Uploading Stolen Content Isn’t Worth the Risk

Internet piracy isn’t worth the risk—just ask a California man who pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and now faces a sentence of five years in prison and $250,000 fine. The defendant was a member of an Internet music release group operating under the name of “Old School Classics” (OSC). OSC specialized in the unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted music using the Internet weeks before the releases were commercially available. The defendant even housed the main server where his gang of copyright pirates could upload their stolen content willfully and rapidly. The case is part of multiyear federal investigation of organized piracy groups responsible for distributing tremendous amounts of stolen digital content. We applaud the endeavors and diligence of our law enforcement officials and hope that these IP thieves are brought to justice.

Despite the attempts of anti-IP radicals to make light of online infringement and pretend that it socially productive, the facts of this case are yet further evidence that organized, criminal networks are behind massive amounts of online IP theft. OSC worked hard to steal music and post it even before it was commercially released—maximizing the harm to everyone in the legitimate stream of commerce. And the reality is that there are many more organized groups just like OSC operating at great capacity in uploading pirated content daily, often for their own personal illicit profit.

Pirates and counterfeiters are using rogue websites to carry out their malicious attacks on the creative and innovative sectors that drive our economic growth. As evidenced through the actions of groups like OSC, the amount of Internet traffic attributed to online piracy and the transfer of infringing content totals nearly one-quarter of all global Internet traffic. Moreover, rogue websites are receiving 53 billion visits a year due to the actions of IP thieves like the OSC. Legislation is needed to provide enhanced legal tools to cut off these websites regardless of where they are. Surely we can all agree that these websites have no place in a legitimate online market.  We can’t allow these criminals an avenue to continue their activities. Congress should enact rogue sites legislation—similar to last year’s S. 3804—to protect American jobs, creativity, and consumers.

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