“Intellectual property crimes are not victimless. The theft of ideas and the sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs. “
- US Attorney General Eric Holder
I would love Mr. Holder to explain how it is possible to steal an idea.
Do the thieves break into people’s brains, like in the movie Inception? How exactly do the thieves go about stealing ideas from other people? What tools of the trade are necessary to steal an idea from someone else’s brain? Have we entered into a new era of super-secret technology that allows thieves to scan and read people’s minds?
Let’s take Mr. Holder’s arguments to their logical extreme. Let’s suppose that government had a way to literally prevent EVERYONE from ever copying anything ever thought of by ANYONE. Now, what would our magical world look like?
If I wanted to open a restaurant, could I do that? Clearly someone else had the idea of serving food to other people for money before me, so wouldn’t my opening a restaurant be a violation of their “property” rights? Wouldn’t I be stealing their idea, according to Mr. Holder?
What if I wanted to produce chewing gum? Obviously someone else has already thought of that idea, which would mean that there is no way I could ever produce and sell chewing gum without first getting the permission of the person who first thought of the idea.
If one extends the logic of “intellectual property” out beyond the digital world of the internet, it becomes blatantly obvious that such laws serve no other purpose other than to cartelize markets for the benefit of large multi-national corporations. The entire purpose of such laws is to prevent any competition in the market; to stifle the free market as much as possible.
Copying is not theft. It is not theft because the original property owner is not deprived of any property at all. In order for a theft to legitimately be theft, the original property owner must be able to demonstrate a loss of property.
Some might argue that future earnings on sales are lost, which they might consider to be a form of theft. But simple logic refutes this rather quickly. Consider a person who gets into a traffic accident with another driver, and this accident causes that person to lose money because it makes him late for a job interview. Has the person who caused the accident stolen from the interviewee by depriving him of future earnings? Of course not. No prosecutor would charge the driver with theft for making someone late to a meeting. Under intellectual property laws, future earnings are predicated on the State enforcing a monopoly.
Further, why are there completely arbitrary time limits on intellectual property? If ideas are truly other people’s property, then why should they ever lose their right to their property? Why can’t copyrights be passed down from generation to generation? Why don’t patents last forever? Why should anyone ever be able to copy the idea of anyone else ever again?
US authorities have initiated the largest round of domain name seizures yet as part of their continued crackdown on counterfeit and piracy-related websites. With just a few days to go until “Cyber Monday” more than 100 domain names have been taken over by the feds to protect the commercial interests of US companies. The seizures are disputable, as the SOPA bill which aims to specifically legitimize such actions is still pending in Congress.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have resumed “Operation In Our Sites”, the domain name seizing initiative designed to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting.
The new round comes exactly a year after 82 domains, including Torrent-Finder, were taken over in 2010. At the time ICE labeled the actions “Cyber Monday crackdown,” referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving where consumers are persuaded to shop online.
TorrentFreak has identified more than 130 domains taken over by the government during the last 24 hours, which makes this the largest seizure round to date. The authorities have yet to comment via official channels, but we assume that they will use the same justification for the domain seizures as they did last year.