ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, has found a new way to use the domain names they've seized during Operation In Our Sites - to distribute anti-piracy propaganda.
Linking to a YouTube PSA video panned by critics as cringe worthy, the seized domains now take visitors to the video if they click on the seizure message, or if they wait a few seconds, the video will play in fullscreen.
In the video, a street vendor is offering free pirated DVDs to passer-bys, but telling them the risk is that the boom mike operator, standing next to him, might get sacked if this "theft" continues.
If the video looks familiar, that's because it is. This video was originally produced by NBC Universal and New York City for their own anti-piracy campaign, but it seems to have been "copied" by ICE for their own purposes, with any mentions of NYC "ripped" out (no doubt, all of this is done with the permission of all parties involved in the original video).
But as many other tech and consumer rights websites have pointed out, the video doesn't really make much sense. While it tries to link piracy to job losses, the fact is that the industry is still making very healthy profits, and that workers, like the boom mike operator featured, get a very very thin slice of the entertainment pie, with movie studios getting the most, the same studios that spends millions per quarter lobbying the government for more incentives that fail to trickle down to the actual people who make the movies and TV shows (remember the writers' strike a couple of years ago?).
So in any case, just to illustrate the growing bond between the entertainment lobby, and the US government, you have a publicly funded agency showing a privately made propaganda video on websites it seized only after directions and recommendations from the same private companies. And to further illustrate how the public's voice has been silenced and ignored on this issue, the YouTube PSA video has both ratings and comments disabled.
What do you think of this latest tactic by ICE to help reduce online piracy? Post your answer in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread where you can also watch the PSA video mentioned in this article: