The Mounties are sick of playing copyright police.
According to a 2006 diplomatic cable between Canada and the U.S. that recently came to light through WikiLeaks, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officially express “skepticism” about movie piracy via camcorder users, and believe that their time would be better spent chasing down real criminals.
The cable is interesting not just for the comedic value of seeing some behind-the-scenes in the ongoing battle against bootleg movies – I can’t be the only one who finds it funny reading lines like, “With regard to the arrest of the individual who had been pursued by the CMPDA, RCMP officers stated that they arrested the individual ‘as a personal favor’ to a CMPDA official,” can I? – but for the legitimate concerns of the RCMP regarding copyright enforcement:
One RCMP officer expressed concern that the RCMP not be seen as “the enforcement arm of industry,” noting that the “industry comes to [the RCMP] more and more” with requests for action.
It’s an attitude clearly not shared by American law agencies – U.S. immigration and customs enforcement have seized domain names of alleged copyright infringers based upon entertainment industry insider say-so, for example – but one that raises a reasonable question: At what point does copyright infringement go beyond a private matter to one requiring police presence, especially if the police themselves don’t want to get involved?
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