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Google’s Guide to RICO

July 3, 2012

PRS For Music recently released a report entitled the “Six Business Models of Copyright Infringement.”  This report was co-sponsored by Google.  The company’s European Policy Blog had a suitably Googlely statement (if you know what I mean) announcing the release of the report.  (http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2012/07/follow-money-to-fight-online-piracy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EuropeanPublicPolicyBlog+%28European+Public+Policy+Blog%29) Well, it wasn’t entirely Googley because it didn’t contain any of the usual “Joe Camel” semiotics.

No references to children’s foods, candy, or toys, and it didn’t say “goo goo ga ga”.  Maybe they take the report seriously.

The blog said in part:

How best to combat this danger [of massive copyright infringement]? Instead of imposing blocks or filters that might damage fundamental freedoms, governments should construct coalitions with reputable advertising networks, payment processors and rightsholders. Together, these coalitions can crack down and squeeze the financing behind online infringement.

Good point.  Yes, indeed, Google has made an excellent point.  And you know, here in the United States we already have a law on the books, time tested and used all the time that handles just this situation.

Its called the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.  Wall Street fans will remember that RICO was how then U.S. Attorney Rudolf Guliani put Michael Milken (another Master of the Universe) in Master of the Universe Prison.  Milken had this company called Drexel Burnham Lambert and things didn’t work out too well for them, either.

Mayor Guliani busies himself now with various activities including producing a report about the effects on our children of the sale of drugs online, among other things.  MTP readers will remember that Google paid $500,000,000 to keep from being indicted for promoting the indiscriminate sale of drugs online.  In keeping with our times, Google’s counsel told a sitting judge in open court that Google received an apology from the Department of Justice for a US Attorney giving an interview to the Wall Street Journal on this very subject.

And if there were ever a guidebook to prosecutors about how to apply the RICO laws to old Mr. Rico Suave himself, Eric Schmidt, Google has co-sponsored “Six Business Models of Copyright Infringement,” the prosecutor’s RICO field guide, just in case the DOJ stops apologizing to Google in an election year and lets Secretary Morton do his job:

Under RICO (18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968) the racketeering predicate is defined thusly:

As used in this chapter—
(1)“racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections  891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud), section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud), section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or nationalization unlawfully), section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers), sections  1461–1465 (relating to obscene matter), section 1503 (relating to obstruction of justice), section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1511 (relating to the obstruction of State or local law enforcement), section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1542 (relating to false statement in application and use of passport), section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passport), section 1544 (relating to misuse of passport), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), sections  1581–1592 (relating to peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons), section 1951 (relating to interference with commerce, robbery, or extortion), section 1952 (relating to racketeering), section 1953 (relating to interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia), section 1954 (relating to unlawful welfare fund payments), section 1955 (relating to the prohibition of illegal gambling businesses), section 1956 (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity), section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire), section 1960 (relating to illegal money transmitters), sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, and 2260 (relating to sexual exploitation of children), sections 2312 and 2313 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles), sections 2314 and 2315 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen property), section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works), section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright), section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances), section 2320 (relating to trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks), section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts), sections  2341–2346 (relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes), sections  2421–24 (relating to white slave traffic), sections  175–178 (relating to biological weapons), sections  229–229F (relating to chemical weapons), section 831 (relating to nuclear materials), (C) any act which is indictable under title 29, United States Code, section  186 (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations) or section 501(c) (relating to embezzlement from union funds), (D) any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title), fraud in the sale of securities, or the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), punishable under any law of the United States, (E) any act which is indictable under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, (F) any act which is indictable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section  274 (relating to bringing in and harboring certain aliens), section  277 (relating to aiding or assisting certain aliens to enter the United States), or section  278 (relating to importation of alien for immoral purpose) if the act indictable under such section of such Act was committed for the purpose of financial gain, or (G) any act that is indictable under any provision listed in section 2332b(g)(5)(B)…. (emphasis mine)
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