might "just say no..."

  • by karb (66692) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @09:57AM (#9810772)
    Have you all learned nothing?

    TV shows need advertisers. Companies that pay for the program so they can take a short moment to promote themselves.

    So if you tell them that, because of their support of a particular program, you will, in fact not patronize them, it will get their attention pretty quick.

    I know this article tries to sympathize with the people who work directly on the show, and a boycott would hurt them too. But the copyright holders only understand discourse in the form of money. There needs to be a monetary penalty for the mistreatment of fans. Start boycotting the advertisers and tell them know why.

  • I hate bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday July 27, 2004 @01:30PM (#9813433) Homepage Journal
    The question I have, which the actual article cleverly ignores, is whether or not he was doing something illegal or not. Advertising and promoting the sale of DVD's doesn't make up pirating them in the first place. Clearly the fact that gestapo has abused its powers in pursuing this case is a bad thing, but that isn't the same thing as the MPAA and the FBI ganging up on an innocent fan for their own amusement.

    If this guy was hosting pirated copies of the show then he needs to be called to task for that. If the FBI abused the patriot act in the process of their investigation then they need to be called to task also. The FBI's wrong-doing doesn't make this guy right.

    I'll not give him one thin dime for a "defense fund" if he is going to side-step the question of his guilt. I'd much rather put that money towards fighting the patriot act itself.

    Lee

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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