Posts tagged PIPA
Posts tagged PIPA
Remember all that talk of how the supporters of SOPA/PIPA were "humbled" by the protests of January 18th, and how they had learned their lessons about trying to push through a bill without actually involving the stakeholders? Remember the talk of how they hoped a new tone could be found in the debate? Yeah. Apparently someone forgot to send that memo to RIAA boss Cary Sherman, who has taken to the pages of the NY Times to lash out at those who fought against SOPA/PIPA, chalking the whole thing up to a massive “misinformation” campaign by Google and Wikipedia. The whole thing is chock full of ridiculous claims, so we might as well go through it bit by bit.
If you’d like the full-length refutation, there you go. (Read after I’d written my spur-of-the-moment rant posted a few minutes ago.)
“The hyperbolic mistruths, presented on the home pages of some of the world’s most popular Web sites, amounted to an abuse of trust and a misuse of power. When Wikipedia and Google purport to be neutral sources of information, but then exploit their stature to present information that is not only not neutral but affirmatively incomplete and misleading, they are duping their users into accepting as truth what are merely self-serving political declarations.”
No fan of the RIAA, much less SOPA, but this in particular is an interesting point.
Any attempt by pro-SOPA lobbyists to claim the high moral ground in the protests—which they still insist on claiming was entirely the work of a few large corporations rather than a genuine public outcry that those corporations got involved with late in the game—is absolutely, categorically bullshit, and I do not swear lightly. Let me explain:
The Wikipedia community debated this extensively and agreed that while articles are neutral, the organization can and does have political views regarding issues that affect it and its mission (and it does have a mission). The protest announcement clearly drew that distinction. Google’s search results are neutral (despite pressure from the RIAA), but the organization has a Chief Internet Evangelist and a motto that suggests that they do believe that some positions are better than others. The movie companies “just” produce movies, but they have the MPAA. The music companies “just” produce music, but they have the RIAA.
The TV networks he mentions later didn’t just stay neutral; they avoided covering what was a fairly major story in the making, which is can be in itself a form of bias. (Do we in the library world really have to be reminded of the power of censorship to stifle dissent by pretending that both the issue and the protest never happened?) When one of them did do a piece, the representative for the pro-SOPA side was the general counsel of NBCUniversal, which owned the show doing it. And need we mention Creative America? The TV companies didn’t use their soapbox because they didn’t want to draw attention to public protests against their corporate interests by acting as a corporation; instead, they tried recruiting all of their employees into an astroturf campaign.
And speaking of “hyperbolic mistruths, presented on the home pages of some of the world’s most popular Web sites, […] information that is not only not neutral but affirmatively incomplete and misleading, […] duping their users into accepting as truth what are merely self-serving political declarations,” well, there’s this link going ‘round to a misleading and misinformation-filled Op-Ed by a professional corporate advocate in one of the world’s most trusted newspapers… .
Oh, look, the CEO of the RIAA still doesn’t get it. At least he wrote this in an Op-Ed, where he admits that he can present hyperbolic mistruths, incomplete and misleading information, and other “editorial opinions” as fact.
What both of these approaches and France’s HADOPI have in common is that they all seek to institute a system that is extra-judicial, with no requirement for proof of any kind, and which is hard or impossible to appeal against. It is the very definition of arbitrary vigilantism, where private actors get to be judge, jury and executioner. In other words, far from taming a “lawless place” online, SOPA and its ilk would create one where there is none currently.
At least they’ve realized that it’s not just Google they need to be talking to.
We received an amusing email over the weekend chiding us for never having covered ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Of course, we’ve actually written 247 articles that mention ACTA (yes, I just counted). It seems that among some folks who just joined the “worry about copyright legislation” bandwagon, they’ve just discovered ACTA as well. ACTA stories are quickly taking over the SOPA channel on Reddit. I’m happy that more people are coming around to these issues, but they might want to take some time to actually read up on things before they start screaming. For example, someone there put together a White House petition to stop ACTA, without even acknowledging that the US government already signed ACTA back in September.