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FBI Arrests Eight On Copyright Charges 352

Posted by Zonk
from the free-isn't-free-anymore dept.
luigi6699 writes "The BBC reports that 'the US authorities have charged eight people in connection with the illegal trading of copyrighted films, music, games and software over the net.' According to Acting Assistant Attorney General John C Richter, 'cases like these are part of the Justice Department's coordinated strategy to protect copyright owners from the online thieves who steal and then sell the products they work so hard to produce.'"
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FBI Arrests Eight On Copyright Charges

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  • Priorities! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:38AM (#13201287)
    If tomorrow there is a terrorist attack that the FBI failed to prevent because they were busy arresting some copyright violator, I'm going to be mighty pissed.
  • Re:Priorities! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mboverload (657893) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:41AM (#13201290) Journal
    But they protected the most important thing of all, the profits of media conglomerates.
  • by kronocide (209440) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:41AM (#13201293) Homepage Journal
    Think what you will about it, but recieving a free copy of something someone else has invested time and money to produce is not a "right."
  • I wonder (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mocm (141920) * on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:41AM (#13201294) Homepage
    how someone can be an Acting Assistant Attorney General and not know the difference between theft and copyright infringement.
  • by theamazingflyingshee (900968) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:42AM (#13201296) Homepage
    Well think about this, if they are taken to court or pay an out of court settlement then they might not have enough money to feed them selves (etc.) as they might me heavily i debt(etc.), so then they might turn to crime as means of income. There must be a better way.
  • by mboverload (657893) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:44AM (#13201300) Journal
    Try RIAA/MPAA.com.

    You didn't hear? Yeah, they run the government now.
  • Makes me sick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:48AM (#13201313) Homepage Journal
    I never thought I'd ever live in a time where something that is so clearly a civil issue would be come a criminal charge. What's next, arresting people for slander or violating a contract?
  • by Travoltus (110240) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:49AM (#13201316) Journal
    There are tons of identity thieves and pedophiles out there that the FBI hasn't gotten around to nailing, either.

    Priorities? We're the FBI, we don't need no steeeeeeeenkin priorities!!!
  • Re:Priorities! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:07AM (#13201342)
    I think they consider that, and probably spike our taxes so they can hire more and more FBI agents and such. 'Gotta get them all' so-to-speak.

    I think there are two main issues. People who freely share copyrighted material, and people who SELL copyrighted material. Personally, I see the latter as being flagrant theft.
  • Murderers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Seminal (698722) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:19AM (#13201361) Journal
    If tomorrow there is a terrorist attack that the FBI failed to prevent because they were busy arresting some copyright violator, I'm going to be mighty pissed.

    #1) Sometimes a highly visable arrest is enough to deter people from an activity, without allocating many law officers. All the FBI has to do is make an example of one person, charge him with everything, throw the kitchen sink at the guy and make sure he never gets outside of a jail, and that might stop other people from doing the same act.

    #2) Follow the money. There would be no FBI without money, and they get their money from congress. Members of congress get elected, and that takes lots of money. I can't give/donate nearly as much money as organized groups like the RIAA, so members of congress won't listen to me. If the RIAA wants music file sharers chased, arrested and prosecuted, and members of congress want money for the next election, guess what the FBI will be doing?

    #3) Perhaps terrorists are not a high priority because the politicians in power have been able to take advantage of the attacks. Whenever there is an attack, the people collectivly lose more rights. Police put up camera's in cities to videotape everyone (chicago and boston both have over 3,000 each). Libraries require fingerprints (Naperville). Gas prices soar. Companies like Halliburton get rich. I also noticed a direct relationship between acts of terror and rednecks getting very patriotic, which means they vote republican. For some reason, people in the south think democrats are pussies because we want to understand a problem before shooting at it.

    I would also add the uber rich are not scared of terrorism because when was the last time a suicide bomber blew himself up in Beverly Hills? The terrorists target public trains and busses which the avarage joe takes to work. The rich live in gated communities, they have private security in addition to the police. And when the rich call the police, the police know to anwser quickly and with their best officers. The last thing the police departments want is a millionaire with lawyers pissed off at them.

  • Re:Makes me sick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saeger (456549) <farrellj@@@gmail...com> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:33AM (#13201394) Homepage
    Since the U.S. doesn't actually manufacture anything tangible anymore, "intellectual property" then becomes all the more important for maintaining control in a capitalistic economy still based on scarcity. Copyright infringement, then, is "economic terrorism" and a threat to national security. </idiot devil's advocate>
  • by joebutton (788717) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:41AM (#13201408)
    Think what you will about it, but recieving a free copy of something someone else has invested time and money to produce is not a "right."

    The whole concept of rights a bit nebulous. Having a "right" to something could mean

    a) Being permitted to do something

    or b) Being entitled to something

    You are confusing the two meanings. The general guiding principal is that you should be permitted to do anything that does't impact on anyone else's "rights". If two set of rights come into conflict things get more complicated and a balance has to be struck.

    This story is about whether the balance of rights is struck in favour of the consumer or the copyright holder. Unless you produce more copyrighted material than you consume, this is a story about your rights being negatively impacted by the FBI upholding the copyright holders'.

  • Re:Priorities! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xugumad (39311) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:41AM (#13201409)
    Every time this happens, someone says "What, have they caught all the terrorists?". Believe it or not, the ideal method of law enforcement is not to deal with one type of crime at a time...

    "Theft? Err, no, we're still working through all the murders, try again in a few months"

    Seriously here people, you may think the copyright holders are big evil faceless corps, but that doesn't make copying their material right. If you object to the companies, don't play their games, listen to their music, watch their videos. Yeah, sure, it'll be tough, you'll miss this stuff, but that's what making a stand is all about.

    As it is, I'm fed up of this general attitude of "The company is evil, so I'm going to copy their stuff illegally, that'll teach them!". No, all it does it give them support to the idea they need stronger laws to deal with copyright infringers.
  • Re:I wonder (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:42AM (#13201410)
    Nope.

    If I took the money you earned by selling something, that would be theft of revenue. But the act of selling something is never theft. You might feel deprived of an opportunity, but the criminal act is the creation of the copy, which reduces the value of your copy. This act is called copyright infringement because it has unique properties which make it very different from theft.

    I know, it's tempting to label something which you dislike "theft", because theft is pretty much universally accepted as "bad", unlike copyright infringement, which is not. That however doesn't make it right to call things what they're not. Copyright infringement, even professional production of physical media, is not theft.
  • by John Seminal (698722) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:42AM (#13201412) Journal
    Everything is becoming rented and licensed.

    Think what you will about it, but recieving a free copy of something someone else has invested time and money to produce is not a "right."

    The problem with the system is I can't own a damn thing anymore. There was a time if I wanted to tape something off TV, I would have used a VCR. Now people are paying a monthly fee for TiVo. 20 years ago, people could buy a satelite dish and get all the channels for free on C-band. And back then cable was fairly inexpensive. Today, a "basic" subscription to cable can cost over $60 a month. AND back then there were not as many commericals on television as today. What has changed? Did these companies hire specialists to determine just how much bullshit people can take before they break?

    And it is not good enough to have a phone in the house, now everyone needs a cell phone. I had one employer ask me to update my file with my second phone number, a cell phone number. I did not have one. My boss gave me one hell of a look.

    And take operating systems for example. There was a time that when I purchased a operating system, I could put it on any computer I owned. Now Microsoft wants me to call in and ask for permission to install Windows.

    Every buisness is figuring ways to not sell a product, but to sell a reoccuring service. One day, people won't be able to buy underwear, they will have to buy a license from fruit of the loom. Perhaps washing machines will need to call fruit of the loom before you can wash underwear.

    And the music industry and movie industry is doing the same thing. It is not bad enough that they want $10 to see a movie, after half an hour of commericals (what is the point of paying $10 if they will force people to watch commercials anyways, isn't that just like TV?). In addition to the $10 ticket and forced viewing of commercials, the theater has a monopoly on snacks, and they use that monopoly to charge $5 for a soda that probably costs them a thin dime. One year later, the movie gets released on DVD for $29.99. The movie quality is so-so. Three years later a nicer version comes out for $29.99.

    And If I want to back up my copy, in case it gets scratched so I have a working copy, the movie industry won't let me. They shut down DVD Decryptor.

    And about the music industry. Remember, they kept prices inflated to over $15 a CD. They were sued and they lost. They were ordered to give free CD's to libraries and what did they do? 100 different CD's that would be interesting? NO. They gave 100 identical copies of Christmas songs.

    So, no, sharing is not theft. What is theft is what the corporations are doing to people.

  • Worked so hard? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Icicle509 (895174) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:48AM (#13201424)
    "......online thieves who steal and then sell the products they work so hard to produce......'" Im sure they work REAL hard, maybe 1% as hard as the average blue collar american? and they make more a minute than I make an hour..... Sorry guys, Not only do I think your grossly overpaid, I have a hard time swallowing calling what you do "Hard work"
  • Re:Makes me sick (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:55AM (#13201436)
    COPYRIGHT is economic terrorism. And the USA, through WIPO, is guilty of it.

    Scarcity is not the "general state of things" - information is nonrivalrous. What is scarce is the labor to produce new information patterns. People should be paid for making NEW information patterns. They should never have a monopoly on their duplication.

  • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @07:05AM (#13201444)
    but recieving a free copy of something someone else has invested time and money to produce is not a "right."

    Doing what you want with your own private property, including making copies of it available for other people, _IS_ a right. That's why they call them "private property rights". "Intellectual property laws" put restrictions on everyone's normal private property rights, supposedly to encourage innovation in the society (although all the anecdotes I've seen lately seem to indicate that they're used primarily to retard innovation).

    If a carpenter spent a lot of time and money creating a fancy piece of furniture, and sold it to someone else, they wouldn't expect to be able to control how that buyer (or any future buyers) used that piece of furniture. How does it provide a net benefit to society to allow "intellectual property" owners that kind of control over other peoples' private property rights?

  • Re:Murderers... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @07:12AM (#13201460)
    Sometimes a highly visable arrest is enough to deter people from an activity

    Some. Not terrorists, typically. For that, you have to just plain remove them, their backers/resources, and try to deal with the underlying culture clash that fuels them. People who are too cheap to pay for movies, on the other hand, already know all of the ground rules, and are just assuming that they won't get caught. It's not like they don't know they're no better than a standard shoplifter, they just figure that since there are millions of them they have a shot at continuing to enjoy the work of their favorite band without actually paying what the band asks. The people who facilitate that on a large scale are truly low hanging fruit for law enforcement, though - they can't really get the stuff they pirate into a lot of their buddies' hands without, by definition, exposing what they're doing. That little bit of deliberate, very public nose-thumbing is pretty much asking for it.

    much money as organized groups like the RIAA, so members of congress won't listen to me

    So why are you not forming the National Pirate's Association? Groups of teachers, gun owners, auto workers, environmentalists... they all form large groups and leverage that so that they can make a bunch of noise and fund campaigns. What do you think MoveOn.org is? It's rich people backing Democrats with millions and millions of dollars. Poor people can throw in a dollar, too, and say they think the same thing. Do you really think that the trial lawyer associations, the NEA, and other extremely well funded left-of-center groups don't have every bit of an audience in political circles as a particular trade association in the entertainment biz? Spend a little more time on K Street in DC - the noise from the well funded left is very, very loud. The problem is that it doesn't resonate with most voters because all it ever is is against things, and not constructive. That's getting pretty old.

    Perhaps terrorists are not a high priority because the politicians in power have been able to take advantage of the attacks.

    Not a high priority? How do you figure? We've got an unprecedented number of people working on the intel, interdiction, and counter-terrorism side of things. We're in the middle of re-building a seriously gutted intel capacity that suffered for years under enormous budget cuts. It takes time to hire, train, and embed the sort of people needed to head this stuff off at the source. Until then, we're treating the symptom, not the problem. But that doesn't mean that other crime should just be ignored.

    Gas prices soar.

    Because no one will tolerate the building of domestic refining capacity. We haven't added refineries since the 1970's, even as the population using the fuel has grown hugely. But that's only part of the picture - the main component is demand pressure because of hugely growing markets in China and India. There are simply more people trying to buy the same gallons of gas. So, if your personal favorite politicians were in office, how would you reduce the competition for oil? Would you drill for more? Build new refineries (in which state/city - have fun getting approval!)? Subsidize fuel with tax dollars? The point is, you toss gas prices into the conversation as if your distaste for the FBI busting flagrant copyright violators is all part of giant tinfoil hat conspiracy that also includes somehow fooling the Chinese into using more oil so that we have to bid up our purchases from suppliers.

    I would also add the uber rich are not scared of terrorism because when was the last time a suicide bomber blew himself up in Beverly Hills?

    Who do you think had their offices in the top floors of the World Trade Center, a bunch of living-on-Velveeta 20-year-olds starting up a lost cause web site? No, it was bankers, traders, law firms, accounting firms - "rich" people. Who do you think lost a fortune when those attacks clobbered the econom
  • by NoMercy (105420) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @07:20AM (#13201483)
    These people were likely the old fassioned type of copyright theft, where you make money out of selling illegal copies, or producing good quality counterfiets and selling them to legitimate retail outlets as if they were the real thing.

    They definately do need to be locked up, if I pay for software I at least expect it to be legit :)
  • by iamplasma (189832) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @07:20AM (#13201484) Homepage
    But, you see (3) is NOT NEEDED or WANTED by either (1) or (2).... ....mmmm, that means RIAA / MPAA can fuck off so that customers won't be ripped off anymore (by price-fixing) and artists will receive MORE money (rather than the couple of quarters from each CD sold -- plus, they DON'T have to give the middlemen the MAJORITY of the hard-earned cash from CONCERTS).... .... hahaha MPAA / RIAA you SUCK!!!

    Umm.. while you appear to have completely discredited yourself at the end there all on your own, I thought I may as well reply anyway. While people don't realise it, they do definitely want the middlemen, for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, they provide the music in what is a more useful form (eg CDs), this is the one and only aspect which may be partially obsoleted by MP3s and P2P. Secondly, they see that the music is actually produced to the best quality possible, by helping provide recording and postproduction facilities. After all, music is more than just a guy in front of a microphone. Thirdly, they provide the commercial infrastructure to make sure music is paid for, and artists get paid. Fourthly, they find good (in the sense "popularly demanded", not necessarily "talented") musicians, preventing people having to wade through as much crap as they might. Fifthly, they help cultivate those particular musicians, by ensuring they continue to make music in the way people want. Lastly, and most obviously, they provide the marketing and advertising that commercial success requires. Of course, there's more than just those factors, but they'd be the main ones. Also, I'd love to know how you think the MPAA are anything like that, given that major films are produced and marketed by the same firms.

    The point is, there's a lot more to mass music than a guy with a guitar and someone who wants to listen, and these "middlemen" provide all those things. Perhaps a good analogy would be stores, should you steal milk because supermarkets pay farmers a fraction of what they sell the milk for? After all, all we need is farmers and people to drink milk, how dare those supermarket assholes get in the way!

    If you don't like the RIAA/MPAA, don't buy their stuff, but the fact that so many people do want their product, compared to buying music/movies online, is economically speaking plain proof that they do serve a huge role in the value of their products, otherwise the market would have eliminated them naturally long ago.

  • Re:Murderers... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john DOT oyler AT comcast DOT net> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @07:54AM (#13201563) Journal
    But the police should keep in mind that if they do something to a poor person, and if that person either wins the lottery or gets motivated enough to work and save, they'll be in trouble then.

    It takes more than cash to be rich. You spend years making connections and earning favors. As a newly won lottery magnate, you wouldn't even have access to the best lawyers. The police have nothing to fear from a family that's been rich less than 40 years.

    By the way, not all Republicans are bad, and not all Democrats are good. Both do good things, and both do bad things.

    Wrong. Both do bad things, all the time, never good. They've not passed any necessary legislation in decades, their only real work at this point would be the budget... and they've screwed that up to. If you have any sense left at all, you'll promise not to vote for either, ever again.
  • by paving-slab (893290) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @08:39AM (#13201698)
    ...they see that the music is actually produced to the best quality possible, by helping provide recording and postproduction facilities.

    And what is to stop the musicians hiring people to do this, rather than these people hiring the musicians?

    ...they provide the commercial infrastructure to make sure music is paid for, and artists get paid.

    This cold still happen if they worked for the musicians, instead of the musicians working for them.

    ...they find good (in the sense "popularly demanded", not necessarily "talented") musicians, preventing people having to wade through as much crap as they might.

    Not "popularly demanded", just popular, there is a difference. "Preventing people having to wade through as much crap as they might" could be replaced with "Preventing people expiriencing as much diversity as they might"

    ...they help cultivate those particular musicians, by ensuring they continue to make music in the way people want.

    Or, they cultivate their cash cow by ensuring the artists creativity is stifled.

    ...they provide the marketing and advertising that commercial success requires.

    Which, again, they could do if they worked for the artists instead of the artists working for them.

    ...Perhaps a good analogy would be stores, should you steal milk because supermarkets pay farmers a fraction of what they sell the milk for? After all, all we need is farmers and people to drink milk, how dare those supermarket assholes get in the way!

    I think the supermarkets are a good analogy. They should be more like supermarkets in the sense that supermarkets are competitive with each other, reducing prices. Heinz doesn't work for the supermarkets, but the supermarkets distribute and advertise their products even though you can buy them elsewhere. You can buy eggs from the supermarket, but you can also buy the eggs direct from the farm that supplies them, cheaper and fresher, if you want to. Supermarkets embrace new technology, you can buy stuff from the supermarket via the internet and have it delivered to your door. And it's the same product that you get from the shop, it hasn't been disabled in any way.

    ..the fact that so many people do want their product, compared to buying music/movies online, is economically speaking plain proof that they do serve a huge role in the value of their products, otherwise the market would have eliminated them naturally long ago.

    This is false logic, if people want their product there is nowhere else to go, they've got it sown up.

  • Re:Murderers... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john DOT oyler AT comcast DOT net> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @08:40AM (#13201700) Journal
    No, I didn't misread. Your suggestion that there is a good republican somewhere, that's what I'm disputing. They're all rotten to the core, along with every single democrat.

    We need a Constitutional Ammendment barring people affiliated with either party from ever holding public office again...
  • Re:Murderers... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NickFortune (613926) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @08:50AM (#13201727) Homepage Journal
    I think most Democrats and Republicans in Congress are essentially the same side, except for minor differences.

    I think they are exactly the same party; two different flavours of Corporate Greed, each with its own brandname to create the illusion of choice. The biggest challenge of the election is finding enough highly emotive non-issues to distract the electorate.

    It'd be pitiful, if it wasn't for the fact that it seems to work...

  • by typical (886006) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @09:08AM (#13201806) Journal
    There are tons of identity thieves and pedophiles out there that the FBI hasn't gotten around to nailing, either.

    What would the point of "nailing" pedophiles be?

    You don't "nail" Satanists. Nothing wrong with being a Satanist. The problem comes in if some guy starts cutting human hearts out on an altar somewhere -- then you're nailing a murderer who happens to be a Satanist.

    Similarly, you could maybe nail someone guilty of sexual abuse of a child who happened to be a pedophile, but what would be the benefit of nailing pedophiles?

    Identity thieves, on the other hand, have committed a crime.
  • Re:Makes me sick (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @09:47AM (#13202000) Journal
    There are only some many of any one thing to go around. Capitalism is the best method for allocating scarce resources.
    Except that IP is, by definition, not a scarce resource. It can be indefinitely reproduced at almost no cost. Capitalism is indeed good at allocating scarce resources, but fails miserably when the scarcity disappears. IP laws are what create (well... try to) the artificial scarcity so that capitalism can continue to work.
  • by msormune (808119) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @10:02AM (#13202063)
    No one is forcing you to rent anything. No one is forcing you to watch TV. No one is forcing you to buy a cell phone. No one is forcing you to buy anything. But if you do, you must pay. Is this too complicated? Always remember it is not the sucker who sells, but who buys.
  • by deesine (722173) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @10:23AM (#13202154)

    What right of yours is being negatively impacted by the FBI upholding copyright law?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30, 2005 @11:00AM (#13202305)
    It's very strange this post was so highly modded. When the poster uses pedophile, criminal activity is implied.

    The reason why you have the need to turn that into a long winded tyrade is a completely different subject.

  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:06PM (#13203964)
    But this is all happening in a supposedly competitive market. Where are the alternatives? The different forms of the same products?

    Paying for a product or service is one thing. Being artificially constrained in the choices available because of collusion within the industry (which this most surely is) is another thing entirely. We are being forced to deal with the latter, and have no power to change it. Refusing to buy isn't sufficient in the face of a tightly controlled market. The whole point of a competitive market is to provide customers with choices and to keep the price of those choices affordable. For most of the things the grandparent article talks about, choices do not exist (where, for instance, are the movie theaters that do not show commercials prior to showing the same main features that the other theaters are showing?).

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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