Feds Seize 130+ Domain Names in Mass Crackdown

“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?

Torrentfreak reports:

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.

 continue reading.

  • Uilliamnebel

    I am assuming you just mean patents and copyrights, not
    trademarks, when you’re discussing intellectual properties here.


    O.K., so let’s put forth an axiom of ‘An idea is a good, for
    which there can never be a scarcity.’ Basically the ideas itself always exist
    with infinite quantity. And that there is no depriving of property right to the
    original thinker, because everyone who enacts an implementation of the idea is
    doing so with a ‘instance’ of the good, not the original thinker’s good itself.


    Now let’s go back to the granddaddy, ‘Man acts.’


    Here is where I hit some problems that leave me unsure of
    how comfortable I am with the first axiom. Will a man act to discover more of these
    limitless goods which require investments of time and research, if all other men will simply wait for him to do so, and profit
    as equally from them as he will, i.e., his own ability to profit from the
    labors of his thinking and investment of time in research secure him no gain
    other than the ideas ability to provide himself, personally, benefit. In
    essence, do we lose a substantial profit motive and force for innovation in the
    world by adopting the first axiom?

    I tend to lean toward LvM’s thinking as Jacob Huebert points it out in a article he wrote covering Libertarian attitudes regarding IP rights, 

    “He wrote in Human Action that it is “unlikely that people would undertake the laborious task of writing” such things as “textbooks, manuals, handbooks, and other nonfiction works,” if “everyone were free to reproduce them,” and that it is “very probable that technological progress would be seriously retarded” if inventors and those who finance their work could not have a patent’s help to recoup their expenses.”

    (Read the article on the LvMI site here, http://mises.org/daily/5025 )

  • Humans share culture and ideas and tend to work around censorship. Trying to treat ideas and information as rivalrous and excludable when they’re non-rivalrous and non-excludable leads to absurdities such as calling copying “stealing.” The cartels are getting desperate enough to label everyone as a thief. If most people disagree with a law, then it’s probably a bad law. 

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter what’s written on parchment, people are going to act how they’re going to act and if there’s not enough buy-in to an idea it won’t be followed without draconian punishment. Like the drug war, draconian punishment and privacy-invading measures must be taken to stop something which few see as having a victim. When actual victims are harmed, they, or others who care about them, report it so such measures aren’t needed. Lest it be thought sketchy that prevailing opinions determine what is considered right, most people wouldn’t kill or violently harm others even if there was no law against it. The law simply codifies prevailing taboos in such cases.

    While information may be non-scarce, effort isn’t. However, if one performs effort with a full understanding of the rules ahead of time, they can’t cry foul later. Effort alone is not enough to warrant ownership: I could paint a beautiful mural on the side of your house, but I don’t get to keep it. Creators in a culture of openness and information exchange would have to adapt to a similar understanding.

    What of creation of art and ideas? If people want those things, they’ll pay for them – period. The internet has opened many avenues for artists and researchers to receive compensation for effort. Some of them that spring to mind: the long tail, assurance contracts, micropayments, distributed patronage, freemiums, etc. Even if it is somehow accepted that art and idea creation are goods in and of themselves, there now exists ways to pay for their production without draconian laws, spy networks, DRM and other property-locking mechanisms, and (most importantly) censorship.

    Societies require truth, trust, and trade. Humans are information traders. IP laws restrict trade and, in the case of patents, restrict the utilization of truth. Societies and humans have long survived without IP laws, they have not long survived with censorship and invasive, draconian institutions.

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