Government’s new anti-piracy effort takes aim at moral compass


A new campaign announced by Attorney general Eric Holder yesterday is taking aim at piracy, but unlike past campaigns that reminded us about laws against piracy, this one asks us to consider the well-being of the economy.

The new campaign, which will apparently run a spot on MTV, brings up the thousands of jobs in the entertainment industry that could be hurt by piracy.

A one-sheet print ad depicts a forlorn crew member and the message, “That pirated movie you just bought…cost someone her job.”

While it’s much easier to sympathize with a lowly crew-member than the rich and famous actors, directors, and musicians that are the more visible victims of piracy, this ad still misses the point. “That pirated movie you just bought” doesn’t exist, and if it does, you’re probably too dull to realize the social implications of your actions. Buying pirated movies? That’s a thing? Welcome to 2011, where this wonderful thing called the internet lets us pirate movies for free. Anyone buying pirated movies doesn’t deserve their money, and it truly is a shame that that money is going towards some two-bit hustler who knows how to download a movie and burn a DVD instead of our poor “forlorn crew member.”

A serious question: Is the real problem with piracy that people are burning DVDs and selling them off as genuine? Or is it the thousands of people who download and watch movies from their computers without ever reaching for their wallet? Seems to me it’s the latter.

For that, Holder has another solution: vigilance. Danger Room reports that holder is expecting us to tattle to the feds if we find out our friends are illegally downloading music or movies.

“Fortunately, we can all be part of the solution. Anyone who suspects an IP crime can visit,, or to report suspected offenses,” Holder said. “The public’s proactive attention to these issues can help us to disrupt the sale of illegal goods; to prosecute the individuals, gangs, and international criminal organizations that profit from these activities; and to stop those who would exploit the ingenuity of others for monetary gain.”

In other words, Holder expects Americans to hold the wider, less tangible social costs of piracy over the up-close-and-personal costs of the awkward conversation you have to have with your roommate when he wonders aloud how the feds found him out.

Photo/Creative Commons/Flickr user John Kannenberg


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