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Justice Department: Up Piracy to Criminal Offense

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With the upfronts going on this week, the dominant story will be what new shows will be coming around this fall, and which old faithfuls won't be coming back for another round. NBC has already made their announcements, and you can find detailed information on all of the new shows with the exception of one -- that was held back -- in my coverage on this post.

Still, there are other things going on. The United States Attorney General wants simple copyright infringement changed from a civil offense -- meaning the only possible punishment are injunctions and fines -- to a criminal offense, which would open the options to actual jail time.

I'm just dumbfounded at the total lack of seriousness the Justice Department shows towards actual crime, such as the AG himself committing perjury and obstructing oncoming federal investigations along with signing off on a spying program that has been ruled illegal by two federal courts. But porn and copyright infringement? That's serious, we can't tolerate that. It hurts companies! Thank of the poor baby companies, how will they eat if someone tapes a movie on a theater? What if they starve?

Don't get me wrong on this, as a writer, I take great offense towards people who don't respect others intellectual property. It is a serious issue, but not one that should ever rise to the level of a criminal offense. The notion is ridiculous pandering to exceptionally power film industry lobbyists.

Gonzales actually has the guts to compare copyright infringement, which is strictly a monetary problem, to medical malpractice where people may actually die.

"While crimes like (intellectual property) theft may appear harmless to some, we know that the reality is much different," Gonzales told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday, announcing the legislation. "Imagine a heart patient undergoing emergency surgery at a hospital that unknowingly purchased substandard counterfeit surgical equipment or medications."

Harmless no, about three million times less harmful than dying because of medical malpractice? It's insane. Can we please get this lunatic on a leash?


  • The Apprentice wasn't in NBC's upfront presentation, but it may not be dead yet.
  • IGN has a trailer for Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, and pictures from Pirates 3.
  • is doing a new feature column about music. Hopefully film music..
  • ABC may be making their shows available online (with commercials) in high-definition, but I doubt it. The bandwidth required for true HD, even 780p, is extraordinary. It's popular to stamp the name on anything that looks good, but most peoples monitors can't even handle 1080i, and I just can't see it happening.
  • Despite what IGN is telling people, Heroes is not doing 30 episodes next year, it's doing 24 plus a limited run 6-ep spinoff that will air after season 2.
  • More ratings bad news.
  • AICN has the scoop on Lost's season finale.
  • Presumed Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson is done with Law & Order.
  • Fox is pissed over a parody of The Simpson's, threatens to sue. Last time I checked, parody was well protected fair use...
  • E.R. is probably kaput after its 14th season.
  • Get ready for a sequel to Point Break, whether you want it or not.
  • The movie download business is set to triple in the next year, then fizzle out.
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May 15, 2007, 8:28:00 AM
While Piracy is in no way close to medical malpractice, and I believe the movie industry highly overpaid in the first place, I don't know if making it a criminal offense isn't worth it. In today's society we have become immune to lesser crimes. A Misdemeanor is nothing, a fine isn't scary enough not to do something, people laugh at our laws..our teenagers have no concept of right and wrong. Piracy? "no body cares, they are so rich anyway, we deserve to do this, let's stick it to the overbearing "man"." Bring back capital punishment, you steal your hand gets chopped off, you pirate a movie your hand gets chopped off. Since we will never do that, a stiffer punishment may be necessary. Our society is too lax in teaching right from wrong, morals, etc and we certainly don't follow through....and we don't even have good examples in our government and movies to show them anymore...what does one expect from our young?

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.