• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    FBI Confiscates Websites

    A few short weeks ago, the internet came to a stop - at least in some corners - and the very foundations of internet freedom shook because a small group of very greedy Hollywood men and women sought to keep yet another copper for themselves. SOPA became a rally cry, unleashing a firestorm of frustration by the masses who see the MPAA and other media moguls in Hollywood as out of touch, lecherous, avaricious elitists who prey on old women because their grandchildren downloaded a song or two from Pirate Bay.

    Luckily, this sortie was repelled.

    Prior to this, however, the FBI started a practice that has gone relatively unnoticed but is - in my opinion - just as unnerving ... it shuts down websites for illegal activity with warrants and without waiting for a verdict. A few years back, right before the super bowl, the FBI shut down ten websites that streamed live sporting events illegally. This year, it shut down 16 more.

    *Now, I could go on about the morality or immorality of both the act of streaming illegally and the act of shutting them down, or the market forces and the need to evolve, but I will save that for another post...

    But now, the FBI has moved to shut down file sharing websites such as megaupload.com. While the FBI used the pretense that the owners are part of “the Mega Conspiracy, a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale," other file-sharing sites have severely restricted their services - offering only file-hosting - showing, therefore, that they see it instead as an attack on file-sharing.

    Which is truly a shame, because if the internet can be a place where the virtual storage unit is liable for what you or I place in our units, that jump to make sites liable for what we say (a la SOPA) is not too far off. And if they can regulate online before a case has even seen court, then how long before they move into the offline world? And all for what? So filmmakers can keep a few extra dollars?

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