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Homeland Security Running NBC-Owned PSAs 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the help-us-help-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A few months ago, Homeland Security's ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) group started placing an anti-piracy video PSA on various domains that it had seized. What it didn't say was who created the PSA. A Freedom of Information Act request by Techdirt has revealed that the videos are actually created & owned by NBC Universal, but nowhere does Homeland Security publicly admit this. As Techdirt writes: 'Could you imagine how the press would react if, say, the FDA ran PSAs that were created and owned by McDonald's without making that clear to the public? How about if the Treasury Department ran a PSA created and owned by Goldman Sachs? So, shouldn't we be asking serious questions about why Homeland Security and ICE are running a one-sided, misleading corporate propaganda video, created and owned by a private company, without mentioning the rather pertinent information of who made it?'"
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Homeland Security Running NBC-Owned PSAs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:01PM (#36390178)

    The press wouldn't care, because they do it too. They happily run videos produced by corporations and present them as news. It makes them a little money and helps them be lazy.

    Besides, who's going to report than NBC produced the videos? NBC?

  • Homeland Security? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:02PM (#36390190) Journal

    So, shouldn't we be asking serious questions about why Homeland Security and ICE are running a one-sided, misleading corporate propaganda video, created and owned by a private company, without mentioning the rather pertinent information of who made it?

    Yes, we should, but I'll be happy to wait until after they've answered the more pressing question about what the hell Homeland Security are doing enforcing copyright claims in the first place.

  • by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:11PM (#36390374)

    It's like asking "why does Slashdot only run stories that promote piracy as a human right?"

  • No need to imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:13PM (#36390424) Homepage

    Could you imagine how the press would react if, say, the FDA ran PSAs that were created and owned by McDonald's without making that clear to the public? How about if the Treasury Department ran a PSA created and owned by Goldman Sachs?

    US Agricultural policy is written by lobbyists for the likes of Monsanto and ADM. And are there any high-ranking officials in Treasury who don't have strong ties to Goldman or Bear Stearns?

    The question isn't how the press would react, it's how the citizens react. And the answer is, they don't.

    There have been many documentaries, exposes, and so forth about the incestuous relationships between industry and US regulators and law makers. The response has been a collective yawn.

    Everyone (other than W.) in the White House or Congress who had any major role in getting the prescription drug plan passed went on to work for the drug industry. You don't need to imagine the reaction; just look around.

  • Oligarchy ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:14PM (#36390428) Homepage

    So, shouldn't we be asking serious questions about why Homeland Security and ICE are running a one-sided, misleading corporate propaganda video, created and owned by a private company, without mentioning the rather pertinent information of who made it?

    There's no need to ask.

    Laws in the US are written at the behest of large corporations, to serve large corporations, with the people who enact those laws being paid by those large corporations.

    The fact that the Department of Homeland Security is performing raids to protect the intellectual property of corporations is pretty much proof of that. Why is an agency tasked with the physical security of a nation responsible for seizing domain names suspect of copyright infringement? Because pretty much all US law and policy is in service to the wishes of the owners of this intellectual property.

    When Goldman Sachs writes your economic policy, you seriously need to ask these questions?

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:14PM (#36390446)

    As I've said earlier.

    Piracy means people get free access.
    Free access means everyone can have it.
    Everyone can have it means Communism.
    Communism is unamerican.

    Better Dead than Red!
    -
    Its also probably because nothing gets the public riled up more than hunting down 'terrorists'. They're our new pariah group.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:19PM (#36390524) Homepage Journal

    Excellent observation.

    Now, let's all go back to Mussolini's textbook definition of Fascism, shall we?

    âoeFascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate powerâ

    There is much in this, that explain the metaphoric "wars" on drugs and "piracy", as well as the never-ending Imperial adventures the Satanic States of AmeriKKKa:

    "War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to meet it. Fascism carries this anti-pacifist struggle into the lives of individuals. It is education for combat... war is to man what maternity is to the woman. I do not believe in perpetual peace; not only do I not believe in it but I find it depressing and a negation of all the fundamental virtues of a man."

  • Um, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:22PM (#36390576) Homepage Journal

    "So, shouldn't we be asking serious questions about why Homeland Security and ICE are running a one-sided, misleading corporate propaganda video, created and owned by a private company, without mentioning the rather pertinent information of who made it?'"

    Um, no. Let the Government do what they damned well please.

    Or start firing your representatives, and hiring new ones. THEY are the ones not doing their jobs. It's called an election, and they happen every 2 years. Fire your Representatives, and your Senators, and your President, until they get it right. Then they will have to look over the other branch (judiciary) and get them re-oriented as well. This will take decades, my friends. It's ok, BTW, for the Congress to instruct the Judiciary, by law and by appointment. We have influence on that, if we choose to exercise it. Even the SCOTUS answers occasionally to Congress, in the form of nomination confirmations, and in new law to address disagreements. Not instantanous, not perfect, but it can work.

    You know how at work, if the boss isn't paying attention, then the staff gets into trouble screwing around and failing to even try for goals, much less achieving them? Same problem with government. We are lax in our management of our own government. This must stop.

    Gotta steer the boat, or it will end up on the rocks. Rock beats sailboat.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:31PM (#36390698)
    No. However, if I could just get a copy of your car....
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:31PM (#36390704) Homepage

    Yes, we should, but I'll be happy to wait until after they've answered the more pressing question about what the hell Homeland Security are doing enforcing copyright claims in the first place.

    Fighting terrorism was just the government's way of getting its foot in the door.

    I wish more people were outraged by the fact that DHS and ICE are getting away with shutting down websites without any kind of trial or even the promise of a trial. The government's current approach to domain seizures is more the behavior of an unaccountable government than that of a proper democracy. Those who truly stand for Freedom instead of just paying lip service to it should be outraged by this kind of behavior.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:32PM (#36390720)

    Excellent observation.

    Now, let's all go back to Mussolini's textbook definition of Fascism, shall we?

    âoeFascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate powerâ

    There is much in this, that explain the metaphoric "wars" on drugs and "piracy", as well as the never-ending Imperial adventures the Satanic States of AmeriKKKa:

    "War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to meet it. Fascism carries this anti-pacifist struggle into the lives of individuals. It is education for combat... war is to man what maternity is to the woman. I do not believe in perpetual peace; not only do I not believe in it but I find it depressing and a negation of all the fundamental virtues of a man."

    Let's see:

    "Bailouts and more bailouts" for Wall Street, with high-flying bankers flying in and out of the revolving door of working for the government and big banks.

    "Bailouts and more bailouts" for automakers

    GE paying zero taxes

    Started a war in Libya

    Started ANOTHER war in Yemen!!!! [nytimes.com]

    Troops still in Iraq

    No end in sight in Afghanistan

    Gitmo still open, no plans to close

    Unconsitutional wiretaps continue

    Seriously - Obama sure as hell meets the definition of FASCIST, doesn't he?

  • by cdrudge (68377) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:36PM (#36390770) Homepage

    Yes, we should, but I'll be happy to wait until after they've answered the more pressing question about what the hell Homeland Security are doing enforcing copyright claims in the first place.

    So which department of the Executive Branch, you know the one that is suppose to enforce laws, should it fall to if not the Department of Homeland Security?

    Department of Agriculture
    Department of Commerce
    Department of Defense
    Department of Education
    Department of Energy
    Department of Health and Human Services
    Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Department of Justice
    Department of Labor
    Department of State
    Department of the Interior
    Department of the Treasury
    Department of Transportation
    Department of Veterans Affairs

    It would seem to me that DHS would be the best fit since there isn't a Department of Copyright Enforcement (yet).

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:37PM (#36390800)

    Hell, Dick Cheney even let the companies literally write the government policy [wikipedia.org] that regulated them. Pretty sweet deal if you've got the fat cash for some big campaign contributions.

    You too can own your very own elected representative. For just hundreds of dollars a day, you can help these poor Congressmen and their reelection campaigns. Won't you please help?

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:54PM (#36391092)
    Depart of Commerce is a better fit Since it's a legal thing, Department of Justice might fit better Also, the Statute of Anne, on which US copyright is largely based, was an "Act for the encouragement of learning", so even the Departmet of Education would fit If nobody is going to be blown up, shot, or poisoned, DHS probably shouldn't be involved
  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @01:57PM (#36391154)
    "stealing"
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:11PM (#36391372)

    Watched the video.

    Message: Take these pirated movies, and this woman (Sound stage tech) loses her job.

    Sub-message: The people that still take the movies are heartless scum.

    As article points out, shameless PSA produced by NBC; proffered by HSA.

    That over with--

    1) This assertion (Take pirate DVD, woman loses job) makes a series of fundamentally broken assumptions:

    i) Content production companies (like studios-- like the one which made the PSA) live so hand-to-mouth that the failure to monopoly dominate sales/transfers of the content they create will cause them to lay off workers.

    Reality: The phase 'hollywood accounting' exists for a reason. Any such 'Hand-to-mouth' type economics exists exclusively on paper, to avoid paying actors, authors and film crew while simultaneously generating huge profits for the production company. It exists exclusively as a contrived mechanism to avoid paying royalty money on the very sales the video harps about. This makes the video a hypocritical, bold faced lie from the get-go.

    ii) The act of taking the pirated DVD would cause the person to lose her job, because you are not paying-- EG-- the lost sale angle.

    Reality: Multiple redundant studies have shown that consummate media pirates on average BUY MORE products than their 'legitimate purchases only' counterparts.

      Additionally, the pirate is only interested in the product to begin with because he does not have to invest anything; EG, the appropriation of the pirated DVDs are NOT lost sales.

    Without the piracy option, the consumer would simply not have consumed, reducing media penetration, and realistically doing far worse than what piracy allegedly would have done. At least when the product gets pirated, the pirate gets a direct assessment of the quality of the product, and if it is any good, would now have direct motivation to buy additional products. Eg- Pirate downloads first matrix movie-- likes it, orders the trilogy box set. The subsequent sale would never have taken place if the initial piracy had never occurred. The notion that the pirate would have just sunk down 50$ for the box set of movies he has never seen and is dubious about, is pure insanity.

    --------------------

    What I personally took away from the video PSA:

    'See this poor token production worker? See her frazzled hair!? Doesnt she look pathetic?'

    See me? I am in my fancy suit, and have perfect teeth-- Isn't it terrible that you would cause me to take money away from this poor frazzled worker because you would dare upset the apple cart?

    Never-mind that I am obviously not hurting for money (As seen by my quarterly finance reports), or that I am a lieing shyster who personally is responsible for this poor token floor worker's plight because I care about my corporate bonuses more than her and her welfare---OR that I am being a hypocritical bastard by passing that blame on to you...

    Just Pretend that simply isn't the case and embrace the fantasy we spin for you about how it is YOUR fault she suffers, and it's all because you don't impulse blanket-buy everything we shit out on store shelves blindly! (In fact, she probably isnt even a real sound boom operator to begin with, and is probably some poor soul we conned into thinking might get an acting career if she did this humiliation gig, whom we will probably never call on again.)

    That you would take these DVDs for free and 'force' me to fire this woman (Again, because I value my own bonus more than her or her employment-- but never-mind that) whom I barely pay purely out of my own greed and do legal gymnastics to get out of responsibility for; Why that makes you a disgusting person! You should be ashamed of yourself!'

    Message brought to you by the federal Homeland Security Administration.

  • Re:Um, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:12PM (#36391390)

    Or start firing your representatives, and hiring new ones. THEY are the ones not doing their jobs. It's called an election, and they happen every 2 years.

    Yeah, because that's worked just so well in the past.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:13PM (#36391398)

    I think most of us have already passed outrage and fallen into the realm of despair. Sorry about that.

  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot.pitabred@dyndns@org> on Thursday June 09, 2011 @02:47PM (#36391928) Homepage

    It's not just Obama. It started under Bush. That got Congress properly scared so the Executive branch could work autonomously outside of the checks and balances of our government. Obama's just taking Bush's ball and running with it.

    THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN DEBATE. This is the "upper-class" declaring war on the "lower-class", and using partisan politics to divide us so we don't notice. Stop playing their game.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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