BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes

This is a discussion on BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Gun Owners of America 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102 Springfield, VA 22151 (703)321-8585 Friday, October 17, 2008 Coloseum Software Corporation has developed software that will ...

Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array mrreynolds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    620

    Exclamation BATFE Adds Theft To Its Crimes

    Gun Owners of America
    8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
    Springfield, VA 22151
    (703)321-8585

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Coloseum Software Corporation has developed software that will help dealers record all of the information that is unconstitutionally required by the federal government and to keep that information in a way that insulates them from bogus prosecutions at the hands of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (aka The Gang).

    The document that is most often involved in "gotcha" injustices is the Form 4473 which all customers must fill out when buying from a licensed federal firearms dealer a requirement that is yet another unconstitutional imposition by the feds.

    One of the favorite tricks of the BATFE has been to pounce on trivial customer errors such as writing "Blto" instead of "Baltimore" on the 4473 Form. One dealer supposedly showed his willfulness in breaking the law when his clerks missed some sixty-plus instances when customers tried to "sneak" Blto past those eagle-eyed inspectors from The Gang.

    While this does nothing to fight crime, it has allowed The Gang to reduce the ranks of dealers by some 85 percent since the Clinton presidency.

    The genius of Coloseum's software is that it allows a dealer to walk a customer through the Form 4473 without making a single mistake. With an electronic signature, the computer's form can be printed, providing a perfect 4473 available for The Gang to inspect.

    A foolproof way of filling out the 4473 would reduce the number of dealers put out of business. That's the advantage of using the Coloseum software.

    So Coloseum approached the BATFE several months ago to discuss its plans to release the first eForm 4473. The company wanted to make sure that it was complying with all applicable federal laws and get the agency's approval for the product.

    The BATFE wanted to see the details of the program, which left the directors at Coloseum a bit hesitant, as companies are reticent to expose the details of a product before it's released to the market place.

    No problem, Coloseum was told. The agency would protect the details of their product.

    Well, that was a lie.

    The Gang assigned a liaison, Ms. Melinda Whitworth, to work with Coloseum. She dealt with the company for several weeks, asking many detailed questions. Again, Coloseum was led to believe that, if they worked with Ms. Whitworth, they would get approval for their product.

    Well, one of the Gang's representatives called for a meeting with Coloseum -- a meeting which took place earlier this month. It was at that meeting that Coloseum was told by an ATF agent that, "The BATF is in the process of creating our own technologies."

    Coloseum asked for clarification did that mean that BATFE was developing its own software, similar to Coloseum's? "Yes" was the response.

    James LaMonte, the CEO and founder of Coloseum Software Corp. was dumbfounded. "As a small business owner, I never would have thought that our biggest competition was the United States Government," he told Gun Owners of America.

    After all, the IRS does not publish a "government version" of Turbo Tax. It's private companies that produce such products for public use. The Gang, as it is so apt to do, was once again trampling on the little guy.

    Oh, and what about their "liaison," Ms. Whitworth? At the recent meeting, Coloseum found that Ms. Whitworth who was supposedly helping the company get ATF approval of its software was in charge of the team that is developing the copycat software at ATF.

    Ms. Whitworth even had the effrontery to apologize for not having developed a product as good as Coloseum's.

    Here is the bottom line. If The Gang gets their software out to dealers (probably for "free") before Coloseum gets to market, then the government's stolen version of the software is public domain. No one would ever need to buy Coloseum's intellectual property.

    Coloseum is sending a free copy of its product to dealers so they can install the software on their store computer. If dealers need additional copies for a second or third computer, they can buy additional copies, as well. Hopefully, dealers will pounce on this opportunity.

    What Coloseum is doing is unprecedented. And so, it seems, is the blatant thievery brazenly carried out by The Gang.

    If dealers decide they just want to use the Bureau's software, they should first consider that they will be getting a much inferior product. Moreover, The Gang's software means that the government will have unrestricted access to all of the dealer's business records because it will allow "back door" access by the ATF. This kind of untrammeled access of all dealer records would not be possible with Coloseum Software.

    It is long overdue that President Bush clean house at the BATFE. He needs to fire the Acting Director of the Bureau and command that employees destroy their stolen property.

    ACTION: Please send the email message below, urging the President to rein in the BATFE.

    You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send the President the pre-written message below. You can also contact the President using any of the following mediums:

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    FAX: 202-456-2461

    E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

    ---- Pre-written letter ----

    Dear President Bush,

    Gun Owners of America has told me of the outrageous theft of intellectual property that has been perpetrated by the BATFE against Coloseum Software Corp.

    Please fire Acting Director Michael Sullivan and command the Bureau to destroy all copies of their stolen software.

    The BATFE is an agency out of control. Please take charge and rein them in.

    Sincerely,

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781
    On a Federal form why would people apply slang terms and incorrect/invalid and unrecognized abbreviations in required fields on a form?
    How hard is it to write/type 'Baltimore' in full as opposed to "Blto"?

    It's no surprise that said applicants were rejected, the value as entered is not recognizable nor correct. Same thing occurs at the DMV/MVA/RMV when you go int to apply for a drivers license. Fill out the form wrong and you will be rejected or asked to make corrections that are proper. It's a government form of record not an application toward a Blockbuster card where "Blto" might not even be noticed muchless have concern toward.
    Same applies even to applications for a firearm permit or carry license. You write out the full name of your city not some cribbed abomination of an abbreviation.

    As to this software and their situation the IRS may not create tax software for public dissemination and use in specific but the concept is not new nor unheard of and is in play today by many other Federal govt. agencies. Further providing data and documentation etc. as they did toward their software was not wise, If they had had an experienced attorney at hand to refer to who himself has even a modicum of experience in doing business with the government then he would have said same and advised they go about this differently. They made a not knowing any better novice mistake to that end.

    I've got 14 yrs. in govt. consulting and work with amongst other items developers of software and solution services as applied to govt., such as this case. To my eye as this detail reads it basically comes down to one thing, people not realizing that in dealing with the government it is the GOVERNMENT and as such act like you know or consult with someone who does as if you get it wrong they most often will not allow much in the way of grey.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    4,230
    I dunno, I've seen a lot where it's much more simple than that. Like if you live in Fairfax County VA. What about the folks that live in the City of Fairfax(which is within Fairfax County), etc... Now those folks when they put in their address may miss the county or city part or vice versa and only have Fairfax Co or COF. Or you're going to have the folks that just put down their city address and forget the county which is the standard EVERYWHERE, but on the flippin 4473. Who the hell asks for city and county on ANYTHING? Either way we're still trying to fix a problem that shouldn't exist anyway. The 4473 shouldn't exist nor should the donkeyhats that make us fill them out.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

  5. #4
    VIP Member
    Array Hopyard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Disappeared
    Posts
    11,601
    I think the issue being raised (if the story is at all true) is not the one Jang picked up on, or the one Pack raised. Rather, it is possible violation of copyright that is the real issue.

    The developer produced something (code) to accomplish a task, and put that down in medium. It is protected by copyright immediately on being written.

    If Uncle took the code and used any of it for its own software development, Uncle is as "guilty" of copyright violation as any one might be. But, it is a civil and not a criminal matter. The developer (if they can prove that their code was used) can perhaps sue.

    More likely, the BATFE lady mentioned in the article simply picked the developer's brains and took concepts that were not memorialized. Stuff like that happens all the time. Two people have a conversation and someone picks up ideas.

    Two writers can make the same point, the same statement, without using each others exact words, and there is no copyright infringement. The same with software code. Two developers can reach the same goal with different code.

    Is such behavior as described by the o.p. ethical? I don't think so. Was a crime committed? I don't think so. Was a civil wrong (tort) committed? Quite possibly. But, since there is no such software being distributed by BATFE yet, there is no way to know.

    Maybe we should just all give Uncle's employee the benefit of the doubt here till we know more.

    Also, it isn't necessarily right to assume that wrongdoing by one employee is necessarily commanded from above and an Agency effort. Every organization whether government, private, or voluntary, has employees who won't follow the rules.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781
    Hopyard,

    Uncle didn't appropriate their code...it reads that they appropriated the idea of taking a paper based form and creating a software version that simplifies and directs the applicant toward providing required/requested information.
    Basically the outside company came up with an idea and a solution seeing a deficiency that it intended to exploit within the market, and they asked the BATF to bless it...which was unnecessary. Uncle Sam replied saying that's a great idea show us what this is.
    Then whomp next thing the developer comes to find out is that the BATF will develop their own version of same in software concept. No code theft required nor involved.

    PNVA you provide town/city and county information on your drivers license app as well as census forms and voter registration documents.
    Three items that I myself filled out and turned in personally over the past 9 days IRL.
    As well it's asked on many other govt. documents including postal and standard forms city, state, and federal. It's normal and has been for eons.
    As to indicating place of being per your example it would go this way...

    Full Name: John Albert Doe
    Street: 123 University Drive
    Town/City: Fairfax
    County: Fairfax
    State: VA or Virginia (Either _standardized_ abbreviation would be proper and accepted on most all govt. forms)
    Zip Code: 22030

    Just because the name of the city is the same as the county makes no nevermind.
    A person who live s in 'Fairfax' VA lives in Fairfax.
    If they live in the town of Fairfax as opposed to down the road in say Burke they indicate their town/city of residence as being 'Fairfax' which just happens to be in a county of the same name. One would provide the secondary county information only if asked/directed.

    As to whether or not the form itself is redundant, wholly unnecessary, or just plain a stupid requisite...welcome to government. :p

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    OK
    Posts
    3,468
    State: VA or Virginia (Either _standardized_ abbreviation would be proper and accepted on most all govt. forms)
    Not on the 4473- at the discretion of the Auditor. Had a dealer-friend in KS (oops, KANSAS) who spent a significant chunk of change on this very point.

  8. #7
    VIP Member
    Array atctimmy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NSA Headquarters
    Posts
    6,372
    I remember having been scolded by a dealer for putting st. instead of street.
    Mark Twain:
    The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a
    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob72 View Post
    Not on the 4473- at the discretion of the Auditor. Had a dealer-friend in KS (oops, KANSAS) who spent a significant chunk of change on this very point.
    Rob,

    On forms where as much is not allowed it's usually obvious in that the state field has greater than two characters for an entry.

    As a rule of thumb with govt. forms if the state field has just two slots then they want a state abbreviation, and state codes are standardized.
    If the field though has more than two along the lines of eleven characters then they want to see the full state name of say MISSISSIPPI to be stated rather than 'MS', even if as much is not specifically stated on the form.
    As well always capitalize and write in clear distinct block letters, no sentence case and no cursive.

    Again though someone who is not a novice would, or should, know this by experience alone muchless specific agency and form related training. This should not be taken as an effort to reduce ones rights or some such as it's just a way for those on the other side of the fence to best increase efficiency (!) and reduce potential for error.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  10. #9
    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    2,736
    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    The developer produced something (code) to accomplish a task, and put that down in medium. It is protected by copyright immediately on being written.

    If Uncle took the code and used any of it for its own software development, Uncle is as "guilty" of copyright violation as any one might be. But, it is a civil and not a criminal matter. The developer (if they can prove that their code was used) can perhaps sue.
    Maybe I'm missing something here. Isn't this a form? An electronic form? This is not software. It is not at all the same as tax software, which actually includes code that adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides.

    If this is the best 'software' a 'company' can develop then those people are in dire straits of needing the clue to an idea. And if any of this ends up in a court then it is a perfect example of frivolous lawsuits. The government 'stole' the idea of an electronic form! Please....

  11. #10
    VIP Member
    Array Hopyard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Disappeared
    Posts
    11,601

    Jang, yes, this is exactly what I wrote

    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Hopyard,

    Uncle didn't appropriate their code...it reads that they appropriated the idea of taking a paper based form and creating a software version that simplifies and directs the applicant toward providing required/requested information.

    - Janq
    Yes, that is exactly what I wrote. That it sounds like BATFE appropriated an idea for themselves, but we don't know if they took copyrighted material.

    People appropriate (steal) ideas all the time. Ideas aren't protected by either copyright or patent law. If you and I have a conversation and you tell me you think it is a good idea to open a gun store on Coward's Blvd (made up name), and I go out the next day and rent a place and put up a sign that says, "future home of Hopyard's Gun Store," I've not been nice, but that is about it. No law broken.

    So, what I was saying is that while I think what the BATFE lady did was unethical (not nice at all), I don't think anything illegal was done, at least not based on the o.p.'s presentation.

  12. #11
    VIP Member
    Array Hopyard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Disappeared
    Posts
    11,601

    SD, Jang, I think we are saying the same thing

    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post

    If this is the best 'software' a 'company' can develop then those people are in dire straits of needing the clue to an idea. And if any of this ends up in a court then it is a perfect example of frivolous lawsuits. The government 'stole' the idea of an electronic form! Please....
    SD, Jang, I think we are saying the same thing but somehow talking past each other.

    You guys wrote exactly what I was trying to say; perhaps not artfully or well. It doesn't sound like anything wrong was done. A suit would happen only if original code was taken and used. And you are right, software to fill in a form, a form BATFE themselves created, isn't much of a project, and not much of a creative effort. I think Uncle's employee wasn't nice, wasn't upfront, and so on, but nothing wrong in the legal sense was done.

    One message I wanted to convey was a pro-government message. Whatever one might think about BATFE, maybe they had a decent enough motive here--to make things easier for those who fill the form out.

    The o.p. was asserting wrongdoing by BATFE. I think "stealing" some else's ideas is not nice. But it isn't illegal. We have a political campaign going where both candidates put forth the idea of "change." Ideas are just that. Thoughts. Nothing more. They are not patentable, not copyrightable. They are just spoken thoughts.

  13. #12
    Member Array WarHorse1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    47
    Actually, there are requirements for said software (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/rules/atf_ruling2008-2.pdf). No, it isn't JUST an electronic form. And, yes, the use of said software must be approved by BATFE.

    If BATFE didn't copy the software verbatim, I don't see a violation of copyright infringement. I also doubt they did copy the software, seeing as how there are already 20+ approved software systems (I couldn't find a BATFE reference, but see Times-News: Magicvalley.com, Twin Falls, ID). However, once the BATFE releases their software to the general public, it'll be interesting to hear from Coloseum Software Corporation again.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    4,230
    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I think the issue being raised (if the story is at all true) is not the one Jang picked up on, or the one Pack raised. Rather, it is possible violation of copyright that is the real issue.

    The developer produced something (code) to accomplish a task, and put that down in medium. It is protected by copyright immediately on being written.

    If Uncle took the code and used any of it for its own software development, Uncle is as "guilty" of copyright violation as any one might be. But, it is a civil and not a criminal matter. The developer (if they can prove that their code was used) can perhaps sue.

    More likely, the BATFE lady mentioned in the article simply picked the developer's brains and took concepts that were not memorialized. Stuff like that happens all the time. Two people have a conversation and someone picks up ideas.

    Two writers can make the same point, the same statement, without using each others exact words, and there is no copyright infringement. The same with software code. Two developers can reach the same goal with different code.

    Is such behavior as described by the o.p. ethical? I don't think so. Was a crime committed? I don't think so. Was a civil wrong (tort) committed? Quite possibly. But, since there is no such software being distributed by BATFE yet, there is no way to know.

    Maybe we should just all give Uncle's employee the benefit of the doubt here till we know more.

    Also, it isn't necessarily right to assume that wrongdoing by one employee is necessarily commanded from above and an Agency effort. Every organization whether government, private, or voluntary, has employees who won't follow the rules.
    Because they are "Uncle's employee" from the aforementioned organization they get absolutely NO BENEFIT of doubt from me. You work for the enemy...you are the enemy. That simple. A murderer can help an old lady to cross a busy street. That's a good thing, but that doesn't mean he's not still a murderer.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    509
    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    If this is the best 'software' a 'company' can develop then those people are in dire straits of needing the clue to an idea.
    So the very fact that it was better than the gov't system and the BATFE was willing to lie to steal their ideas means that the BATFE is even more dire straits of needing a clue.

    As has been stated many times on this forum:

    Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

    The very existence of an agency whose job is the infringe on the 2A? How is that not wrong?

    The whole idea of business is that you figure out something to help people and if people want it enough, you make money. If not, you go out of business. We don't know if this business' idea would have worked or not. We may never know, since the BATFE used its privileged position to manipulate this company into providing more info than they would have otherwise. Everyone clearly realizes you don't sit down with your competitor and give away your secrets. But this is exactly what happened, because they didn't realize the BATFE would go into competition with them.

    As for giving the benefit of the doubt, I will give the benefit of the doubt to anyone else before I give it to a government agency.

    Mel
    The Ethics of Liberty
    LewRockwell.com
    The Survival Podcast
    How long have we watered the Tree of Deceit with the blood of patriots?

  16. #15
    Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    44,556
    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    I remember having been scolded by a dealer for putting st. instead of street.
    I have had several dealers 'eyeball' the application with me, also. They have made sure (very politely) that every 'i' was dotted, and each line was answered carefully. I know that they have BATFE breathing down their necks just looking for any 'i' not dotted.
    I understand their predicament and I have no problem with them being politely careful.
    BATFE has power? Depending upon the election results, 'you ain't seen nothing yet'......
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

    ***********************************
    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member[/B]

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. hate crimes & 2a
    By Thanis in forum The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: November 4th, 2009, 01:17 PM
  2. South Dakota adds VA and ME!
    By titleist in forum Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 11th, 2009, 07:35 PM
  3. WV adds LA and DE drops VA
    By Gary Slider in forum Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: November 19th, 2008, 07:48 PM
  4. SC adds FL & KY
    By FN1910 in forum Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: September 17th, 2008, 06:03 PM
  5. % of Gun Crimes by CCW Holders
    By Hivoltage in forum Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: August 27th, 2006, 12:37 AM

Search tags for this page

coloseum software 4473

Click on a term to search for related topics.