Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Piracy Software The Internet Entertainment Politics

White House Cracks Down On Piracy & Counterfeiting 323

Posted by kdawson
from the smash-and-grab dept.
GovTechGuy writes "On Tuesday the White House made a show of rolling out an expansive new strategy to combat online piracy and counterfeit goods, to the delight of industry groups. The plan emphasizes targeting foreign websites that host pirated software and movies and increasing the number of investigations and prosecutions by the FBI, FTC, and Justice Department. Here is the complete plan, introduced by the new 'copyright czar,' Victoria Espinel."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

White House Cracks Down On Piracy & Counterfeiting

Comments Filter:
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:06PM (#32659632)
    Well, once again, the major parties fail to work for the benefit of the people, and focus instead on the interests of large corporations. No surprises there I guess.
    • the major parties fail to work for the benefit of the people, and focus instead on the interests of large corporations

      Was there a 3rd party candidate for presidency who was running on a platform which included "Don't do anything to enforce intellectual property rights?" And if so, is the reason they didn't get elected -really- because they weren't with one of the two parties?

      Because if not, then it might not be an issue with the parties, it might be an issue with an apathetic public and several industries having effective lobbying campaigns that would work to their benefit whether there were two parties or a hundred.

      Money

      • it might be an issue with an apathetic public

        But if the MPAA is correct, the people aren't apathetic, they are simply doing what they believe is right. The laws should conform to the people in most cases, not the other way around. If the people believe that downloading music is right, then perhaps the laws should be revised.

        • Sure. Find me a candidate who says that is what I'm saying.

          • http://www.pirate-party.us/news.php [pirate-party.us]

            But depending on the candidates, various Libertarian/Constitution party members will oppose intellectual "property" in its current form based on various extensions from the original constitution which contains much more sane terms. Of course some of them actively support it, so it just really depends on the candidate.
        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:48AM (#32661936)
          What if "the people" do NOT believe that downloading music is "right"... but believe that it's nevertheless a better alternative than what MPAA members are offering them commercially?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mpe (36238)
          But if the MPAA is correct, the people aren't apathetic, they are simply doing what they believe is right.

          Consider also that the MPAA has been caught "pirating" both movies and software. There are only interested in protecting their "intellectual property". Quite possibly some of what they claim as "theirs" actually isn't...
      • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @10:24PM (#32660996)

        Was there a 3rd party candidate for presidency who was running on a platform which included "Don't do anything to enforce intellectual property rights?" And if so, is the reason they didn't get elected -really- because they weren't with one of the two parties?

        Is it even possible for a candidate, any candidate, to run without a budget of at least a couple hundred million? And if not, is it any surprise that the choices you get can be quickly summarized as corporate whores A through D?

  • The biggest counterfeiter of them all is the Federal Reserve. This is why you don't have frauds enforce fraud laws.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:09PM (#32659668)
    I agree with General McChrystal on this one.
  • Fooled us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:15PM (#32659708) Homepage Journal

    Well, what did we really expect when the Copyright Czar position was created?

    • Well the highest ranked czar in Google Suggest saw Imperial Russia "go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to an economic and military disaster."(wikipedia) Yeah, substitute USA for Imperial Russia and that's about right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeremi (14640)

      Well, what did we really expect when the Copyright Czar position was created?

      I read somewhere (I can't remember where now) that when the US realizes that a problem is un-solvable, its final response is to appoint a Czar to take the blame for the problem remaining unsolved.

      Works for me!

    • Re:Fooled us (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:02PM (#32660114) Homepage

      You know that bill that would grant the Executive branch the ability to police the internet? You know, the one regarding national security. Ya, that one.

      Now you know what it's really about. Protecting the industry that votes Democrat and squelching free speech that criticizes the party in power.

      • Re:Fooled us (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tassach (137772) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @09:02PM (#32660486)

        Protecting the industry that votes Democrat and squelching free speech that criticizes the party in power.

        Protecting the copyright cartels is one of the few things both parties agree on. Don't forget that Sonny Bono, author/sponsor of the copyright for eternity-on-the-installment-plan, was a Republican. Both houses passed this stinking piece of legislative manure by voice vote, which makes it impossible to determine who voted for or against. Republicans controlled both the h

        Take your partisan nitwittery elsewhere, where the audience isn't persuaded by facts. Freep, perhaps.

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:15PM (#32659710) Homepage
    in a handbasket.
  • And this is what happens when the US no longer has any manufacturing and produces very little real, tangible, goods or services. Between executives and shareholders wringing every last penny of quarterly profit at the expense of long-term goals, regulations and unions forcing unsustainable operating expenses, and skyrocketing education costs paired with plummeting education quality, long-term viability of the US business sector is caving.

    The only thing the US has left that is of value on the global market is "intellectual property". This means regardless of whether you vote Republican or Democrat, you will get politicians that support crackdowns on piracy and extension of copyright protections.

    • This means regardless of whether you vote Republican or Democrat, you will get politicians that support crackdowns on piracy and extension of copyright protections.

      Whether you vote Republican or Democrat you will get essentially the same politicians which differ on small, trivial issues that hide the underlying sameness of the parties.

      Until we get a third party elected, we will have mostly the same which is parties bought by various corporations, parties ignoring the constitution, parties ignoring those who they've been elected by.

      The way I see it, both major parties fail at listening to those who elected them and most importantly actually reading the consti

    • by melikamp (631205)

      This is just wishful thinking. The following statements badly need citations:

      • the US no longer has any manufacturing and produces very little real, tangible, goods or services
      • executives and shareholders wringing every last penny of quarterly profit at the expense of long-term goals
      • regulations and unions forcing unsustainable operating expenses
      • plummeting education quality
      • The only thing the US has left that is of value on the global market is "intellectual property"

      The only noncontroversial statement y

      • by Dynedain (141758)

        This isn't wikipedia. Do a Google search on any of those phrases and you'll see that the evidence supports my position.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:56PM (#32660436)

      That is not just wrong, it is the opposite of right. Not only does the US still manufacture goods, it has the #1 output of manufactured goods in the entire world. Yes, that's right, more than China even. That is on track to change, the way things are going China will be #1 by around 2020, but because of their growth, but because the US isn't making things. The US is manufacturing more than it has at nearly any other time (the recession has caused a drop, but pre-recession was highest levels ever).

      You are just choosing to see things selectively. If you don't know what it is that the US makes, well that is your failing, not a failing of the US economy. There are some mundane things, like steel girders or sewer lids. There are some high tech things like computer processors (most of Intel's fabs are in the US) and DSPs. There are some industrial things like locomotives and heavy construction machinery. There are some specialized things like MRI scanners and nuclear reactors. There are some unexpected things like Toyota cars (Toyota has many US factories).

      Doesn't matter, all over the board the US produces a whole lot of stuff. So please, educate yourself before spouting off. This "The US makes nothing but imaginary goods!" thing is tired and incorrect.

  • CounterPiracy? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turtleAJ (910000) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:20PM (#32659748)

    Let's keep on expanding the "ease of use" for anonymous p2p networks.

    p2p is the ENTIRE future of our progress as humanity.
    Governments/Corporations (and Government, Inc.orporations) have no idea what will happen when nanoscale-printers arrive, USB Plug&Play Ready.

    Think about pirating processors... monitors... wireless antenna designs... turbochargers... medicines... perfumes... textiles... Rolex watches... solar panels... more nano-printers.

    The future belongs to us.
    Let's work on the p2p networks.

    =)

    • Re:CounterPiracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cesarb (14478) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:41PM (#32660360)

      Some people have already been thinking about the legal implications of 3D printers. You might be interested in the following paper:

      "The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing [ed.ac.uk]"

    • It's easy to see the allure of the Utopian view Star Trek gave each of us once with the introduction of replicators and the notion of "bulk matter" being converted into consumable goods. I certainly understand where you're coming from, and I agree to an extent.

      There's just one problem: It will never work. No, really, it won't.

      Think about it: Do you honestly think that thousands of companies across a multitude of industries are going to allow the average consumer to simply download a blueprint for something

    • by Sabriel (134364)

      Governments/Corporations (and Government, Inc.orporations) have no idea what will happen when nanoscale-printers arrive, USB Plug&Play Ready.

      Most? Yeah. But some? Like hell they don't.

  • the plan is for the US to try to use US laws on foreign/non-US people and websites until they conform to US laws... *grabs popcorn* well this might be fun to watch.
  • Product pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:23PM (#32659782) Homepage
    People rather pirate your products because the new mediums changed the value of your product and no one wants to pay $20 for a file when it costs $20 for hard good version of your product. Price it accordingly and people will come back.
    • by Kitkoan (1719118)
      The companies don't want to price things accordingly because of their current investment in their supply. They feel if they charge less/more accordingly for the digital-only product then they will kill their physical products leaving them with a LOT of stock and manufacturing equipment that just can't move/use because everyone bought the cheaper digital-only version. They seem to hope that even if they can get digital sales to be the norm that they can keep maximum profits and (blindly) hope that people are
    • The other thing is that analogy is more true when the _price_ of the hard good is $20 and the customer-assessed value is $5 for the hard good... how much less the value of the soft good thereafter?

      I just bought, and throughly enjoyed "Alan Wake" for the Xbox 360. I would have paid virtually the same price for a non-disk (download a la Steam etc) version if it would have (a) been available, and (b) been warenteed to be available for a period similar to the existence of the DVD.

      For a title I value, "no physic

  • ...considering who we have as a Vice President and who his friends are:

    Biden to MPAA: you'll like Obama's pick for copyright czar
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/04/biden-to-mpaa-youll-like-obamas-copyright-pick.ars [arstechnica.com]

  • by sangreal66 (740295) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:40PM (#32659928)
    but I did read the analysis of the plan on Ars (link [arstechnica.com]) and their conclusions are far more favorable to consumers and less favorable to industry groups than the Slashdot summary suggests.
    • I didn't feel like reading the government's plan, partly out of laziness and partly due to not wanting to get even more pissed off about the current state of US Copyright law. I expected the worst from reading the /. summary, but Techdirt's writeup has appeased those fears -- at least for now.

    • by Zancarius (414244) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @09:27PM (#32660656) Homepage Journal

      I'm of the mindset that the media industry at large is hurting not so much because of piracy but because of quality and the inability to adapt. Me? I used to by CDs whenever I'd hunt for music. Now, I just purchase it from Amazon if it's available; if not, I do without. (Before anyone whines about lossy codecs, I might remind you that this is simply an anecdote; I honestly can't tell the difference between FLAC and MP3 for the majority of what I own except in very rare circumstances. If you can tell the difference, by all means purchase something you can encode in the format you desire.) I don't watch a lot of movies anymore, and the most recent thing I watched was an old series I enjoyed that Hulu happened to have.

      So, it's great that they have the average consumer in mind.

      But, I feel Ars missed something of value in this statement by Espinel (a copyright Czar? seriously? we have an entire legal framework put in place to enforce copyright, and we now need a copyright Czar to watch over all of this?):

      "The Administration believes that it is essential for the private sector, including content owners, Internet service providers, advertising brokers, payment processors and search engines, to work collaboratively, consistent with the antitrust laws, to address activity that has a negative economic impact and undermines US businesses, and to seek practical and efficient solutions to address infringement." (Emphasis added.)

      (Original emphasis is not mine.)

      Read that quote. Got it?

      Now, I want you to read it again--carefully this time. Specifically, minus the distracting bits:

      "The Administration believes that it is essential for ... Internet service providers, ... and search engines, to work collaboratively, consistent with the antitrust laws, to address activity that has a negative economic impact and undermines US businesses, and to seek practical and efficient solutions to address infringement."

      Emphasis mine.

      I don't know about you, but that sounds a lot like a subtle (or maybe not to subtle) hint to industry that it needs to start cracking down on illicit behavior. Specifically, I'm talking about deep packet inspection. More importantly, her words imply to me that even Google would need to filter its results for potentially illegal download links.

      But wait, there's more!

      The plan says the government will soon begin trading samples of "circumvention devices" with the content industry "to assist in determining whether such devices violate an import prohibition." Obviously MPAA and RIAA don't like modchips that allow users to end run DRM restrictions. Groups like Public Knowledge, on the other hand, point out that educators can't exercise fair use rights if they can't access technologies to help them extract video content from DVDs.

      Judging by the reaction of Public Knowledge, I suspect that all such "circumvention devices" are indeed software applications that might help pull content off otherwise DRM-protected discs. Really, this statement better reads as "We're going to let the RIAA and MPAA look at all of this stuff and tell us whether it violates the DMCA. If it does, then we'll punish the authors."

      To me, though, the most comical bit was this:

      The report also promises more vigilance against "foreign-based and foreign-controlled websites and web services" that "infringe American intellectual property rights," but acknowledges that there isn't much the US can do about them.

      Oh really? We have all these fanciful ideas and if any one of those evil pirates overseas is in an area where we can't enforce our IP laws, we're screwed!

      So tell me, aside from the little blurb about online pharmacies (which I do think ought to be shut down, but that's another rant entirely mainly because I suspect they pay for a vast majority of spam delivery), what part of this sounds as if it's not simply a thinly veiled attempt at selling ISP-level packet filtering?

  • Sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thestudio_bob (894258) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:53PM (#32660024)
    So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.
  • We laught wen corporations waste butloads of money on stupid DRM schemes that never work and are cracked in hours, so only punish the people that pay for the gods.

    Imagine this again, but the money wasted is from your taxes, and the people that is punished is everyone that lives inside USA.

    Fun!.

    NOT!. People. Stop this, please. ACT NOW!.

  • by starseeker (141897) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:59PM (#32660088) Homepage

    While I think it is unfortunate that they have legitimized the phrase "intellectual property", it's actually a bit of a relief to see them focusing on piracy and counterfeit goods. I never had any expectation that any major official entity subject to political forces would act to weaken copyright or other "intellectual property" rules, since most commercial content creators want the maximum possible revenue from their work (regardless of broader social consequences to society and creativity). The general mindset is that creativity is fueled by the profit motive, so the more profit the more progress we will see in the arts and sciences. And while this is demonstrably NOT universally true (see open source, as just one example of many) it IS true that vast revenues are generated by copyright laws supporting commercial endeavors and the resources contributed by people so benefiting are of much more use to political campaigns than those who are creating for motivations OTHER than money.

    Given that reality, Creative Commons and Open Source style licensing are probably the only practical means of preserving any of the benefits of what used to be the public domain going forward. With the courts suggesting that Congress can yank things OUT of the public domain even after they are placed there, it becomes clear that the best way forward is the "opt-in" community approach. This means, of course, that the body of work available for creative purposes outside of a commercial framework will be drastically reduced. However, the current social and legislative trends suggest that it's all we can hope for. Given that reality, those who prefer this environment can work to improve the tools and content so released in order to build up our own "subculture" over time. If it appeals to enough people, it may eventually function more or less independently of the commercial world without needing commercial content to fall into the public domain (indeed, in some sense this has been the practical situation for virtually the entire lifespan of everyone on this site anyway - how many of us remember any work released commercially in our lifetime that is now public domain?)

    However, even this proposed subculture can exist only if it is not thwarted by legislative efforts. So long as works CAN be used without commercial payment, free and open source culture can survive as long as there are people willing to make it survive. My greatest concern is that Big Content will try to push for laws making ANY content available without charge subject to "unfair competition" rules - i.e. make it impossible for anyone to do ANYTHING with ANY content, regardless of license, without some form of concrete financial or goods based payment changing hands between creator and user. This might be phrased as the "Fair Compensation Act" intended to "ensure that content creators are compensated for their efforts" and "able to make a living". Free ANYTHING may be branded as "socialist", "communist", "anti-business" and "un-American". I have heard this feeling expressed - that nothing should be free; every product of any kind should be bought and sold in the open market to ensure fair compensation from users to creators. The existence of ANY free content is unfair competition and a dis-incentive to today's creative minds. Open source software prompts this opinion occasionally - for example, the "market destroying effects" of things like free compilers has ruined the livelihoods of people who might have made commercial tools. If that attitude ever makes it into the letter of the law, we are in Big Trouble - THAT is what we really need to watch for.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:04PM (#32660128)
    "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion..." --Thomas Jefferson to William S. Smith, 1787. ME 6:372
  • Ok, prepare for some really draconic cracking-down, which will inevitably include some false positives that will ruin some people's lives, and as hollywood continues to lose money, (because their business plan is no longer valid) things will become more and more draconian, until the only revenue stream that's keeping the traditional studios alive will be from litigation or government relief. I can hardly wait.

    • by Andorin (1624303)

      Hollywood's profits have actually been increasing year after year. They hit $10 billion in profits (or was that revenue?) in 2009 and I doubt that trend is going to slow down this year, what with Avatar and such hit movies. Oh, and 3D.

      Just sayin'.

  • by Andorin (1624303) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:22PM (#32660238)
    I'm not going to read the full report myself, but earlier today I did read Ars Technica's piece on this subject [arstechnica.com]. The impression I get from that article is that the federal government is going to largely stay out of the battle between rights holders and file sharers:

    The Administration believes that it is essential for the private sector, including content owners, Internet service providers, advertising brokers, payment processors and search engines, to work collaboratively, consistent with the antitrust laws, to address activity that has a negative economic impact and undermines US businesses, and to seek practical and efficient solutions to address infringement.

    According to Ars, reaction to the report has been positive, even from Public Knowledge. You know, one a-them digital hippy organizations that campaign for peoples' rights. There won't be any gov't-sanctioned three-strikes or Internet filtering, and they're going to get the Department of Commerce to put together an ultimate report on financial harm from piracy (good luck with that, but A for effort since they mentioned that the media industries are basically making shit up). It really doesn't sound all that bad, and it could have been much worse.

    And then we have this Slashdot summary, making it out to be all doom and gloom, as though the feds weren't even going to try to hide that they're in bed with Big Content. As the subject line says, am I missing something here?

  • Sure, let's keep putting our tax dollars to work saving the salaries of movie executives. It's not like we're backsliding in education, science programs, and health services right?
  • by steppin_razor_LA (236684) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @08:34PM (#32660330) Homepage Journal

    Take this story in the context of the Slashdot story earlier today. There are an increasing number of web sites operating outside of the US that are illegally selling products that they don't own. If there is one thing that we should ALL be able to agree upon is that organized crime for profit is not defensible.

    The companies selling downloads of movies/etc are directly stealing money from US companies as well as the artistic community that creates them. Say what you will about the MPAA/etc, but at least they are contributing something (i.e. they are actually creating and distributing the movies). Companies that just steal their content and resell it to people are just plain stealing.

    Going after organized villainy is a GOOD use of taxpayer resources. We should be supporting these sorts of efforts and contrasting them with the the music industry's war on consumers.

  • by fluffernutter (1411889) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:08AM (#32663852)
    One only needs to point to the BP disaster for a demonstration of the attitude of companies these days. If you can do it and not get arrested then it is right. The only difference between the oil industry and pirates is that the oil industry has the resources to bend the law to be favorable to them. I think it has become indisputable that 'legitimate corporations' will do anything they can to make a lot of bucks.

    And so, I'm sorry but until I see a difference of attitude in private enterprise, until they stand up to the qualities that they profess law or not, I will continue to applaud those 'pirates' who use their resourcefulness to provide a product in a better way and profit from it. For they will never hurt me as much as BP has. They will never kill as many livelihoods as BP has. Add to that the whole wall-street fiasco.

    I'm tired of hearing about the law, because corporate law has become a washed out, bought out joke that only helps profits of the powerful.
  • Not surprised. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:45AM (#32664290)

    It is more and more apparent, that President Obama and his Administration, with his "Hope and Change" machinations are really "More of the Same, and Much Much Worse!" (TM)

    With a little bit more of an expanded view, however, it is really Democrats and Republicans that are "More of the Same, and Much Much Worse!"

    Both of the two major parties need a severe wake-up call, namely, less and less of them should be voted into office to the point where it starts messing with their power base, campaign financing and the like. That's really the only thing that will get their attention and start governing "...for the people..." and not "... for the multi-national corporations that give me nice fat campaign donation checks".

No skis take rocks like rental skis!

Working...