Uncle Sam Starting to Kick Pirate Butt

File-sharers - your name here?

Open Channel on msnbc.com says the US government is finally cracking down on Internet piracy. “This week, the Department of Homeland Security announced it had seized the domain names of five websites that it says were being used to sell counterfeit goods and illegally distribute copyrighted media content,” report NBC News’s Rich Gardella and Jamie Forzato.

What does “cracking down” mean? It means arrests and seizure of websites and domain names. The sites were not only illegally distributing copyrighted content but boosting counterfeit goods as well such as clothes, shoes and DVDs.

The government may finally be responding to pressure and pleas from film, television and publishing interests. Read for instance Authors Guild President Scott Turow’s recent testimony before the US Senate.  (And see E-Reads Pirate Central crusade.)

One factor cited by the reporters that might have triggered the government’s move to proactivity is that jobs are being lost to piracy. “The Motion Picture Association of America claims illegal streaming and downloading cost American workers 375,000 jobs and $16 billion in earnings every year,” write Gardella and Forzato.

As formidable as the federal government is, it faces determined opposition in the form of Google and Facebook, who cite antipiracy measures as inhibiting free speech. What they don’t say however is that antipiracy also inhibits cash flow. One of those swept up in the dragnet, a man who streamed sports events illegally, said he’d collected $90,000 in advertising revenue. (See Google Insists on Linking to Pirate Sites.)

Read details of msnbc’s report in US goes on offense against digital piracy

Richard Curtis


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