isonews.com seized
February 26, 2003 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Justice Department Seizes Top Internet Site Involved In Copyright Piracy "The leading public Internet site dedicated to online copyright piracy was seized by the Justice Department today. Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff and Paul J. McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia today announced the seizure of www.iSONEWS.com as part of a previous plea agreement entered into by a defendant convicted of violating the criminal copyright laws."
Law enforcement seizes computers everyday for one reason or another, but leaving the site up and displaying a rather finger-wagging message is a new one!
posted by quonsar (36 comments total)
 
...and someone keeps hijacking the DNS sending visitors to http://66.201.243.170/ !
posted by quonsar at 4:36 PM on February 26, 2003


j00 h4v3 b33n 0wn3d3#@! #ph33r 4shcr0pht$@!$@
posted by xmutex at 4:39 PM on February 26, 2003


Isonews.com? I hope they burn in hell for what they've done.
posted by holloway at 4:57 PM on February 26, 2003


i managed to ferret out the IP of the seized site, in case you are getting the "new" isonews site.
posted by quonsar at 5:00 PM on February 26, 2003


You'll note that isonews.com went down for selling modchips. Not for listing the latest warez releases. Interesting distinction.

Will the DOJ try to punch me in the cock for posting this I wonder?

Also, may I give a Terry Tate style DAMMMMMMMMMMN to this sentence: Rocci sold approximately 450 Enigmah Mod Chips throughout the United States and overseas in return for approximately $28,000

Nice work if you can get it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:06 PM on February 26, 2003


Let's see what Aschroft and Co. are all about: anti-trust lawsuit against alt weeklies, head shops, only about half of the corporate criminals, denying US citizens legal rights and denying terrorists all rights.

Yea, fantastic. Thanks for going after those alt weeklies. They were a scrouge on democracy.
posted by raaka at 5:07 PM on February 26, 2003


Interestingly, the copyright violation to which the site owner pled guilty had nothing to do with producing or distributing pirated material. Rather:

David M. Rocci, 22, of Blacksburg, Va., who used the online screen name "krazy8," pleaded guilty on December 19, 2002, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, to conspiring to import, market and sell circumvention devices known as modification (or "mod") chips in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

It's a DMCA case. That's right: D-frickin'-MCA. And, according to the DOJ press release, the guy could get five years. For selling mod chips.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:07 PM on February 26, 2003


Something I never understood was how game manufacturers combated mod chips, starting with the first Playstation. They started making games that would not play on modchipped systems, thus meaning that if you had a chipped Playstation, you HAD to pirate the game (since the pirates patch them and make them playable) to play it.

I do not see how it stopped piracy. A lot of people bought chips so they could play Japanese games on their American Playstations and that move just meant that future games (certain ones at least) could not be bought, if they wanted to play them they had to pirate them and if they did not want to pirate them they had to simply avoid the game altogether.

Going after modchip makers and those that sell them at least makes some sense. But doing something that ONLY punishes those that want to play import games always struck me as extremely stupid.


That said, I had never even heard of ISONews before. Was this a well-known site or just a site that was big in that particular scene?
posted by bargle at 5:14 PM on February 26, 2003


I know this isn't an either-or issue, but lemme say it:

One the one hand, the FBI can spend its resources nailing the people who supply mod chips to other people who want to hack their own hardware;

Or the FBI could put its resources toward ferreting out terrorists.

For that matter, it could put a few more resources toward nailing the people who stole billions of dollars in stock fraud, accounting fraud, and other [koff]Enron practices.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:41 PM on February 26, 2003


raaka, the alt-weeklies in question clearly did something that violated antitrust laws (dividing markets between them). Being "alternative" doesn't mean they should get away with that. But this is off-topic on this thread, so I'll leave it at that.
posted by litlnemo at 6:17 PM on February 26, 2003


Why are mod chips even illegal? They give equipment owners the ability to play whatever the hell they want on their machines. Go after the "pirates" not the guys who sell you the means to control your device. The game industry, along with the content industry, expect you to buy the equipment and the games/music but consider backing up the software or music to be a crime and thanks to the DMCA it is.

Sure, the mod chips can be used to play games that aren't officially released yet (overseas releases) just like multi-region DVD players and they let you play a copied game if you choose. They have legitimate uses and hell this is my equipment I'll do as I please with it. It blows my mind that this 22 year old will be in debt for the rest of his days to pay off his legal fees on his deal AND the fine he's going to get AND serve time in prison (probably) because hardware manufacturers don't want you touching the inside of their magic black boxes.

On top of it all, they're seizing domain names (who game then that right?) to point to their absurd pro-industry propaganda. Lets sum up their message.

1. Piracy is copying/selling stuff you dont own.

2. Mod chips let you do anything you want with your machine.

These things have nothing in common but an easy to arrest 22 year old.
posted by skallas at 6:24 PM on February 26, 2003


Watch out, they'll be after sellers of region-free DVD players next. How dare you wish to watch "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in Taiwan! The Corporation does not wish it! To jail with you!
posted by Poagao at 6:36 PM on February 26, 2003


skallas-
the reason why mod chips are illegal are the evil "anti-circumvention" provisions built into the DMCA. Even if some sort of hardware or software has a legit use, if it can be used to "circumvent a copyright", its illegal (c.f. the Dimitri Skylarov - ebook reader case).
IMHO, these provisions are the biggest reason the DMCA is the work of the devil.
posted by dicaxpuella at 6:46 PM on February 26, 2003


Why are mod chips even illegal?
Because it's a lockpick. Lockpicks can be used for theft. The knowledge and discussion of commercial locks is therefore illegal.
posted by holloway at 7:19 PM on February 26, 2003


In related news...
DOJ Redirects Seized Drug Paraphernalia Websites to DEA
posted by Dirjy at 7:26 PM on February 26, 2003


Remember kids, it's the quid pro quo that triggers criminal charges in "piracy" cases. Truly giving it away with no reciprocation, or pure leeching--either one will avoid these, ahem, unpleasantries.

And excuse me for shedding a Single Manly Tear during my reverie of the pre-NET Act good ol' days...
posted by NortonDC at 7:35 PM on February 26, 2003


>Because it's a lockpick.

No, its not a lockpick. A mod chip lets me do anything I want with MY equipement. Run a wacky OS on it. Access the built in hard drive. Play games I made. Doesn't sound much like a lockpick now does it?

If you really believe this then you're sitting on the world's most complex lockpick right now - your computer. To the content industry considers your PC a massive security hole in need of some digital rights management. They don't care about how you use your equipment as long as they can make an example out of someone and yell, "Look a pirate" in front enough legislators.
posted by skallas at 7:35 PM on February 26, 2003


No, its not a lockpick. A mod chip lets me do anything I want with MY equipement. Run a wacky OS on it. Access the built in hard drive. Play games I made. Doesn't sound much like a lockpick now does it?
Genuinely? Yeah, it still sounds like a lockpick. Modchips are about bypassing security and opening up devices to your use.
If you really believe this then you're sitting on the world's most complex lockpick right now - your computer.
Oh stop it, you're blowing my mind.
posted by holloway at 7:49 PM on February 26, 2003


Let's see what Aschroft and Co. are all about: anti-trust lawsuit against alt weeklies ...

Probably should at least mention that they are "all about" a law that Al Gore pushed extremely hard to get passed ... being, as he was, extremely close to the RIAA and others ... in fact:

"WASHINGTON -- 3/6/2002 - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group representing U.S. record companies and labels, has named
Jonathan Lamy as Director, Communications. He replaces Jano Cabrera who departed the RIAA to serve as Communications Director for former Vice President Al Gore's political action committee, Leadership '02."

A bit difficult to make this into a Republican-bshing FPP, isn't it?
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:54 PM on February 26, 2003


MidasMulligan, it wouldn't do very well--there's so much competition.

But then that's the joy of competition, right? Giving us only the finest anti-Republican posts from the infinite possibilites that the Republicans enable...
posted by NortonDC at 8:04 PM on February 26, 2003


Is that all you can do midas?
Jesus. No one said Republican. They said Ashcroft.
I think if the Dem's had done this, the comments, other than your own, would be pretty much the same. Get off it.

If anyone turned this into a partisan debate, it was you, just then.
posted by Espoo2 at 8:07 PM on February 26, 2003


litlnemo, The larger point is that lots of media companies engage in anti-competitive behavior, but only alt weeklies got targeted. That is a misapplication of the law, or application of the law for purely political purposes. For example, McCain asked the Justice Department to look into Clear Channel and other companies. They have not.

Midas, I'm neither a Gore supporter nor a Democrat so your howls of partisan rancor and angry defensiveness are just the tiniest bit misplaced.

Fun to watch though.
posted by raaka at 8:53 PM on February 26, 2003


More from the Washington Post and The Register.
posted by SenshiNeko at 10:29 PM on February 26, 2003


It is a lockpick. But then, lockpicks are legal. And I can pick my own locks in my home whenever I like.

Except, this lockpick is digital instead of analog. Oh, that's different. I wish these tech companies would just come out and say, "Look, we're just going to lease you this stuff from now on. Because we really don't want you to own anything."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:36 PM on February 26, 2003


Probably should at least mention that they are "all about" a law that Al Gore pushed extremely hard to get passed ...

Care to source that?

being, as he was, extremely close to the RIAA and others ...

and this is your proof?--

He replaces Jano Cabrera who departed the RIAA to serve as Communications Director for former Vice President Al Gore's political action committee, Leadership '02.

That is so pathetic, Midas, even for you.

Sorry for the interruption, carry on. Here, I'll help jump start your lame unimaginative rebuttal again:

"Clinton = Evil".

Have at it.
posted by y2karl at 12:41 AM on February 27, 2003


This is an important message from the DoJ to american citizens everywhere:
Bend over, here it comes.
posted by spazzm at 3:16 AM on February 27, 2003


Bend over, here it comes.

I believe that astroglide would also be illegal as it is a circumvention of the built in sphincter security system.
posted by srboisvert at 5:45 AM on February 27, 2003


I just can't believe isonews is gone. Damn our country and their corp-friendly intellectual property rights.
posted by yangwar at 7:48 AM on February 27, 2003


following the logic, a crowbar is also a "lock pick" because you can use it to pry open a door. Should that also be illegal? A baseball bat can be used to bash in a window and allow illegal entry into private property: should we make it illegal? You can throw a brick through a store front and steal a display item: bricks illegal? The list is literally as limitless as the imagination. It seems to be pretty shaky to make something illegal just because it can possibly be used as a "lock pick".
posted by sic at 8:54 AM on February 27, 2003


It just occured to me that this is exactly the same kind of thinking behind gun control: legislating against the tool instead of the deed.
posted by NortonDC at 9:27 AM on February 27, 2003


following the logic, a crowbar is also a "lock pick" because you can use it to pry open a door. Should that also be illegal?
Well I don't think anyone's said that lock picks should be illegal. Modchips are fair, and only break insane laws.

Exactly NortonDC.
posted by holloway at 10:33 AM on February 27, 2003


Even if some sort of hardware or software has a legit use, if it can be used to "circumvent a copyright", its illegal (c.f. the Dimitri Skylarov - ebook reader case).

I'm now taking bets on how long we've got before the Republicrats start using this to seize printing presses and photocopiers.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:16 AM on February 28, 2003


Quick question...When you buy a PS2 or x-box or whatever, is there any end-user agreement that says by using/buying the product, you agree not to modify the system in any way (kind of like an End-User Agreement with software, only for hardware)? If anyone has any idea about this, I'm seriously curious.
posted by jmd82 at 8:51 AM on February 28, 2003


Even if it did try having a EULA like that, jmd, it wouldn't be enforceable. When you own something, you can do what you like with it.

Or, rather, you used to be able to do what you like.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 AM on February 28, 2003


Even if it did try having a EULA like that, jmd, it wouldn't be enforceable. When you own something, you can do what you like with it.
Why wouldn't it be enforceable? I mean, when you buy software, the EULA is still enforceable, isn't it. You can still get in trouble for "sharing" your software.
posted by jmd82 at 10:16 PM on February 28, 2003


You can get in trouble for "sharing" your books, too, if you take them down to the photocopier. There is, however, no restriction on lending them out. Likewise software: it's just more difficult, because you'd need to remove it from your computer first.

When I said do what you like, I mean modify it however you please. There's no restriction on hopping-up your car, sharpening your kitchen knives, using your hammer to drive screws into the walls, or burning your toast.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2003


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