And note the use of language: Justice Dept. probes for pirates
The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it has launched its federal criminal probe of piracy on file-swapping networks.
Federal agents have searched five homes and one Internet service provider in three states, seeking evidence of criminal copyright infringement, according to a Justice Department statement. The investigation is targeting a specific private file-swapping group called the Underground Network.
“The execution of today’s (search) warrants disrupted an extensive peer-to-peer network suspected of enabling users to traffic illegally in music, films, software and published works,” Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing intellectual-property laws, and we will pursue those who steal copyrighted materials, even when they try to hide behind the false anonymity of peer-to-peer networks.”
The DoJ press release: Attorney General Ashcroft Announces First Criminal Enforcement Action Against Peer-To-Peer Copyright Piracy; The Register - US DoJ searches homes of P2P evil doers; Slashdot Justice Dept. Raids Homes of File Swappers; Techdirt’s Forget Slamming Spam, Ashcroft Wants Those Evil File Sharers
Note that Richard Posner’s perspective on filesharing is particularly ironic given the resources that the DoJ is bringing to bear:
We are in the presence of an arms race between encryption and copying technologies; if the latter prevails in this competition, copyright law will be ousted from one of its domains.
With all due respect for the interests of the recording industry and the file sharers, I regard this particular interaction of law and technology as relatively trivial in its overall social consequences. I am much more concerned about the ability, or rather inability, of the law and other policy instruments to cope with the issues thrown up by the relentless progress of science and technology.
Oh, yeah! New lawsuits, too - Music Industry Sues 744 for File Sharing [pdf] — The Register has a different count, including 152 who refused to settle — Music labels sue 896 more music lovers; p2pnet; Slashdot’s RIAA Sues More Music Lovers