Piracy funds terrorism
There has been evidence from at least two groups, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Intellectual Property Committee and the Interpol, that many terrorist organizations are funded by the production or sale of pirated discs. Copyright infringement through downloading from peer-to-peer networks is not alleged to be responsible, only piracy.Back to top
John Steadman’s allegation
In May 2005 hearing conducted by a Senate Homeland Security committee in the United States, John Steadman, an Intellectual Property Crime committee member, stated that intellectual property crime suspects have shown “great affinity for Hezbollah and its leadership”, as he had mentioned to news site CNET News.com. This was on the basis that flags and photograph of Hezbollah’s leaders in the homes of those raided for piracy were seen, with suspects exhibiting strong anti-Israeli sentiments.
A militant group fighting against Israeli occupation in Lebanon, and supports the destruction of the state of Israel, Hezbollah is regarded by Western countries as a terrorist group. For example, the European parliament voted 473-8 for the branding of Hezbollah as a terrorist group.Back to top
A report by the Organized Crime Task Force found that paramilitary organizations are responsible, in as many as four-fifth of the cases of intellectual property crime in Northern Ireland, supposedly as a means of financing their operations.
In an Interpol report “The Links between Intellectual Property Crime and Terrorist Financing” released in July 2003, Interpol describes how “al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Chechen separatists, ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland” [News24.com] were involved in Intellectual Property Crime to finance their activities.Back to top
An interesting case study in Interpol’s report was of that of Chechen separatists. Police operations busted a Russian counterfeit CD manufacturing plant in 2002, which had hitherto been a source of funding for the separatists. It was estimated by the Federal Security Service, Russia, that the separatists earned between US$500 000–700 000 a month from the plant’s operations, reflecting the large amount of revenue possible from sales of pirated CDs.
The rest of the case studies may be viewed at the Interpol website itself.