Tag Archives: criminalization of copyright

another exercise by the military-industrial-entertainment complex

The entertainment industry has succeeded — at least theoretically — in passing off more of their enforcement costs to the federal government — i.e., the taxpayers. Nice use of government dollars at a time of financial crisis, Congress! Bush signed the “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act” (“PROIPA” ?) which, besides shelling out a lot of money to make the Dept. of Justice hunt down copyright infringement, also creates the office of the Copyright Czar.

Will the Copyright Czar be as effective as the Drug Czars? One can only hope.

Variety 10/13

* PS — double points if you can identify the source of the phrase “military-entertainment-industrial complex”, without Googling it. Hint: It’s from a pop culture source in 1996.

arrested for 20-second recording

Some poor kid took a short clip of the Transformers movie, and was hauled out and arrested. The theater (Regal Cinemas Ballston Common 12, in Arlington, Virginia) is pressing charges that could land this 19yo in prison for a year for the 20-second film clip. She recorded the clip to show her little brother, because she thought it would get him excited to go see the movie, too.

I think the only good outcome of this is that the theater has lost years of revenue from this young woman because in addition to trying to put her in prison for a year, they have banned her from their theater for life. Hopefully her friends will boycott the theater on her behalf too.

If you have any thoughts about the ludicrous nature of this prosecution, feel free to share them with the theater at (703) 527-9730; Regal Cinemas at 877-TELLREGAL (1-877-835-5734); or the Arlington, VA, Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney at (703) 228-4410.

Her trial date is set for August 21. She’s being prosecuted under a new Virginia statute that criminalizes using cameras in movie theaters.

Further reading:

  • Washington Post 8/2
  • USA9.com
  • excess copyright
  • Two commenters on slashfilm note that “Regal offers employees, most of whom make minimum wage, $10,000 for catching a ‘pirate’. I’ve never heard of anyone getting it.”1 and “the MPAA gives a cash reward (Around $500 last time I checked) to whoever reports someone for using any kind of recording device in a move theater”2

cross-posted at sivacracy

update 8/9:

  • free culture NYU calls for a boycott.
  • a commenter posted the email address for the VP of investor relations: ddelaria at regalcinemas.com
  • a commenter at sivacracy suggests that people at arlington do a mass protest and everybody record 20-second video clips.

war on us

oh happy day! The war on us is progressing nicely and soon we will have won the war against ourselves. Phones are being tapped willy-nilly and surely some of them will generate some useful information to allow us to be held without trial or access to the courts indefinitely under the president’s powers. The government is cracking down on those enemies of the state, video game retailers.

fafblog: there’s no war in warrant

… 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