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Patriot Act Used to Enforce Copyright Law?

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the no-big-shocker-there dept.

Censorship 725

iter8 writes " The Stargate SG-1 Information Archive is reporting that the Feds filed charges against Adam McGaughey, creator of SG1Archive.com. The website is a fan site for the television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that Adam used the website to engage in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. Two interesting things about the charges are that they were apparently set in motion by a complaint by our friends at the MPAA and the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?"

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Article Text (5, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809922)

Site seems very slow already, so here's the article text.

Donate [paypal.com]

Buy T-Shirt [cafeshops.com]

Federal charges were filed against Adam McGaughey, creator of the popular SG1Archive.com website - a fan website devoted to the MGM-owned television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that the website engaged in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. The charges were the culmination of a three-year FBI investigation, set in motion by a complaint from the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) regarding the content of the SG1Archive.com website.

SG1Archive.com is one of the most popular fan-run websites among the Stargate community. In addition to providing very active fan discussion forums, broadcast schedules, production news, and episode guides, the site heavily promotes the sale of the show on DVD. As of this writing, direct links from SG1Archive.com to Amazon.com have resulted in the sale of over $100,000 worth of DVDs. Many more DVDs have been sold to international fans of the show through sites like Blackstar.co.uk. Upon hearing this news, Stargate executive producer Brad Wright called the site "cool" - which Adam took as an endorsement of his work.

However, instead of thanking Adam for his promotion of their product, officials at MGM and the MPAA have chosen to pressure the FBI into pursuing criminal charges. Adam was first tipped off about the investigation when the FBI raided his and his fiancee's apartment in May of 2002 and seized thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment. Adam later received a copy of the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant, and was shocked to discover that this document, prepared by the FBI, contained significant amounts of erroneous and misleading information. For example, two social security numbers were listed for Adam, one of which is not his. References were made to a cease and desist letter sent by the MPAA to an email address that did not exist. His online friendship with other Stargate fans across the globe was portrayed as an international conspiracy against the MPAA. And perhaps most disturbing of all, it was later revealed that the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. The FBI's abuse of its powers did not stop there. When they seized Adam's computer equipment, he was given written documentation stating that it would be returned within 60 days. The equipment that they did return did not arrive until more than 8 months later, and only then after much prodding from his lawyer. Much of it was damaged beyond repair - one laptop had a shattered LCD screen, an empty tape backup drive was ripped apart for no apparent reason, his fiancee's iBook was badly damaged when it was pried apart with a screwdriver. The FBI's computer crimes staff is either incompetent (at least when it comes to Macintosh computer equipment) or else they just don't give a damn.

Adam has has received positive feedback about his site from multiple members of the Stargate cast and crew at fan conventions. In addition, a representative of MGM's fan publication interviewed Adam about his website several months prior to the FBI raid. As a result, Adam sincerely believed that the show's creators did not have a problem with the content of his website. Many other sites are currently serving content of questionable legality, without promoting the sale of DVDs or offering a community for fans to discuss the show. Why the MPAA and FBI have chosen to ignore these sites and target SG1Archive.com is unclear.

Up until this point, Adam has been fortunate enough to receive pro bono legal counsel in his current hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. However, the charges were filed in Los Angeles county. The cost of travel, trial, bond, etc. is likely to be quite high. Unfortnunately, Adam and his fiancee do not have the resources to pay for it all - he is a Macintosh repair technician at a chain computer store and she is a medical student. If you would like to contribute to the SG1Archive.com Legal Defense Fund, please make a paypal donation by clicking the button below. Or buy a T-shirt from the SG1archive store at cafepress.com. Thank you for your support!

Donate [paypal.com]

Buy T-Shirt [cafeshops.com]

Re:Article Text (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810068)

Taht's it! You have now comitted treason by infringing copyrights, causing the death of the American Way Of Life.

Please report for termination. Have a nice day.

The computer is your friend

Re:Article Text (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810155)

> Adam sincerely believed that the show's creators did not have a problem with
> the content of his website

I'm not sure that the opinions of the shows creators have anything to do with it. Adam's beliefs of their opinions are even less relevant.

> Many other sites are currently serving content of questionable legality,
> without promoting the sale of DVDs or offering a community for fans to discuss
> the show.

What other sites are doing is irrelevant.

whoa!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809925)

that is f'ed up.
yo

oh dear (1, Funny)

pbjones (315127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809926)

would the last free minded person leaving the USA please turn the lights on...

Re:oh dear (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809993)

Uhh, the reason for all this is that the guy offered every episode for download, from his site, in ASF and DIVX format.

Just see the Internet Wayback machine [archive.org] for proof.

We are defending this guy why?

Re:oh dear (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810112)

And he got caught by an angry nerd who complained he didn't even offer DVD ISOs ?

He had it coming.

> Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?
I'd be surprised to see what the definition of terrorism has become, since... hmmmm... say the end of last millenium.

I imagine :
1999: Terrorist : a nasty fellow who kills innocent people as a retaliation against their government policy.

2004: Sombody who believes Acronyms should not be considered as gods, especially acronyms in ??AA.

Re:oh dear (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810119)

Uhh, the reason for all this is that the guy offered every episode for download, from his site, in ASF and DIVX format.

Well spotted that man.

We are defending this guy why?

Here we see the dangers of only getting one side of the story. That said, this is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut. They could have simply demanded the ISP remove access to the material. Anti-terrorism measures should not be used for a relatively minor crime.

Re:oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810027)

I know you're jocking but I don't understand why anyone would stay in a country that tends towards the North Korean's model. From a european point of view, it's funny, but I doubt I would laugh if I was inside...

Homer (2, Funny)

bool morpheus() (689231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809929)

In the words of Homer Simpson, this is bull plop! But seriously, it's a fan site. If someone made me a fansite, I wouldn't sue them. Hell, I'd be grateful! Anyone want to make me one?

Re:Homer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809976)

From: the FOX Broadcasting Company and the MPAA

Many thanks for the great idea you've given us, we'll sue every Simpsons' and Futurama's fan sites on the internet.

Yes it is... (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809935)

... Thanks to our pandering polticians, Democrat & Republican alike. Vote Libertarian & stop this silliness.

Jaysyn

Re:Yes it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810002)

Ah, yes, vote Libertarian so we can have have NOTHING to protect us from the MPAA or other rapacious corporate entities. That'll help.

no thank you...

Re:Yes it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810036)

sorry. I misread this to say vote Librarian! no wonder I was confused!

Re:Yes it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810041)

Right on! Who needs highways and the postal system!

Re:Yes it is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810051)

Libertarian? Eh? Pissing your vote away
makes a difference? How? I mean, do you
really think a libertarian candidate has
any chance of winning any office?

Instead, I'd suggest using one of the other
branches of government not as overtly subject
to cash-for-votes: the judiciary. Yea, yea,
judges suck donkey balls like all politicians.
But fed judges have lifetime appointments, and
maybe, just maybe, they'll listen to a good
lawsuit. So, brainstorm with the EFF about how
to best identify a plaintiff. Get a bus load
of nuns and orphans suing to listen to Perry
Como records or something. Don't get some
fscked up freak from 2600 as the plaintiff.

It might not work, but it's damn sure more
likely to have results, compared to the flushing
sound you hear when you cast your vote
libertarian. (Put another way, a libertarian
vote is actually Vote to Invade North Korea
and Iran--after telling the U.N. to go fuck
itself--along with 4 more years of tax cuts for
the richest 2%, paid for my everyone else.)

Re:Yes it is... (1, Flamebait)

dave420 (699308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810151)

Libertarians are just republicans who don't like the word "republican". sheesh. libertarians are the same as all the other politicians.

Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809939)

No, its not. You've merely been suckered by the spin that the PATRIOT Act is in some away a counter-terrorism measure, rather than noticing that the terrorism angle was just to stop you from noticing that the Bill of Rights was being recinded.

Trouble with my nipples (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809999)

Ok. Whatever. Let's rather discuss a much more acute and important topic namely my nipples.

You see, I have a problem with them. They itch and there's red rash all around them. I don't know why.

Oh and yes, I am a guy and before you ask, NO I DO NOT HAVE BITCH-TITS!

Re:Trouble with my nipples (0, Offtopic)

weighn (578357) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810079)

you must have. the only way to get that rash is from bitch tits.
what were we talking about again?

Re:Trouble with my nipples (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810105)

I do not have bitch-tits. I do lift weights though and have superb pecs.

Re:Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act? (2, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810005)

You've merely been suckered by the spin that the PATRIOT Act is in some away a counter-terrorism measure, rather than noticing that the terrorism angle was just to stop you from noticing that the Bill of Rights was being recinded.

The only thing that could rescind the Bill of Rights is a constitutional ammendment. The USA PATRIOT Act is not a constitutional ammendment, therefore every single one of these cases should be overthrown in the federal courts without question. The PATRIOT Act is illegal.

Re:Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act? (3, Insightful)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810038)

every single one of these cases should be overthrown in the federal courts without question. The PATRIOT Act is illegal.

Not yet.

The patriot act is not illegal until it is declared so by the US Supreme Court, and (sorry) it probably won't be declared unconstitutional. Maybe some small parts, but most likely not all of it.

As I saw someone say recently ... (0)

Alranor (472986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809940)

Welcome to America, where it's Government of the people, by the Corporations, and for the Corporations

Of course.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809942)

...everything is a terrorist act now. Haven't you read the text of the Patriot Act? Oh wait, not even the people who voted on it read it...

Re:Of course.. (3, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810158)

If you think about it, anything can be called a "terrorist act".

Shoplifting, for example: steal a can of coke, the state (as in the government and the governing collective) loose x cents taxation. Hence, you have just committed an attack against the state and can be immediatly sent for an indefinate stay at a small jail in Cuba during which friends and relatives may or may not be told about your detention.

Hitler and Stalin would both of envied being able to do such legally. ...ofcourse they won't living in a time where we all ought to be scared for are very lives due to the intense, widespread terrorist activity presently occuring in the USA.

wouldn't be the first time (4, Informative)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809944)

It was invoked in an embezzlement case against a strip club [lisnews.com] -- hardly a matter of national security if you ask me, Tony.

Metafilter [metafilter.com] has some comments too. Apparently the site had downloads of episodes available, despite their claim that it was just Amazon links that got them in hot water.

Abuse? (2, Insightful)

BinaryWolf (792555) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809947)

Sounds to me like just another case of abusing power. The Feds are just taking advantange of the Patriot Act to get all the information the want/need.

Isn't this actually legitimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809949)

I seem to remember that site hosting EVERY stargate sg-1 episode about the time that he got caught. However this is not mentioned anywhere in his "nightmare"

Re:Isn't this actually legitimate? (1)

OlaL (70511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810129)

At least that would explain all the commotion the MPAA & co. have started... I think they would not go to such lengths just to harass a legitimate fan site, right?

Big Brother, meet MPAA (1)

ArmitageX (730054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809951)

The motion picture association of america, eh? Trafficking in Counterfeit services, eh? Exactly WHAT counterfeit services could they be talking about? I hope it's not one of those "I can get you a REAL wookie bowcaster"-type things, where the people filing the charges are simply unclear on the concept of 'fan site.' It seems they're already on the track to to that with suing him for copyright infringement. Of course, I know nothing about what he actually did or didn't do. Another chink in the walls of out rights online appears....

Very Interesting, But Quite Old (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809953)

Did anyone notice this bit on the SG-1 Archives forum post about this [sg1archive.com] :

Posted: Mar 30 2004, 11:46 PM

Surely this is interesting and all, but VERY outdated. I would think there is quite likely some more current information available. What has happened in the last four months?

Re:Very Interesting, But Quite Old (1)

Xiver (13712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810088)

Duh... it is the court system, nothing has happened.

</its funny laugh>

One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (4, Informative)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809958)

*BREEEEEET!* Blatant FUD, twenty-yard penalty!

Firstly, as one of the comments on the MetaFilter [metafilter.com] page on the article points out,
The Patriot Act amended many laws that were already on the books that were not directly related to "national security." (Amendements to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are just one example.) Waving that flag around is just a misunderstanding of the Act.
Secondly, other comments on that same page (as well as the US DOJ press release [usdoj.gov] ) point out what the somewhat self-serving press release does not: sg1archive was hosting copies of Stargate episodes for download. Directly; apparently Mr. McGaughey wasn't even smart enough to use an peer-to-peer intermediary so he could claim he was just linking, not hosting.They were apparently low-rez rips intended to allow fans to catch up on missed episodes but not something you'd want to keep, but I'm afraid that's not a positive defense to copyright infringement. Neither is "But we were helping sell the DVDs" (despite what peer-to-peer folks would have you believe) or "Gee, but the people who made the show liked my site, really!"

It's a shame that his computer equipment got trashed, but the FBI (and other law-enforcement agencies) are somewhat prone to do that over the course of an investigation. If you don't even check online FAQs about what constitutes copyright infringement (anime fansub and fanfic FAQs were doing an adequate job of covering that more than ten years ago; I'm sure there are even more comprehensive ones out there by now that would have told him this was Not a Good Idea) before you go ahead and do it anyway, you deserve what you get. This is not another Steve Jackson affair [eff.org] , folks.

And I won't even go into what a Google Groups search [google.ca] on Mr. McGaughey turns up...though if you click on that link, the blurbs from the posts it displays are fairly instructive without even clicking on any of the articles to display the full text.

I only wish I hadn't kicked in $5 to the guy's legal defense fund before I found out about all this. Oh well, it'll teach me to do a little research first next time.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809984)

Waving that flag around is just a misunderstanding of the Act.

Which just goes to show that the act's promoters were basically lying, since that's the flag under which they sold it.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (2, Insightful)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810059)

Waving that flag around is just a misunderstanding of the Act.
Which just goes to show that the act's promoters were basically lying, since that's the flag under which they sold it.Then you'd have to accuse Congress of lying about just about every law they pass, given how many riders that are completely unrelated to the main thrust of the act get slapped onto bills of all kinds these days.

Complete text of the PATRIOT Act available here [epic.org] , BTW.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810082)

...Congress of lying about just about every law they pass...

+5 Insightful

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (2, Insightful)

kwoff (516741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810085)

Then you'd have to accuse Congress of lying about just about every law they pass
I hereby accuse Congress of lying about just about every law they pass. All in favor, say aye.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (3, Insightful)

Alranor (472986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810165)

Well, in their defence, didn't one of them state in Fahrenheit 9/11 that they don't even bother to read the text of the laws they pass?

So they may not all be liars, some of them may merely be incompetent morons with the intelligence of the common garden slug.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (2, Insightful)

kai5263499 (751741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809994)

It's a shame that his computer equipment got trashed, but the FBI (and other law-enforcement agencies) are somewhat prone to do that over the course of an investigation.

I can understand damaging a component if it were hindering their invistigation. But prying open an iBook with a screwdriver, damaging the screen?
That's just plain evil.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (1)

Xiver (13712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810043)

Thanks for the heads up. I was looking at buying one of those shirts when I read your post. Sigh... I should know better by now.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810081)

I've gotten things of the net, and then bought them; and will continue to do so.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810083)

Dude. It wasn't a one-side press release.
It was just his symbiot speaking for him.
Sheeeze.

Give a little wistle (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810093)

Don't wistle a song in the park, your breaking copyright.

He should have used 5 second clips.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (5, Insightful)

schmaltz (70977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810111)

The Patriot Act amended many laws that were already on the books that were not directly related to "national security."

It would be nice for you if that were the whole story, but it's not. It should be written "amended many laws that were already on the books so that the FBI wouldn't need to be distracted with pesky Constitutional requirements such as judicial oversight.

Whether this guy willingly broke copyright law, which it sounds like he did, is another matter. Whether copyrights, previously litigated, should be a matter for door-kicking-in police/feds, is an issue that needs to be revisited.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Re:One-Sided Press Release; FUD-ridden writeup (1)

maximilln (654768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810156)

It's a shame that his computer equipment got trashed, but the FBI (and other law-enforcement agencies) are somewhat prone to do that over the course of an investigation

There's still no excuse for it. If OJ can get acquitted because the police didn't properly tape off the crime scene then this guy should be acquitted just because the government demonstrated wholeheartedly that it's a conglomerate of clumsy guidos just looking to push people around.

The FBI hates all of you. (-1, Troll)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809960)

The FBI despises anyone who actually goes and does something that people pay attention to. What the FBI, as well as most of the federal government, wants, is for people to sit down, shut up, watch TV, mow the lawn, grow old and die, and stay the hell off the streets and away from the internet. Don't be writing to your congressional representatives, or writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper, or engaging in dialogue or protest, or putting up websites in support of a TV show you like, or anything else that in any way could be construed as rocking the boat, or you'll be branded a terrorist. That's what Adam McGaughey did wrong... rather than just watch a TV show and enjoy it silently in the comfort of his home, he put a website telling about how much he enjoys the TV show, and included information about it, and helped to organize fandom of the show, which the FBI considers a no-no. Don't rock the boat. Don't organize people. Don't talk to people. Don't sell stuff. Don't do anything that anyone can see or hear, ever, or the FBI will investigate you, break down your doors, and take everything you own as evidence.

not quite as innocent as it seems (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810101)

He also put up episodes of the show for download on his site. As previous posters have said, driving DVD sales and being liked by the show's creators does not negate copyright infringement. The FBI doesn't hate people who runs fansites, the FBI busts people who break the law (not to say they've not abused their powers in the past, but I certainly don't see this as a case of abuse of power); which is exactly what this guy did.

I've no sympathy at all.

Re:The FBI hates all of you. (2, Informative)

media_Assassin (176375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810143)

Originally posted by The I Shing
That's what Adam McGaughey did wrong... rather than just watch a TV show and enjoy it silently in the comfort of his home, he put a website telling about how much he enjoys the TV show, and included information about it, and helped to organize fandom of the show, which the FBI considers a no-no.


Ummm - no - what he did was host .zip archives of the copyrighted cable show which the FBI considers a no-no.

Re:The FBI hates all of you. (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810168)

Well, that and he directly hosted full length captures of the shows. But let's not bring sordid facts into this, you've got a good angry rant going there.

Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809961)

Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?

It would appear so.

EULA:

By reading my IP you hereby take the legal status of enemy combatant and give up all your rights under the Geneva convention.

You will move to a special facility in Cuba (Rura Penthe;) prehaps ) where you will stay for the rest of your natural life.

Sounds like a case for the ACLU. (1)

thbigr (514105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809963)

I wonder if this is a good case. I sure would love to see another Supreme Court on the Patriot Act.

Oh yes, no of course this is not an act of Terror.

why send him through the courts (1)

phantasma6 (799340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809964)

when we can just /. his server? :P

Now... (2, Interesting)

gregoryb (306233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809965)

Sigh... well, at least there's some more evidence to cite _against_ the Patriot Act, so when its supporters challenge "Show me evidence of who it's actually hurting and rights its infringing.", we can point at specific things.

Re:Now... (1)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809992)

Sure, you can point at specific things. Just not this.

Did you know the first amendment infringes your rights to look at child pornography!?

The horror!

It's still illegal? (2, Insightful)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809968)

Is copyright infringement a terrorist act?

No, but it is still illegal.

Am I the only one who thinks people shouldn't break the law?

Just because you don't agree with the law doesn't mean you should break it. CHANGE it.

Re:It's still illegal? (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810017)

Just because you don't agree with the law doesn't mean you should break it.

I wonder how hard it would have been for him to get approved pictures. The site was helping them make money. They could have given him rights to the pictures n stuff. But, he could have asked.

Re:It's still illegal? (3, Insightful)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810076)

See this [slashdot.org] from above. Seems like he was doing worse than just posting pictures without permission.

Here goes Slashdot blowing things out of proportion again. I'm shocked.

Has anyone here actually read the USA Patriot Act? Or the 9/11 Commission report? Or written their Congressman?

Everyone just bitches on Slashdot. No wonder nothing ever changes.

Re:It's still illegal? (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810147)

Everyone just bitches on Slashdot. No wonder nothing ever changes.

So, your saying that those on /. are like my winey bitchy ex gfs. Oh, that's just too funny.

Re:It's still illegal? (2, Interesting)

deimtee (762122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810067)

It is my understanding that copyright infringement is actually a civil matter, roughly equivalent to breech of contract, and not a criminal matter at all. Therefore, no it is not illegal, but it is sue-able.

Re:It's still illegal? (2, Informative)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810116)

Incorrect.

Copyright infringement can be either a civil [copyright.gov] or a criminal [copyright.gov] matter, partially depending if someone was making money from the infringement.

Not the point! Think about INDUCE. (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810090)

You're seriously missing the point.

The point is not that he was or was not breaking the law. The point is that this is yet another case of a law being applied outside its original scope.

Every time some new law comes up, people say "what if the law's abused, how about putting in some clauses describing how it's supposed to be applied, so it can't be abused". The lawmakers and other defenders of the purity of our bodly fluids say "CLEARLY the FOO act would never be used for BAR, and your clause would allow some tiny fraction of FOOmeisters to go free!"

So what happens? You get the DMCA being used to enforce toner cartridge and service and support monopolies, RICO being used against churches, and so on...

So here we have the INDUCE act. People have pointed out that it could make VCRs and iPods illegal. Apologists argue that they'd NEVER ban a USEFUL technology, they'd only go up against BAD people who are pushing CRACKING SOFTWARE and PIRACY NETWORKS and scary stuff like that.

Wrong. If a law can be applied in any way... however inappropriately... it will be. Whether it's the Alien and Sedition Act, the PATRIOT act, RICO, the DMCA, or INDUCE... laws like these are an attorney's field of dreams.

Re:Not the point! Think about INDUCE. (1)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810166)

The Patriot Act, at it's core was designed to prevent people from breaking the law. It was aimed primarily at terrorists, but if it can help us catch other people breaking the law, great.

If it can catch my daughter's murderer (hypothetical), then I'm all for it.

There is nothing in the Patriot Act that says it should only be used for terrorism. Just like the Bill of Rights doesn't give the specific right for women to have abortions, but people "read into it" and now people do have that right.

The obvious question. (1)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809971)

"[..] the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?"

This raises the obvious question. Is the Patriot act really about terrorism?

Re:The obvious question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810045)

No the patriot act is about taking away freedom.

Wow (2, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809974)

This is certainly the next step down in the slippery slope. Can you imagine the FBI then subpoenaing PayPal and getting the names and addresses of everyone that contributed?

Re:Wow (1)

jlgolson (19847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810011)

No, because the donating money to a defense fund is not illegal.

Duh.

Now if you anonymously sent him a kilo of coke to "assist" in his defense, what would you have them do?

I would have them track down whomever sent it.

What's the difference here?

Re:Wow (1)

dave-tx (684169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810092)

Can you imagine the FBI then subpoenaing PayPal and getting the names and addresses of everyone that contributed?

That's one reason I won't contribute... In the current political climate, it wouldn't surprise me if anyone contributing to his defense fund was classified as "supporting a terrorist".

Yes, that's a stretch. But really, considering the Patriot Act was invoked in this case, which had nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, I don't see it being worth the risk.

FBI Theme Song (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810126)

(you already know the tune)

Here we go down the slippery slope,
The slippery slope, the slippery slope.

Here we go down the slippery slope,
The Bill of Rights is gone!

This message brought to you by the MPAA, RIAA and BigBizness(tm)(r)(c) Everywhere! Today's letter is C. C used to be for Citizen, but in todays BraveNewWorld(tm)(r)(c) it stands for Terrorist.

Un-patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809979)

It is not very patriotic to use a law like this. This is misuse. By misusing laws, it weekens them for their intended purposes.

Criminal? (1, Interesting)

Remlik (654872) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809980)

I was under the impression copywright violation was a civil offense?

Will they be charging college students who plagiarize geology papers to get an A?

Change the damn law (3, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809982)

... the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP.
The reality is that law enforcement in the United States is going to use every tool at their disposal to try to catch the bad guys, provided the tool doesn't cost too much. Laws can be invoked for (basically) free, so they get used, abused and stretched a lot.

This Patriot Act thing really needs to be refined. While parts of it may be good, it's worded so that it can be invoked in far too many cases. This escapade with The Stargate SG-1 Information Archive is just the latest example.

Will the law be redefined? The Powers That Be won't do it on their own, as the Patriot Act is (according to their collective mentality) too good a tool to throw away or change. The public needs to call for the change, loudly.

Makes you think.... (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809985)

Is copyright infringment now a terrorist act?

Well, I guess it could be reasoned that since much of the US economy is based on IP, then this would be a terrorist act because it undermines the very fabric of the country..........yeah, right. Seriously though, while I am all for copyright protection and laws protecting intellectual property, one would think that the toolbox of laws used to prosecute such crimes as IP theft would be carefully used, particularly when they come from a set of tools designed to protect the nation from terrorism. However, there are those in law enforcement that will use whatever tools happen to be at their disposal whether they are appropriate or not for the case, never mind the right tool for the right job metaphor. This example is exactly why sweeping laws that fall under wide ranging legal jurisprudence should be VERY carefully applied and under constant review. If not, we are putting in danger our freedom.

Give a cop a tool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9809987)

...and he or she will use it anyway that's helpful to the cop. This is precisely why you do not grant power to law enforcement via laws unless it is absolutely necessary, for you can be sure someone, somewhere will corrupt the intent of the law to make it convenient for them. Not for you.


Power corrupts. Therefore be very careful about giving away power.

The Patriot Act... (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809989)

...is it no evil that can't be done in it's name?


I wish I could say that last sentence was funny... but it's frankly plain scary. I mean, it's reasonable to assume that if the FBI had wanted, there are other laws they could have used to obtain the same information (maybe there is something in the laws on copyright, for starters?), right? It's like shooting bluetits with cannons...


It's things like this that makes me happy I decided against trying to emigrate to the US. Seeing how things _apper_to_be_ right now, I imagine there would be twentyfive FBI-officers tasked with keeping an eye on me in case I happened to mention that there are things in the US that could be changed for the better... as well as half a dozen RIAA / MPAA employes attempting to gain access to my harddrive to see if I got any mp3s stored on it.


And for the homour impared.. I'm trying to be funny about a serious issue here.

Re:The Patriot Act... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810117)

Seeing how things _apper_to_be_ right nowWell, keep in mind that there is a WIDE gap here between appearance (via the media somewhat, and ./ especially) and reality. I would still maintain that the US is among the freest countries in the world.

Look at this (5, Informative)

Almace (216500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809991)

Gee hosting [archive.org] episodes of a show on your website never causes any problems. How evil of them to enfoce thier copyright.

Is the MPAA that dumb (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809995)

Is the MPAA really the dumb. Let me get something straight...

She site helps sales of their products (DVDs) and build hype around the show so more people can get into the show. And, they are complaining. wtf is wrong with them. Did the MPAA smoke one to many crack pipes. A site that costs you nothing and helps you earn money.

The MPAA needs to learn a little something about advertising. Especially when it's free to them.

Re:Is the MPAA that dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810024)

No, the problem they had with it was that the guy offered every episode for download directly from his site in ASF and DIVX format, something he conveniently forgets to mention in his plea for donations.

See this post [slashdot.org] for more details and proof.

Re:Is the MPAA that dumb (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810062)

site helps sales of their products (DVDs)

By providing a complete collection of SG-1 episodes for download?

This is what... (4, Insightful)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809997)

the rest of the country dont think would happen, or hopes never happen. These isolated incidents are just the harbingers of numerous other instances where FBI and other law enforcement agencies under the clout of Ashcroft will use their newfound power, power that was bestowed on them by our representatives, in the name of making this nation more secure against faceless terrorists, to serve their corporate masters.

What we as a collective need to do, and need to do now, is to take a look at the ambiguities in this act, and the scope of it and put down strict guidelines as to when and where it could be enforced and put some damn oversight while you are at it.

The Govt has cleverly chosen depictions of late night arrests and mysterious black cars/helicopters as the evidence of a communist/totalitarian regime. They hope you would never equate that with Feds in uniforms. They hope to turn your attention to daily terrorist warnings, to turn your attention away from the extent to which these antiquated laws can be abused.

You all have a clear choice this November. Even if that choice is starkly different from the other half of the nation, act now to ensure you still have civil liberties when all this is over.

Re:This is what... (4, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810122)

"You all have a clear choice this November."

Do we? I keep forgetting that /.'ers convieniently ignore the fact that Kerry isn't repealing the PATRIOT Act. Go to JK's website, do a search for "patriot act". There's no talk of repealing it, only "enhancing" it. And we all know what "enhance" means to a politician: take out the obviously scary stuff, and put in less-obvious scary stuff. I mean, the talk of "intelligence sharing" and "terrorist lists" should be raising big red alarms in your heads, but since Kerry's not Bush, it doesn't... or something like that.

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2 00 4_0417a.html

If you think Kerry is just going to hand you everything you wanted on a silver platter because he's "not Bush", you're foolish and naive. You'll have civil liberties and rights with whomever wins. I find it repugnant how members of both parties have resorted to scare tactics at this point.

-Erwos

need more info... (2, Insightful)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9809998)

I am not sure we are getting the full story here. I think he obviously did something to trip up the MPAA and cause the to play the "patriot act card". I am not saying the MPAA or the FBI is right for what they are doing but he must have done something to get thier attention.

google cache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810001)

He's having legal money troubles, let's not give him bandwidth bill problems as well.

Google Cache of text [google.ca]

Actually.. (2, Insightful)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810007)

There is no real definition for a 'terrorist', which gives the US government any amount of power that those in charge see fit to use. I could be labeled a terrorist just for typing this!

Can we boycott Stargate now? (-1, Troll)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810013)

I wouldn't mind, never found enough willpower to watch a whole episode.

MacGyver in space is just too much.

This used for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810014)

The casino profits will be used for schools...

The Patriot act is to fight terrorism...

The XXX will be used for YYY...


Nothing new here.

The other side of history! (4, Informative)

eske (211780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810018)

from boingboing:
Matthew sez, "There's a press release on the US DOJ site from April 2004 describing the charges. From this, you can learn the guy's name: "Adam Clark McGaughey". (link: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2004/050.html)

The funny thing is that after searching google groups for "Adam McGaughey", you find a bunch of people that seemed to have been ripped off by him around 2002 on some SG-1 sites (as well as ebay) (make sure you sort by date to get more recent stuff). (link: http://groups.google.ca/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8& scoring=d&q=%22Adam++McGaughey%22&btnG=Search)

I won't comment on any of the stuff here, but it's some interesting extra information that adds to the story.

So lets clap the horses...

MPAA == Unscupulous Liars (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810031)

It's very clear from the article that the MPAA committed outright fraud and lied to the FBI.
They also abused laws and I would not be surprised if they were the ones that damaged the equipment.

Perhaps the FBI are in leauge with them. How else could such gross incompetance be explained.

The MPAA should face charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and the FBI should be put under review.

Oh wait. This was a little guy and the MPAA has a lot of money. Ergo, the law does not apply. They probobly threatened the guy with legal action when he asked for his stuff back.

Expect such underhanded dealings when the MPAA drags 12 year olds/protestors/Apple/Independant Movie makers into court.

Funding a terrorist organization (5, Interesting)

dykofone (787059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810040)

If you would like to contribute to the SG1Archive.com Legal Defense Fund, please make a paypal donation by clicking the button below.

The FBI claimed that SG1Archive was part of an international conspiracy, raided his home, and used the Patriot Act to obtain his financial records. Man, I'd hate to see what they do to the people that fund this kind of site...

Kidding aside, I'm kind of curious as to what happened. This is definitely a biased article, but what were the official charges brought against him, where do the chargest stand now, and why did the MPAA get the feds instead of just sue?

Here comes a rant (4, Interesting)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810044)

How many times will the misuse of this 'Patriot' act occur before we get enough politicians to support its repeal (I would say rework but IMO the partisanship in America will prevent that)?

Proof that this act was dangerous came in the 1st weeks when the Vegas strip-club owner got arrested. This act has also been used against kiddie-porn and drug traffickers. Although I like the fact that these bastards get caught, the ends do not justify the means.

This case proves that government and business have gotten to intermingled and inbred, and every politician aligned with these afronts needs voted out. Normally, I would say the erroneous affadavit would lead to his acquittal but I cannot predict our justice system anymore.

As soon as this guy can afford it, a massive counter-suit against the MPAA, MGM, and the government needs to be filed.

Wayback machine (5, Informative)

mattso (578394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810065)

Looks like up until Jan 2002 he was actually linking copies of all the shows as ASF and AVI files. It's hard to tell if he hosted any of them, but the site does claim some of them came from the site itself.

In Jan 2002 the site "changed" into a fan site/info site.

http://web.archive.org/web/20011012011922/www.sg1a rchive.net/ [archive.org]

Re:Wayback machine (1)

kai5263499 (751741) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810128)

It also looks like the ASF download links are still active.

-Wes

Definitely terrorism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810131)

Anyone who hypes or increases awareness of SG-1 is a terrorist. And anyone who distributes info on Enterprise is guilty of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9810137)

Before passage: "This is only for terrorists, don't be so paranoid."

After passage: "We wouldn't be doing our jobs, if we didn't use every law enforcement tool at our disposal."

what a bunch of f%king idiots (1)

FlutterVertigo(gmail (800106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810141)

web sites and online resources are part of the lifeblood of many series, particularly those on the "off stations" - those not on the standard affiliate networks. I could see it if there were things which slammed it because they think they got screwed or something, but this type of thing has been around for a long, long time. Go back through usenet and dig very, very deep to see how many tv shows were being discussed back then. I've been on more than fifteen years, making me a newbie to many people - but shows were discussed then (only there wasn't a web - we had to use usenet, email, and FTP, archie, veronical, etc.)

If some of the people involved with the show realized just how much time & effort is injected to all of these resources, they could probably extend a lot of shows simply becuase there would be a better reckoning of taking a viewer count.

Do Further Research! (2, Interesting)

prezkennedy.org (786501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810145)

This article just goes to show that sometimes a little more research into the topic at hand might bring up some juicier tidbits. After reading *just* McGaughey's website I thought "wow that's horrible", but after reading some of the stuff mentioned on Google Groups and elsewhere has lead me to believe this guy is just a scammer getting busted (or raising the stakes even higher). Slashdot has just sent an avalanche of unsuspecting users to his website, and no doubt there will be a few suckers donating to his "cause".

Site actually did violate copyright laws... (1)

TREETOP (614689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9810170)

With all the outrage generated by John Q Public (the easily manipulated ones) over this site, the original article fails to mention that he did violate the rules. HE WAS HOSTING EPISODES OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL, WITHOUT EXPRESSLY WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE OWNERS OF THAT MATERIAL. The article makes it sound like he had an agreement with those owners, but if you read closely, nowhere does it say that he obtained permission to do what he did. I agree, calling out the FBI on him was a little over the top, but the MPAA (and the RIAA) just love having the government do their work for them. That way, they don't have to pay lawyers to do it for them: Its free...when you can claim you've been damaged by others actions and can point to a new "law" for compensation. Now I'll grant that there wasn't a huge crime here. He did have content that was previously broadcasted. And I don't think theres a single fansite out there that could slide free of "copyright" infringement charges, should the owner of the copyright get pissed enough. I can only say one thing, If I create something of value, do not assume that I will allow you to duplicate, replay, or archive for later public display without my permission. If control is granted through the letter of the law, then that law is what will protect my rights from the thieving lot of scum that all the rest of world has living in it. And you know who you are.
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