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FBI Prioritizes Copyright Over Missing Persons

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-that-makes...-something dept.

Crime 372

An anonymous reader writes "The FBI has limited resources, so it needs to prioritize what it works on. However, it's difficult to see why dealing with copyright infringement seems to get more attention than identity theft or missing persons. In the past year, the FBI has announced a special new task force to fight intellectual property infringement, but recent reports have shown that both identity theft and missing persons have been downgraded as priorities by the FBI, to the point that there are a backlog of such cases."

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372 comments

Elementary my dear Watson (5, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210662)

The FBI exists to protect profits. In fact the government exists to protect commerce, the very basis of our society

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (5, Funny)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210682)

Precisely. Missing people don't pay their bills.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (1, Troll)

madddddddddd (1710534) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210776)

.... until they are found

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211050)

Or, alternatively, missing people do not have a powerful lobby. Well, MIAs in Vietnam had one, but that's about it. It's a bit disturbing though to see how far corporate support goes in shaping priorities. Or the priorities of the American President. Obama's and Biden's hard-on for IP isn't helping.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211102)

Put another way:

There's no money in solving actual crimes. On the other hand, doing the dirty work of the MafiAA is a way to collect some kick-ass bribes.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (0, Offtopic)

rjk94 (1240212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210684)

Someone give countertrolling an "Insightful", being that it's the most insightful comment I've seen on Slashdot in a long while.

so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA lab (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210706)

so that is bigger then going after rapist in the DNA lab?

Re:so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA l (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210764)

Their DNA lab is so backed up, they can't effectively pursue any violent criminals, so evil copyright violators are the low-hanging fruit.

This is the "change" we voted for?

Re:so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA l (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210866)

How does finding rapists and prosecuting them help corporate profits and the economy at large? Women who are raped should just go home and take a shower and get over it, and get back to work so their employer doesn't suffer any loss of profit.

    (in case it wasn't obvious)

Re:so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA l (2, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210886)

Dammit, I enclosed my (/sarcasm) tag in brackets and it disappeared.

And now, stupid Slashdot is telling me I'm posting comments too quickly.

Re:so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA l (2, Funny)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211192)

what an asshole

Re:so that bigger then going after rapist in DNA l (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211004)

Sure, in a society hijacked by greedy corporations.

Actually... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210784)

property rights.

Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the public good.

--- John Locke, 2nd Treatise of Gov't vis-a-vis US Const, 5th and 14th Amendments.

The argument then becomes whether ideas can be property. The US Constitution, by implication, says no - "Writings and Discoveries" are an "exclusive right" only for a "limited time," a clear statement that "intellectual property" is not property at all, but a limited and artificially constructed grant of rights.

Re:Actually... (5, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210814)

Of course, the law of property -- at least for everything beyond what the owner can personally defend against the world by means of force -- is also one of limited and artificially constructed grants of rights. Which isn't to say that copyrights are a branch of property law, but rather that property rights are just as artificial.

Re:Actually... (3, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211096)

You can state that as fact, just as Locke states the opposite. Hobbes vs. Locke, it appears.

the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut; and the ore I have digged in any place, where I have a right to them in common with others, become my property, without the assignation or consent of any body. The labour that was mine, removing them out of that common state they were in, hath fixed my property in them ... The only way whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any, that are not of it. ... The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.

---Locke, ibid.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211266)

what about the perfuit of happinefs?

Re:Actually... (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211234)

To some degree I have to disagree with you in the sense that "property" has always existed and have always been defended by [threat of] force. Adding force of law behind it actually serves to limit the amount and type of force allowed when protecting one's property. In Texas, I can't shoot a man on my front porch, but I can shoot a man in my home. So if I shoot a man in my home and he flies out the door, I had best drag him back in before the police arrive. Also, if someone is outside messing with my car, I can't do much about it because the law prohibits force in that case. It also prohibits any protection method that may result in injury to a potential theif... so no electrocutions or gases or explosives or incediaries.

So what you are looking at is actually the other way around as without property law, people would be permitted to defend their property with deadly force... and while that is still true, the circumstances are severely limited... by law.

Re:Actually... (3, Interesting)

skywire (469351) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211240)

It is odd how "intellectual property" has come commonly to be misapplied to copyrighted works. I'm not sure whether it is due to an intentional propaganda campaign, or just careless speaking. The works themselves are not property. What is property is the copyright. So no, the argument is not whether ideas can be property. Even those who support copyright, if knowledgeable about the Constitution and the law, do not claim that ideas are property. I fully agree with you that a copyright is a limited and artificial monopoly, but it nonetheless bears all the characteristics of property (for which see any introduction to property law), however artificial and unjust you and I may agree it to be.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210792)

Perhaps ironically, this is an extremely common misconception. The actual and official aim of government is to preserve people's liberty.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210818)

Perhaps ironically, this is an extremely common misconception. The actual and official aim of government is to preserve their control over people's liberty and have moron like Mike to vigorously defend them every time they can.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (5, Insightful)

Kepesk (1093871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210810)

I must disagree. Government exists to protect the people and the peoples' resources. It has been hijacked with legal bribes in order to protect commerce over the people. That's what we're seeing here.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (4, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210984)

Protecting "people" is purely an ancillary benefit, as they are more productive if they feel secure and content. The protection of commerce is hardly a recent phenomenon, that of commercial slave trade up until 1860 being a good example. Here again we see the government protecting the property owners above all else at that time also.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (0, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211214)

Without trade civilization is impossible. There is no distinction between protecting trade and protecting people.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (2, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211144)

Actually, the US Government was a limited social contract to secure Life, Liberty, and Property.

Re:Elementary my dear Watson (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211274)

WHO IS JOHN GALT?

Indeed.

Frist post????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210668)

There should be a free market of investigative agencies, with limited oversight by a US government agency that has limited oversight by the people.

Re:Frist post????? (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210804)

Unlimited oversight by the people.

Re:Frist post????? (0, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211236)

There is a free market of investigative agencies. You can look them up in yellow pages under private investigators.

Getting found is as easy as torrenttorrenttorrent (5, Funny)

Pozican (864054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210670)

Next time I'm kidnapped; I'll be sure to start pirating music and movies. Maybe they'll find me!

If you are a missing person please press 1 now... (5, Funny)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210900)

At the FBI, we take customer service seriously.

Missing persons who wish to file a customer service complaint can contact us via telephone, email or postal address:
http://www.fbi.gov/contactus.htm [fbi.gov]

We value your feedback. Have a nice day.

Re:Getting found is as easy as torrenttorrenttorre (4, Funny)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211280)

Just hope your kidnappers use a copyrighted font in the ransom note that they didn't properly license. That should get the FBI on your case.

The economy is in the tank (4, Funny)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210672)

Identity theft and missing persons aren't costing $500 billion a year, are they?

Re:The economy is in the tank (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210754)

The economy is shit precisely because of intellectual property. China will never buy IP - why would they? They can pirate all they want as US police have no jurisdiction. So anyone who produces IP, instead of things that can be exported, represents a net loss of wealth to the country - they take money *only* from other Americans, while spending that money all over the world.

Re:The economy is in the tank (5, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210822)

Every dollar not spent on bad movies and pop music is one more dollar that can be spent on productive industry.

Re:The economy is in the tank (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211232)

That is, until you get to the point where the people in the factories have low morale since they don't have pop music and crappy movies to go home and relax with, of course. Then you lose industry altogether.

Re:The economy is in the tank (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210974)

Identity theft and missing persons aren't costing $500 billion a year, are they?

And piracy is?

Congratulations (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210988)

I think you got the point.

Isn't it amazing what a signature line can get a moderator to do?

Shocking! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210680)

Does the FBI know how many missing persons may have disappeared carring ipods with hundreds, even thousands, of tracks being illicitly enjoyed by their captors, even as we speak, in various isolated cabins, underground dungeons, and seedy motels all around america?

How could they be so blind?

No need to ask (5, Informative)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210692)

Missing persons haven't spent millions in lobbying, while the copyright industries have. It's distressing how easy governments are to buy these days, and the US seems to be doing its absolute worst lately -- they are almost dropping all pretence and simply doing what the corporate masters tell them to do.

Obvious reason (3, Insightful)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210708)

Follow the money.

Ah, if only missing persons were worth more (4, Interesting)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210712)

If there were a missing persons industry, then we could assign an imaginary and excessive value to "loss of profits" due to missing persons. Then they could be considered as valuable as a CD, and the FBI could put more effort into investigating.

Re:Ah, if only missing persons were worth more (4, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210738)

There's an industry of making people go missing in Colombia... I hear its fairly profitable.

Re:Ah, if only missing persons were worth more (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211132)

Indeed. There's at least one radio station that has a regular program which is used to broadcast messages from family to their captive loved ones. Fascinating radio show here:
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/409/held-hostage [thisamericanlife.org]
Listen to act one. There's an industry for kidnapping insurance (rule #1: don't tell anyone you have it).

Re:Ah, if only missing persons were worth more (4, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211140)

If there were a missing persons industry

Human trafficking is big in the US [humantrafficking.org] , bigger than you would expect, and it's flying under the radar.

Mmaybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210714)

. . . maybe it's the copyright infringers that go missing!

hollywood money (1, Flamebait)

mrybczyn (515205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210718)

Hello Hollywood money in Obama's pocket...

Re:hollywood money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211248)

Clearly this is all Obama's doing. Bush, man, he was out there looking for them himself!

Want me to call the Waaambulance? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210732)

I've never seen people piss and moan more than around here. Maybe if you fags would pay for your music this wouldn't be an issue. Maybe you shouldn't be a bunch of fucking thieves. I know I would volunteer to work against copyright fraud because you fucks deserve the beat down.

Re:Want me to call the Waaambulance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210766)

I wouldn't have put it so bluntly, but I agree with you. Power + Money = Corruption. This has been true since the beginning of time. *yawn*

Re:Want me to call the Waaambulance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210772)

I hope you get kidnapped then. Maybe they won't even find your skeleton after you long rot away.

Better Idea (5, Funny)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210758)

Kill all birds with one stone.
1) Every person should be copyrighted
2) Any missing person should be considered abducted and cross filed under copyright theft
3) Any person that has gone missing should be cross filed under identity theft as it could be an abduction, copyright abduction / theft, and a missing person at the same time.

I could find sarcastic ways to connect ident theft & copyrights to possibility of missing persons but I'm lazy.

Re:Better Idea (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210852)

Kill all birds with one stone. 1) Every person should be copyrighted 2) Any missing person should be considered abducted and cross filed under copyright theft 3) Any person that has gone missing should be cross filed under identity theft as it could be an abduction, copyright abduction / theft, and a missing person at the same time.

I could find sarcastic ways to connect ident theft & copyrights to possibility of missing persons but I'm lazy.

It would be better to patent every child born thereby protecting that child under patent law for life.
Remember, the FBI is the government strong-arm of the corporate strong-arm, the IRS. Missing persons do not fit anywhere in the equation.

Re:Better Idea (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210884)

Every person should be copyrighted

Like a number of slashdotters, I was a shy kid. I didn't like birthdays at all, because on that day, I hated being the center of attention. I didn't like being looked at, and I espescially didn't like posing for photographs, or anyone taking my picture or a video of me. And I thought I came up with a great solution. I must have been like 12, but the idea was, I would copyright my likeness, my voice, and my story, everything that made me what I am, and then, in theory, I could control the flow of information about me. Ultimately, I felt, no one could even legally look at me, because to do so, one would have to collect photons that bounced off me, and recreate a likeness of me upside down on their retina, thus violating my copyright. But in the years since I learned something about the law... just because something is possible with the law, it doesn't matter... the law is there for convention. Only convention, that is, what all those concerned with the law agree upon is ok, then it's ok. So... it's ok to punch someone in the face without fear of prosecution... so long as their not rich. It's ok to jail someone for years before trial, because it's done... effectively punishing them before conviction. It's quite effective. Any one that comes up with something very clever and useful in law is going to lose their credibility, no matter how honest they are. The retards run this place. Just go about your business and hope no one notices you.

Re:Better Idea (1)

Chih (1284150) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211044)

1) Every person should be copyrighted

So if this copyrighted person was a filthy rapist, would his victims who were impregnated be accused of illegal duplication? Is this fetal piracy?

Make me copyleft. (0, Offtopic)

srobert (4099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211084)

"1) Every person should be copyrighted"

  OK. But I'll be copyleft. Feel free to replicate me and if you make any improvements in me please pass those along.

Re:Better Idea (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211128)

"Kill all birds with one stone"

You forgot 'sudo'.

Why federal involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210768)

I know some people will say that copyright shouldn't exist at all. But ignoring that argument for a moment, I'm curious why copyright isn't part of state law and not federal. What is the reasoning?

Re:Why federal involvement (2, Informative)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210812)

Copyrights and patents are one of the things the Constitution actually allows Congress to make laws regarding:

Article I, section 8: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries"

The "limited time" part has been completely forgotten in the case of copyright, though.

Re:Why federal involvement (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210824)

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

From section 8 "Powers of Congress" of the US Constitution.

There are some state-level relics as well, which complicate the copyright provenance of certain material; but the federal stuff is explicitly mentioned. I assume that the "reasoning" is that uniformity is convenient, and it makes people with influence happy.

Re:Why federal involvement (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210846)

The constitution.

Re:Why federal involvement (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210872)

I know some people will say that copyright shouldn't exist at all. But ignoring that argument for a moment, I'm curious why copyright isn't part of state law and not federal. What is the reasoning?

Not a legal scholar, but I believe that since the power to establish copyright is explicitly granted to the federal government in the US Constitution, it's presumably forbidden for the states to have their own copyright laws.

Re:Why federal involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210938)

This is more or less true (you are referring to preemption [wikipedia.org] ) but then one enters into the debate of why copyright was established under the Constitution, not just federal law like the OP asked. I don't have any answers myself.

Re:Why federal involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210960)

Should read "not just federal statutory law". /Doh.

Re:Why federal involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211146)

Well, you could ask the framers of the Constitution. Oh sure, they're dead, but they did write a bunch of letters on the subject, and covered it reasonably well.

They expected such things to be interstate, and as such, they needed to put it in federal hands from the start.

Re:Why federal involvement (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211164)

My understanding is, during the drafting of the Constitution, there was at least a significant number of the drafters who favored an approach of writing and constructing the Constitution in a way that any power not explicitely granted to the Federal Government in the Constitution was forbidden to it. So, that might be way it's not "just federal law" - because if you believe that Congress has no power to pass laws not related to some specific power granted in the Constitution, and if you think that nationwide copyright law makes more sense than a State-By-State patchwork of copyright laws, then you grant that power in the Constitution.

Note that the Constitution doesn't actually create any copyright laws - it grants congress the Power to enact copyright laws. Which they have done.

Re:Why federal involvement (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210982)

State copyright law is not expressly pre-empted by the Constitution, so state copyright law can exist unless preempted by Federal law, or where Federal law so takes over the field that there's no real space for state law.

Re:Why federal involvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211098)

State copyright law is not expressly pre-empted by the Constitution, so state copyright law can exist unless preempted by Federal law, or where Federal law so takes over the field that there's no real space for state law.

If there was ever anything that screams "Interstate Commerce", it's intellectual property.

Wrong (4, Informative)

dracocat (554744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210794)

INCORRECT:
The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

CORRECT:
The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs.
The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

I don't know how much the FBI should spend at all on copyright, but it is a bit of a stretch to take the current facts and say that copyright is prioritized over missing persons.

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210844)

Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying. Probably it's that chorus of nerd rage that the well-crafted headline and misleading summary invoked on demand.

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210878)

INCORRECT: The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

CORRECT: The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs. The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

I don't know how much the FBI should spend at all on copyright, but it is a bit of a stretch to take the current facts and say that copyright is prioritized over missing persons.

I would relabel that as "Unsubstantiated" and "Factual", for unless you can prove your former assertion, is too strong a labeling. They could be prioritizing copyright over missing persons like the summary implies, and though this is unsubstantiated quantitatively, it cannot blatantly be labelled "incorrect", unless somebody knows otherwise. [citation?]

Re:Wrong (1)

dracocat (554744) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210968)

True. Wish I could edit it.

Re:Wrong (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210898)

CORRECT:
The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs.
The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

If they have a big backlog in the DNA labs, but they're increasing the manpower assigned to copyright "crimes", then that looks to me like they're prioritizing copyright over missing persons. If missing persons were a higher priority, they would devote more resources to their backlogged DNA labs, so that they wouldn't be backlogged any more, and they wouldn't devote any more resources to copyright.

So it looks like the summary is correct after all.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210996)

If missing persons were a higher priority, they would devote more resources to their backlogged DNA labs, so that they wouldn't be backlogged any more, and they wouldn't devote any more resources to copyright.

Is that sort of like a programming project that's fallen behind schedule? Just throw some more money and programmers at it and everything will work itself out?

How do they devote more resources to their backlogged DNA labs? Swing by Sam's Club and grab a couple of six packs of lab techs? Just drive downtown to that parking lot where the day laborers hang out and ask if any of the guys standing around looking for work happen to be able to perform DNA analysis?

Re:Wrong (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211040)

If they're increasing the manpower for copyright crimes, that means they have money available in their budget to pay those people. Instead of hiring people for copyright, they could spend that money to hire people for DNA labs, or build more labs, buy more equipment to make the existing workers more efficient, etc.

Are you really trying to claim that there's a glut of qualified workers for pursuing copyright cases, and there's zero available workers for DNA labs? Pursuing copyright cases isn't an unskilled job either.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211108)

I'd consider that work on copyright cases is probably easier to bolster since any reasonably competent FBI agent should be able to handle something like that. I'd think that the backlog of DNA cases would take considerably more expertise, more effort, and greater expense to significantly increase the throughput of cases.

Re:Wrong (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211216)

They won't fire people to make budget available for equipment. That's just not how budgets work in the real world. Sure, on paper, one dollar is the same as another, but especially in government, operations and capital are separate and likely are done on completely different processes and without a direct relation to each other. Yes, that has resulted in a purchase of police cars when officers were cut, leading to cars that didn't have anyone to use them. And increasing or decreasing staff is irrelevant to the processing of DNA (assuming they don't have in-house DNA equipment that is sitting idle because the people to run them have been laid off). So firing a person assigned to copyright will not increase anything done at the DNA labs. Perhaps the issue is that copyright is more manpower intensive and missing persons is more equipment intensive and they have budget for more people than equipment, so they shifted to that. And whether that was deliberately done by those who make the budgets would be a separate question.

Are you really trying to claim that there's a glut of qualified workers for pursuing copyright cases, and there's zero available workers for DNA labs? Pursuing copyright cases isn't an unskilled job either.

I'm claiming that if you have one DNA lab designed to be operated by two people, hiring 1000 people and putting them in that lab will decrease, not increase, the work that can be done in that lab. Throwing people at the problem may help, but it sometimes gets in the way. Calling for more people to do a job when it's possible that they couldn't do that job if so assigned seems silly. Call for more staffed DNA labs. Calling for more people for the existing labs may help and may not. Also consider that lawyer is one of the most popular former professions of FBI agents. As such, a lawyer would be more suited to copyright investigations than DNA analysis. Such staffing issues may also be related. Assigning a lawyer to the DNA lab again may hurt more than it helps.

Re:Wrong (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211198)

In this case, it's more like an algorithm than a bunch of programmers. And finding missing persons is an embarrassingly parallel problem.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210916)

INCORRECT:
The FBI is NOT prioritizing copyright over missing persons.

CORRECT:
The FBI has a backlog of missing person DNA to run in the DNA labs.
The FBI is increasing the amount of manpower assigned to copyright.

I don't know how much the FBI should spend at all on copyright, but it is a bit of a stretch to take the current facts and say that copyright is prioritized over missing persons.

Sure, the FBI isn't officially prioritizing copyrights over missing persons.

However, the fact that they're increasing allocation to copyright means it obviously holds more importance. If it didn't, those same funds could be put to use elsewhere on what normal people would consider to be more important cases.

Re:Wrong (5, Interesting)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210970)

Reading the article and some of the fine links (note that quotes are marked, but not attributed) -- to quote one (on identify theft):

"Identity theft is on the rise nationwide, yet in a report released Tuesday, federal investigators lament that the Department of Justice's (DOJ) efforts to combat such crimes have to some degree "faded as priorities."

According to the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (IG), many of the suggestions pitched in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush's task force on identity theft have yet to be implemented fully. As of March, the agency had not even appointed an official to oversee those efforts, according to the report.

Moreover, changes in how the FBI handles related investigations have resulted in an atmosphere in which "the specific crime of identity theft is not an FBI priority," investigators said."

Now, Copyright violation is a civil matter, and identify theft is a crime:

"Well, isn't this just great. Just a little while back, the Justice Department announced that fighting "intellectual property crime" was a major priority. At the time, we wondered if there weren't more important things for the DOJ to be working on. The answer is yes, of course, but the Justice Department has apparently decided to push them off the priority list. A new report on identity fraud notes that it has "faded" as a priority for the DOJ and the FBI. Ah, right, the stuff that actually harms individuals directly and isn't a civil or business model issue? Why focus on that when you can prop up your friends in Hollywood?"

And, yes, the FBI has a horrible backlog (2 years, according to the OIG, if no new cases come in). So, why is the FBI investing in a private police force (for civil matters)? This is a new mission:

"Attorney General Eric Holder Friday announced the creation of a Justice Department intellectual property task force to better tackle domestic and international piracy and other IP crimes. "The rise in intellectual property crime in the United States and abroad threatens not only our public safety but also our economic well being," Holder said in a statement. "This Task Force will allow us to identify and implement a multi-faceted strategy with our federal, state and international partners to effectively combat this type of crime."

Is this not the very definition of prioritization? Yes, I would say that Copyright has been prioritized over missing persons. There was no need to create a Copyright private police force, and an acknowledged need to bolster DNA analysis.

Re:Wrong (2, Insightful)

J Story (30227) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211196)

Change we can Believe in? People might say that this FBI reprioritization is only to be expected and would happen no matter which party was in charge. That may well be, but if so it finally puts to rest the hope that things would be any different for this current administration.

Re:Wrong (1)

teumesmo (1217442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211058)

Funny, aren't the copyright freaks the same people who advocate Corporate efficiency? Except the FBI kicking down your door for copyright infringement is, surprisingly, even more American than being sued out of existence.

I for one believe there's no excuse for the FBI having a sizable enough DNA backlog, that it becomes news, or even worse, common knowledge. After all, this is a simple test, they aren't mapping an individual's whole genome to 4gb files.

Someone should copyright (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210816)

kidnapping and identity theft as "business practices". Then the FBI would hunt down these copyright infringing criminals.

Re:Someone should copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211016)

YOU CANT COPYRIGHT A BUSINESS PRACTICE. You can however PATENT a "business method".

Has hammer, everything is a nail. (1)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210820)

Some of these missing persons will be downloading movies or music, so they'll turn up. :)

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33210836)

Instead of reporting someone missing, just claim he's made a fortune selling DVDs at the street corner and is now looking to settle on a nice beach.

This seems like... (1)

Thad Zurich (1376269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210854)

... Charles Manson decrying the prioritization of murder-kidnap over, say espionage.

Subcontract out the FBI (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210928)

to the RIAA and MPAA

Plant the seed (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210948)

So the best thing to do if kidnapped is to try and convince your captors to download some movies via torrent, burn them to disc, then get the blanket out and sell them on the front law. You would just would have to convince them of the potential money and reassure them that no one gets caught doing so.

Kind of like a reverse Stockholm syndrome power play?

How much worths a life? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33210976)

Well, at least the FBI knows how much. And also knows that *AA ask for copyright violations enough money [slashdot.org] to do several banks bailouts, pay external debt, and even finance a trip to Pandora. Is not their fault that math work that way.

False Dichotomy (4, Insightful)

Skexis (1744642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211048)

The FBI does not exist to investigate one thing OR another. It investigates what crimes are capable of being solved by lab work and field agents who may or may not have any leads. Missing Persons and Identity Theft are two types of cases where the amount of time and money expended is often beyond the department's means to rectify the relative damages caused.

In the case of missing persons, because some of them don't want to be found, or another department has already exhausted their leads.
In the case of Identity Theft, because the perpetrators are often in other countries, where it doesn't make practical sense to send field agents to sift through hearsay or rumor in order to find someone who might be their criminal, and who, if he's smart at all, has since erased the evidence of his theft anyways.

Question about original sources (2, Informative)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211112)

I've looked at the Wired article and the Techdirt articles, and I'm pretty sure I can track down original sources in what might be called the "major media" that discuss the downgrading if emphasis on missing persons. Similarly, I can track down sources discussing the creation of a new task force on IP. What I'm looking for is a major media source that talks about the relative prioritization of these two. Did I miss that in the articles? Does somebody know of one?

If a little blonde girl goes missing (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211120)

they'll be all over it. And you won't hear anything else on the news for a month.

But the farther you are from "little blonde girl", the less you matter.

Field agents don't grow on trees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211126)

Seriously, I think it's easier to find and hire (and cheaper to pay) people to investigate computer crimes. They probably just don't have enough field agents to go looking for missing persons, and who knows if they even CAN find people to recruit for that?

Why hasn't Obama stepped in? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211148)

Just like how he repealed the PATRIOT Scam... I mean PATRIOT Act.

Where is your God now, liberals? He's got his dick firmly in your ass! Mwahahahaha!

Insane amounts of money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211150)

It is hard to know the exact amount of money lost because of people who simply download EVERYTHING they need for free from sites like The Pirate Bay. One thing I do know is that the amount is absolutely massive.

I have been in rooms full of software engineers trading serial numbers and cracks for software that I know their bosses would have bought them a license for if they would have just asked for it.

When I need software I let my accountant contact know and they purchases a license with no problem at all. These other guys just download everything they want for free. It is fekkin ridiculous and yes, we are ourselves a software company.

Literally every professional I know right now illegally obtains every piece of software they need with no thought given to ever purchasing it. They go even further by openly helping other non-techie types get their shit for free. Right in front of everyone in a conference room during a break in the meeting, a lady supervisor brought her MacBook in so this loud mouth engineer could get MS Office installed and cracked for free. W T F ? ? ? They sat there and did it in front of like 10 people like it was nothing!

The problem is WAY out of hand regardless of what you heard from some Slashtard. It costs the U.S. and other countries countless good jobs from lost revenue.

It also pushes us further towards web-based software as a service applications that absolutely suck compared to their off-line counterparts. Companies creating these web-based applications, like Google, have absolutely no respect for personal privacy and are making out like bandits with the situation.

Protecting parts of society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211168)

This is because of political power that effects budgets , laws and decisions made about the running of government in the future. A missing person doesn't have a lobbyist, well paid representatives or lawyers.

Serve and protect**.

Big personal crimes that get an outcry such as rape and murder are still investigated. However if your house is burgled, broken into,or your car is stolen you are asked to come down to the station and fill out a form. This is for insurance reasons , there is never a real investigation. 15-20 years ago it was different the police would , at the very least, actually show up.

Contrast this with the law enforcement reaction to a break in at a corporate office.

** those who hold the purse strings and power.

You get what you vote for (0, Redundant)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211170)

Let's not be hypocritical. I think most people here voted for Obama/Biden. If know what you were voting for with Joe Biden, you know he is an RIAA man. They can and have bought him, but it was you who elected him to power. And then the industry uses the power they bought into the government. So this is all very logical and the consequence of voting the RIAA into your government. There will be much more of this. All of this was brushed away because defeating McCain was all that mattered.

10 Years Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211194)

I realized, that when it come to money, there is too much stupidity in this world to possibly fix.

Value of a person (5, Interesting)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33211200)

The monetary value of a person is known.

I live in New Zealand. Emergency services here run helicoptors. Not just for the old cliche of plucking people of a cliff face, but also for car accidents and medical emergencies in non-urban areas. To provide perspective, a seriously injured person, just 20 minutes from a city may recieve helicoptor service for severe cases.

What defines severe? Is it worth it to the taxpayer?

About 12 years ago, a study was done to put a monetary cost to a citizen loosing their life. Presumably this factored loss of taxable income, consequences of earning potential of spouses, impact and costs to assist a dependant child.

It was in the news even, and it ignited a moral debate. That cost to society was NZ$1,100,000.

The point being, the cost of the helicoptor recovery was less than this, at about $5000 per hour.

We can perhaps conclue the FBI has done some similar sums, but the poor individual has not fared so well in the cost/benefit analysis. Or someone high up has an interest in a copyright litigation practice.

FBI and RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33211254)

I would say that the RIAA and the FBI make a good pair...neither one lets the facts get in the way of what they want!

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