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The US Department of Justice is proposing stiffer penalties for software copyright violators, such as the criminalization of "attempted" piracy and foregoing the necessity of patent registration before prosecution. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted the "Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007" to the coalition …

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Anonymous Coward

Makes Sense, well BSA Sense

"In a press conference call today, a senior Justice Department official gave the example of finding a warehouse of DVDs but not being able to prove necessarily that they were actually distributed or sold. In this case, they would be able to charge those involved with attempted copyright infringement."

It's copyright infringement whether it's distributed or not. He just wants to do away with the 'commercial' requirement for the heavier penalties. But that would leave him free to define any infringement as commercial without seeking evidence of commerce. Evidence is a good thing Gonzales, *Good* thing.

""Registration is an administrative formality," the proposal states, "and although this formality has — and should have — certain consequences in civil cases, it should not in criminal cases.""

If they don't register it, how can they know or prove it was copyrighted? Isn't the proof for criminal prosecution GREATER than civil, not LESS. Not worth registering, yet worth criminal arrest? No.

"The maximum penalty for counterfeiting offenses which endanger public health or safety would be increased to 10 to 20 years imprisonment"

Confuses brand and substance. Fake drugs that are not the chemical they claim, risk life. Fake drugs that are not the BRAND they claim, but are the same chemical are not life threatening. The crime isn't counterfeiting, it's selling bad drugs. Whether the drugs also have 'Viagra' or not stamped on them is a minor side crime.

"When a person is convicted of violating the DMCA, the court would be required to order that person to pay restitution to any copyright owner whose rights were violated."

They're free to sue already, this is different from all other laws.

"The proposal would add intellectual property crimes to the offenses which allow law enforcement to intercept wire or oral communications for investigation."

It's a minor civil offense which was exaggerated by lobbyists.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/acbd064c-fcb9-11db-9971-000b5df10621.html

"International trade losses due to product counterfeiting and piracy are much lower than estimated by business lobby groups, according to the most detailed global study to date. (from the OECD)"

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Cut the bullshit

Why Gonzales don't just cut the bullshit and introduce Cult of Cthulhu as a state religion ? If he want human sacrifices so much he could have them without all this tiresome copyrights part.

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Dieu et mon DRM

The divine right of the neocons has become embedded in the instigation of Information Feudalism and Digital Rights Management. The endgame makes everyone a criminal just as everyone is a sinner. First it's necessary to broaden the net to capture everyone as a potential terrorist/criminal. Intellectual Property makes the most propitious branding iron. Intellectual Property crimes are just a nudge and a wink away from thought crimes. Anyone, read everyone, caught in the terrorist/criminal net becomes subject to a plethora of meta biometric records and the profiling becomes inescapable. One record might be expunged but there'll remain a net of ancillary records.

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Anonymous Coward

Something missing

Copying something is a breach of the Right to make Copies. You don't an offence of 'attempted' to make a warehouse full of copies illegal.

However, penalties might follow follow from actual losses. Is this an attempt to increase the penalties? Or a way to circumvent the often ridiculous 'actual loss' calculations we sometimes see in American law?

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You've got to be kidding...

"It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so,"

That's why we Americans execute people guilty of *attempted* murder... oh wait...

"a senior Justice Department official gave the example of finding a warehouse of DVDs but not being able to prove necessarily that they were actually distributed or sold. In this case, they would be able to charge those involved with attempted copyright infringement."

So...I found a warehouse full of DVDs and I *THINK* you want to sell them, so I'm going to charge you with a crime... Isn't the state supposed to have *EVIDENCE*?? Guess what, DoJ? If you can't prove that they ever DID sell any, then how, exactly, do you plan to prove that they INTEND to sell some? Having a lot of something just isn't a sufficient condition to prove intent to distribute.

"Registration is an administrative formality," the proposal states, "and although this formality has — and should have — certain consequences in civil cases, it should not in criminal cases."

Just so we're clear, he's saying that I could be found guilty of violating a copyright that no one claims to own. Right.

"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act would be amended to allow the seizing of property used in copyright violations and of property bought or received from pirating proceeds."

So the government is going to take my DVD burner if they think I might be attempting to violate a copyright that no one else has claimed to own. And what's better is that if I successfully sell my stuff, and get caught, the stuff I bought with the proceeds gets taken away AND THEN I get sued into the stone age. What a treat!

"The proposal would add intellectual property crimes to the offenses which allow law enforcement to intercept wire or oral communications for investigation."

Mr. Dunn owns a DVD burner and was spotted walking out of Best Buy with blank DVDs, therefore, I believe he is attempting to violate copyright, and can therefore wiretap him. Cute.

If the US Government spent half as much time trying to do something useful, as they do on this continued erosion of freedom, we'd all truly be better off. Seriously, we have a stupidly high per capita rate of violent crime, and the best thing our Attorney General can come up with is a law to strengthen the DMCA??

Disgraceful.

Brits, can I come over??

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prize for ‘attempt at chemistry’”

Reminds me of the quote from the Simpsons:

“Attempted murder? What a ridiculous charge, you do not give people prizes for ‘attempt at chemistry’”

Just supports my overwhelming desire not to even visit the united states of lunatics.

Mind you, Every time US “cousins” invent some ridiculous legislation, Europe and the UK are not far behind.

I think I will immigrate to Iceland. Have you ever heard anything about Iceland? – Exactly.

Not that I want to keep warehouses of DVD’s that I will attempt to distribute, but living in a society were commercial interest outweigh sanity...

Soon, it will be illegal to make, distribute, and attempt to sell “generic” cola, have non-franchised fast food joints, as they will inevitably attempt to sell generic hamburgers, and, most wicked crime of all, attempted freedom of choice – when you will attempt to choose to collect & filter rainwater, rather than purchasing Dusani, or whatever that brand of tap water Coke sells in the states.

“Statisticians” [read – a moron with “education”] will work out that the average American family consumes 2.3 litres of water per day, with x families in the states, equals x Tons per year. When they will sell only y Tons, they will blame it all on evil pirates, and legislate to have nano-transmitters placed in the water. Then, they will scan the sewage, to detect “liquid” with low nano-transmitter ratio, hence identify the homes buying (or collecting) generic water.

Before long, it will be mandated that a person has to shop at a pre-approved retailer, buying pre-approved goods, at pre-determined quantities. – Want to use less toilet paper – tough! You must purchase one roll a week.

Owner of the toilet paper manufacturer needs more money for another yacht? – It will be “scientifically proven”, lobbied, and legislated that you need to use two rolls per week!

You know I am right!

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Ninty Eighty Four (wouldn't take numbers for some reason)

This is so awesome the US rules!! (sarcasm and discontent if its not obvious) wow and everyone thought that Orwell's 1984 was a work of fiction. Big Brother has found his loophole in too take over the world, and it's in the name of "Protection" from terrorism and to protect the world economy. If we didn't have stringent control the world market it might collapse and then what? we go back to bartering...that would surely be the end....

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The DOJ is a multi billion dollar business!

DO NOT FOOL YOURSELF!

The department of Justice is not about "Justice" it is about being a multibillion dollar business and it is about increasing that business at any cost.

They represent the enforcement element of our authoritarian subjugation by the US government and it never misses an opportunity to terrorize and exploit the population it has domain over or can gain domain over.

Law is no longer about consern for the people.

Feel fear, wake up and pay attention!

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Nineteen Eighty Four

You'd think that 1984 would almost have to be required reading for anyone that works in any Government. I wonder how much you'd have to pay a speech writer or two to get "double plus ungood" put into one of Bush's speeches...

I'm really getting kind of tired of the corporate control over our government. I think that it really does have potential, but it seems that a couple bucks is far more important than votes from constituants for most congressmen, and everything goes downhill from there.

- Nexox

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Anonymous Coward

Ludacris

Man they seriously had there head on backwards on this one. "attempt" is a big word. You could attempt to kill someone by getting in a car accident. You didn't intentionally try to kill them but you put them in harms way. Okay so they have to have reason to believe you attempted to kill them. Well you didn't like your neighbor Jane because she mooned you at your companies birthday party so in an attempt to get her back for her embarrassment you accidentally ran into her car. This would be interrupted as motive to kill her and you would be prosecuted on the "attempt" portion of it. The same applies to piracy. Some people are exposed to piracy without them knowing. For example I use to work for a company who used pirated windows XP copies. I didn't know it until after I had left the company but would I have been prosecuted for using this copy of windows XP when I had worked there if I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get fired? In all honesty this law gives way to much of our freedoms away that we are trying to protect. Corporate businesses just want to take over the world with their software and fine people up the wazoo with their patents and make every dime they can by lobbying up with millions of dollars to pass laws like this. It makes me sick.

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not again

strange how digital appears to be the same criminal state as murder.

the US should spend more time on real criminals not DRM

michael you will be welcome

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Would be fine in many countries, but...

What will fall foul of this new law? Is a HDD full of mp3s equivalent to a warehouse full of DVDs? Will it be up to an individual caught in possession of copied copyrighted material to prove that he or she was NOT planning on selling copies?

Really, though, this law is the thin end of the wedge for poor US citizens. It is only a matter of time before possession of copyright infringed material becomes a criminal offence in the same way drugs possession is. In the US, anything that that is considered 'unethical' by the white middle-class Protestant business class is deemed harmful to society and so should be criminalised.

I just hope that now that Blair is on his way out, some common sense will return to the British legal system and so we will be protected from nutty US style authoritarian laws.

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DVDs

Disgusting. I've got this crate full of 4000 DVD copies of Spiderman 3, and I was minding my own fucking business printing price tags when the feds busted down my door and said I was gonna sell them! And took them! Those were my backups!

Fucking ridiculous! And now not only did they take the money I earned selling 200 last week, but they took the stuff I bought with it! What a fucking treat!

This is the United States of Lunacy. I'm going to England, they don't this so-called 'surveillance' bullshit over there.

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JP

Nineteen Eighty Four

I actually think it might be dangerous having everyone in government read 1984.

Most of them would probably think it was a good idea and actively work towards those goals...

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Life coaching opportunity!

This is an excellent opportunity for all those who grew up in communist east gemany and Romania to pass thier hard learned skills on to US citizens.

They could offer personalised workshops on various subjects "Living with Wiretaps", "Is your neighbour spying on you?", "How not to criticise your government and stay out of jail" .......

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RE: Michael

"Brits, can I come over??"

Hey, if they're upgrading the DMCA and introducing the Thought Police then anyone with a sane mind is welcome to come over!

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Murder is easy

So, you go to prison for longer for copying a few DVDs/parallel importing some jeans/cracking a region coding than for killiong somebody? or any number of other heinous crimes aginst the person?

Sheesh.

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Anonymous Coward

Joe, you'd be done for counterfeiting

"Disgusting. I've got this crate full of 4000 DVD copies of Spiderman 3, and I was minding my own fucking business printing price tags when the feds busted down my door and said I was gonna sell them! And took them! Those were my backups!"

No, you'd still be done for counterfeiting. (It would still be counterfeiting not ATTEMPTED counterfeiting, you have the fake copies!).

The only difference under this proposed change is you wouldn't face the higher penalties as if you'd actually SOLD them. That makes sense since unsold copies don't result in a damaged market, whereas copies sold into the market DO result in lost potential sales and so have a higher penalty.

"When a person is convicted of violating the DMCA, the court would be required to order that person to pay restitution to any copyright owner whose rights were violated."

The comment above missed a big problem with this. Normally the civil courts determine who gets the damages and how much. This power would shift that to the DOJ. But since when has the DOJ been able to determine civil penalties? That's a staggering usurping of the judicial branches powers.

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think outside of the sandbox

To Joe Cooper

Dear “Sir”,

Try to think outside of the sandbox – with every legislation passed, your country moves closer and closer to the scenario that I have described earlier. (I would not care, if it would not drag the UK in to the pit of mandated amount of toilet paper along the way)

PATRIOT act passed to fight the evil terrorists? – It was argued, rightfully so, that the authorities need more powers to investigate and prosecute terrorists. Can you argue against that? Not really, because if you do, you are supporting the terrorists. But hold on, the PATRIOT act legislation is now used to investigate everyone.... tax dodgers, foreign companies not even related to the US... all my financial transactions in EU are sent to the states... WHY? I have not even been to the US!!!

Serious investigative and legal framework is all well and good – after all, if you do not have anything to hide, why be afraid? But then, once “inescapable” system is in place, the governments start taking the piss, and invent ridiculous laws, because they are influenced by big business, and people have no choice but to obey. Today, it is “attempted copyright infringement” tomorrow; you are arrested at your local print shop, for attempting to photocopy an article from a newspaper.

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Anonymous Coward

Minority Reports

Oh well it seems like the US has gone in for policing thought now; because before anyone performs any action it's necessary think about it and thus begins the attempt.

Oh bugger! I just thought about making MP3 versions of the CDs I have to play in my car. Nope, I’m OK I live in England, phew. (For the time being)

I wondered when this would happen, anyone travelling to the US already knows they're suspects in terrorism, hence the reason for the finger printing and the other biometrics that are taken when you get off an international flight.

The tornado of collective paranoia has just gone from an F2 to an F3.

Shit I just got an imprint of something I was reading on the back of my retina, oh no I have a copy and now it’s in my brain!!! Guantanamo here I come. I quite like orange — will my mobile phone work?

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Anonymous Coward

Gonzales?

How does he find the time to do this crap? I thought he was busy dodging incoming hostile fire and trying to keep his head down. Where the hell is Osamas air force when you need them!

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Ok, so what if there is no intent for profit?

I mean, will I get busted criminally (not civilly--RIAA) for a HD full of MP3's and an active P2P connection going but not a penny transacted upon? Of course that may be another violation but the above read much like "it's ok to do it so long as you don't profit from it." And is that $1000 limit total for all products or a single product? If it's singular than that warehouse of DVD's wouldn't fall into that catagory as the cost of DVD movie is only $15 in most cases.

In any case, this is all driving me nuts... Need to find an Island where I can form my own government and retire there. The UK may have a chance as Bush's lap dog is standing down. Sealand still for sale? Ah, wait, that may be too small and I can't afford a helicopter. :P

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Bronze badge

Title

whoa whoa in America you can not be executed for attempted murder.

You can only be executed for 1st degree murder, special circumstances

if you hire a hit man and the hit man kills some one

if you are involved in a crime and some dies as result of that crime.

In a few states rape of a child

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Can Corporate Interference In Daily Life Get Worse?

A teacher showing a cartoon DVD to her day care class worries she may be sued, someone recording a TV program to watch later may be arrested. Is any of this right? At what point can a law-abiding citizen record a piece of "intellectual property" without worrying that five different law agencies will be devastating their lives? Am I over-reacting? Consider this: at one point South Africa arrested people for WHISTLING music deemed unacceptable by the government. Also, HOW are they going to search for copyright protection? Gee, could they continue to violate American civil liberties for their coprorate masters? What--AGAIN?

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Anonymous Coward

Forfiture

So it looks like being part one popular torrent of will get you past that $1000 dollar mark. I also am willing to bet they will take all your stuff before verifying that the madonna.mp3 file you were sharing was not the latest track from a woman of that name or Beatles song but in fact a one you wrote about the painting.

Now you can lose everything you have ever owned to the Gov. who will either use it themselves or auction it off.

The War on some Drugs has jsut gotten a brother to use against everyone who isn't branded a criminal yet.

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Bronze badge

Title

"'It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so,' the proposal states."

So, if I'm reading Mr. Gonzalez's argument correctly, attempting get permission to illegally wiretap conversations - even if you *DON'T* actually get permission to do so - makes him as morally and legally culpable as if he DID do the wiretaps illegally...? (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/washington/16nsa.html?)

...interesting...

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Mind Police

Now we're going to have Mind Police, get busted for what you are thinking. Might as well put everyone over 5 years old in prison now. How many people go through live or a single day void of non legal thoughts. If it starts with a nearly unstoppable crime like doggy software, where will it stop? Busted for thinking about crossing the street - not at the crosswalk?

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DMCA forfiture

This is proposing to add forfiture to DMCA (requireing no underlying copyright violation).

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Bronze badge

Re: prize for ‘attempt at chemistry’”

"I think I will immigrate to Iceland. Have you ever heard anything about Iceland? – Exactly."

Lovely country... nice people...

...Of course, (last I knew - mid-'90s) you WILL need to change your name and find a family to adopt you - they're rather strongly into racial/cultural purity, IIRC.

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