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US Fed Gov. Says All Music Downloads Are Theft 451

Posted by timothy
from the bit-of-a-broad-brush-there dept.
BenEnglishAtHome writes "Nearly all US government employees and contractors are subject to mandatory annual information security briefings. This year the official briefing flatly states that all downloaded music is stolen. The occasionally breathless tone of the briefing and the various minor errors contained therein are funny but the real eye-opener is a 'secure the building' exercise where employees stumble across security problems and resolve them. According to the material, the correct response to an employee who is downloading music is to shout 'That's stealing!' No mention is made of more-free licenses, public domain works, or any other legitimate download. If this were a single agency or department that had made a mistake in their training material it might not be so shocking. But this is a government-wide training package that's being absorbed by hundreds of thousands of federal employees, both civilian and military. If you see a co-worker downloading music, they're stealing. Period. Who woulda thunk it? Somebody should mirror this. Who wants to bet that copies will become hard to find if clued-in technogeeks take notice and start making noise?" Warning: this site gives a whole new meaning to "Flash heavy."
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US Fed Gov. Says All Music Downloads Are Theft

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  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:33PM (#29207625) Journal
    given that the only way you can get music from it is by downloading.

    RS

  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:33PM (#29207627) Homepage Journal

    If you're downloading music at work, it probably is stealing...

    ...of company time. And given that my taxes are paying these people's salaries (that is, you and I are "the company"), I'd really rather them not. Granted, I do wish that they would convey correct information, and I don't expect government workers to go zombie-like through the day without taking a break now and then, but still, I am glad that rampant goofing off in this particular manner is discouraged.

  • They ARE stealing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nickodeimus (1263214) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:35PM (#29207669)
    The government's bandwidth, paid for by we the people. Quit wastin gour tax dollars you thief.
  • by reginaldo (1412879) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:37PM (#29207713)
    Thanks for the link, but I like the flash site. The website has audio, so while you are instructed not to download music (hey, spoken word is a type of art/music), you are in fact downloading music.

    THAT'S STEALING!
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:38PM (#29207731)
    To be perfectly honest, the fact that most of them are employed is stealing my tax dollars. It seems that government offices are quite fond of creating messes to create more jobs which just sap productivity and money. But such is the way if you don't ever need to make a profit and just keep leaching off of the masses....
  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:38PM (#29207733) Homepage Journal

    I remember when I recorded my band in the living room and copied the cd to my computer. When iTunes told me I didn't have the required rights to make a cd copy I quit using iTunes.

    I've been using iTunes for at least six years and I've never had it tell me I didn't have permissions to burn music no matter WHERE it came from.

  • by squidfood (149212) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:48PM (#29207875)

    If you're downloading music at work, it probably is stealing...of company time.

    Many government offices have sane guidelines that include that the allowance of a strictly limited amount of personal use is permissible: e.g. occasional personal internet use. A (legal) song or two would easily fit under these guidelines. (whether you're allowed to have the software to play it on a work machine is another matter). It strikes me that this is a sane policy for any company.

  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:48PM (#29207877)

    And the RIAA bought congress critters for cheap!

    Otherwise you'd see the gov't suing RIAA and friends for the payola-by-proxy currently going on.

  • by Zaurus (674150) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:55PM (#29207983)
    Eurasia?
  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:02PM (#29208091)

    That's not entire true, and not everyone agrees with you.

    The company I work for makes CBT courses like what you see here, and the military is one of our clients. We don't get broad open contracts, we have to bid and compete for them, and the scope of work is limited to the CBT that we're creating. The prices the military pays are the same prices that corporations pay (in fact, we even discount the military's price because they've been so consistent in giving us work).

    And, finally, I'll add that our company has won several training industry awards (including [especially] for work we've done for the military), and we employ a staff of highly-qualified writers and artists. You can sit there and say the government spends too much money to get sub-par "pieces of crap" without detailing what exactly your "plenty of first-hand experience" is, but quality is all about the vendor. If you choose a good vendor, you get a good product. If you choose a sub-par piece of crap vendor, then you get a sub-par piece of crap product. And this comes from my own experience of working for a government vendor that produces exactly the type of thing you're critiquing (although the CBT in question is not ours).

    Sorry if that influences your mod, but I don't think you're as insightful as you would like others to believe.

  • by Jeng (926980) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:05PM (#29208123)

    My question is what are they being accused of stealing?

    The music?
    Or the bandwidth?

    I assume they are talking about downloading music at work.

  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:07PM (#29208153) Homepage

    But suddenly I say: and some people want this same government in charge of our healthcare and now I'll be modded troll into oblivion.

    I would never suggest something so stupid. Just look at the USPS and the Interstate System. Wonderful examples of utter failure. Imagine if we let private companies build and control our essential infrastructure instead. We'd be so much better off!

  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raddan (519638) * on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#29208187)

    But suddenly I say: and some people want this same government in charge of our military and now I'll be modded troll into oblivion.

    Fixed that for ya. Oh wait, still a dumb thing to say...?

    The government is a very large and diverse group of people. Some [fema.gov] of those people do legitimately deserve to be criticized, but many [nist.gov], many [usmc.mil], many [fs.fed.us] of them do not. They do their jobs daily and with excellence, often for little compensation.

    To infer that the government would be bad at managing health care because of a single instance of idiotic training materials is an example of woefully poor logic...

  • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:10PM (#29208209) Homepage

    If you're downloading music at work, it probably is stealing... ...of company time. And given that my taxes are paying these people's salaries (that is, you and I are "the company"), I'd really rather them not. Granted, I do wish that they would convey correct information, and I don't expect government workers to go zombie-like through the day without taking a break now and then, but still, I am glad that rampant goofing off in this particular manner is discouraged.

    What if you are a government employee who makes powerpoint presentations and you want to include a snippet of a public domain recording? Then you would be legally downloading music as part of your job. Hard to call that "STEALING!"

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:11PM (#29208223) Homepage

    That's still no reason to falsely accuse someone.

    Some people might not be bright enough to distinguish from actual downloading
    of some sort and streaming from some site like Hulu or Pandora. How does Pandora
    or radio streams fit into this particular bit of government propaganda?

  • by supernova_hq (1014429) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#29208235)
    A drop in the bucket or not, somebody is still going to get harrased/sued/imprissoned for downloading something completely legit just because some dumbass in the government doesn't understand the law they are writting about!
  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:12PM (#29208239)

    But suddenly I say: and some people want this same government in charge of our healthcare and now I'll be modded troll into oblivion.

    I think the problem is that private care is too efficient. If the contract says you can't throw pre-existing conditions to the curb then I'm all for it.

    Its really impossible to use capitalism with a health care system because in order to make the most profit you have to deny people healt hcare and that, as we see, does not not work that well.

    Imagine you would a private military, police force, fire department.

    They'd only go out and help when there is a profit to be made. A lot of crime and houses burn down simply because its not cost effective to stop everything.

  • Re:Lol (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:23PM (#29208403)

    Mod parent up. He's being ironic. I hope.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:23PM (#29208405)

    The other problem with their definition is the difference between copyright infringement and stealing. It's still wrong, but not stealing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:25PM (#29208425)

    You're basically saying 'it's not flash heavy' and then going on to state why it uses flash. If it uses flash heavily, that's flash heavy - that they have a reason for it being flash heavy is basically irrelevant.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:36PM (#29208613)

    That's still no reason to falsely accuse someone.

    Agreed, why not just instruct people to point and scream "witch!".
    That would reveal the true intent of this exercise.

  • by Asclepius99 (1527727) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:42PM (#29208699)
    I think you're missing a far larger point. Have you dealt with non-government employees at a large corporation? When is the last time that you got them on the phone right away? And then did it take that one phone call to get stuff sorted out? Or did you have to make other calls? Possibly talk to a supervisor?

    The government is inefficient because it's made up of people working at a large institution that can easily pass responsibility to off to someone else. Why bother to make sure that something gets taken care of when no one above you is actually going to check or say, let alone do, anything if you don't get it done. When someone that's supposed to install your new cable line doesn't end up showing up after you wait for several hours and you call and complain, do you think the guy actually gets fired or reprimanded?
  • Re:Lol (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:42PM (#29208707)

    Your sarcasm is retarded, and the people that died when the Interstate 35-W Bridge collapsed in Minnesota pour shame on you.

    Well-run programs, my ass.

    You keep on seeking 100% perfection over there, AC. I'll be over here with realistic expectations waiting for you to give up.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:49PM (#29208785)

    imagine if your workplace had a policy where if you saw someone downloading music, you had to approach them, then shout, "That is stealing!" Wow. Talk about demoralizing policy.

    If it was a policy of a nongovernment workplace, it would seem to present a cause of action as defamation per se (either because it imputes criminal action to the target or because it impugns the professional character of the target.)

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:54PM (#29208883) Homepage

    How is listening to music while you work "goofing off"? I want my government employees to be honest and productive. If they are more productive while listening to music, then by Bob allmighty, I want them to listen to some damn music.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:18PM (#29209213) Homepage Journal

    If you're downloading music at work, it probably is stealing...

    ...of company time. And given that my taxes are paying these people's salaries (that is, you and I are "the company"), I'd really rather them not.

    Yes, I agree. No one should be allowed to listen to music at work. For that matter, windows should be painted black and I can't see a reason for anyone below a GS7 to go without blinders in the office.

    Seriously, what kind of nonsense is this? If I do my job, I should be allowed to select whatever kind of silly thing I want to put on top of my monitor; adjust my chair however I want; and select whatever sort of music I'd like to listen to. Having a "pointy haired bosses must stay out of my way" attitude for "us" and then this kind of oppressive attitude toward anyone who happens to be employed by the U.S. Federal Government is absurd.

  • by BluBrick (1924) <blubrick @ g m ail.com> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:19PM (#29209229) Homepage

    Let me clarify - it's not a Flash-heavy site, because it's not a site. It's a course. It's an online course entirely written in Flash, not a Flash-heavy web site.

    Is it a collection of related content accessible via a URL prefixed by http:/ [http] or https:/ [https] ? In that case, I'd call it a "site" and so, I'd imagine, would most people with more than a passing exposure to the web. The fact that the content on that particular site comprises a training course is irrelevant.

    http://iase.disa.mil/eta/iaav7-3/iaa/index.html [disa.mil] is a site hosting nothing but that large Flash application and a little boilerplate html, yet you seem to have a problem with it being described as a "Flash-heavy" site. Why?

  • SlashFUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrisG23 (812077) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:19PM (#29209233)
    Taken completely out of context and brought to a heightened level of irrational literal interpretation, the summary is accurate. However...........

    "According to the material, the correct response to an employee who is downloading music is to shout 'That's stealing!' The actual question in the slideshow/training abomination is along the lines of your fellow co-worker calls you over and says "look bra, I found a site with free music, lol im leet". There are 4 answers to choose from:

    1. I'd rather download the music from home - -email me the link. (I would choose this, and tell my coworker that he could get in trouble doing this at work, anywhere from wasting company time, committing criminal acts at work (if it is actually some sort of pirate site, and lets be honest freely available music is mostly (but not entirely) not worth my time) or at worst inviting security problems into the workplace computer.

    2. "Is it safe to download?" Umm, if you have to ask then you don't know already (or have a hunch at least) and are trusting some random Jim Bom on this.

    3. "Since we're on our lunch hour, I see no harm. HEre's my thumb drie!" Obviously the wrong answer with the thumb drive part added in for extra obviousness

    4. "That's stealing." Ok, so they simplified the answer from "that is probably stealing, who owns the distribution rights to these songs you are getting from this website? If the owners of the publishing rights do not consent to giving away these materials freely then a crime is being committed, otherwise it is ok to access this site but not from work, because of the above reasons".

    I took this.....I dont know what you'd call it, class, course, button masher until I get to the print certificate screen, because it was required of me where I work. Most of the info for securing information systems in this presentation is solid and correct for the USER side of things, i.e. things the everday user of a computer on a network can and should do to minimize (not eliminate as that is not possible) security breaches at their particular Department of Defense associated workplace. Now excuse me, I need to go participate in the lynching of my co-worker that downloaded the newest whatever is popular pop song at work.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:22PM (#29209283) Journal

    A PowerPoint presentation document can also be on the web and have an URL, but it doesn't make it a website.

  • Re:Lol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:24PM (#29209327)

    I dare not click a link to femdomworld.com at work, but I love the fact that someone thinks it's interesting.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:38PM (#29209525)

    I think we should have multiple competing governments in the same country! In a way, one government alone, is an unacceptable monopoly.

    Yes, I'm serious!

  • Re:SlashFUD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RoboRay (735839) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @05:45PM (#29209631)

    I've also completed this requirement (I'm in the Navy) and remember the "downloading music" security scenario. I was just mindlessly clicking through as fast as I could to get to the "Print Certificate" button, but had to pause for that one because there was no correct option to choose. It's actually the only thing I remember from the entire course.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:04PM (#29209885)

    To be perfectly honest, the fact that most of them are employed is stealing my tax dollars.

    Think about what you said the next time you drive on a road.

    Or eat something that you know isn't going to contain feces.

    Or send your kids to school.

    Or have electricity outside of a metropolitan area - with out the "leeches", rural electrification wouldn't be profitable by a long shot.

    Or, FFS, use the INTERNET.

  • by turbidostato (878842) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @06:57PM (#29210397)

    "If _any_ government employee makes a mistake, all opposition politicians and media outlets might bitch about it for months"

    In order to avoid such mischieving government employees have develop the strategy... of doing nothing!!! This way nobody can make a mistake. Brrrrilliant!!!

  • Re:Lol (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @07:46PM (#29210817)

    no issue with the example of a fire department. Just curious though, has a cop *ever* actually helped you? I've called them multiple times, watched as he explained to an acquaintance of mine that someone who had been looking for a kilo of cocaine that disappeared from the apartment he ditched without paying for came back and threatened to break someones arm unless his things were found wasn't breaking the law because "someone" was vague, been the subject of them trying to get me to possibly get myself killed by pressing charges against someone with links with a cartel for a class B misdemeanor, etc. At this point I think i would be willing to live in a US without cops.

  • Re:Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Risen888 (306092) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @09:23PM (#29211515)

    I am from Minneapolis. I remember when that bridge fell, I was scared to death. I've got a couple dozen friends who cross that bridge twice a day. Scared the hell out of everybody.

    It's not good when a bridge falls down. Bridges shouldn't fall down. But as far as such things go, that bridge went down exactly the way it was designed to, straight down and in big contiguous blocks, and emergency plans were executed promptly, heroically, and correctly. I don't know where you're from, but we get shit done around here. We don't fuck around.

    Thirteen people lost their lives that day. That's the largest single tragedy in my city in as long as I can remember. I in no way make light of that loss.

    But hundreds of people lived. Hundreds. A bridge full of people in the middle of evening rush. A school bus full of kids. 60 of them. God, I remember watching the news, watching that bus. I'm not a guy easily swayed to emotion, but Jesus Christ, 60 kids. Everyone in this city paced in front of their TV and chewed their nails and prayed for those kids.

    And every single one lived. They lived when they could have died. They lived because emergency response and government agencies did their job.

    "A state bridge on an Interstate highway over a county river between two banks of a city... we didn't have one problem." -Rocco Forte, city Emergency Preparedness Director

    Initially, design and construction was predicted to take a year and a half, and news reports called that hopelessly optimistic. One year and nineteen days worth of seven-day work weeks later, months ahead of schedule, millions of dollars under budget, the new I-35W bridge was opened to the public. It is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of civic engineering in the upper midwest.

    Your post is ignorant in the extreme and incredibly offensive not simply to the people that were there that day, but to the literally thousands of municipal, county, state, and federal employees, not to mention private agencies and contractors, whose diligence, civic devotion, and amazing work not only mitigated what could have been an exponentially worse disaster, but as an encore created one of the first truly great pieces of American engineering of the 21st century.

    So fuck you.

  • Oh yes it is called immigrating to a different country. You basically vote with your feet.

    I told liberals that when Bush was president and I tell it to conservatives now when Obama is president, if they don't like it they can vote with their feet and move to a different country.

    Just that Canada, the EU, etc all have requirements for immigration like how much of a value you would be to their nation based on what degrees you have, what skills you have, how much you earn, etc.

    You cannot give up your US citizenship because there is no legal and Constitutional way to do so. But you can apply for a Visa to the foreign nation for a year for a job there if a company can sponsor you. You can then apply for citizenship and go through their immigration process. You'll be a dual citizen and still required to fill out IRS tax forms, but you'll be earning money in a foreign nation and pay their tax system. Just that if the country doesn't have English as their native language you'll be required to learn their native language to become a citizen, and also participate in their local customs and respect their local religion (if any) as well as local laws.

  • Re:Lol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by david_thornley (598059) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @10:52PM (#29212131)

    Not to mention that the suggested maintenance on the bridge was delayed because the Republican state administration was cutting costs. If a group of people try to prove that government is ineffective by getting elected and doing their best to make it ineffective, I'm going to consider them biased. It may be true that you can't solve problems by throwing money at them, but you sure can prevent them from being solved by not allocating enough money.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:49PM (#29212441)

    But such is the way if you don't ever need to make a profit...

    Riiiight... because governance should be about turning a profit. The argument that that would be stealing from the people is a stronger argument than that tax is theft.

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @11:51PM (#29212463) Journal
    I've seen it. Have you?

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.

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