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DOJ Investigators chase pirates on the high seas of intellectual property theft

Piracy funds terrorism, says U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and the Department of Justice is going to do something about it.

“While we celebrate the positive contributions of technology, we can't forget that there's a dark side to almost every innovation,” said Mukasey at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. “Every new technology we create can be abused – whether it's a common identity thief looking for a new way to steal your bank account information, or an international terrorist looking to advance a murderous plot.”

The Justice Department is committed to protecting the USA’s valuable intellectual property rights, said Mukasey, who promoted Deputy Attorney General and department official “number two” Mark Filip to the head of its IP Task Force, which is stepping up efforts in worldwide collaboration.

“International borders pose little hindrance to criminals, so we’ve been working to make sure those borders don’t pose an obstacle to effective enforcement,” he said.

Originally the domain of organized crime, terrorists are finding piracy – with its supposedly low level of risk – to be a tempting way to finance other, less aboveboard activities. “A primary goal of our IP enforcement mission is to show these criminals that they’re wrong.”

Those involved in piracy, counterfeiting, and identity theft certainly have something to worry about: 2007 saw a 33 percent increase in IP cases filed over 2005, a product of the Department’s ever-increasing international network, which now includes satellite offices in Bulgaria and Thailand to coordinate and train local enforcement efforts.

“One ongoing case resulted from years of diplomatic work with law enforcement in China, and an extensive investigation involving Chinese authorities and the FBI,” said Mukasey. “Last July, China’s Ministry of Public Security arrested 25 Chinese nationals and seized more than half a billion dollars worth of counterfeit software in the largest joint investigation ever conducted by the FBI and the People’s Republic of China.”

Historically, the Justice Department generally pursues criminal charges for IP theft where money changes hands, leaving file-sharing and the world of P2P to the graces of the content industry and its ongoing campaign of civil litigation. This comes despite frequent political efforts from content industry lobbyists, who have been trying for years to enact legislation that would essentially force the DoJ to pursue all forms of piracy – lumping Russian handbag counterfeiters and 15-year-old top-40 aficionados in the same boat.

Prior to the speech, Mukasey said he met privately with representatives from Hollywood, Adobe and Apple, but declined to say what was discussed.

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Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By just4U on 4/1/2008 5:15:45 AM , Rating: 5
Prior to the speech, Mukasey said he met privately with representatives from Hollywood, Adobe and Apple, but declined to say what was discussed.

Why do I get the feeling that Terrorism wasn't the main topic of discussion? This whole article ticks me off and I am surprised the Attorney General was able to give that speech with a straight face.

Seriously??? How stupid do they think people really are? We all have concerns about Terrorism in these days and times so trying to link "Piracy" to it might be a interesting sell to get people to stop Downloading stuff but COME ON!!!!!

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By feraltoad on 4/1/2008 7:06:12 AM , Rating: 5
It's no joke, I worry every minute about these "MP3s of Mass Destruction".

I wonder if that conversation was like:

"Do you have my briefcase full of cash?"

"Do you have another pointless "War on Whatever" campaign ready?"

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By mal1 on 4/1/2008 11:19:13 AM , Rating: 4
Sadly, this is not about money, at least not as far as the government is concerned. This is just another thinly veiled step to further erode privacy in the US. If this continues it won't be long until every phone call you make and every packet your computer sends out is legally monitored. Not only Americans should be concerned, as a large amount of international traffic flows through our "series of tubes".

By erikejw on 4/1/2008 9:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
Bad april fool joke, I thought.
How could anyone be so stupid to beleive piracy is financing terror, then I looked at the date 31 March.

Is this guy for real or is he bribed so hard he doesn't care at all how his future politic career will be.

By Kaleid on 4/2/2008 10:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's called Total Information Awareness
Its being worked on..

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By Polynikes on 4/1/2008 7:12:09 AM , Rating: 2
The only way a terrorist could make money from me downloading something is advertising at the tracker site, but I have flashblock and adblock, so... Guess not.

I hate ignorant (or just plain lying) politicians.

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By therealnickdanger on 4/1/2008 7:49:42 AM , Rating: 2
Yesterday's article about seizure-inducing GIF attacks seemed to be much more along the lines of "terrorizing" than stealing.

I can understand how black market dollars go to fun sinister plots, it's been happening for... forever... but this *sounds* like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 13 year old middle-schoolers ripping off the latest hiphop album will hopefully not end up being targets of this new "directive".

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By therealnickdanger on 4/1/2008 7:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
haha "fun sinister plots"? Yeah, try "fund".

By RaptorZA on 4/1/2008 9:25:55 AM , Rating: 2
But sinister plots are fun.

but seriously this is way overboard,
i think that some of these guys should walk the plank.

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By just4U on 4/1/2008 7:56:35 AM , Rating: 3
That's what ticks me off the most. you want to fight piracy then fight it. Go all out, but don't be trying to sell it to the "people" by saying it's to combat terrorism. Because that certainly is NOT the case and trying to feed that line to everyone is like a slap in the face.

By chsh1ca on 4/1/2008 9:58:33 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, and really, couldn't you use the same logic (that piracy promotes terrorism) against perfectly legitimate industries like the oil industry, gold/diamond mining, etc..?

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By ikkeman on 4/1/2008 2:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
Why exactly is it impossible that terrorists use piracy to fund their activities...

Do agree with you that "terrorism" shouldn't be used as a blanket excuse for things like this - Just fight crime, thats cause enough!

By just4U on 4/1/2008 2:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's totally possible and plausible. Infact it's stating the obvious.

RE: Oh the new Braintrust on Terror..
By PWNettle on 4/1/2008 6:20:07 PM , Rating: 3
Hey, whatever works. If they wanna claim piracy is tied to terrorism as a way to get funding and support for squashing piracy, that's fine by me. I'd rather see them doing something than nothing. Besides, it's not like their going after the losers that steal an MP3 or game here and there, they're going after the real pirates who are selling copies and making money.

By just4U on 4/1/2008 6:49:43 PM , Rating: 1
Looking thru all the possible angles where piracy and copyright infringement could come into play I'd say the losers your refering to are everybody over the age of 1 in every civilized country in the entire world. We are all guilty of it weather we do it knowingly or not.

They have always (to my knowledge) gone after the "real" pirates who sell such things as they truely make a profit off of it all and that takes money out of government coffers worldwide and revenue away from those it's intended to go to. By tieing it all to terrorism I'm thinking that it will allow laws to swiftly come into play that won't hinder a terrorist very much but rather... hurt the Losers you refer to as they unwittingly agree to it all in the name of supposedly fighting terror.

By Screwballl on 4/1/2008 7:13:20 PM , Rating: 2

Spend more time going after the spammers and botnets that are draining the life-force out of the internet, not file sharing and piracy. There is more money made with these spammers than any piracy ring ever concocted. Go after the SPAMMERS that are funding TERRORISTS, after all, spam is terrorism by their definition.

By snownpaint on 4/2/2008 2:17:17 PM , Rating: 2
Another ploy of fear to give up your rights..
"The sky is falling, please donate/give up your umbrellas to the cause." like that would help.
I can see piracy being a big problem with other nations..
I know there are DVD releases of movies in China, Russia, ect that haven't even made it to the movie yet in the USA . i doubt they are legal.. Most of the time it is dubbed in that foreign language.
Time to look at those markets and where the leaks are.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 4/3/2008 7:49:16 AM , Rating: 2
Oil funds terrorism, but you never hear about that. =\

Don’t light your torches just yet!
By DRMichael on 4/1/2008 8:22:41 AM , Rating: 5
I think everyone so far has misinterpreted what the attorney general has said. When he states that piracy is being used to fund terrorism, he’s not talking about P2P file sharing. He’s talking about the actual sale of media being used to finance terror; i.e. illegal CD’s and DVD’s that are produced and sold – counterfeit media.

By zombiexl on 4/1/2008 8:54:12 AM , Rating: 5
Filling up the tank at the local gas station does far more to support terror than piracy.

RE: Don’t light your torches just yet!
By just4U on 4/1/2008 8:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
Oh I understand that but it's like stating the "OBVIOUS". Just like <cough> politicians they probably have their hands in every conceivable type of business. Some on the up and up some not so much thats a given.

But speaking to Hollywood types, Adobe, Apple? All authorities on international security right? No it's plain and simple. They want to crack down on piracy for piracy's sake NOT TERRORISM. But they want to cloak it in the flavor of the decade to gain some legitimacy they don't currently have.. perhaps to adopt widespread appeal? I don't know but whatever.

It just seems so stupidly obvious that there are some beauracrats out there that believe they can feed people what ever line they want and we will all buy into it lock stock and barrel.

RE: Don’t light your torches just yet!
By DRMichael on 4/1/2008 9:32:10 AM , Rating: 5
While I agree that politicians usually have a personal agenda for what they do, I don’t believe this is the case here. Granted he was appointed, but he is a part of the judicial system and has no reason to be political (unless he’s planning on running for office in the future). But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and here’s why:

Anyone that has ever been to the Mideast or Southeast Asia knows that piracy is the norm. It is so widespread and everywhere that a legitimate business selling authentic media can't compete – it is really a multi-billion dollar industry.

By just4U on 4/1/2008 10:51:52 AM , Rating: 1
Piracy funds terrorism, says U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and the Department of Justice is going to do something about it.

Why state it like this???? We all know that Piracy, ip theft (ect) loses companies in the west Billions of dollars and is a major concern. Clamping down on illegal sales is a given. But what the hell, Lets throw in the word Terrorism to really show "why" were getting tough on it.

It's NOT the reason why. Never was and never will be. Trying to pass it off as the major reason (or one of them) is just saying that they believe we will buy any line they want to sell.

It's not the right way to go about it. Listing it as a possible side benifit would have been the proper way to go.

RE: Don’t light your torches just yet!
By BMFPitt on 4/1/2008 9:17:10 AM , Rating: 3
Let's see how this works:
You buy a "Support the Troops" magnet, which was made in China, where some factory worker buys a pirated copy of "Delta Farce", which is sold by someone with ties to North Korea, who gives the money to Kim Jong Il, who buys a nuclear warhead that is sent to Osama bin Laden in Durkadurkistan, that uses it to blow up America.

It all makes perfect sense now...

By seekerofknowledge on 4/2/2008 12:38:27 PM , Rating: 5
The latest report on how organized terrorist groups are meeting their requirements for financial funding shows that they are going after advanced degrees in order to obtain employment within major corporations. This strategy allows for them to accomplish several goals: Learn the language of civilized human beings, earn a paycheck, and finally be in an environment where they may be able to embezzle money from the company to which they are employed. While this strategy fails to address the short-term needs of organizations such as Al-Qaeda, it is far better than making a quick buck selling pirated software in the sense that the individual terrorist doesn’t feel belittled by his or her job occupation.

Yeah – That’s how it works!

Read the speech before you jump to conculsions
By the goat on 4/1/2008 9:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
All the posts here are saying the same thing, that the idea that piracy and terrorism are linked is stupid. You guys seem to think that downloading a .avi rip from a DVD or .mp3's from a CD is the only type of piracy. How can that pay for terrorism if I don't pay for it? After all I'm just downloading it from a college student's computer.

If you had actually read the speech, before forming your opinion, you would see he was talking about the pirate networks outside the USA where counterfeit goods are manufactured and sold for a profit. These pirate networks are huge businesses. They are run by gangsters not college students. The money generated by the piracy is funneled into their criminal enterprise which is very much involved in terrorism. The people running the piracy networks are the same people who control the international drug syndicates and the human trafficking business etc.

By tastyratz on 4/1/2008 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed, comment first read later people? come on.

This is a big problem and I am all for shutting down pirated tangible goods and digital goods sold for profit.

Someone making a fake photoshop cd and selling it should go down
someone making a fake prada bag and selling it as a prada - down.
Someone selling a photoshop download online from their website for 20 bux - down.

Its one shade of morality when you talk about downloading products you don't actually purchase. Whether its not physically taking money from the pockets of the creator or whether you just wanna try a program/listen to a cd before buying it. Legally its stealing but morally its controversial based on peoples opinions and intentions.
Since bit-torrent takes up a majority of online bandwidth right now most everyone is guilty of having pirated at least 1 item online.

Reselling the work of others has no legitimate morally acceptable excuse and should absolutely have stiff penalties.

RE: Read the speech before you jump to conculsions
By just4U on 4/1/2008 11:35:52 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed, comment first read later people? come on.

Err no.

Perhaps I didnt make myself clear in a earlier post. I take exception to trying to some how equate all this with terrorism. Why state it as the main reason for combating it all? It's not the reason and never has been. Trying to pass it off as if it was really shows just how small minded they believe people are... and it makes one question the reasons "WHY"

I don't understand why some of you can't see that. By disguising piracy crackdowns into the whole terrorism bubble it could lead to legislation that is truely out there on the homefront as well.

By seekerofknowledge on 4/1/2008 12:43:26 PM , Rating: 5
it could lead to legislation that is truely [sic] out there on the homefront [sic]

There already is legislation restricting piracy – it falls under theft-by-taking and copyright infringement. However, the part that I can’t understand is why are you taking this so personally? Shouldn’t we be pleased that law enforcement is taking action to protect people from thieves? You wouldn’t want someone stealing your money or possessions – would you?

By just4U on 4/1/2008 2:00:43 PM , Rating: 1
However, the part that I can’t understand is why are you taking this so personally?

Trying to figure that out myself.

Holding meetings with hollywood, Adobe, Apple, and the like while getting up on the podium and saying they plan to strike at terrorists by getting harsher on piracy just sets off some alarm bells I guess as something about all that just doesn't ring true.

It's almost like their on the verge of passing laws that most people would not be accepting of unless it had some threat such as Terrorism applied to it. Like a sort of smoke screen you know?

fear is the mind killer
By madchao on 4/1/2008 7:15:01 AM , Rating: 2
so, this article attempts to equate piracy with terrorism, yet the only specifics have to do with china... i fail to see the connection... is it just me?
and another thing, how does someone who copies a dvd rented from netflix fund terror, is netflix terror? Is Blockbuster terror too? if i install one copy of windows on 5 computers, who gets the money i don't spend? Downloading music from free p2p networks using free software... legally purchasing a cd, converting to mp3, then posting those mp3s on a website using the free apache server running on the free linux OS... how do those fund terror?
i'd also like to argue against the point that everyone is concerned about terrorism- i for one am not. I have far more dread of airport security than i have fear of terrorists. I haven't flown much in the last few years, i would much rather drive if i have enough time. how many others like me have avoided flying, and what is that doing to the airline industry?
Life is risk. Get out there and live.

RE: fear is the mind killer
By Fnoob on 4/1/2008 9:06:12 AM , Rating: 2
how many others like me have avoided flying

I avoid it like the plague. I used to have a 737 strapped to my ass 20+ days of the month, with 3-5 segments a day. If it was over a 4 hour drive, I flew. Now, anything under say 12 hours, I'm driving. Just once, ONCE, I hope Uncle Binny has to fly somewhere on a US commercial airline. Not just because our 'crack' security would catch him, but just so that he could experience the joy that he created. In all reality, they would likely wave him thru while performing 'secondary screening' on an old lady in a wheelchair.

I gotta wonder..
By blueeyesm on 4/2/2008 12:03:14 PM , Rating: 2
...if it went along the following lines...

a) Open up an office in Thailand.

b) Go to the local market and be offered the latest pack of <3ULongTime SuperMegaAwesomePirate Surprise DVD.

c) Track down said lil group (probably 5 10 people) of pirates and where they operate from (aka pay a kid to rat on 'em and give the home address).

d) Bust on in with the locals, and discover that they are Muslims.

e) Track where the money goes, probably donated to a mosque with a shady rep (little do these specific, good muslims know).

f) Report back to higher-ups with this info.

g) Big report made: "Piracy supports Terror".

h) get huge budget.

Sounds more like the title should have been "Terror funds DOJ"

RE: I gotta wonder..
By phxfreddy on 4/2/2008 8:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
Wooo I really like that one! That's a Scrappleface!

Here we go again
By eye smite on 4/1/2008 12:15:47 AM , Rating: 1
I read what they're objectives are, but this also reads like their motto is " if you don't think you're a criminal today, give us a chance there's alot of SS numbers to go through". Ya know?

RE: Here we go again
By eye smite on 4/6/2008 7:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the children keep rating me down.

Fear Mongering...
By Fnoob on 4/1/2008 8:59:20 AM , Rating: 3
This comes from the same folk who said that smoking marijuana funds terrorism...

I'm reasonably sure the little skate rat down the street isn't in a sleeper cell. But then again, they do seem to speak in some sort of code incomprehensible to anyone over 30.

Futher, when Bubba sells pirated copies of Shania Twain's latest album, I'm fairly certain that the funds go to Budweiser and not Al Quookie.

everything funds terror
By Shadowmaster625 on 4/1/2008 9:52:54 AM , Rating: 1
Turning on your tv funds terror. Filling up your gas tank funds terror. Voting republican funds terror. Voting democrat funds terror.

RE: everything funds terror
By nbachman on 4/1/2008 10:17:35 AM , Rating: 2
Thats funny, the same things cause cancer.

By batman4u on 4/1/2008 2:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
this guy aha.... new guy to add to my blacklist :P

By batman4u on 4/1/2008 2:28:11 AM , Rating: 2
what the Us government is saying is plain Dumb...... i do not need to go all the way to china to find piracy.... at the local flea market all the piracy is being sold in The US ....

so if theres Piracy in the Us...... that means Us citizens are funding Terrorism? about a year ago Microsoft found that companies inside the Us where making Piracy Programs which they filed a law suit ...... saying Terrorism is not some just stupid word that can be said to anybody

now i really know why US is "Liberating" IRAQ ..... same thing

By Lergnom on 4/1/2008 7:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Some unelected authoritarian somewhere doesn't like something, and all of a sudden it supports terror.
Why don't they go all the way and say piracy hurts the baby Jesus?

Piracy =! IP Theft
By Yawgm0th on 4/1/2008 10:29:40 AM , Rating: 2
I think the confusion here is brought on by the ambiguous, if not erroneous use of the word "piracy" by both the AG and by Dailytech readers. The AG's speech as linked in the article uses the word in a context that many would consider different than the modern connotation. He talks about people acquiring (whether legally or through piracy) software and multimedia and then illegally selling said software and multimedia. This could actually be considered theft, since the so-called "piracy rings" have effectively stolen IP for their own commercial sales. And indeed, the profits from said sales can be used to support terrorism.

There is certainly a denotational argument that even this is just a more severe form of IP piracy, but the point is that we're not talking about piracy in the everyday sense we're use to. Calling it bootlegging is probably the most accurate thing to do.

The AG does not say anything to the effect of everyday piracy of music, movies and software through peer-to-peer, USENET, or similar means is funding terrorism. These activities are free for pretty much everyone (minus bandwidth and whatnot), and it would be hard to argue that they fund much of anything.

and I quote....
By maverick85wd on 4/1/2008 12:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
“A primary goal of our IP enforcement mission is to make my entertainment backers rich... I mean show these criminals that they’re wrong.”

Nice rabble rousing title
By rcc on 4/1/2008 2:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I guess "Terrorists use piracy as funding source" wouldn't have sparked near the same reaction.

Gotta love the media, and media like operations.

mmm let me review
By phxfreddy on 4/1/2008 9:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Smoking pot supports terrorism. piracy supports terrorism. Drugs lead to crime. Sonofa. The Easter Bunny supports terrorism too! We gotta get that bustard. I have to tell you I am getting a little more than tired of these crappy arguments thought up to justify governmental actions. For drugs we should legalize: the prices will drop drastically and those who can not handle them will weed themselves out of the gene pool. For piracy? You say it causes what? Revenue loss? oooh excuse me revenue loss == terrorism? Next thing you know littering will be a terrorist offence....oops I was joking but wait there are people who actually believe in MM Global Warming. Damn. I can see it coming now. Eco terrorist and litterbug. The USA is so far into a neurotic obsessive dimentia its really getting to be absolutely no fun at all.

aww, *$*#
By piroroadkill on 4/4/2008 6:39:24 AM , Rating: 2
Piracy funds terrorism? and here was me just thinking I was downloading a copy of something for free, with absolutely no way for the distributer to make money from me! Damn, I was stupid, guess I've learnt now. Thanks, US government!

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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