An informant reveals himself

The article about the pirates of St. Paul was well-written and informative, but a key piece of information was left out: This bust for DVD piracy happened because an active and involved citizen repeatedly contacted the Motion Picture Association of America to get an investigation launched. Let me make it clear that I spoke to the reporter who wrote this article âÄî a real top-notch journalist, definitely going places âÄî and more or less tipped him off to this story. Though I was initially reluctant to have my name be part of the story because of worries about retaliation by the felons involved in this piracy ring, I ultimately told the reporter that I preferred to have my name published, along with the name of my blog, I believe in âÄúaggressively good citizenship,âÄù and I promote it on my activist blog about North Minneapolis revitalization. While making trips every other week to visit my 11-year-old son, I often came upon the brazen video pirates at that dreary strip mall in St. Paul, selling their wares on the hood of a vehicle. So I began making small buys and contacting authorities, noting license plates and stuff like that. The process of getting an MPAA investigation and then a police investigation was arduous. I practically lobbied this raid into existence through constant contact with the MPAA. Yes, I was the guy who bought and turned over the 007 âÄúQuantum of SolaceâÄù DVD while the movie was still in theaters. (The DVD is mentioned in the article.) I say these things because I donâÄôt think citizens should live their life in vague fear of unknown retaliation for cooperating with the police, and I also donâÄôt think articles in the mass media should give the impression (even by inference) that police are able to do everything on their own, without help and cooperation from citizens. Maybe the reporter, Andy Mannix, was being helpful and protecting me on his own initiative, or maybe space considerations were an issue. No matter. IâÄôm writing this letter to say I WAS THE ONE WHO GOT THOSE NO-ACCOUNT THUGS BUSTED FOR DVD PIRACY, AND IâÄôD DO IT AGAIN. John Hoff North Minneapolis resident Former Minnesota Daily columnist