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December 2, 2006

The MPAA is above the law

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Jones @ 12:00 am

For years we’ve heard stories of politicians playing the “child porn” card to get laws passed. You know, the “we need this to fight child porn, so if you vote against it you’re supporting child porn” argument. The same goes for Terrorism. As Techdirt points out though, it’s now shifted to the “illegal downloading” defense.

I’m talking about how California created a bill that would make pretexting illegal and allow victims to sue. If you don’t know what pretexting is, it’s the practice of pretending to be somebody using ther information to obtain other would be private information about that person. It’d be like your company using your SSN to call your cell phone provider and get your call logs.

Sound familiar? It’s what HP did in their recent board member scandal.

Anyway, the bill which originally passed was shot down after the MPAA got involved. They claimed that they needed to use pretexting to stop illegal downloading. My question is: What gives the MPAA the right to break the law to stop people breaking the law?

There’s no question piracy is illegal, and I don’t support it. I also don’t support private companies being able to break the law without being punished. Cops can’t offer to sell you drugs then arrest you (however if you ask them first, it’s fine.) The same should hold true here.

What the Techdirt article doesn’t mention is the MPAA’s DVD sniffing dogs that can detect large shipments of pirated DVDs. Granted, this is a great crime stopping idea but what gives the MPAA (a private company) the right to sniff anybody’s package? I’m sure we’d easily be told where to go if my company tried to get access to airport packages.

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