Last week there was a story on TorrentFreak about a copyright monopolist who had gone absolutely insane and sent so-called “takedown notices” to everybody and their brother, from EFF to TOR – basically anybody with a download page.
It’s a complete mystery why this isn’t a criminal behavior. The fact that it isn’t is why it continues and harms innovation, creativity, free speech, and the Internet.
The Swedish Pirate Party had a very clear policy on crimes like this: if you lied about holding an exclusive right to something, the same penalty that would have applied to an infringer of that exclusive right would instead apply to you. This is only fair, after all: you are infringing on the distribution of a creative work by dishonest means.
For repeat offenders, or organizations that committed this crime on a commercial basis or commercial gain, like that idiot record label in the TorrentFreak story – they would be declared criminal organizations and have all their assets seized. The individuals doing so for commercial gain would go to jail for a couple of years.
The thing is, this should not even be contentious. This is how we deal with this kind of criminal act in every – every – other aspect of society. If you lie as part of commercial operations and hurt somebody else’s rights or business, you are a criminal. If you do so repeatedly or for commercial gain, direct or indirect, you’re having your ill-gotten gains seized. This isn’t rocket science. This is standard bloody operating procedure.
The copyright industry goes ballistic at this proposal, of course, and try to portray themselves as rightsless victims – when the reality is that they have been victimizing everybody else after making the entire planet rightsless before their intellectual deforestation.