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FBI Prioritizes Copyright Over Missing Persons 372

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-that-makes...-something dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FBI has limited resources, so it needs to prioritize what it works on. However, it's difficult to see why dealing with copyright infringement seems to get more attention than identity theft or missing persons. In the past year, the FBI has announced a special new task force to fight intellectual property infringement, but recent reports have shown that both identity theft and missing persons have been downgraded as priorities by the FBI, to the point that there are a backlog of such cases."
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FBI Prioritizes Copyright Over Missing Persons

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  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @07:59PM (#33210662) Journal

    The FBI exists to protect profits. In fact the government exists to protect commerce, the very basis of our society

  • Obvious reason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joe Snipe (224958) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:05PM (#33210708) Homepage Journal

    Follow the money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:14PM (#33210764)

    Their DNA lab is so backed up, they can't effectively pursue any violent criminals, so evil copyright violators are the low-hanging fruit.

    This is the "change" we voted for?

  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:17PM (#33210784)
    property rights.

    Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good.

    --- John Locke, 2nd Treatise of Gov't vis-a-vis US Const, 5th and 14th Amendments.

    The argument then becomes whether ideas can be property. The US Constitution, by implication, says no - "Writings and Discoveries" are an "exclusive right" only for a "limited time," a clear statement that "intellectual property" is not property at all, but a limited and artificially constructed grant of rights.

  • by Kepesk (1093871) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:20PM (#33210810) Homepage
    I must disagree. Government exists to protect the people and the peoples' resources. It has been hijacked with legal bribes in order to protect commerce over the people. That's what we're seeing here.
  • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:21PM (#33210822)

    Every dollar not spent on bad movies and pop music is one more dollar that can be spent on productive industry.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:23PM (#33210844) Homepage Journal
    Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. Probably it's that chorus of nerd rage that the well-crafted headline and misleading summary invoked on demand.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:25PM (#33210866)

    How does finding rapists and prosecuting them help corporate profits and the economy at large? Women who are raped should just go home and take a shower and get over it, and get back to work so their employer doesn't suffer any loss of profit.

        (in case it wasn't obvious)

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@EEEgmail.com minus threevowels> on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:27PM (#33210878)

    INCORRECT: The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

    CORRECT: The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs. The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

    I don't know how much the FBI should spend at all on copyright, but it is a bit of a stretch to take the current facts and say that copyright is prioritized over missing persons.

    I would relabel that as "Unsubstantiated" and "Factual", for unless you can prove your former assertion, is too strong a labeling. They could be prioritizing copyright over missing persons like the summary implies, and though this is unsubstantiated quantitatively, it cannot blatantly be labelled "incorrect", unless somebody knows otherwise. [citation?]

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:32PM (#33210898)

    CORRECT:
    The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs.
    The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

    If they have a big backlog in the DNA labs, but they're increasing the manpower assigned to copyright "crimes", then that looks to me like they're prioritizing copyright over missing persons. If missing persons were a higher priority, they would devote more resources to their backlogged DNA labs, so that they wouldn't be backlogged any more, and they wouldn't devote any more resources to copyright.

    So it looks like the summary is correct after all.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:34PM (#33210916)

    INCORRECT:
    The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

    CORRECT:
    The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs.
    The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

    I don't know how much the FBI should spend at all on copyright, but it is a bit of a stretch to take the current facts and say that copyright is prioritized over missing persons.

    Sure, the FBI isn't officially prioritizing copyrights over missing persons.

    However, the fact that they're increasing allocation to copyright means it obviously holds more importance. If it didn't, those same funds could be put to use elsewhere on what normal people would consider to be more important cases.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:44PM (#33210984) Journal

    Protecting "people" is purely an ancillary benefit, as they are more productive if they feel secure and content. The protection of commerce is hardly a recent phenomenon, that of commercial slave trade up until 1860 being a good example. Here again we see the government protecting the property owners above all else at that time also.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:52PM (#33211040)

    If they're increasing the manpower for copyright crimes, that means they have money available in their budget to pay those people. Instead of hiring people for copyright, they could spend that money to hire people for DNA labs, or build more labs, buy more equipment to make the existing workers more efficient, etc.

    Are you really trying to claim that there's a glut of qualified workers for pursuing copyright cases, and there's zero available workers for DNA labs? Pursuing copyright cases isn't an unskilled job either.

  • False Dichotomy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skexis (1744642) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:54PM (#33211048)
    The FBI does not exist to investigate one thing OR another. It investigates what crimes are capable of being solved by lab work and field agents who may or may not have any leads. Missing Persons and Identity Theft are two types of cases where the amount of time and money expended is often beyond the department's means to rectify the relative damages caused.

    In the case of missing persons, because some of them don't want to be found, or another department has already exhausted their leads.
    In the case of Identity Theft, because the perpetrators are often in other countries, where it doesn't make practical sense to send field agents to sift through hearsay or rumor in order to find someone who might be their criminal, and who, if he's smart at all, has since erased the evidence of his theft anyways.
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @08:54PM (#33211050)

    Or, alternatively, missing people do not have a powerful lobby. Well, MIAs in Vietnam had one, but that's about it. It's a bit disturbing though to see how far corporate support goes in shaping priorities. Or the priorities of the American President. Obama's and Biden's hard-on for IP isn't helping.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:04PM (#33211102)

    Put another way:

    There's no money in solving actual crimes. On the other hand, doing the dirty work of the MafiAA is a way to collect some kick-ass bribes.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:06PM (#33211108)

    I'd consider that work on copyright cases is probably easier to bolster since any reasonably competent FBI agent should be able to handle something like that. I'd think that the backlog of DNA cases would take considerably more expertise, more effort, and greater expense to significantly increase the throughput of cases.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:07PM (#33211120)

    they'll be all over it. And you won't hear anything else on the news for a month.

    But the farther you are from "little blonde girl", the less you matter.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:09PM (#33211144) Homepage

    Actually, the US Government was a limited social contract to secure Life, Liberty, and Property.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by J Story (30227) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:17PM (#33211196) Homepage
    Change we can Believe in? People might say that this FBI reprioritization is only to be expected and would happen no matter which party was in charge. That may well be, but if so it finally puts to rest the hope that things would be any different for this current administration.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:38PM (#33211310)

    Perhaps, but "more difficult" doesn't mean "impossible". All the money being spent on increasing staffing for copyright cases could be spent on DNA cases instead, even if the gain is small. The DNA cases are extremely important, and a valid use of taxpayer dollars, since one of government's jobs is to provide police services, which now includes investigative services and DNA analysis. Pursuing copyright cases is not important in the least, and is (or should be) a civil matter anyway. It doesn't require any investigation.

  • by blueworm (425290) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:43PM (#33211330) Homepage

    Does it seem to anybody else like Techdirt is actually just self-citing itself for its proof? I don't really see where it's shown that the FBI has copyright enforcement actually prioritized higher than missing persons here. I see references to people saying it's a major priority, but that doesn't actually mean it really is. I think we need some more evidence laid out a little more clearly than what Techdirt has done, at least.

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:54PM (#33211418) Homepage
    Oh yes, because copyright was NEVER abused on the republican's watch... but hey, let's play the "my party is better" game.

    Sorry, you lost. The republicans got us into two endless wars, aided the copyright cartels, blew our banking industry... need I go on? No, the democrats aren't much better, but stop acting like your favored crooks are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:58PM (#33211444)

    All of this was brushed away because defeating McCain was all that mattered.

    As if we wouldn't get other outrages if McCain was in power.

    Personally, it was a close call for me to vote, but when Sarah Palin got thrown in as the VP candidate that struck the death knell for my voting for McCain. If he'd taken someone more, I dunno, not Palin, I would've been agonizing my way to the polls, but playing for down-to-earth don'tchaknow whimsy just pushed me to Obama.

    I *like* McCain. He had some good ideas as did Obama. But McCain + Palin was far worse to me than Obama + Biden. Now, a McCain/Obama or Obama/McCain ticket, I just might have been able to get behind.

    Also, I think GW is probably a pretty cool guy to be friends with, but not someone I wanted as president. To hang out with he seems fun, interesting, and outgoing. To be president, eh. Really was more VP material.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @09:59PM (#33211456)
    Pretty sure this wasn't the result of Obama. Unless you can cite some evidence to suggest that it was Obama that reduced funding for this kind of thing then you should shut the fuck up.

    Just because he's a black democrat doesn't mean that every bad thing that happens is his fault. I know it's hard for you to understand.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:21PM (#33211552)

    The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright, while they need more people assigned to DNA labs. That means copyright has more priority.

  • by GlitchCog (1016986) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:24PM (#33211568)
    "MIAs in Vietnam had one" MIAs were exploited to demonize the Vietcong. If people don't hate communism, it's a very big threat to profits. There were guys missing in action in WWII also, but they didn't go on about how they were secretly still being held years after the war ended. They just said they were dead and moved on.
  • Re:Actually... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toastar (573882) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @10:35PM (#33211624)
    Wow.... "the turfs my servant has cut".... He was a slave owner this brings new meaning to "preservation of their property."... I'm thinking we need a 21st century idea of rights, not ones based around the idea that the state existed to preserve ones right to oppress other people.
  • Re:Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:03PM (#33211796)

    Wow.... "the turfs my servant has cut".... He was a slave owner this brings new meaning to "preservation of their property."... I'm thinking we need a 21st century idea of rights, not ones based around the idea that the state existed to preserve ones right to oppress other people.

    It's possible that he did not mean an uncompensated slave. He may have meant a paid servant. Indentured servants were not uncommon during his time. Many of them (most?) were white. They had rights. They were not bought and sold like property. Rather, their labor was traded for a certain value on the open market. The modern equivalent word would be "employee".

    I suppose it's possible he meant "slave" but the distinction between a "slave" and a "servant" existed during that time. When you talk of people like Hobbes or Locke, you are talking about educated men who said what they meant. The conflation of "slave" and "servant" is something they would have recognized as an error in all likelihood. Without knowing more about the personal lives of those men and whether they personally owned slaves, I believe you are leaping to conclusions based on some emotional overreaction to a word. Yes slavery was horrible and one of those things that makes me almost ashamed to be a human being because men will actually do such things to other men ... that does not mean that these two particular men were guilty of such crimes against humanity.

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

    by causality (777677) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:26PM (#33211902)

    Of course, the right of free speech - at least for everything beyond what the owner can personally defend against the world by means of force -- is also one of limited and artificially constructed grants of rights. Which isn't to say that property law is a branch of speech laws, but rather that free speech rights are just as artificial.

    FTFY

    YW :)

    The Constitution of the USA is not based on such a premise. If it is the USA of which you speak, then you make a fundamental error. The basis of it is not that rights can be granted. The basis of it is that we have inalienable rights because we are human beings. We have those rights merely because we exist. The purpose of governemnt, then, is to recognize and protect those rights. That's the reason we have a legal system. Such rights are absolutely not "granted" or "given" but are merely acknowledged and honored.

    The only way things can be "artificial" is if you have a model of feudalism where there is a poltiical elite which holds all the power. Otherwise there is the rule of law where all people are equal in the eyes of the law and all have the same fundamentl rights.

    That's what is missing from the "living document" view of the Constitution. To folks who hold such a view, phrases like "shall not be infringed" are ambiguous and open to interpretation. I reject this viewpoint entirely.

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday August 10, 2010 @11:33PM (#33211932)

    How does finding rapists and prosecuting them help corporate profits and the economy at large?

    Rape is almost never prosecuted in the federal courts.

    It is extraordinarilly rare for any crime of violence to be prosecuted in the federal courts.

    What you are really asking for is a national forensic lab and a massive DNA database managed by the FBI.

  • Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:04AM (#33212052)
    Missing people don't contribute to re-election campaigns.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:05AM (#33212054)

    Welcome to The United Corporations of America

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:08AM (#33212074) Homepage Journal
    The Vietnam MIA issue can be traced via http://www.amconmag.com/article/2010/jul/01/00010/ [amconmag.com] by Sydney Schanberg (two George Polk awards)
    Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in “postwar reconstruction” aid, congress did not seem to be interested in spending anymore.
    No aid, no POWs. France paid up after Dien Bien Phu.
    Every US gov seems not to want to admit they left them behind, so the cover up goes on. Better the fog of war than the reality of been left to rot.
    The FBI might face the same with missing persons. Start digging and they find slavery, cults, sweatshop, sex trade and the deep state and federal links that cover/protect year after year.
    Generation profit and evil.
  • by b4upoo (166390) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:18AM (#33212118)

    Obviously commercial forces join together And continually let the FBI know who contributes big bucks to officials. Justice is for sale in more ways than one.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Totenglocke (1291680) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @01:33AM (#33212398)

    INCORRECT: The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

    CORRECT: The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs. The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

    CONCLUSION

    By increasing manpower assigned to copyright and NOT increasing the manpower assigned to running the DNA labs / increasing the amount of equipment needed to run the tests, the FBI IS prioritizing copyright above missing persons.

    You had the facts correct - you just failed to make the obvious conclusion.

  •     People love blaming inherited problems on the person currently in power. Just watch Fox News. No, not for news, but to see how someone can spin anything to blame the wrong party, and then have die hard followers repeating the same garbage.

        I only include Fox News because they are one of many sources that do the same thing. The list of counterproductive spin doctors is far too long to list.

  • Re:Actually... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @02:57AM (#33212710)

    The Constitution of the USA is not based on such a premise. If it is the USA of which you speak, then you make a fundamental error. The basis of it is not that rights can be granted. The basis of it is that we have inalienable rights because we are human beings. We have those rights merely because we exist. The purpose of governemnt, then, is to recognize and protect those rights. That's the reason we have a legal system. Such rights are absolutely not "granted" or "given" but are merely acknowledged and honored.

    Which is a lovely philosophy, but that is all it is, a philosophy. An extremely powerful one, but when faced with an assault rifle, all rights turn out to be figments of our collective human imagination.

    The *only* reason those of us who have free speech do so is because we collectively decide that this right is important, and we hire people with guns to make sure it is protected.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @03:15AM (#33212754) Journal

    Alternately, the sooner they are not found, the sooner all their property goes into probate, where the state takes their cut, and as a bonus, if there are no inheritors, they get everything left.

  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2NO@SPAMgdargaud.net> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @03:25AM (#33212774) Homepage

    Who still doesn't believe our government is being run by corporate power?

    I don't. I do believe our entire society is powered by groups of people. That sounds like "corporate power" to me.

    Bzzzt. A group of people doesn't exercise its power like a corporation. If you are an employee of a corporation or even a small shareholder, you don't have a say and you often don't even know what's going on during old boys golf outings. A 'group' of people may be more democratic, but you left out how that group is managed.

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

    by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:17AM (#33212926)

    One could make the case that the notion of property for physical things is natural - "I have aquired/received it therefore it's mine". How many times have you heard small kids fight about something and one of them says "It's mine, it's mine".

    From the notion of property (aka ownership) in the physical realm to the notion of property rights (aka being entitled to control what is done with one's things and choosing if/when/how to part with them) is a natural evolution: it's simply a mechanism to avoid conflict in a group - any societies where individual-ownership was not coupled with some form of property-rights planted the seeds of their own downfall by weakening themselves due to internal conflict and were destroyed. It helps that physical ownership is usually easilly tracked (it's either something movable in the possession of somebody, locked or something wholy immovable whose ownership status is kept in a centralized place) and thus it's easy to avoid ownership conflicts.

    Intellectual property on the other hand is an unnatural construct - it is not natural to refrain oneself of re-telling something one heard in an open context. Stories and jokes are naturally told and retold and yet, intellectual property says that the inventor of the story/joke "owns it" and can decide if somebody else can tell it, no mater how many degrees of separation there are between them: this does not slot in naturally with human social behaviour. Unlike physical ownership, ownership of ideas is incredibly hard to keep track of, both because they are self-reproducing and because there in an unlimited supply of new ones.

    Intellectual property does not prevent conflict by moderating natural impulses - instead it creates new conflicts by extending ownership to an size-unlimited space. It does not increase efficiency in human societies (as physical property rights do by avoiding resources being wasted in ownership conflicts), but instead it decreases efficiency by imposing on all a duty to keep track of the ownership of all ideas.

    Even for it's stated aims (the promotion of ideas), Intellectual Property has not in fact been proven to work: the percieved "growth in ideas" since the 19th century can just as easilly have come from an increase in numbers for manking (the world population has increase almost 7-fold since 1800), an increase in the spread of ideas due to mass-media (newspapers, radio, TV) and an increase in "keeping-count" of ideas which is a product of Intellectual Property laws (nobody counted "innovations" before patents where created). In fact, during their strongest growth periods most societies openly ignored Intellectual Property while Intellectual Ownership concerns seem to increase in periods of stagnation.

  • Capitalism again. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:18AM (#33212928) Homepage Journal
    It is inevitable for government and government agencies in capitalist systems to eventually give priority to 'preferred' citizens ; corporations. Profits over people. The irony is that, in capitalist systems, those preferred citizens always pay less and less taxes increasingly.
  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @04:51AM (#33213026)
    i'd make one correction there, it makes a lot of high skilled jobs and a lot of high wage jobs and a smattering of high skilled - high wage jobs
  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:29AM (#33213134) Homepage Journal

    It's the same government that let outsourcing happen. Why should they care about one industry and let entire sectors like manufacuring be lost?

    I tell you. Entertainment has the double role of propaganda (proposing models for our youth, so they think they're against the system by spraying paint on walls or paying to get brain and ear damage, and measuring art and success in terms of $$$), and the trojan horse to push for IP laws. Intellectual property is just the big guys excuse to transform the virtual world into a market: in a purely virtual world a startup can compete with estabilished giants. When IP laws shape it, though, being first and being bigger begins to offer an advantage again like scale economy and banks covering your ass do in the real world.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:59AM (#33213246) Homepage

    Ironically, with the tax breaks corporations get, they don't pay much of the bill either. Of course, they finance the government in a less direct way via campaign donations.

  • by Talderas (1212466) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @08:24AM (#33213922)

    And remember to hit preview.

    How can I forgot to hit preview? It's required before you can post the comment.

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