Since when did Homeland Security become the enforcement arm of the entertainment industry?

rollerball by Hot Rod Homepage

Homeland Security Admits That It’s The Private Police Force Of The Entertainment Industry
[Via Techdirt]

We’ve been quite concerned about the legality of Homeland Security’s domain name seizures — especially in cases where they took down sites that had a ton of legitimate content, such as various hip hop blogs, with no due process and no adversarial hearings. One other concern was where Homeland Security’s direction on this was coming from. As we noted, in an earlier similar domain name seizure situation, Homeland Security announced the seizures from Disney’s headquarters — which should raise lots of eyebrows. As we said at the time, imagine any other government agency announcing a third party action that benefits a particular company from that company’s offices. For example, imagine the FTC announcing antitrust actions against Google from Microsoft’s offices. Wouldn’t people question the legitimacy of that?

Well, apparently, Homeland Security and the folks in its Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group have no qualms at all about being quite upfront and frank about both the fact that they’re acting as Hollywood’s private police force and that they have little concern for due process. Entertainment Weekly spoke with Erik Barnett, the “assistant deputy director” for ICE, and he readily admitted that they were taking orders from the industry:

“In general, what we can say is, there are specific complaints from rights holders that these sites were infringing on copyrights.”

That alone should give you pause. Rights holders have a long and very detailed history of greatly over-exaggerating when their rights were supposedly being “infringed” upon. Remember Jack Valenti of the MPAA claiming that the VCR was the Boston Strangler to the movie industry? Why didn’t Customs “swoop in” and block all VCRs from being sold? Why? Because that would be ridiculous. So why is it effectively doing the exact same thing here?


No due process. No warning. Just confiscation of web sites on the word of businesses. Both judge and jury without having to get any of those damned lawyers involved. They are out of control.what happened to the Constitution here? I thought they stopped terrorists and tried to keep people out of the country. Looks like they found easier work – acting as the muscle for business interests.

I guess Rollerball (the original one with James Caan) really was prescient regarding the ownership of government by corporations.

4 thoughts on “Since when did Homeland Security become the enforcement arm of the entertainment industry?

  1. Geez, this must mean that Bush is still in charge. It certainly couldn’t be that Constitutional Scholar, Obama! We are all so much safer with the latter in charge.

    1. Do you really think that ANY Republican following in the footsteps of Bush would be doing anything different? This is not a partisan issue but one that all Americans of any stripe should be worried about.

      As I have written several times, the growth of the Unitary Presidency, something voiced by Nixon and honed by Republicans since is one of the greatest dangers we face. My hope would be that this could be reversed.

      The fact that it is not, that we have a broken Legislature, a corrupt Judiciary and more evidence that the Imperial President cuts across BOTH parties, should not be reason for glee. It means that there will be no reform of our system without major changes of both parties.

      Read about the Fall of the Roman Republic and there are many parallels. The American people are getting very used to all t legislative acts to be derived from what the President wants, not Congress. They are getting used to edicts that come from the President that no longer have any connection with Congress in the slightest.

      This is not an Obama or a Bush thing. This is a broken President, a feeble Congress and corrupt Judges. Do you really think any Republican President would be different? The lure of power and the use of it is too great. It attracts those who want it and repels those who are sane.

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