It’s an international problem that costs the entertainment industry 6.5 billion dollars yearly.
Kids, downloading movies, do not even know that they are committing a criminal act and could face jail sentences and huge fines. Intellectual property and copyright infringements are indeed a serious crime and cost millions in lost jobs and seriously affect the entertainment industry as a whole. And it’s not just new movies that are pirated and showing up in foreign countries before they even get their first release in the United States, but also older titles of all genres.
Since the innovation of consumer video tape, it was thought that the FBI warnings and seal preceding rental or purchased entertainment content would be a deterrent to criminals’ infringement of copyrighted works. The FBI seal and the warnings of severe penalties and incarceration seem to be meaningless while criminal piracy increases in the age of cyberspace, the internet and the Digital Revolution. It was thought that Federal laws passed by Congress, like all other laws, were to be enforced. Believing such is sheer idiocy. While Congress passes all these wonderful laws, they seem never to give a second thought as to who and how such laws are to be enforced.
A good example: The Criminal Copyright Felony Act of 1992 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996. Prosecutorial agencies on a state level have not a clue of what to do with such crimes. On the federal level, including the FBI, a most understaffed and terrorist tormented agency, the last thing they want to hear is anything about white collar crimes and intellectual property rights infringements. Subsequently, the question arises: Just what good are our laws without enforcement?
The shoplifter, purse snatcher, or hold-up artist is hauled into court and goes to jail instantly. The video pirate, making millions on other people’s works, goes free to build even bigger empires with stolen goods.
That’s the American legal system? It is indeed.
While victims of such un-prosecuted crimes lose hundreds of thousands of hard-earned dollars in income (compared to the purse snatcher and shoplifter), law enforcement on all levels turn a deaf ear to these felonies, because they simply don’t even know what their role in enforcement of such serious crimes can or should be.
Taking another example — this author’s own experience with criminal infringements of several motion pictures, like the 1975 cult classic The Giant Spider Invasion and The Alpha Incident (1977). This author lost approximately one million dollars in royalties from piracy.
Also, witness the case of one Victor Ives, supposedly a former Portland, Oregon radio personality, who presumably acquired tons of money through video piracy and is now a multimillionaire, living in fashionable style at his Whispering Pines Horse training estate in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Law enforcement sleeps and turns a deaf ear, while the perpetrator of a federal crime basks in money, having committed several federal crimes that have never been prosecuted. Victor Ives maintains a huge profile on the internet and flashes his name unscrupulously as head of several broadcasting empires. Law enforcement agencies, with all their cyberspace technology, cannot even put a finger to the keyboard to bring this perpetrator to justice.
In this particular case, it all began with one Bryan Friesner of Issaquah, Washington and his post office box fronts, under names like “Triad Media” and “Artiflix”, using fake phone numbers in four states and pictures of this author on Amazon, selling two pirated motion pictures in DVD and download form. When telephonically confronted, Friesner claims that all titles offered by Artiflix have been legally licensed to him by Stellar Film Associates. The trail leads to none other than Victor Ives, the president and key person behind the White Springs Media Empire and Stellar Film Associates.
In a four-month private investigation by this writer, Victor Ives, flashing his name freely in connection with his media empires, all which offer little or no transparency, seems to be protected by authorities and local media in the Lake Oswego, Oregon area. Subsequently, the questions arises: Just what does it take to bring a criminal to justice?
Federal crimes have been committed. The suspects are identified and prosecutorial agencies in Oregon are turning the other cheek. Or could it be that Victor Ives has a lot of friends in high places? It was more than shocking to find that state or local law enforcement brush off crimes that violate federal laws because they simply are not familiar with them… leaving this writer with this puzzle: Isn’t the law, the law… be it federal or local?