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The US Government Is Going After Mobile App Sites Now

by on22 August 2012 2347 times
despd

Two days ago, (8-20-2012) we highlighted a new push by the copyright industry to stomp out piracy. It was something that we noticed with recent filings from the MPAA, RIAA and other companies that are interested in maintaining their copyright monopolies around the globe. This was the habit of adding in the words fraud, conspiracy, and anything that can make the case a larger issue and allow for asset seizure and harsher penalties against sites that the entertainment industry has targeted for removal. All of this started with the Megaupload case, which was the apparent test bed for this new push.

However, the situation did not stop there as we were also informed that there is a concentrated effort to close down newsgroups again. In the past the entertainment industry has come very close to killing this service off while law enforcement continues to try link newsgroups to as much illegal activity as they can. The renewed push is something new and has been combined with an increased number of DMCA takedown requests sent to Google and anyone else that will listen. The move is very likely to be linked with another push for laws that further protect US copyright and IP interests with greater control over the internet. We expect to see SOPA, PIPA and even worse resurrected in the early days of 2013 citing the massive increase in Piracy in 2011-2012. They will point to the number of websites that have been taken down and how they were part of a larger criminal ring while showing how many takedown notices they have sent out just to fight it. Rolled into all of this will be figures about how much all of this costs them and the tax payer (with a sprinkling of rhetoric about saving jobs) making it seem like a good thing to allow for copyright holders to have broader influence and control.

Now what makes the new campaign on piracy more interesting is that for the first time that we know of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is starting to seize the domain names of sites that are allegedly pushing pirated mobile apps. ICE is also a part of the department of Homeland Security who recently had their powers increased with an executive order, but also have some rather broad powers from the Pro-IP Act or 2008. This law grants them the power to seize domain names of site with nothing more than approval by a judge. Now they are supposed to prove copyright infringement before getting this approval, but that has not always been the case with the 850 domains they have seized. There is also little recourse for a site that is seized since ICE does not have to turn them back over. In one very stupid move ICE seized 84,000 websites when it was only supposed to be grabbing 10; sounds like the process is broken to me.

You can expect to see more and more of these seizures, DMCA takedown requests and criminal charges filed with conspiracy fraud and many others thrown in to make it look like a vast empire that is trying to hurt the small and brave entertainment industry, who alone stands as a beacon of justice and truth in the world… If this last line was a little much you might want to read some of the press release and statements that come from Hollywood; at times I think they are remaking old movies just to keep script writers working on the fantasies they are trying to push to the courts and the public.

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Last modified on 22 August 2012
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