Apparently quite a lot. That is, if you believe the testimony being given by the four “expert” witnesses that testified at a U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. The folks over at kuro5hin.org have an article up with the highlights from this report. The four “expert” witnesses consisted of:
- John G. Malcolm, a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division at the Department of Justice, who’s also testified in the past on online gambling and on why the FOIA should be scaled back in a post-911 era),
- Rich LaMagna, senior manager of worldwide investigations for Microsoft and former intelligence chief at the US DEA (bio available here),
- Joan Borsten, president of Films by Jove, Inc., who had a particularly bad time with Russian pirates and copyright law in distributing classic Russian animated movies, and
- Jack Valenti, president of the MPAA.
What do “warez” groups, counterfeit designer bags, organized crime, and P2P file-sharing have to do with terrorism? On Thursday a Congressional subcommittee invited the US Department of Justice, Microsoft, and the MPAA to come help answer exactly that question.
The kuro5hin.org article has highlights of the testimony from all four “experts”, but it was the good old Jack Valenti’s input that got the belly-laugh out of me:
America’s crown jewels—its intellectual property—are being looted. Organized, violent, international criminal groups are getting rich from the high gain/low risk business of stealing America’s copyrighted works. We don’t know to what end the profits from these criminal enterprises are put. US industry alone will never have the tools to penetrate these groups or to trace the nefarious paths to which those profits are put. For these reasons it is entirely suitable and necessary that the Subcommittee … hold this hearing and illuminate the nature of the problems and the effect on the copyright industries …
September 11 changed the way Americans look at the world. It also changed the way American law enforcement looks at Intellectual Property crimes.
Sounds like he’s hired some James Bond scriptwriter rejects to write his speeches. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big villains Bond fights in his next flick will be a major Organized, Violent, International Criminal Group (OVICG!) The Congressional response for a couple of the Senators would be amusing too if they weren’t taking this stuff as gospel.