Bloggers rejoice! No longer will the recording, movie and software industries retain exclusive rights to the FBI’s familiar anti-piracy logo.
The “FBI Anti-Piracy Warning Seal,” which has been draped on Big Content’s wares since 2004, is going to be made available for use on all copyright content. Even personal websites can proudly display the logo without violating federal law, which carries a maximum six-month sentence and other penalties for using the insignia without FBI approval.
The FBI has only allowed its use by members of the Recording Industry Association of America, Business Software Alliance, Entertainment Software Association, Software & Information Industry Association, and of course the Motion Picture Association of America, which likes to make sure you can’t fast-forward through the DVD while the warning is displayed, thus driving you to download an MPEG from the Pirate Bay.
The Justice Department is taking public comment on the proposed new rule through November 7, and the changeover will likely be approved by the attorney general soon thereafter.
The FBI, in announcing the proposal in the Federal Registrar on Wednesday, said the insignia was an important warning to “users of copyrighted media about the potential consequences of intellectual property crime, and the FBI’s role in investigating such crime. It serves as a vivid and widely recognizable reminder of the FBI’s authority and mission with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights.”
Regardless of the logo’s effectiveness in combating piracy, the FBI conceded that the “pilot program” it had begun with major industry was biased against Joe Six Pack.
“Unfortunately, the pilot program also had the effect of excluding non-members of these five associations from being able to use the APW Seal in their works,” the FBI said.
The logo can only be affixed to copyright works, and it cannot be altered or used in a “manner indicating FBI approval, authorization, or endorsement.”