I guess somebody will sleep better at night knowing our Department of Homeland Security is shaking down music and video pirates. Their new plan: Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP), a crackdown on the theft of U.S. intellectual property such as pirated compact discs and knockoff auto parts. The effort is consuming the attentions of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and senior officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
So, here are my complaints: First, while I expect an organization as large as the US Government can take on several “priorities” at once, isn’t it difficult to believe that this should be at the top of the list? Second, I find little or no explanation of why our government should be in the business of ensuring profits for large US companies, when civil law and courts already exist to do the job. When pressed, I’m sure their argument will be something like: pirated material contributes to the financing of criminal and terrorist activities, but it’s a thin thread to follow. Let’s face it, legitimate construction businesses in Saudi Arabia contributed to the finances of terrorists, and there are enough sources of all types that it’s not like anybody could really argue that this is the silver bullet.
So why is the US Government becoming the worlds Copyright, Trademark, and Patent Police?
Because the US’s biggest export is intellectual property and the Bush administration goes where Big Business™ goes.
The result is that hundreds of millions of your tax dollars and US inteligence agency attention is being spent on a project that will neither save consumers money, nor protect them from terrorists.