Letters of Marque

In days of yore, enterprising folks could obtain permission from the crown to hunt down and clobber pirates on the high seas. (I think the crown got a percentage of the take, and no one was too fussy about the techniques that they employed).

Hollywood’s latest antics here are similar; the fat cats want the ability to snake their way into your computer and start blowing stuff away, if they have reason to believe you’re violating the copyright of content they own the rights to. All they have to do is tell the DOJ about the techniques they’re using. Your legal recourses appear to be few and ineffective.

This is unbelievably good stuff. It makes the record companies one of the most powerful forces in the land. Was your firewall breached last night? Oh, that attack was perfectly legal; the record company informed the DOJ of its cracking technique last week.

Is this a recipe for legal hacking? Publish some cheezy album, give the tracks some popular and enticing names, let the tracks spread through the P2P networks for a few months, and then tell the DOJ “Oh, we’re going after these guys.”

Anyone could do this. Expect the FBI to release a “greatest hits” album soon.

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