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FBI, DoJ Add 35 Positions For Intellectual Property Battle 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the brought-to-you-by-the-**aa dept.
coondoggie writes "The FBI and Department of Justice said they were going to go hard after intellectual property crimes this year and so far they seem to be keeping their word, as today the agencies appointed 15 new Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) positions and 20 FBI Special Agents dedicated to fighting domestic and international IP crimes. The 15 new AUSAs will work closely with the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section to aggressively pursue high tech crime, including computer crime and intellectual property offenses. The new positions will be located in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The 20 FBI Special Agents will be deployed to specifically boost four geographic areas with intellectual property squads, and increase investigative capacity in other locations around the country where intellectual property crimes are of particular concern. The four squads will be located in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia."
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FBI, DoJ Add 35 Positions For Intellectual Property Battle

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:34PM (#31988056) Journal
    This news makes me want to use Handbrake to edit a few minutes from The Downfall where it shows Hitler planning his movements and attacks on a map and replace the captions with English describing 35 new positions in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington (while he's moving the markers across the maps of Europe).

    Unfortunately that's no longer possible [slashdot.org] as Youtube/Google seems to have outlawed parodies and freedom of expression/dissent in favor of draconian law.

    How appropriate.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's always fair use [boingboing.net].

      • Mr Smith...what good is a phone call...if you are unable to speak...

        Unfortunately, YouTube etc have decided to simply comply without listening to counterclaims against the misused DMCA takedowns. Until there is a penalty for filing a false DMCA takedown notice, the right to fair use is more or less worth nothing.

    • by vbraga (228124)

      I miss the one with Hilter's 787 delayed. Does anyone knows if there's another copy on the Internets?

    • Unfortunately that's no longer possible as Youtube/Google seems to have outlawed parodies and freedom of expression/dissent in favor of draconian law. Unfortunately that's no longer possible as Youtube/Google seems to have outlawed parodies and freedom of expression/dissent in favor of draconian law.

      Google is a private entity, unless you think that they are somehow owned/run by the government... and thus do not have to allow *anything* on their site. It may not follow their "do not evil" mantra, but it's w

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Google is owned by a political refugee from a police state that should have more enlightened sensibilities due to his own personal experience.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My favorite of thise is when he finds out the price of the Bushmaster ACR.

      Of course you can still make the parody video you describe but you'll need to host it on your own web site. This is a much better option for you because you'll find out quickly what it is like to deal with DMCA takedown notices, and C&D letters, and the real costs of the bandwidth needed to dissimenate popular videos over the internet, and wrench the servers to do that, and so on and so forth.

      That way in the future you'll pause be

      • by Danse (1026)

        My favorite of thise is when he finds out the price of the Bushmaster ACR.

        Of course you can still make the parody video you describe but you'll need to host it on your own web site. This is a much better option for you because you'll find out quickly what it is like to deal with DMCA takedown notices, and C&D letters, and the real costs of the bandwidth needed to dissimenate popular videos over the internet, and wrench the servers to do that, and so on and so forth.

        That way in the future you'll pause before whining about some free service someone else provides that doesn't quite to every single thing you think it should do.

        If they weren't making lots of money from it, or at least planning to, they wouldn't be offering those services. They don't do it out of the kindness of their hearts. We certainly have every right to request improvements to the site. If they want our eyeballs on their ads, then they should try to make the site the kind of place where we want to spend a fair amount of time. As for the cost of bandwidth, you can't really compare hosting something yourself to what Google does. They're in a whole different

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "seems to have outlawed parodies" is a little harsh. decided to err on the side of taking down parodies not likely to stand up to suit under a fair use defense, sure. the downfall vids would likely not be able to muster a strong fair use defense, as their commentary was not about The Downfall, but usually either in comparing some other social figure or movement to hitler, or making fun of hitler. legally a parody must be in some way a parody of the original, not just the ideas. Artistically, i think this i
      • "seems to have outlawed parodies" is a little harsh. decided to err on the side of taking down parodies not likely to stand up to suit under a fair use defense, sure. the downfall vids would likely not be able to muster a strong fair use defense, as their commentary was not about The Downfall, but usually either in comparing some other social figure or movement to hitler, or making fun of hitler. legally a parody must be in some way a parody of the original, not just the ideas. Artistically, i think this is really stupid, but its how the courts have been interpreting the law.

        Well, yeah, but its way funner to rant about how google is evil and ignoring fair use without understanding what is and is not fair use.

  • In most cases what they deem to be "Intellectual Property" certainly is a crime. I think tax money could be better spent fixing the system.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      In most cases what they deem to be "Intellectual Property" certainly is a crime. I think tax money could be better spent fixing the system.

      When it comes to kids sharing songs, that's civil, not criminal.

      • Re:I have to admit (Score:5, Interesting)

        by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:56PM (#31988348)

        I believe Nerdfest was arguing that the continuation of copyright in perpetuity ought to be considered a criminal infringement of the rights of society at large, and that intellectual property laws should be rewritten to prevent the present situation from being possible, wherein art is institutionalized and can never become part of the public domain.

        At least, that's an estimated translation in layman's term. His thick legalese can certainly be hard to digest.

        • by h00manist (800926)

          a criminal infringement of the rights of society at large

          Trouble is that "society at large" doesn't ever get really pissed off and express itself in any way in a large loud unison voice.

        • how much IP can you fit it 625GB?? [supermediastore.com]. A LOT more than $50.... They can hire all the cops and snoops they want, these guys are getting nowhere. The agenda to kill off copyright law is, unfortunately for these guys, clearly set and fully adhered to by everyone -- ignore it. It's a perfect strategy, as it simply lets the law stand, but makes it irrelevant. It's a perfect mass movement joining millions and millions of dedicated people, with almost no coordination needed. The copyright war isn't over yet, but th
      • Apparently the government believes otherwise, with guns to back it up, and a willing populace to keep them in power.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think tax money could be better spent fixing the system.

        I think that campaign contribution money has "fixed the system" quite well up to this point. I'm not sure I could stand any more "fixing".

      • > When it comes to kids sharing songs, that's civil, not criminal.

        In theory, if you infringe upon the copyright of works with a retail value larger than a certain amount (I think it's $1000) in a certain period of time and you have a financial incentive (such as getting infringing copies of other copyrighted works in return), you can be prosecuted under criminal law. I believe the law that created those offenses is the NET Act (but get a lawyer if it ever applies to you).

        Thing is, in practice, they don'

  • Clarify (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#31988142) Journal

    20 FBI Special Agents dedicated to fighting domestic and international IP crimes.

    So does that mean the FBI is going to be investigating US Citizens for IP of international origin, or somehow extending their Jurisdiction beyond the states?

    Everyone knows the biggest file sharers in the world are Canadian.

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:41PM (#31988164) Homepage
    Going after the big-time bootleggers churning out counterfeits and selling fake Photoshop and DVDs online = fine and good. Going after j. random filesharing = gaaak.
    • Going after the big-time bootleggers churning out counterfeits and selling fake Photoshop and DVDs online = fine and good.
      Going after j. random filesharing = gaaak.

      Well, at least you're half right.

  • by ProdigyPuNk (614140) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:45PM (#31988200) Journal
    According to the article, these new squads are not just for tech-related IP issues, but also counterfeit medicine and electronics. FWIW, we do need someone to go after those making counterfeit medicine before it enters the US supply stream. Also according to the article, even the Department of Defense has had run-ins with fake electronics. That kind of thing could lead to serious consequences, and therefor must be taken seriously.

    I wish that movies/music/software "sharing" was separated from movie/music/software counterfeiting and fake medicine and goods of course, but either way the American public needs to be protected from those threats.
    • While what you say is true, there's a tremendous difference between making counterfeit medicine (which could easily injure or kill someone), making a counterfeit watch (which is defrauding the customer by making them think it's something it's not), and sharing an MP3. Ultimately, the law is going to need to realize these distinctions. I think our tax money would be much better spent on bringing copyright and patent laws in line with the digital age, rather than trying to bring the digital age in line with copyright and patent law that was never designed with it in mind.

      Hey, I can dream, can't I? But look at the fights the lawsuits caused. If Joe/Jane Average actually starts getting arrested for MP3 sharing, I think we'll see hell raised on a scale that'll make that look tame. It's just a shame that it would probably take that to get people to care.

      • Well the issue here is that digital copies are flawless. So what happens is, in the old days if someone copied your real goods that actually existed, no matter how good the copy was you could make a good argument it wasn't perfect and was therefore counterfeit.

        However, for imaginary property, a flawless digital copy is identical to the legal item.

        The copyright extortion industry wants to apply the harsh anti-counterfeiting rules to these intangible items by claiming the copies are not "genuine", but this ar

        • Since most software contains anti-piracy measures however, it often requires modification to work illegally. Thus, the counterfeit argument makes a lot more sense for software. If you get a pirated copy of Windoze and it crashes due to modifications made to disable the DRM (something real windows never does), it would besmirch Microsoft's flawless reputation for making stable, secure products, so counterfeit makes a lot more sense as a label.

          All true, but just as with physical counterfeits, it's only fraud if there is deception, i.e. if the buyer is not informed. It shouldn't be illegal to sell (or otherwise distribute) fake brand-name merchandise provided the recipient knows they're not getting the real thing.

          • It shouldn't be illegal to sell (or otherwise distribute) fake brand-name merchandise provided the recipient knows they're not getting the real thing.

            What a bizarre argument. What would be the point of using a band name on a fake if you were going to announce that it's fake? Why wouldn't you just sell it unbranded? There's no reason to stamp "Rolex" on a watch unless you want people to think it's a Rolex watch.

            More to the point, though, Windows is a licensed product, not a durable good. If you want to sell an OS, feel free, but you can't take Windows and sell it with no brand on it, because it's Windows and you don't own the rights to sell Windows

            • What would be the point of using a band name on a fake if you were going to announce that it's fake? Why wouldn't you just sell it unbranded?

              You might find this surprising, but people actually do buy brand-name goods knowing that they're fake, just to be able to show them off. There is a legitimate market for this sort of thing.

              More to the point, though, Windows is a licensed product, not a durable good. If you want to sell an OS, feel free, but you can't take Windows and sell it with no brand on it, because it's Windows and you don't own the rights to sell Windows.

              Were you following the thread at all? Yes, Windows is currently covered by copyright. We were discussing counterfeiting, not copyright. Counterfeiting Windows—selling a modified version with the Microsoft Windows brand name—would only be fraud if the buyer was not informed. If the sale is not fraudulent then t

      • Ultimately, the law is going to need to realize these distinctions.

        It already does. It's the recording industry that doesn't.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:00PM (#31988384)

      I wish that movies/music/software "sharing" was separated from movie/music/software counterfeiting and fake medicine and goods of course, but either way the American public needs to be protected from those threats.

      They used to be. It used to be that the entire point of a trademark is to make sure customers got what they ordered. And such things make sense and are -beneficial- to customers. Imagine the confusion if we had 5 different products known as the "Nintendo Wii" and a parent heard their kid wanting a Nintendo Wii so they go in and ask for a Nintendo Wii and they get http://technabob.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/miwi_wii_knock_off.jpg [technabob.com] instead. With trademarks if it says Nintendo Wii it (should) be a Nintendo Wii.

      Patents also used to be beneficial to the public. It used to be that guilds would control trade and monopolize the market effectively with "trade secrets" that would stay in the guild. Patents helped change this because the guild would disclose information while granted a temporary monopoly to use it (after all, someone who left one shop could have taken the trade secret to another and it would have been legal) and the public would get valuable information. Unfortunately, we've gone beyond that to theoretical, common-knowledge patents that prevent work-arounds. It used to be that if Joe Inc. had a patent on, say, a black and white CRT monitor, you could create a color CRT monitor and compete with Joe Inc. However, now, Joe Inc. would hold a patent on the ability to make CRT displays work, thus cutting out access to any work-arounds.

      Copyright was also seen as a compromise, especially when it was sane. The author would be compensated for his work, the public wasn't offended (after all, no one was stopping hand-written copies, it was only if you owned a printing press that it mattered) and it gave the work to the public in a timely manner. However, ironically the company who depends the most on the public domain (Disney) has lobbied for effectively infinite copyright that harms the artist and the public.

      Counterfeit goods should not be judged on IP issues (after all, if there was an iPhone clone that -really was- just like an iPhone no one is being harmed it simply increases competition for Apple) but rather for fraud. Quite honestly, I'd like to see a few of the Chinese knockoff phones and MP3 players appear in stores for disposable, feature-filled items.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Patents also used to be beneficial to the public. It used to be that guilds would control trade and monopolize the market effectively with "trade secrets" that would stay in the guild. Patents helped change this because the guild would disclose information while granted a temporary monopoly to use it [...]

        The technology for reverse engineering stuff has also moved on greatly since the Middle Ages. It's very hard to keep something a trade secret if you don't physically control it. Which means that as so

      • These days the effort to widen the grasp of intellectual property, to the point of regulating and taxing even things such as spoken language, is constantly on the table. Creation might be as simply as embrace, extend, extinguish - i.e. adding two or three words as features to an existing dictionary, thereby "creating" a new one, then extinguishing the original, and claiming property rights on the new extended on. Watch it happen to the english language, and wait til you get your language tax bill. Each lang
        • Monks circumventing the language tax by taking a wov of silence, or even by naughtily inventing their own sign language instead of trespassing on someone else's sign language intellectual property, will be put into straightjackets, declared mentally ill, and put on medication that has the effects of laughing gas, to improve their clinical depression and speechlessness symptoms.
    • Yeah. Bugged hardware is probably taken quite seriously by the intelligence people. I don't have any insight into counter-espionage, but if the (presumably) greatest intelligence threat against my employer also happened to be the one manufacturing a lot of the worlds electronics...
    • Yes, this the kind of IP enforcement I can actually agree with.

      The other kind, I can't. Filesharing is not fraud.

      I also wish there were different names for the two things. This doesn't deserve the label 'piracy'. It does not deserve to be lobbied for by the pirate party.

  • by stimpleton (732392) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:50PM (#31988258)
    This 1 minute scene from the British comedy, The IT Crowd.

    Relevantly, the assasin at the end is an FBI agent. FBI as copyright police [youtube.com]

    I point of thought, he is on foreign soil enforcing US DMCA. As a side note the makers of this series have strong opinions in this area.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:50PM (#31988268)

    Back once upon a time, copyright infringement was a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Problem was (from the corporations' viewpoint), that meant they had to pay for lots of lawyers and lawsuits against individual file sharers. So they lobbied to make copyright infringement, at least in certain forms, into a criminal matter. That meant that the corporations were off the hook as far as paying for enforcement, now that burden would fall on the taxpayers. The Feds liked it too, as they now had another reason to legally spy on the populous, plus they could ask for bigger budgets to support all this spying and prosecution. As far as the corporations and government are concerned, criminalizing file sharing is a win/win. The only looser is the citizen.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:55PM (#31988336) Homepage

    They went into great detail in the article discussing counterfeit goods of all sorts that threaten health and safety and then merged and drifted over to counterfeit computer software that threatens stability and privacy. (That's malware, not infringed copyrighted software... malware like Sony's rootkit) And of course it's really all about **AA interests in digital media mentioned in the article as "digital products." Accurately, they state that there is no government agency that is tracking copyright infringement or the extent of it.

    The article goes to great lengths to fill the details with things other than "digital product" infringement... things that have been historically handled by these same people who tracked down and nailed groups who created and sold counterfeit Cisco network equipment. This stuff has been dealt with and managed without adding 35 new positions. So clearly these new positions are intended to deal with a newer agenda rather than an older one.

    I would like for the article to be true in the sense that I would love to see a crack down on sales of counterfeit medicines and other physical goods. Sadly, I don't think this is going to be the case. The spam and scam will continue as it always has while the real crackdown will be felt by individuals at home engaged in file sharing.

    • TThis stuff has been dealt with and managed without adding 35 new positions. So clearly these new positions are intended to deal with a newer agenda rather than an older one.

      Or it could be that instances of counterfeit have shot up recently and the existing staff is not able to stay on top of it. I don't know how you can "clearly" draw that conclusion from the evidence.

  • Such as in the SEC so they can have some people that actually police industry, instead of watching porn all day???

    Your government in action!

  • One more war... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CondeZer0 (158969) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:07PM (#31988466) Homepage

    The War on File Sharing is the new War on Drugs.

    The approach being taken is quite similar: manipulated and fabricated studies and evidence, draconian international treaties to make sure no country is allowed to implement sane policies, suspension of basic civil liberties in the name of the war, etc.

    Because jails are not full enough with non-violent 'criminals' already, maybe the US is trying to raise the incarceration rate to over 90%?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      The War on File Sharing is the new War on Drugs.

      If we can get rid of the old War on [some] Drugs, it's a fantastic trade. All I have to do is give up big media? Sold!

      • by CondeZer0 (158969)

        > If we can get rid of the old War on [some] Drugs, it's a fantastic trade. All I have to do is give up big media? Sold!

        Nah, no way they will get rid of any ongoing Wars, that could mean that 1) they were wrong in fighting it 2) all the special interests (including the criminal gangs that get a monopoly in the drug trade) wouldn't like it.

        So instead we just add new Wars on top of the old ones, just look at Afghanistan and Iraq!

    • For every generation, the government has created a criminal class by making illegal something nearly universally done (e.g. smoking marijuana, downloading files, drinking alcohol, and so on). This makes it much easier to round up and jail the commoners should they get a bit too uppity and start questioning why a bunch of seeming twits are making millions or billions whilst other rather well educated and more deserving folks are running out of their unemployment and applying for jobs at Wal-Mart.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:22PM (#31988614)

    Nice job buy the media lobbyists. Get you and I to pay for the enforcement of their civil cases. IP issues are still a civil matter correct? Who is getting the fine money?

    When my actual physical property is stolen, I am stuck with the very limited resources of the local overworked police force that pretty much does nothing but file a report for me to give to my insurance company. Even if they catch the perp, it is still a civil matter for me to get the value of my lost goods back. The media companies gets entire teams of federal officials at my expense to track down when their property is "stolen".

  • Some company in China sold ATmega328 slugs to SparkFun.

  • "Intellectual property crime", "IP offence"... George Orwell should rise from the grave and sue for "IP theft".

  • You probably bought into the propaganda for this guy...sorry! You probably thought this government was to be, as his campaign touted "Open and Honest", but clearly neither is true. I can't find a single promise kept.

    What he/they WANT is to have the tiniest hint of legitimacy in dealing with the net, so they can tax and censor it. Scaling up on IP means being on the net to show a "Demon" to fight, just like AIG, just like Goldman, so they can do whatever it takes to control that part of our lives, too.

    You g

    • by HiThere (15173)

      You probably bought into the propaganda for this guy...sorry! You probably thought this government was to be, as his campaign touted "Open and Honest", but clearly neither is true. I can't find a single promise kept.

      Try Here:
      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/ [politifact.com]

      It's not a very good record, but it could be much worse. The problem is that he didn't keep lots of very important promisses. (A simple count doesn't tell you the whole story.) And lots of the ones he did keep are saved by keeping exac

    • It just might be that we're not permitted on the net, come November. He'll need every vote he can beg, borrow, steal, or fraud to stay in power.

      You've got to be kidding, this is the same kind of stuff I had to listen to about Bush before the last election, that he was going to cancel the election and call martial law and make himself a dictator. Can we get over the sensationalist stuff already? No one is going to keep you off the internet because they don't like what you say.

  • Looks like it's time for /. to add a "PoliceState" section. I suggest a boot stamp as the icon.

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