The Needles: Crash Course in IP Enforcement Strategy

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Sparrow said:
As much as I liked the article, I must admit that there were a few parts I just didn't get. Alright, you caught me, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.

HG131 said:
Tom Roberts said:
I'm wondering just how evenhandedly those rules on copyright infringement/IP theft will be applied.

China is certainly one of the main offenders but can you honestly see America going "I'm sorry, but until you sort out these legal issues to our satisfaction we won't be engaging in Trade with you."

When the obvious response by the Chinese is then "OK, since it doesn't really affect us anymore if your economy goes through the porcelain bowl, we'd like our usual trade deficit to be paid in the form of all those loans. Dongyi."

Basically I figure the old adage of 'At your feet or at your throat' will apply.
We'd respond "Ok, your payment is coming in the form of our 10s of thousands of nukes coming at your country. Good bye."
I'm not sure whether your talking for China or America here, but nobody is that stupid.

"They won't trade with us? Nuke them. That'll fix the problem, obviously."
No, America. It's more of a "They want to try to call in all that debt and take over since we can't pay it? Nuke em or let them take over America. That's easy, lets geta nukin!"
 

dochmbi

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I would love to read something written by a recognized professional philosopher on intellectual property as I'm on the fence about the ethics of it all and would love to delve deeper into the problem.
 

DRD 1812

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Ewyx said:
IP laws are fucked. However, they're skewed toward powerful corporations, and not in the interest of the public and creativity. Go figure.

10 years. After that it should be public domain, if you can't make a profit in 10 years. You're obviously doing something horribly wrong.
I don't understand quite what you mean. Are you saying after ten years time everything should be free or that a product that has not earned some amount of profit for its creators during the tenth year after its release should be free?

-m
 

dochmbi

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Ewyx said:
IP laws are fucked. However, they're skewed toward powerful corporations, and not in the interest of the public and creativity. Go figure.

10 years. After that it should be public domain, if you can't make a profit in 10 years. You're obviously doing something horribly wrong.
Something like this sounds good, a sort of limited copyright, so there's still incentive to invest in development of new ideas, but not so that human culture is controlled by few corporations.
Patents can be harmful too because they may reduce the efficiency of free market economics by creating monopolies for certain goods. There should obviously be some mechanism in place to still make it profitable to invest in R&D, but patents should also be somewhat limited because otherwise it reduces the efficiency of the market which results in less well-being overall, cause technological & scientific development + lots of cheap tech for everyone = good.
 

poiuppx

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I was wondering how long it'd take the Govt to start getting proactive about this. Say what you will, but piracy kicked the snot out of mass media starting about a decade ago. That's a lot of loss to the ol' GDP, given the bank the entertainment industry brings in.

Of course, that said, it remains to be seen if this has any fangs. If it's toothless, then it's just more of the usual political positioning.
 

subtlefuge

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May 21, 2010
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dududf said:
Funny thing here America. If China and England called in their debts on you Right Now There wouldn't be an America anymore. Just something to think about when you try pushing everyone else around.
Correction: if China and England called in their debts Right Now there would not be a China or England anymore. Calling in debts among non hostile countries is considered an act of war. Global politics are a bit trickier when you throw in consequences aren't they?

OT: I can understand the concept, and I really do sympathize with the people who lose money, but I really don't want the U.S. government policing the Internet more than they already are.
 

Epitome

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dochmbi said:
I would love to read something written by a recognized professional philosopher on intellectual property as I'm on the fence about the ethics of it all and would love to delve deeper into the problem.
You shouldnt need somebody else to tell you whats right or wrong, in this instance pirates are an economic drain. They are not the ridiculous overblown drain the industry likes to claim they are but they are a drain. On the other hand the industry has being systematically been a dick to its genuine customers and its attempt to force new laws and legislation through to try an beat a problem with brute force that obviously cant be beaten that way. The industry needs to seek an alterantive, find a middle ground with pirates and work on rebuilding teh relatonship to try and make some converts. Trying to hammer them wont work, they adapt to anything, and since you cant collectivly punish them all or even catch most of them you cant stamp it out.

for my mind the biggest ethical conflict for me comes from giant publishers whom i dont like whining with overblown statistics and using political and fiscal muscle to change laws to suit themselves. Then those same publishers turn around, shit on me for being a good customer with DRM, attack my love of a modding community, lock my consoles down with firmware updates. Their "poor developers who worked so hard" plea sounds hollow from a bunch of leeching burecrats intent on fucking up my idea of a good industry.
 

dududf

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subtlefuge said:
dududf said:
Funny thing here America. If China and England called in their debts on you Right Now There wouldn't be an America anymore. Just something to think about when you try pushing everyone else around.
Correction: if China and England called in their debts Right Now there would not be a China or England anymore. Calling in debts among non hostile countries is considered an act of war. Global politics are a bit trickier when you throw in consequences aren't they?

OT: I can understand the concept, and I really do sympathize with the people who lose money, but I really don't want the U.S. government policing the Internet more than they already are.
That's not the point.

Trying to order people around from which if they wanted could bankrupt the country in question is silly. You're picking a fight with someone from when in their eyes your practically their *****.

It wouldn't be feasible just to call it in (especially since they wouldn't be able to pay up, and all of the consequences) but just the thing that you are ordering someone superior (in a way) around.

It just seems silly to me. Keep your reform and change in your borders, unless we are open to the idea as well.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Well, actually I think the entire thing is a giant joke to be honest. It sounds like it's a govermental power grab right now, an excuse for the goverment to start passing special laws to go into legal areas they previously couldn't for the sake of "protecting intellecual property". A way of talking around an attempt to get rid of all those pesky civil liberties that have made things like computers and the internet a thorn in the goverment's sights. Now they aren't violating your rights to privacy, they are raiding through your computer/private site because of "tips" they received you were violating IP rights.

I say this because to be honest any discussion of this kind of policing of intellectual property rights is pointless UNLESS they take it internationally, and that basically amounts to starting the inevitable "World War III", which China is already arming up for incidently.

See, the issue of "robber economies" has been a big one for a while. Simply put the big issue with things like IP, copyrights, and patents is that nations like China simply choose to ignore international law, steal whatever they can, knock it off, and then sell it around the world at a greatly reduced price as they never had to do any of the R&D or anything to begin with. The end result being that neither the property holder, or his goverment, gets profits off of it. This is how China's fortunes have been raising in recent years above and beyond anything else.

Policing knockoff goods coming into the US isn't going to amount to much, since while we buy a lot of this stuff, the biggest issues have been things like selling medicines to the second and third world countries and the like. If you aren't going to take action to stop that by either attacking China and similar nations to shut them down, OR restarting the golden age of goverment based piracy by enforcing a "hard" embargo and pretty much destroying any planes or ships that leave the nations in question until they relent (preventing trade via military action, which again would start a war), then basically your not doing anything.

I mean they talk a good game, but this is pretty much right up the current administration's alley. Right or wrong, it's an amazing springboard to launch increasingly intrusive goverment powers from without actually making any signifigant differance at all.
 

hamster mk 4

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I wonder how this new policy will go over with our new big brother China. Thier leadership doen't seem to keen on video games, but software and movie piracy is a healthy part of their economy.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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dududf said:
subtlefuge said:
dududf said:
Funny thing here America. If China and England called in their debts on you Right Now There wouldn't be an America anymore. Just something to think about when you try pushing everyone else around.
Correction: if China and England called in their debts Right Now there would not be a China or England anymore. Calling in debts among non hostile countries is considered an act of war. Global politics are a bit trickier when you throw in consequences aren't they?

OT: I can understand the concept, and I really do sympathize with the people who lose money, but I really don't want the U.S. government policing the Internet more than they already are.
That's not the point.

Trying to order people around from which if they wanted could bankrupt the country in question is silly. You're picking a fight with someone from when in their eyes your practically their *****.

It wouldn't be feasible just to call it in (especially since they wouldn't be able to pay up, and all of the consequences) but just the thing that you are ordering someone superior (in a way) around.

It just seems silly to me. Keep your reform and change in your borders, unless we are open to the idea as well.
Well, a lot of this is only because of America's morality. Nobody fears us because they don't believe we'll actually use our military power for our own benefit, rhetoric aside. China for example is building up a massive war machine, and blinding our satellites and such while thumbing their nose at us because they know we'll wait for them to start the inevitable war on their terms.

See, there is an old maxim "Free trade means he with the biggest guns trades freely". The debts to China exist because of the presumption than they could never collect on those debts because we would destroy them instantly. A lot of these "loans" are a polite way of basically demanding tribute... it's called diplomacy, people aren't as blunt IRL as they are in empire sim games as allowing the person on the receiving end to save some face is a good policy.

Of course due to our "peace at any price" mentality nowadays, we've pretty much let China build up into an increasingly more advanced military power, and the entire power structure is changing as a result.

Trust me, when some of these technologies we're seeing now advance a bit further, WMD equipped ICBMs are going to become obselete and it's going to be a bloodbath because we've become too lax due to belief in the deterrant of MAD, even if nobody believes we'd ever pull that trigger to begin with (notice Russia threatens countries with nukes whenever they want something, they did it to Poland over a defensive missle base they were hosting, people take them seriously. We're better armed in that respect than they are nowadays and nobody gives a flying [email protected] about tweaking our nose).

At any rate I post this all the time here, on the off chance you've missed it here is one of the articles on China's anti-satellite lasers. Do a search for "China, Satellite, Lasers" and you'll find a metric ton of stuff. Sort of a tangent, but somewhat related to my overall point about how the US is going a little far with turning the other cheek in light of clear and present dangers.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/06/china_satellite_laser/
 

Cynical skeptic

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Matt_LRR said:
There is one. Bootlegging.
Bootlegging is the act of creating illegal goods and then selling them. The "selling" being the key part of the term. A practice, when intellectual property is involved, no one can argue is harmless. Something the "used game" market is pretty damned close to.

The harm of whats known as piracy is even discredited by the document in question. So we have all this talk of enforcement for a white collar crime that even the enforcement document itself clearly states theres no proof of damages.

No damages, no crime. Simple.
 

Mstrswrd

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Mar 2, 2008
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...So... I guess my friend outlasted me in out little bet.

I'll let him give me that automatic IP changer that changes my IP adress, well, automatically (I'm just redundant today), and also allows me to change it at will.

And I don't even Pirate anything, because, well, the gaming industry is the one I support wholeheartadly (now, the Manga and Anime industries, I do support, but not as much. Also, most of the stuff I partake in isn't liscenced in the U.S, so I'm in a legal gray zone. The U.S. isn't losing money from my watching or reading, but they are allies with Japan, and Japan is annoyed at us for this stuff).
 

dochmbi

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Epitome said:
dochmbi said:
I would love to read something written by a recognized professional philosopher on intellectual property as I'm on the fence about the ethics of it all and would love to delve deeper into the problem.
You shouldnt need somebody else to tell you whats right or wrong
Indeed I shouldn't, but I do need someone to examine things more closely for me so I can at least attempt to have coherent ethical beliefs. I often read stuff on the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, here's an article they have on property in general: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/property/
 

UberNoodle

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I do not like how IP protection always throws importation in with piracy. Right's holders say that their IP is threatened by importation but it is purely a licensing thing. Harvey Weinstain might say that importing a Hong Kong movie is violating IP protection laws only because he owns the rights in some countries. This is despite the imported disc being genuine. This is similar to how breaking region codes is included in piracy as well. I don't agree that abitrary region locking should be enforced legally for individuals.

dududf said:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said at a Washington D.C. press conference announcing the strategy. "Clean and simple. It's smash and grab. It ain't no different than smashing a window at Tiffany's and grabbing [merchandise]."

Get it right people. There's a difference.

Anyone else tired of the US trying to make everyone else in the world like the US? Because it's getting kinda annoying.

Funny thing here America. If China and England called in their debts on you Right Now There wouldn't be an America anymore. Just something to think about when you try pushing everyone else around.

I don't care what you do in your own borders, but it stops at the border.
That tired old picture? It is flawed in a few ways. 1) when it comes to software, you aren't buying a physical object. You are buying a license. By copying, you steal a licence to use that data. The duplication of that data is inconsequential. 2) language and legal definitions change. The argument in that picture fails to grasp that such definitions change constantly, with the culture and with need. Software piracy was unheard of when the concept manipulated in that diagram was first formulated - thousands of years ago. Times change, drastically. In our language, words to do with "theft" today are widely used to include the taking of something that isn't yours, regardless of whether it deprives the other person of its use, shown succinctly in phrases like 'you stole my heart', 'you stole my idea'. It's there, right in our language. Law is bound to catch up.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Matt_LRR said:
Andy Chalk said:
I'm interested that in your mention of Canada as a part of the 301 report, you didn't make any reference to Canda's own Bill C-32, introduced last month as the "Canadian Copyright Modernization act" to bring us in line with that report.
C-32 is a whole 'nother argument and while it's absolutely worth discussing, at least among Canadians, I didn't think it was relevant enough to this to bear getting sidetracked on.

But, since you mentioned it, anyone who doubts the influence that the US can bring to bear on other nations need only look at the Canadian situation. US pressure is largely responsible for the government's dogged determination to update the country's copyright laws and bring them more in line with the US's vision of the modern era. And those laws are heavily slanted in favour of rightsholders - your average user is pretty much left out in the cold.
 

Veylon

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Cynical skeptic said:
The harm of whats known as piracy is even discredited by the document in question. So we have all this talk of enforcement for a white collar crime that even the enforcement document itself clearly states theres no proof of damages.

No damages, no crime. Simple.
The damages are, I'll admit, hard to see. But, let's take an example. Charles Dickens writes "A Christmas Carol" and sells it to a publisher, who sells a thousand copies. Then another publisher sells another thousand copies, but pays Mr. Dickens nothing. What they stole wasn't copies of books, but customers and sales. Mr. Dickens has a right to make something, sell it at a price of his choosing and benefit from whatever profits (if any) it happens to make. Now, back in England a hundred years ago they didn't have such laws to protect IP and Mr. Dickens suffered terrible financial distress despite writing one of the most popular works of his time and money that should have accrued to him went instead to those who stole his story and gave nothing back. The damages are those lost sales.

And that's the moral hole of piracy. They give nothing back. It takes time and effort to create something and they want to have it without giving in return. The common root of piracy and theft is taking something for nothing.

In all fairness, corporations exaggerate their losses beyond all logic and reason. Dicken's losses are easier to confirm; pirates had to pay for pirate copies at nearly the price a legitimate one would have fetched. Modern-day pirates pay nothing but the time and effort of downloading a copy. Sales are lost, but the cost of a copy is far less to the acquirer if it is pirated. So, I'd argue the true cost is the number of copies pirated, multiplied by the cost of pirating one copy, because it's unlikely many pirates would've bought the game in the first place if they couldn't pirate.

I do hope the government does take action here. The corporations need some kind of back-up; their only alternative is DRM and it is pure godawful and doesn't work to boot. Hopefully, this will put the screws to the pirates without every random innocent videogamer getting hit along the way.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Reverend Del said:
I'm inclined to go with Sparrow on the subject of America nuking folks if they don't agree. Not going to happen. Nobody's that suicidal. And yes, even for America that would be suicide.

As for this new IP shenanigan. It'll be interesting to see, certainly. The most interesting will be just how hard they hit the pirates. Because stringent punishments could easily be a good deterrent to most casual pirates.
Well, the thing is that none of this really matters much in a purely domestic sense. The only thing that could come out of it would be a sexxy new set of police powers for the Federal goverment, and very little in the way of results. As an issue media piracy is small potatoes, the big issues are things like the piracy of drugs, clothing, and the like. Pfizers (which ran a major complex down here in Connecticut where I live, even if it's leaving) came up with this little drug called "Viagra" for example which cost them a lot to develop. China has been knocking it off and selling it around the world for a lot cheaper than Pfizers wants to charge, in violation of their patents, costing both them and our goverment a ridiculous amount of money. Likewise Chinese sweatshops churning out things like denim jeans and slapping labels for "Levis" or "Calvin Klein" on them is another big deal. The money from these sales isn't so much from the US Market, but the fact that they sell these things globally at rates that the creators can't compete with due to sweatshop labour, and no need for China to engage in the creative process, R&D, or financing involved.

The issue of "robber economies" (of which China is the biggest) has been an issue for a while now, it's not new, however nobody has wanted to do anything about it because it would require a war. The Democrats with ther agenda certainly are not going to throw the first punch at China and other nations, however they will most certainly going to be more than happy to use piracy as an excuse to try and get more extensive goverment powers to deal with the "crisis" while actually acheiving very little in the long run. Power is power in this case, and I can virtually guarantee we've got people rubbing their hands together in glee over the abillity to get around a lot of the current laws so they can in theory locate and arrest 15 year old music/movie/game pirates which in the end aren't going to amount to much in the overall intellectual properties arena. Loss of a lot of civil liberties, for very little in the way of meaningful results.

As far as a nuclear exchange goes, well right now the US has the abillity to destroy the entire world ten times over. We're also pretty much the only nation currently known to have an effective anti-missle defensive technique. You might remember Russia freaking out a few years ago about some of the interception systems we were showing off because they violated treaties with the USSR before it's collapse that Russia thought should still have been in force. Including the enviromental concerns (nuclear winter, etc...) if the entire world was to turn on the US (no allies) and we fired off our stockpile while they all launched at us, according to the last estimate I read years ago the odds of our long-term survivial as any kind of civilization would be a paltry 10%. Of course that's really good when you consider the odds of the rest of the world surviving are 0%. The defensive strategy here being shooting missles at other missles, including ones from our various subs, and also using planes to intercept them.

Now before you start screaming "American Power Trip" let me tell you that I don't think any of that matters much. The reason being is that we in the US don't currently have the guts to use our military to it's full potential, and the rest of the world knows this. You can have the most awesome gun in the world, and it doesn't matter if nobody believes you'll pull the trigger due to your own morality.

What's more I firmly believe ICBMs are rapidly going to be obselete. Still dangerous mind you, but nothing like they are now. Things like China's anti-satellite lasers (search China, satellite, lasers for more information)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/06/china_satellite_laser/

are rapidly getting to the point where satellite-based targeting, which ICBMs need to be effective, is goint to be impossible in a serious war. Add to this generally rising levels of technology, and it's only a matter of time before other nations get better at the missle interceptions we apparently freaked Russia with, and we're looking at another era of conventional warfare. There will be nothing preventing this anymore, as the peace brought by WMD insured MAD will end.

China is currently involved in building up a military force of unprecedented scale. Some of their weapons like the "Yuan" class submarine have proven themselves capable of "Tagging" American Carriers like "The Kitty Hawke", while old, such a thing was thought to be impossible (tagging meaning that to show off they proved they could have gotten a kill). China is generally not viewed as being an offensive military threat because they don't have the abillity to get their massive population/armies from point A to point B. They are however building the weapons to do this. There is nothing "defensive" about their preparations, and while the media hasn't exactly concealed it, you don't see much continuous coverage of such things, it's mentioned once or twice and then buried.... but it's out there.

Bassically China knows the conflict is inevitable, heck to be entirely honest from some things I've noticed over the years (translated speeches, periodicals, etc... I used to follow them somewhat) they basically have every intention of invading the rest of the world for living space if nothing else. They very much have an attitude of racial and cultural superiority, backed by a desire to avenge their trivialization by the west. Right or wrong in what they are saying, it's a very scary situation.

The bottom line here is that the method that has been ensuring global peace is failing, and it seems like a war is going to be inevitable, above and beyond anything said here.

I've had my eyes on this for years now, and it keeps getting worse. Also I believe that as far as the stated reasons go, in the end the next big war is going to be fought over trade and economics. Though China itself has other motives like wanting more land for it's exploding population to inhabit.
 

Matt_LRR

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Andy Chalk said:
Matt_LRR said:
Andy Chalk said:
I'm interested that in your mention of Canada as a part of the 301 report, you didn't make any reference to Canda's own Bill C-32, introduced last month as the "Canadian Copyright Modernization act" to bring us in line with that report.
C-32 is a whole 'nother argument and while it's absolutely worth discussing, at least among Canadians, I didn't think it was relevant enough to this to bear getting sidetracked on.

But, since you mentioned it, anyone who doubts the influence that the US can bring to bear on other nations need only look at the Canadian situation. US pressure is largely responsible for the government's dogged determination to update the country's copyright laws and bring them more in line with the US's vision of the modern era. And those laws are heavily slanted in favour of rightsholders - your average user is pretty much left out in the cold.
Which is a crying shame, because the bill is written in such a way as to say:

You, as a user, are allowed to:

1. make backup copies.
2. time shift
3. format shift
4. etc.

Oh, unless the content distributor locked it.

They came *so* close to actually passing meaningful reforms, and then took it all away in favour of corporate interest.

-m
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Ewyx said:
IP laws are fucked. However, they're skewed toward powerful corporations, and not in the interest of the public and creativity. Go figure.

10 years. After that it should be public domain, if you can't make a profit in 10 years. You're obviously doing something horribly wrong.
On a differant track from what I've been saying elsewhere in this thread, keep in mind that copyrights need to be renewed and kept valid. This is why things like "Abandonware" exist, where a company has stopped maintaining the upkeep on a title, causing it to become public domain. It's a little more complicated than with books, but in the end if you take a look at sites like "Abandonia" or "Home Of the Underdogs" which operate publically, and legally, you'll find plenty of old games up for download there. If someone renews liscences or puts something back up for sale they are usually pretty good about removing the download.

Typically when someone maintains a liscence for the long term, it's done with the intent of trying to do something with that liscence again. Sort of like these nostolgia remakes and relaunches of 1980s franchises and the like. Someone maintained, or bought the rights to those liscences, feeling that given enough time they could make money off the ideas again.

That said I for the most part don't have any real issue with intellectual property laws in general, even if some people do get ridiculous with them. I'm not a big defender of piracy, despite the fact that I am a huge critic of institutions like the gaming industry.

My problem with this annoucement (all my rambling about international aspects, warfare, and everything else aside) is that in the end it's all about the fact that I think the goverment will use it as a springboard for a giant power grab, without actually achieving much of anything since the real money being lost here isn't from pirates/consumers in the US.