Crack Down

Looks like the FBI is getting ever more serious about copyright violations. This is good, as I feel strongly that they’ve been frittering away too many precious resources on frivilous pursuits, like catching killers and stuff.

Yesterday in Arizona, and allegedly in other places as well, the FBI raided Deer Valley School District: FBI agents raided the Deer Valley district’s Administration Services Center, just south of Deer Valley High School in Glendale, at 6 a.m. and stayed most of the day. The site houses the district’s information services and technology offices, essentially the “brains” of the district’s computer system, said Timothy Tait, district spokesman.

Interestingly, this copyright violation seems to be in reference to music and movies, not to software, which I would think is a much more viable target in cash-strapped schools.

Perhaps the FBI should be cracking down on poor editing at kpho.com (emphasis mine): Those agents will only confirm that they’re investigation does not involve terrorism or any kind of a threat to students.

Fortunately, the local Fox affiliate asked the tough questions: NewsChannel 3’s Olivia Fierro asked the FBI spokeswoman on the scene if the search was related to possible child pornography. Susan Herkskovitc said that people should not jump to any conclusions, and reiterated that the warrant is sealed. Cute.

Ars Technica’s Eric Bangeman writes: While this may be just the first in a series of law enforcement actions, it’s also possible that yesterday’s raids were a warning shot intended to put the fear of God into schools and school district network admins. What is glaringly apparent is that the DoJ is getting serious about cracking down on copyright issues. It’s a shame that they are more concerned with shielding the industry than looking out for the rights of consumers. Well put, although I do think many people, especially in education are horrendously guilty of copyright infringement, but have a tendency to stick their fingers in their ears and yell, “FAIR USE! FAIR USE!” That said, I do hope this is only a warning shot. If not, there are dark days ahead.

For more reaction and gnashing of teeth, read the related Slashdot discussion.

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