Category Archives: state

… and the criminalization of copyright law continues

great:

A federal task force that monitors the Internet caught on to the student and got a warrant

I also love how all these cases have some quote from the RIAA about how much money they lose each year. Unverifiable Saganesque billions and billions…

Teen Convicted Under Internet Piracy Law

By BETH DeFALCO
Associated Press Writer

AP Mar 7, 10:22 PM EST

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona university student is believed to be the first person in the country to be convicted of a crime under state laws for illegally downloading music and movies from the Internet, prosecutors and activists say.

University of Arizona student Parvin Dhaliwal pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit marks, or unauthorized copies of intellectual property.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Dhaliwal was sentenced last month to a three-month deferred jail sentence, three years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $5,400 fine. The judge in the case also ordered him to take a copyright class at the University of Arizona, which he attends, and to avoid file-sharing computer programs.

“Generally copyright is exclusively a federal matter,” said Jason Schultz, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology civil liberties group. “Up until this point, you just haven’t seen states involved at all.”

Federal investigators referred the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for prosecution because Dhaliwal was a minor when he committed the crime, said Krystal Garza, a spokeswoman for the office.

“His age was a big factor,” she said. “If it went into federal court, it’s a minimum of three months in jail up front.”

Although Dhaliwal wasn’t charged until he was 18, he was 17 when he committed the crime. Prosecutors charged him as an adult but kept it in state court to allow for a deferred sentence. Garza also said Dhaliwal had no prior criminal record.

The charge is a low-level felony but may be dropped to a misdemeanor once he completes probation, she said.

A call to Dhaliwal’s attorney, James Martin, was not returned.

A man who identified himself as Dhaliwal’s father, but refused to give his name, returned a message left Monday at Dhaliwal’s parents’ home. He said his son had made a mistake, and was trying to put the case behind him. The man declined to comment further.

Brad Buckles, executive vice president for anti-piracy at the Recording Industry Association of America, said estimates say Internet piracy has cost the industry up to $300 million a year in CD sales alone.

The FBI found illegal copies of music and movies on Dhaliwal’s computer, including films that, at the time of the theft, were available only in theaters. They included “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Matrix Revolutions,” “The Cat In The Hat,” and “Mona Lisa Smile.”

A federal task force that monitors the Internet caught on to the student and got a warrant, Garza said, adding that Dhaliwal was copying and selling the pirated material.

Teen Convicted Under Internet Piracy Law

that wacky 5th circuit

Unbelievable:

At times the federal appeals court has been unfathomable to its critics. Last December, for instance, it considered the last-minute appeal of Billy Frank Vickers, scheduled to die for the killing of a grocer in 1993. With the inmate already given his last meal, the judges deliberated until 9 p.m. and announced they were leaving, with no decision. Bewildered state prison officials allowed the death warrant to expire, granting Mr. Vickers a delay. He was executed six weeks later.

In October, a Houston federal judge granted a last-minute stay to Dominique Green, but the state appealed. The Fifth Circuit then gave defense lawyers less than half an hour to file their response, Professor Dow said. A rushed brief was e-mailed to the court and turned down. The Supreme Court also rejected a stay, and Mr. Green was executed that night.

— Adam Liptak & Ralph Blumenthal, Death Sentences in Texas Cases Try Supreme Court’s Patience [NYT 12/5]

Good commentary on torture memo justifications from fafblog!

From Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog., Saturday 12-June-2004:

Torture: A last recourse we may require sooner and sooner

The Medium Lobster has been disquieted of late at by the latest round of Iraq torture scandal news. There has been much uproar – among that irritating minority which have not been studiously scrutinizing the week’s top story, the beatification of Ronald Reagan, at least – regarding the powers of the president and the incompatibility of torture with a liberal democracy. In the midst of all this, the Medium Lobster would like to offer those with cooler heads some perspective as to the merits of harsh interrogation.

Imagine there is some weapon of mass destruction planted by terrorists in the heart of a city, ready to go off – a “ticking bomb,” if you will. Would it be wrong to torture a terrorist to find the location of such a device and save the millions of lives at risk? Hardly. Now, what if instead of torturing a terrorist, interrogators had to torture a confederate of that terrorist – some associate who would know where the terrorist was so they could locate that ticking bomb? Is that dirtying of our hands such a high price to ask in the goal to protect millions? I think not. Now, what if instead of a terrorist’s comrade, interrogators have a terrorist’s relative or neighbor? Is it still justified to go as far to save innocent lives? I should hope so! And what if that terrorist has a lot of relatives and neighbors – hundreds, even? Would it be wrong to grant blanket authority to torture hundreds of prisoners knowing full well that any of them could have the crucial information required to save a city? Certainly not! And what if the threat we’re faced with is not a bomb at all but an even more pernicious threat – a rogue nation with the potential capability to someday construct that bomb? Would it not be America’s right – no, her duty – to invade that country, occupy it, and set up a system of torture-like interrogations to rid that country of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction once and for all? Absolutely!

Indeed, the most unsettling question being raised by these latest news items is not the issue of torture itself, but the question of whether America will be strong enough to use that torture to defeat the enemies of life and liberty. The Medium Lobster can only hope that this great nation will retain its nerve.

More blowback …

More reporting from Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker (2004-05-24 issue, posted 2004-05-15). This one begins by noting:

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

And concludes with this quote from Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch:

“In an odd way,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, “the sexual abuses at Abu Ghraib have become a diversion for the prisoner abuse and the violation of the Geneva Conventions that is authorized.” Since September 11th, Roth added, the military has systematically used third-degree techniques around the world on detainees. “Some jags hate this and are horrified that the tolerance of mistreatment will come back and haunt us in the next war,” Roth told me. “We’re giving the world a ready-made excuse to ignore the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld has lowered the bar.”