http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2...ment-warnings/The US government yesterday rolled out not one but two copyright notices, one to "warn" and one to "educate." Six major movie studios will begin using the new notices this week.
The main change is that Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has, in the last several years, made itself a key player in the copyright wars. The FBI has shown extremely limited interest in going after individual websites, but ICE has done so with gusto; it has so far seized more than 750 domain names after rightsholder complaints. This new prominence is reflected in the broader logos used.
ICE now appears on both notices. The first notice shows the traditional FBI seal and a warning that "the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000." The logo for ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit now appears beside the FBI's.
The second notice shows the logo for the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which involves 20 different US government agencies. It features one extremely angry eagle who would probably pluck your eyeballs from your sockets if he could get those talons near you. "Piracy is not a victimless crime," says the notice. "For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit www.iprcenter.gov."
Will the two screens be shown back to back? Will each screen last for 10 seconds each? Will each screen be unskippable? Yes, yes, and yes.
An ICE spokesman tells me that the two screens will "come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD. At which point the movie rating comes up, followed by the IPR Center screen shot for 10 secs and then the FBI/HSI anti-piracy warning for 10 secs as well. Neither can be skipped/fast forwarded through."
The idea isn't to deter current pirates, apparently (the new scheme requires all legal purchasers to sit through 20 seconds of warnings each time they pop in a film, but will be totally absent from pirated downloads and bootlegs). It's to educate everyone else. As ICE Director John Morton announced in a statement yesterday, "Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort."