Your tax dollars at work: misleading, lurid "anti-piracy" ad campaign from US AG and Natl Crime Prevention Council

Nate Anderson reviews the new "lurid" anti-piracy ad from the US Attorney General and the National Crime Prevention Council, and "does for 'piracy' what 'reefer madness' and 'hairy palms' did for an older generation's social ills." The AG included a call on his fellow Americans to turn in their families and neighbors if they think they're downloaders.

The print campaign features five different ads, each focusing on a specific form of piracy or counterfeiting. The one focused on movies stresses the job loss aspect over the "scary gangster in an SUV" approach, but even this claim is overblown. As the major copyright industries revealed in a recent report, they pay better than most American jobs, are outperforming the economy, and are selling record amount of product overseas. As for employment, it has fallen just mildly during the worst economic slump in 80 years.

Piracy and counterfeiting can be serious problems that conceal real social ills behind the facade of cheap goods, but when it comes to media piracy, at least, too many campaigns rely on scare tactics and bad statistics.

I like how the video implies that counterfeit goods are made with child labor. Yeah, because we all know the big brands are 150% committed to using only the tippy-toppiest, sweat-freest labor in the world.

Nate's found lots more to love about this video, and systematically debunks every claim in the whole campaign, from job-losses to effects on developing economies to root causes of piracy.

Fed's Anti-Piracy Vid is Reefer Madness for the Digital Age