Government Lies and Thievery

The graphic to the left is a screen capture of a “seized domain” notice.  This is a notice that the government puts up on a site when they seize a domain because they suspect it is involved with piracy of intellectual property.  (Click here or on the image for a larger, clearer view of the graphic.) The key word is “suspect,” because the government only has to waltz into the chambers of a judge, say “we think this is happening,” and they can take the domain.

There is no notice to the domain owner.  There is no chance for the domain owner to rebut the accusation.  There is no due process. One day your domain and all the supporting files belong to you and the next day they do not.

While this may or may not bother you, it should. There is no difference between the government seizing an domain without due process than if you woke up one day to find your car had been seized because you were suspected of speeding.

Using your tax dollars, the government has now produced the following video it places on the seized domain instead of the seized notice.

The absurdity of the video is clear. First, the woman that will lose her job if you take the “free video” doesn’t have a job anymore. By that I mean that if the person worked on the film a person takes, their job is already finished. It is already over. Secondly, obviously the woman can still have a job recording sound for the idiots that make public service announcements like this. (Those idiots are in the government.)

I am not trying to condone piracy of any type here. That is not what I am saying. But while the left roars and bellows on protectionism and subsidies given to other industries, it is always silent on the subsidies given to the makers of movies. One of the biggest examples of this (literally and figuratively) is Michael Moore who applied for a tax subsidy when making “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Moore had no issue with attacking other industries that took subsidies and bailouts. He felt no moral dilemma in applying for the very tax breaks he demonized others for taking. Furthermore, Moore, the “champion” of the common man and union worker, used non-union employees on the same film.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

We have seen over the past years a constant degrading of the historical protection of intellectual property such as books, films, music, etc. Traditionally, as the intellectual property (IP) belonged to an individual, it was up to the individual to pursue complaints against those who violated the copyright. This makes great sense. No matter what people tell you, if you download a song illegally, you haven’t stolen the song. What you have taken is a ability of the person who owns the song to sell it to you and make a profit. The copyright owner has not been denied the use of their property. That is different from a person that steals a car. The rightful owner of the car is denied the use of the product for which he paid.

However, powerful lobbying groups went to Congress and got them to pass laws which are so draconian and contrary to the history of English law that one must wonder how large a bribe the Congresscritters took.

They passed laws that make downloading a CD of songs a felony. If you went to a store and stole the thing, that crime wouldn’t rise to the level of a felony. They made statutory awards that have nothing to do with the actual loss or even the potential loss of revenue the IP holder suffered. This is such a break from traditional law that it is staggering.

It is also expected.

Imagine if you will, a person who worked for a company who existed to protect the IP rights of people and companies. Let’s call that hypothetical person Fred Farber. Farber is a lawyer who works for the RIAA – the Recording Industry Association of America. Farber’s job as a lawyer is to punish people that illegally download music.

The first thing Farber does is authorize viruses and malware that will infect people’s computers. Such a tactic is illegal, but that didn’t stop the RIAA until their actions were exposed. A “mea culpa” resulted, but no charges were made against the coders or the RIAA. Farber’s next step is to start “shotgunning” people he suspects of downloading files. He starts sending out letters demanding restitution for files that he cannot prove were downloaded. He sends out letters to grandmothers who don’t even own computers. The shotgun approach is designed to strike fear into people. The cost of litigation of the claims is higher than the demands made in the letter, so many people settle. Farber then goes out and hires private investigators to break into people’s computers. In the non-government protected world the rest of us live in, such hacking is illegal. It is made worse by the fact that the private investigators are not licensed in the state.

All the while, Farber and his cohorts are telling people that they are stealing from the poor artists who cannot make any money. They talk on Capital Hill about the struggling artists and how they are only there to help protect them. They tell judges and juries the same thing. People believe it because people are generally kind hearted. What Farber doesn’t tell you is that the artists are suing him for back royalties that the companies he represents haven’t paid.

Farber has no issues with that type of theft.

In a world where truth and justice prevail, you would think that Farber would get into some trouble. You would think that some ethics group would pursue a complaint against him. You would think that a judge would throw his butt in jail. You would think that there would be an outcry over his hypocrisy. You would think that Farber’s and his cohorts actions are so despicable they would be removed from their positions and banished to the legal equivalent of Siberia.

Instead, Farber are hired by the Justice Department.

That’s right. At least five of the top RIAA lawyers have been appointed to the Justice Department.

It doesn’t matter that they were involved in the actions I described above. They are now here to prosecute you, violate hundreds of years of established law, and throw your butt in jail for a crime that if happened in the real world would result in probation.

I am not trying to defend piracy. That is not the point here. The point is that when the government oversteps its boundaries at the behest of a company or political interest, we should all be worried. The fact that Obama has appointed people that are satisfied with overstepping those boundaries should be a warning sign to us all.

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