So recently, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a branch that colludes with FBI officials, took down 9 websites. Now, supposedly, this is going to make America safer in some way shape or form.
I’m still scratching my head at the youtube post of the director. He merely wants people to look at what ICE has done without a comment. So let’s go through the suspects shall we?
Alan Bergman – President of Walt Disney Studios. Copyright = creativity
John Morton Assistant Secretary of ICE – “American business is under assault from counterfeiters and pirates” Supposedly, criminals are stealing ideas and distributing them over the internet. The big one? “American innovation is being lost…”
“We will seize the websites, prosecute the owners, and forfeit the illegal proceeds”
So let me explain these things first. Alan Bergman is the man in charge of Disney who believes that they should keep Mickey Mouse forever. Let’s forget about the vault that all of Disney’s work goes into, only coming out on special occasions (which is what happens when you have a monopoly on a good…), let’s not worry about the fact that if I wanted to watch “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, I would have to wait 10+ years to watch a movie that I grew up with. No… The very fact that Disney opened this ceremony is kind of what’s mind boggling… Why is a corporate executive in collusion with government? Basically, you have Bergman giving an opening speech, which you know can’t be good for the little guys.
Next, we have John Morton. I doubt he’s read the GAO Report (pdf), nor does he care to. From what I understand, he had the MPAA, RIAA, and Disney in his ear, not understanding what’s going on. But a few things come to mind. How can anyone steal an idea? You can’t copyright an idea. It’s similar to the recent Mattel vs Barbie (pdf), where the judge has soundly ruled against controlling ideas.
And another thing… He harped on the fact that movielinkz had 3.3 million visitors in one month. What does that tell them about the ways that ICE can come to ruin their lives? Also, how does this information tell others that what they were doing was wrong? It’s misleading at best. How many unique hits does Disney’s website get? Why does that matter? If the tech bubble told us one thing, it’s the fact that unique visitors don’t mean anything to the overall well being of a site. True, each of the sites was getting traffic. Was this taking away from Disney’s ability to produce movies? Doubt it. And yet, these 9 sites were destroying Disney’s 36.1 billion dollars in revenue by posting a few movies and TV shows that people didn’t want to watch at Hulu.com? What’s really going on here?
When I searched for each place, I found a community. The places had people coming in and discussing their favorite TV show, where to find their one episode, and overall building the one thing that Hollywood and Disney seem to forget about. Other people enjoyed the old A-Team show. They can’t afford the $50 for the physical DVDs but the people could afford to stream the show as if it were on TV. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that time shifting? The technology hasn’t changed all of the fair use rules.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all of the legal statutes unfold. I’m very interested to see how this specific part of the government is allowed to take down sites at will, as well as be under the corporate thumb, so to speak.