Thursday, January 30, 2014

Help Me Out, Here...

How... is copyright infringement a matter for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
On Jan. 18, special agents with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations and local authorities briefly interviewed a man suspected of using an electronic recording device to record a film at an AMC theater in Columbus. The man, who voluntarily answered questions, confirmed to authorities that the suspected recording device was also a pair of prescription eye glasses in which the recording function had been inactive. No further action was taken.


They're going after knockoff NFL merchandise, too. Check out their rationale:
"Our agents are committed to combating the criminal enterprises selling counterfeit products which undermine our economy, and take jobs away from Americans," Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director John Sandweg said in a statement. "No good comes from counterfeiting American products regardless of whether they are jerseys, airbags or pharmaceuticals."

According to the Department of Homeland Security, fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts, jackets, and other souvenirs are among the 202,000 items — worth more than $21.6 million — seized by officers from ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Patrol CBP, Postal Inspection Service as well as state and local police departments. [emphasis mine]

I'm just not sure how this kills terrorists, which is supposed to be the whole point and only job of Homeland Security.


  1. Maybe they were afraid he was going to leave the movie and immediately try and take it through customs? Was he brandishing a boarding pass and pulling a suitcase behind him?

  2. You should read the whole article... it's a cascading slow-motion nightmare.

    And AMC never answers the obvious question: why isn't Google Glass banned in their theaters?

    I'm not a lawsuit kinda guy, but I think AMC owes this guy a lot more than some free passes.

  3. Why are ICE guys AT a movie?

    Is that a likely place to root out immigration/customs offenders?

    Or maybe they just like movies and they wanted to write it off as a business expense?


  4. I am guessing that they were at the movies because they were off duty. But guys with badges are "always on duty" so when they saw a flagrant violation of the law, any law, even theater policy on how many popcorn refills you can have, they felt obligated to throw their weight around.

    And it's not like ICE has anything else to do. They aren't catching and deporting "new undocumented citizens".


  5. Agreed.

    I read the whole article. It's crazy.

  6. Newreb - from what I recall from the article, AMC called these guys in special. They didn't just happen to be there.

  7. ICE, ICE, Baby. I imagine they also called in the IRS for a consult.

  8. Harvey, has this story affected your plans to aee AMC movies? Or buy Google Glass?

  9. Huh... don't even remember the last time I saw a movie in a theater...

    Nah... it doesn't change anything... just makes me grumpy.

    I should think about pretty sunrises or rainbows or cookies or something until I cheer up, huh?

  10. Yes :)

    Have you seen the Hobbit yet?

  11. No.

    "Desolation of Smaug" is still playing in town.

    Maybe Saturday...

  12. I haven't seen it either.

    You'll have to tell me how you like it.

  13. The Hobbit! Aaaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhhhh! I am trapped in a perpetual cycle of knowing they are going to destroy my favorite epic fantasy but going anyway, film after film, just because it is my favorite epic fantasy and I don't want to miss seeing it on the big screen. Then I hustle out at the end before the lights come up so that no one sees the tears of disappointment brimming in the eyes of the big biker.

    1. Actually, I enjoyed the book as a kid, but I like the way Jackson has managed to blend the spirit of the original book with the darker tone of the Lord of the Rings. There are enough whimsical and even cartoonish moments that younger kids will enjoy it, while building a sense of doom for the trilogy to come. I can't wait to watch all six at one sitting with my son. He stood in front of his seat and cheered through almost the entire second movie. You can't manufacture moments like that,