Nov. 30, 2010
An interesting editorial in the Washington Times today points to the extent to which federal law enforcement is doing the bidding of Hollywood, a major political ally of the Obama Administration.
On a day when our governments dangerous inability to control the Wikileaks enterprise is manifest for all the world to see, the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and DHSs Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton held a press conference trumpeting the fact the U.S. executed seizure orders against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in what the agency called the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works as part of Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0. See article.
The Washington Times is correct to look on this operation less charitably:
Mr. Morton revealed the Homeland Security Departments true motivation in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in July. He bragged about working closely with the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, which now provide focused training for customs officials. On June 30, a total of 75 of these highly trained ICE agents were tasked with seizing nine websites accused of sharing movies. This bold expansion of government authority was announced at Walt Disney Studios, emphasizing just how in the pocket of Hollywood this administration has become.
Ms. Napolitanos priority should be to protect the homeland - especially our borders - not to squander resources protecting the business model of an industry thats been most generous in its support of President Obama and his party. Government agencies shouldnt be allowed to silence free speech as political payback.
Also of note some of the seizures were not so clear cut: The department grabbed several file-sharing websites that did not themselves host unlawful content under the dubious theory that the sites assisted users looking for free movies and music over the Internet.
The only good news here is that federal legislative effort to make the copyright regime and its enforcement even more draconian, is likely to die in the lame duck session.