DOJ Begins Sweep to Protect Entertainment Industry
Last week, the United States Department of Justice officially began assisting the entertainment industry in its fight against file sharing and peer-to-peer networks with its implementation of Operation Fastlink.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft describes Operation Fastlink as "the largest, most far-reaching and most aggressive enforcement action ever undertaken against the criminal core of digital theft, including theft of movies, music, games, business and educational software on the Internet."
Last Thursday’s sweep identified more than 100 people in the United States and nine other countries involved in the "theft" of more than $50 million worth of music, movies and software, according to an Associated Press story.
No arrests were made Thursday, but several arrests will be forthcoming, said Ashcroft.
Operation Fastlink is the first Justice Department enforcement action since Ashcroft announced the formation of an Intellectual Property Task Force inside the Department. According to Ashcroft, the DOJ sweep was made with the assistance and approval of private sector entertainment industry companies.
"These investigations benefit from the important assistance provided by various intellectual property trade associations, including the Business Software Alliance, the Entertainment Software Association, the Motion Picture Association and the Recording Industry Association of America," said the Attorney General. "We thank them for their cooperation."
Associated Press. U.S. Moves Against Online Pirates. Wired News. April 23, 2004.
Brooks Boliek. Justice Dept. Nets Pirates in ‘Fastlink’ Raids . The Hollywood Reporter. April 23, 2004.
Dinah Greek. Cyber-cops Arrest Trio in Piracy Crackdown. Computing. April 23, 2004.
The Hon. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Prepared Remarks: Operation Fastlink Announcement. Department of Justice. April 22, 2004.
Department of Justice. Justice Department Announces Internet Piracy Sweep. (Press release.) April 22, 2004.
Update: Matt Hines. Feds Convict Warez Pirate. News.com. Dec. 28, 2004. (The DOJ landed its first conviction against an American defendant trapped via Operation Fastlink. Jathan Desir, 26, of Iowa City, has pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in a criminal enterprise that distributed pirated software, games, movies and music over the Internet.)