Witnesses and representatives at the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property hearing Thursday did express fears that profits from widespread copying of movies, music and software outside the U.S. were being funneled into terrorist organizations, but the hearing produced no concrete examples of that happening.
John G. Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice did say there seems to be some connection between illegal copying and organized crime, in that many of the groups profiting from illegal copies are highly organized and can have international distribution networks. Organized crime often supports terrorism, he suggested.
"These groups will not hesitate to threaten or injure those who tend to interfere with their operations," Malcolm said.
But when subcommittee chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, asked Malcolm for examples of cases where file trading was connected to terrorism, Malcolm said he couldn't give concrete examples. "It would surprise me greatly if the number were not large," Malcolm added. "This is an easy enterprise to get into; the barriers of entry are very small, and the profits are huge."
Smith and several others at the hearing noted that selling illegally copied materials can be more lucrative than selling illegal drugs, and several at the hearing compared the copyrighted materials trade to the drug trade. Illegally copied materials can have markups of 900 percent, Smith noted.
Malcolm told the representatives of the indictment in Virginia Wednesday of Hew Raymond Griffiths, of
"For too long, people engaged in piracy believed that if they were outside the borders of the