Saturday, December 8, 2012

How Copyright Criminalization Threatens Online Innovation - Forbes

How Copyright Criminalization Threatens Online Innovation - Forbes - Timothy B. Lee:

December 6, 2012 -: "Jerry Brito has pulled together an edited collection of copyright reform essays by libertarians (and one from a pair of libertarian-leaning conservatives) called Copyright Unbalanced.... Jerry’s book promises to be a handbook for free-market copyright reformers....

"I contributed a chapter focusing on a recent development that I find particularly alarming: the increasing use of harsh criminal penalties, including civil asset forfeiture, against online intermediaries....

"In 2008, Congress passed the PRO IP Act, which for the first time allowed the use of civil asset forfeiture in copyright cases. This tactic, which has become infamous due to its abuse in drug cases, allows the police to seize property without convicting, or even indicting, its owner of any crime. The police have used this tactic with devastating effect against startups such as Megaupload, a popular file-sharing site that was shuttered by the federal government in January. The feds seized the Megaupload servers, all the firm’s assets, as well as the personal assets of founder Kim Dotcom. And they have charged Dotcom with criminal copyright infringement and are seeking his extradition from his home in New Zealand."

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