Homeland Security has a new anti-piracy public service announcement it would like you to see, and it's spreading the word via seized pirate domains.
Remember back in November when Homeland Security took control of a bunch of websites suspected of contributing to online piracy? Well, since there's no sense just letting those domains go to waste, Homeland Security has decided to put them to use educating pirates to the untold harm they do to the film industry and set workers whenever they download a movie.
The PSA features a hawker offering free DVDs to passers-by, but alerts them to the fact that if they take the movie the woman behind him, a boom-mike operator, will lose her job. One well groomed man wearing a suit takes 3 movies, saying "I don't know her," and "You're making this so literal," which our hawker responds to by telling the man he has no soul and that he is "what's wrong with everything." Another person, a woman wearing a hoodie, comes to understand that piracy has repercussions, sets the movies down, and walks away. The hawker then turns to the camera, saying that digital counterfeiting is not a victimless crime, and that "the financial repercussions are huge."
The PSA is being promoted on 65 of the seized sites, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (the branch of Homeland Security that did the actual seizing) head John Morton hopes "will help raise awareness that American businesses, and American jobs, are threatened by those who pirate copyrighted material and produce counterfeit trademarked goods."
Now maybe this is just me, but the repurposing of websites that were seized using a method deemed dubiously legal at best to pimp a video seems downright inappropriate. While Homeland Security surely has the right to do with the sites what it will, that's just bad PR.