Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Do As I Say Not As I Leech

I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m not exactly a copyright maximalist. Occasionally, I write sarcastic/whiny bits about absurdly long copyright duration and point out that we might still be able to have nice things if we had slightly less copyright. Congress doesn’t seem to agree, as the only time they address copyright law seems to be when they’re trying to make more of it, not less of it. See: the Mickey Mouse copyright extension and wait until 2023 for Disney’s flagship mus musculus to almost enter the public domain before being snapped back up.

So amidst all that, it’s nice to see folks in Congress taking bold action on copyright. By downloading TV shows and movies repeatedly:

In late October, someone at the U.S. House of Representatives decided to catch up on the latest season of Dexter, illegally downloading an episode of the TV series while at a congressional office. In the days that followed, with Hurricane Sandy threatening to keep federal workers hunkered down at home, employees of Congress downloaded the 2012 mob film Lawless, a Halloween-themed episode of The Middle, and an episode from Season 9 of CSI: New York.

Over the last four months, employees of the House of Representatives have illegally downloaded dozens of films and TV shows, according to a report shared with Whispers by ScanEye, a website that tracks what IP addresses have downloaded on BitTorrent. BitTorrent is a protocol for sharing large files over the Internet. Unauthorized downloads of copyrighted material is illegal in the U.S.

The full article has a full list of what was downloaded from tracked Congressional office: my personal favorite? DeGrassi. Frankly, if they want to watch people bickering like teens and high school power struggles, I wouldn’t have imagined they’d need to download something.