Friday, July 29, 2005

DOJ Busts Some Big Time IP Pirates

The gov't isn't playing games when it comes to IP enforcement. I wonder if this bust will actually put any sort of damper on the trade in illegal IP though. If they really nailed a bunch of top distributors it will probably create a very brief hiccup, but there are sure to be others ready and willing to take the place of the busted. Check out this release, the last paragraph I pasted is the most interesting if you're just going to skim:

'Today's charges strike at the top of the copyright piracy supply chain-a technologically-sophisticated, highly organized distribution network that provides most of the copyrighted software, movies, games, and music illegally distributed over the Internet,' said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richter. 'Cases like these are part of the Department's coordinated strategy to protect copyright owners from the online thieves who steal and then sell the products they work so hard to produce.'

Operations FastLink and Site Down resulted in a total of more than 200 search warrants executed in 15 countries; the confiscation of hundreds of computers and illegal online distribution hubs; and the removal of more than 100 million dollars worth of illegally-copied copyrighted software, games, movies, and music from illicit distribution channels. Countries participating in these U.S.-led operations included: France, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Hungary, Israel, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Belgium, and Germany. Both Operations FastLink and Site Down were the culmination of multiple FBI undercover investigations, but only one of those investigations participated in both operations: the Charlotte undercover investigation responsible for today's charges. The charges announced today reflect the commitment of the United States Attorney's Office to aggressively protect intellectual property rights which are increasingly important in today's information age.

'Operations FastLink and Site Down reinforce the commitment of federal law enforcement agencies to protect intellectual property rights and to maintain the integrity of our copyright laws. Agents of the FBI and their Department of Justice counterpart.
The defendants charged today were leading members in the illegal software, game, movie, and music trade online, commonly referred to as the "warez scene." They acted as leaders, crackers, suppliers, distribution site hosts or site administrators. All were affiliated with organized warez groups that acted as "first-providers" of copyrighted works to the Internet -- the so-called "release" groups that are the original sources for a majority of the pirated works distributed and downloaded via the Internet. Once a warez release group prepares a stolen work for distribution, the material is distributed in minutes to secure, top-level warez servers throughout the world. From there, within a matter of hours, the pirated works are distributed globally, filtering down to peer-to-peer and other public file sharing networks accessible to anyone with Internet access.
U.S. Newswire : Releases : "DOJ Announces Eight Charged In Internet Piracy Crackdown..."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Taking the Bar Exam & Rant

Well, I've just finished the first day of the NY State Bar Exam. I think I did pretty well on the NY portion. Tomorrow is the multi-state part. Needless to say, between the last final of law school and now the Bar Exam I have a good excuse for not having done much blog posting during the last few months, I do miss it though.

On to the rant:

I gotta say, this whole system of the State Bar and their weed out exam pisses me off. There's a multi-million dollar monopoly industry (BarBri/PMBR) out there that thrives on stressing law school grads out about the bar exam. That just doesn't seem right to me. Plus, the quality of the programs is questionable. One thing that annoys me is how BarBri knows it totally skews the whole exam by what they do and do not teach, yet they insist on keeping you for extra days covering minutae in topical areas that really aren't even covered on the exam. I feel like they're just trying to milk us for all the extra cash they can. What a rip-off.

And there's the whole financial hardship of taking the Bar Exam -
(1) you can't work for several months once you finish school because you're studying for this test;
(2) you pay a bit under $3,000 for all the Bar Exam classes;
(3) you're living on loans for another couple months while you study, this is after years of sucking up loans to go to law school, and the cost of living in NYC isn't low so it's a big deal;
(4) since you don't even know if you pass until November you're sort of going to have trouble getting a job if you don't yet have one upon graduation, and who knows how long you'll be unemployed for if you fail at first and have to take it again! You could be unemployed for most of a year after finishing school.

And to top that all off, if you ever want to move to a different state, which is something that I understand Americans do on occasion, you have to go through all this crap again.

Honestly, I'm shocked that practicing lawyers who pass the bar are just fine and dandy with the whole system. I don't want to call my attorney readers a bunch of idiots for not railing on this system with regularity, but c'mon people, if you're not pissed off about the whole Bar Exam system there's something wrong with you. The test clearly doesn't exist to weed out dumb lawyers (I know because I've met some shocking ones), it's just meant as a means of keeping competition out of the state. Maybe that's why everyone seems cool with it, once you pass you think it's actually helping you by keeping out the job competition or something. This is an experience that I will bitch about for years to come.

Anyway, I'm unhappy with it.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Gettin' Paid, Gettin' Rich!

According to op-ed copyright crusader Rose von Perbandt of Bradenton, FL, I'm in the right industry:

"A decent arts attorney charges $2,000 to $3,000 a day! The average cost of intellectual property litigation is more than $500,000."

That may be true if we're talking about the RIAA going after Grokster, but I don't think those are the average numbers for a typical IP case.

Here's the op-ed in it's entirety, not really worth reading though:

SW Florida Herald Tribune - Copyright Infringement Op-Ed

By the way, anyone know a NYC IP firm that's hiring (preferrably one that'll pay me about $2,000 per day)? :)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hillary Clinton needs to get her priorities striaght -- sex scenes in video games vs. money for securing mass transit?

I think my Senator needs to get her priorities straightened out. I don't know if she's trying to put on a happy face for conservative voters or something, but it's not impressive when there's idiocy like this going on in the capital that actually directly negatively affects her constituents. Read on:

Sen. Hillary Clinton pressed on Thursday for a government investigation into how simulated sex cropped up in a modified version of the blockbuster criminal adventure video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."
Saying the problem of explicit video games was "spiraling out of control," Clinton also said she was introducing legislation that would crack down on the sale of violent and sex-laden games to minors.

Technology News Article - Sen. Clinton seeks 'Grand Theft' sex scene probe

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Man charged with stealing Wi-Fi signal

This is insane. - Man charged with stealing Wi-Fi signal - Jul 7, 2005

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