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DudeAsInCool

Patriot Act Used to Enforce Copyright Law?

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Federal charges were filed against Adam McGaughey, creator of the popular SG1Archive.com website - a fan website devoted to the MGM-owned television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that the website engaged in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. The charges were the culmination of a three-year FBI investigation, set in motion by a complaint from the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) regarding the content of the SG1Archive.com website.

SG1Archive.com is one of the most popular fan-run websites among the Stargate community. In addition to providing very active fan discussion forums, broadcast schedules, production news, and episode guides, the site heavily promotes the sale of the show on DVD. As of this writing, direct links from SG1Archive.com to Amazon.com have resulted in the sale of over $100,000 worth of DVDs. Many more DVDs have been sold to international fans of the show through sites like Blackstar.co.uk. Upon hearing this news, Stargate executive producer Brad Wright called the site "cool" - which Adam took as an endorsement of his work.

However, instead of thanking Adam for his promotion of their product, officials at MGM and the MPAA have chosen to pressure the FBI into pursuing criminal charges. Adam was first tipped off about the investigation when the FBI raided his and his fiancee's apartment in May of 2002 and seized thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment. Adam later received a copy of the affidavit filed in support of the search warrant, and was shocked to discover that this document, prepared by the FBI, contained significant amounts of erroneous and misleading information. For example, two social security numbers were listed for Adam, one of which is not his. References were made to a cease and desist letter sent by the MPAA to an email address that did not exist. His online friendship with other Stargate fans across the globe was portrayed as an international conspiracy against the MPAA. And perhaps most disturbing of all, it was later revealed that the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. The FBI's abuse of its powers did not stop there. When they seized Adam's computer equipment, he was given written documentation stating that it would be returned within 60 days. The equipment that they did return did not arrive until more than 8 months later, and only then after much prodding from his lawyer. Much of it was damaged beyond repair - one laptop had a shattered LCD screen, an empty tape backup drive was ripped apart for no apparent reason, his fiancee's iBook was badly damaged when it was pried apart with a screwdriver. The FBI's computer crimes staff is either incompetent (at least when it comes to Macintosh computer equipment) or else they just don't give a damn.

Adam has has received positive feedback about his site from multiple members of the Stargate cast and crew at fan conventions. In addition, a representative of MGM's fan publication interviewed Adam about his website several months prior to the FBI raid. As a result, Adam sincerely believed that the show's creators did not have a problem with the content of his website. Many other sites are currently serving content of questionable legality, without promoting the sale of DVDs or offering a community for fans to discuss the show. Why the MPAA and FBI have chosen to ignore these sites and target SG1Archive.com is unclear.

Up until this point, Adam has been fortunate enough to receive pro bono legal counsel in his current hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. However, the charges were filed in Los Angeles county. The cost of travel, trial, bond, etc

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/04/07/27/12921...tid=214&tid=129

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:(

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His online friendship with other Stargate fans across the globe was portrayed as an international conspiracy against the MPAA. And perhaps most disturbing of all, it was later revealed that the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP.

This appears to be a misuse of the Patriot Act, and the conpiracy charge is a joke. However, according to the thread at Slashdot, the guy was actually letting people download episodes on the site for free - not too smart.

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I smell sinister business dealings and corrupt, irresponsible, and "Gestapo like" activity coming from the FBI.

Nothing need be said of the MPAA as they are obviously a crime ring in and of itself, just as the music industry is.

Not suprising though. Welcome to 21st century United States.

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Welcome to 21st century United States.

All I can say is that I am upset but not surprised. Those fuckers. :evil:

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I smell sinister business dealings and corrupt, irresponsible, and "Gestapo like" activity coming from the FBI.

Nothing need be said of the MPAA as they are obviously a crime ring in and of itself, just as the music industry is.

Not suprising though. Welcome to 21st century United States.

i couldn't have sed it better (but i would've cursed a hell of a lot). ;-) fuckin bah.

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