Joe Biden: Piracy's New Enemy

Nov 17, 2008
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

Now that the US elections are over and the results are out, it’s worthwhile looking at how the winners fare with technology. Everyone knows that Barack Obama actively used the Internet while campaigning but what are his views on other things technology related? Most notably, how do the new guys plan to tackle issues like online piracy?

One person who has acted on this subject in the past is Joe Biden. Yes, the same guy who’s now the U.S. Vice President. In fact, he’s been pretty active in trying to defend the rights of media companies. Let’s take a look at his accomplishments.

Joe Biden’s earliest tryst against piracy came in 2002, when he drafted a letter to the Justice Department, urging action against people who ‘intentionally’ allow copying over p2p networks. Then last year, Biden supported an RIAA-led bill to restrict Americans from copying songs from Internet radio services. His efforts got him invited to the MPAA’s party in favor of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

In April of this year, Biden tried to get the US government to spend a billion dollars so that authorities could monitor p2p networks for illegal activity. What constitutes illegal activity, I have no idea.

Joe Biden has been pretty vocal about other aspects of the Internet as well, most notably a strong supporter of having Internet filters in place for schools. Another interesting tidbit is that at one time, the man also supported levying an Internet tax on people.

It remains to be seen what Joe Biden will do in his newfound political role as Vice President. However, going by his track record, it’s fair to say he’ll be on the media companies’ side most of the time.

What do you think of Joe Biden’s war against Internet piracy? Do you know of other political figures who have the same ideals? How do you think politics affects Internet legislation? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. evil pirate said on January 21, 2009 at 3:07 am

    use your brains sheeple, educate yourself!

  2. pablog said on November 19, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Honestly, Peter. The author can’t write or argue coherently and just doesn’t have her facts right. Joe Biden is not the Vice President (unfortunately, Dick Cheney holds that position). “Tryst” in her third paragraph makes her sentence incomprehensible. Apparently, Obama (“these guys”) is multiple people. Finally, how can you levy an “Internet tax on people”? Wow. Four major factual and grammatical errors in just 300 words.

    The fact is, a lot of people use P2P networks in the United States to download copyrighted material in violation of Copyright laws. There. In one sentence I’ve described the concept of which the author on the subject has “no idea”.

    I’m not against intelligent, coherent discussion, even argument over such topics. I’m just against crappy, incoherent writing just for the sake of getting crap onto a blog. If you’re going to write and publish something to promote discussion of the issue, then write something that will actually prompt intelligent discussion, don’t just blather on in admitted ignorance.

  3. Franck said on November 19, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Hi from France.
    A brand new law here will force us soon to install a spyware from the government to “avoid piracy”. Anyone who has not secured his wifi router will be condemned and his internet access suspended. Without proof and with no possibility to defend himself. And will still pay for it.
    President Sarkozy ignored all the European laws.
    It’s even kind of illegal to copy music from a CD to a MP3 player.
    Our gerontocraty is killing the french internet.

  4. Peter RIme said on November 19, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Becoming educated about the laws/interpretations of different states/countries, the relationship between licensing, Open Source, control, the tipping point, and many other concepts that could be tailored for a digital world would lead a person to believe that they should embrace innovation, not legislate against it.

    Definitions of legal and illegal vary. Please don’t throw insults. It’s a critical discussion about how to reward innovation while not being held back by the lawmakers.

  5. pablog said on November 18, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Wow. A writer for a technology blog has “no idea” what illegal activities might be on P2P networks. Does your boss know you’re this ignorant?

  6. Rush said on November 18, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    My bad, Martin. I usually double check the author before I post. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but the page view statement seemed more like a low blow to a quality site, and could have just been left out without taking away from the point Jojo was making.
    The media industry went a LONG way out of their way to make their product portable and deliverable to us in our homes. From Beta and 8 tracks to Divx and Blu Ray, they would be BROKE if they could not deliver and the customer had to go out see a live show or movie in the theater, like it used to be. That move has paid off for them in a huge way making them RICH. The customer went a long way to help them in this buying a bunch of cool gadgets like dvd players and such.
    If they truly wish to protect their media, they could. Their interests, however, lie in mass distributing their media much more than they do in protecting it. In this flood of media and money that they have created, THEY HAVE A LEAK. Only an absolute IDIOT would not have been able to see this coming while it was being developed and produced. Without it though they would have a product that was much less deliverable and not nearly as profitable.
    Now their rich, fat and greedy, finding it much easier to lean on governments to further criminalize the public. If my kid sneaks in the back door of a movie theater, shes grounded. If she downloads it shes a FELON. Can you imagine the FBI kicking in the door in a mass raid of the guy who lived next to a drive in theater, and had some friends over to watch the latest flick from his back porch? Its ridiculous.
    In doing nothing more than loudly noticing their leak, they have placed the burden squarely on their consumers and the governments that represent them to plug it. Born from this are wonderful new things like DRM that make a legitimate users lives harder, compromising their security and invading their privacy, and then leaving the door open for others to do so also. Then come the marvelous third party entities like Media.Defender who make their living leveling full scale DDoS attacks against legitimate outfits that use the p2p networks to distribute their products, loading the torrents they are supposed to be stopping and pointing fingers at the innocent and the guilty alike to justify their own existence.
    I built my system. I want what I made to work for ME. I dont want it telling me what I can and cant do, sneaking around behind my back, listing my files and borrowing my internet connection for their own purposes.
    The Media industry has problems, the first and foremost being greed. I would say that as with any other business on the planet, the fact that their product is so easily copied should bring its value down not increase the penalty.

  7. Midas said on November 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    You call me an a**hole because I’ve got a different opinion about this issue.
    That’s ok for me, because once I was like you, but as the years went by I got more self-improved by education. So, be patient, calm down, try to learn and you’ll make your way, too. ;)

    quote “With digital music, both the original and any copies *can* be sold”

    Yes it can, but have you ever paid a friend for a mixtape or an anonymous filesharer for seeding a torrent?
    I guess you (and me) would never do that.

    Yes, it can, but were you ever satisfied with a crappy mp3 file from the favorite song of the favourite album made by your favourite band?
    I guess you (and me) will never be.

    It’s more like we will buy the extended and limited digi pack of what we *really* like instead of what the content industry suggest us what we have to consume.

    Today I spend not more or less money per month for my music addiction. But in the past I feeded some multi-millionaires for the x-millionth copy of a record, today I can 1.) afford to go to a concert of an almost unknown band that I 2.) would never know about, and 3.) never would pay a dime for, if I had not downloaded their album for free and learned to love it.

    Digital copies enable me as a consumer not to buy a pig in a poke anymore.
    So I dont give a fxxk about a music industry defending their outdated business modell by installing surveillance states through their lobbys and sue me for my addiction.
    I do willingly boycott them instead and use my bucks as ballot papers.
    Thats cultural democracy in the 21th century, not copyright laws installed by lawyers in the late 1800s.

    Got it? ;)

  8. MrD666 said on November 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    The fact remains this, if they would lower the prices of all this stuff, instead of raising it higher and higher… to make it reasonable, people will buy it.

    Not this restricting bandwidth ideas, not this shaking people down via IPs, none of this. Only lowering prices WILL resolve this. Greed wont. If it can be made into a digital format, IE: ripped, zipped and packaged, it will be, from now until eternity, REGARDLESS of the CONSEQUENCES. Regardless.

  9. Jojo said on November 18, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    @Midas – No I don’t got it, a**hole.

    You’re trying to split hairs with an argument that doesn’t apply to DIGITAL products. In digital, there is no effective difference is a copy or original in music. Witness all the tone deft people who willingly listen to MP3’s which sound like crap vis-a-vis a full .wav original.

    With digital music, both the original and any copies can be sold, therefore both variations have value. Unless the artist has approved the downloading of their work, the fact that you CAN download something doesn’t make it right to do so.

  10. djbouti said on November 18, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Sounds like another big media pawn to me. I have followed this guys track record for the last several years, and he is deep in the pockets of content industry lobbyists. He would undoubtedly love to usher in a new era of restricted internet usage rather than do the only thing necessary: reform copyright law. People will always figure out how to bypass copyright protections, and that leaves major content distribution left with the simple choice of rethinking their methodology to adapt to new societal definitions of fair use – or whither away.

    The internet is and should always be the dream realized of global equality in access to information – that is fact. In my opinion it is the promise of another phase in human evolution that frees people from enforced ignorance. Sadly it seems to have devolved into another method of surveillance and control imposed on the masses by those who have wished to keep us ignorant and indebted over the last several generations. Bit by bit the internet as it was intended has been taken away from the public, its rightful owners.

    Then again I could just be biased, having been born in the US when it was still sort of the US as we are taught to believe. In terms of politics we simply have to remember that the merger of corporate interests with governmental legislation and control has always historically equated to fascism. I guess humanity won’t ever grow up and let go of that type of horrific nonsense. It is strange and worrisome to see people here in the US get all jazzed up about all the ‘change’ that is to be brought here; now more than ever it is blatantly obvious how both major parties are exactly the same.

    It should be criminal to defend the positions of corporate media interests when you consider the implications of their agenda. People must have forgotten how to think critically about what sort of mess they have allowed themselves to be caught up in. Having people like this draft policy will lead to old grannies that download a song labeled as ‘domestic terrorists’ and god help them after that.

    Bottom line: corporate interests write and control all US policy, and they have done so for far too long. If you don’t believe me then you should look at legislative voting records and crosscheck it with lobbyist funding. Wake up!

    Sorry about the long winded rant here, but it needs to be said loudly and repeatedly.

  11. Martin said on November 18, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Please guys take a look at the author, it was not me ;)

  12. Q said on November 18, 2008 at 7:59 am

    The statement from this article, “…Joe Biden…the same guy who’s now the U.S. Vice President”, is inaccurate.

    The current United States Vice President is Dick Cheney.

  13. AndyJ said on November 18, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Kinda interesting to read. The man’s been pretty active in the past. Let’s see how he does now.

    Jojo, the article has nothing to do with glorifying stealing. It’s just a look at the guys track record.

  14. Midas said on November 18, 2008 at 4:06 am

    @ brainwashed Jojo: stealing is to take the original away, not to make a copy of it, got it?

    Not yet?
    Ask your former president;


  15. Rush said on November 18, 2008 at 2:32 am

    The point Martin makes is a valid one. Its not about piracy. Its about not being limited in legitimate use. I read a few blogs and I read this one every day. I have never read any of gHacks articles that promote piracy in any way. Just the opposite in fact. Why go download commercial garbage when this site goes so far out of its way to advocate the free equivalent, sometimes, even at a higher quality.
    I agree with the general theme of previous posts on these issues. The further these institutions go to prevent piracy, the further they drift toward things that impede legitimate use.
    Stealing is wrong. So is speeding. Yet I for one do not wish to ride everywhere I go with a police officer, because others speed or in an effort to prevent me from ever doing so.
    The commercial media industry has problems, that is true without a doubt. In order for them to survive thought, they need to be smarter and more innovative, not more adversarial to all their customers and legitimate users.
    Biden is actually probably a lot less relevant to the situation now, in executive office, than he was before. He is a vocal guy, but, I dont see his opinions and associations coming into play that much. The lobbyists will find other Senators to persuade, hopefully. Its bad enough to have millions in resources and countless valuable FBI personnel playing cyber henchmen making sure nobody rips off the porn industry.

  16. Jojo said on November 18, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Martin – I think you are reaching far here. Are you just trying to generate page views?

    Stealing from others is wrong. Period.

    The fact that the internet makes it easy to do at this point in time, doesn’t make it any more right.

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