The Department of Homeland Security just shut down a Star Wars-hosting Bittorrent site.

What does copyright infringement have to do with terrorism?People downloading the newest installment of Star Wars (or buying bootleg DVDs) is hardly a threat to national security.

Actually I’m kind of wondering if it’s a threat to much of anything. Think about it: The people who grew up with the franchise are going to go see it in the theaters so they can see it on the big screen. I know I went and saw Episodes I and II in the theater twice each. I only go to the movies once every couple of months, so for someone like me to see both of those movies twice is something. Most people my age saw them a lot more than that.

My point is, the people who download Revenge of the Sith or buy an illegal DVD are going to see it in the theater anyway, and they’re probably going to see it a lot of times. And when the legitimate Episode III DVDs come out, they’re going to buy those two. And when the collector’s edition of the trilogy, and the extra-special collector’s edition of both trilogies come out, they’re the people most likely to buy those too. George Lucas is going to get plenty of opportunities to sell this movie thrice.

I know it’s illegal. The ethics are questionable–I have a lot less problem with people copying it if they’re going to buy the legitimate copy anyway once it’s available. But is this going to cause measurable damage to a multi-billion-dollar franchise? No.

And the Department of Homeland Security’s involvement just makes it look more like Homeland Security is more about Big Brother than it is about stopping terrorists.

If Star Wars is a big enough crisis that it shows up on these guys’ radar, then that’s a sign to me that it’s time for the department to be rethinking its relevance. Nobody is going to die because somebody saw Star Wars without paying for it.

The government needs to get its priorities straight.