Posts tagged RIAA
Posts tagged RIAA
It makes sense, then, that one typical response to bad copyright policy developments — and there are many — is to say that those developments skew this balance the wrong way, favoring the incentives and rewards for rightsholders more than is necessary to maximize creative production. But that approach overlooks the fact that many of the worst copyright proposals, like those that come out of content lobbying groups like the RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) do worse than a skewed balance. Rather, they fail to strike any kind of balance at all, curtailing speech and fundamental online rights without a corresponding increase in the incentive to create new works.
Federal authorities who seized a popular hip-hop music site based on assertions from the Recording Industry Association of America that it was linking to four “pre-release” music tracks gave it back more than a year later without filing civil or criminal charges because of apparent recording industry delays in confirming infringement, according to court records obtained by Wired.
The Los Angeles federal court records, which were unsealed Wednesday at the joint request of Wired, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the First Amendment Coalition, highlight a secret government process in which a judge granted the government repeated time extensions to build a civil or criminal case against Dajaz1.com, one of about 750 domains the government has seized in the last two years in a program known as Operation in Our Sites.
Apparently, however, the RIAA and music labels’ evidence against Dajaz1, a music blog, never came. Or, if it did, it was not enough to build a case and the authorities returned the site nearly 13 months later without explanation or apology.
» via ars technica
It took more than half a decade, but there’s finally something we can agree on with the RIAA. After suing college students, shutting down LimeWire and pushing for draconian anti-piracy laws, the RIAA now finally admits that the best answer to illegal downloading is innovation. A milestone, but unfortunately also a message that is bundled with the usual creative statistics that have to be debunked.
» via TorrentFreak
Harold Feld has made a very important point that has been totally ignored in the debate over the state of the recorded music business. In Cary Sherman’s diatribe about how the evil tech industry is destroying the music industry, not only does he pretend that recorded music is representative of the wider music industry’s situation (it’s not… at all), but he seems to have carefully chosen the date of 1999 as his starting point for the supposed “collapse.” Why? Because in 1999 the major record labels (i.e., exactly who the RIAA represents) were charged with illegal price fixing… a practice they then agreed to cease. And, of course, when you stop price fixing, generally speaking your revenue goes down[.]
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.
The Recording Industry Association of America pressed lawmakers on Wednesday to oppose an online piracy bill offered by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as an alternative to controversial legislation shelved by Congress last month.
» The Hill
Or, for a version that doesn’t rely entirely on uncritical quoting the RIAA:
The Recording Industry Association of America found itself in an unusual position this week: opposing an anti-piracy bill that’s gaining momentum in Congress.
A few days ago we reported that no less than 6 IP-addresses registered to the RIAA had been busted for downloading copyrighted material. Quite a shocker to everyone—including the music industry group apparently—as they are now using a defense previously attempted by many alleged file-sharers. It wasn’t members of RIAA staff who downloaded these files, the RIAA insists, it was a mysterious third party vendor who unknowingly smeared the group’s good name.
You know me; any excuse to use the “unclean hands” tag. (I realize that it’s rarely going to be an effective legal defense in relation to anything I’m talking about when I use it, but I do love the phrase and its inclusion in kitchen-sink defenses.)
Exactly what it says on the tin.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The idea that federal law enforcement cannot be trusted with certain powers in inherent in the Bill of Rights—which, if you weren’t aware, is not a set of universal rights against all comers but rather only protects against the government, which can’t be trusted—and the idea that monopolies (including consortia) tend to abuse their power is inherent in antitrust law. Here’s two examples of these groups abusing current law:
The Feds just gave back a website they seized under COICA a year ago. The reason? They finally admitted that they had no probable cause. This is the first time they’ve actually admitted screwing up, although their descriptions of what some of the sites they’ve seized were up to that justified seizing them under the law hasn’t always been, well, factual. Of course, it’s a little hard to fight them when they keep getting secret extensions to the deadline for filing the forfeiture paperwork so that the defendant’s lawyer doesn’t even get to know that he’s never going to get to challenge them in court. Incidentally, SOPA is designed to attack any sites that can’t be seized directly under COICA.
Universal Music Group has had a MegaUpload ad taken down from YouTube even though it has no rights to anything in the video. Of course, this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows that, for example, Warner Brothers has admitted to asking for takedowns of files it never looked at and had no rights to, in blatant violation of the DMCA requirements for issuing a takedown notice. The upshot of this is that MegaUpload has finally been goaded off the fence and into opposition to SOPA.
The Feds and media consortia both violate the terms of their current, narrowly-scoped powers when using them to attack sites and content that aren’t actually violating the laws in question. They do this due to ignorance, gross negligence, and indifference. And now, with SOPA, they want to create an entirely new, even broader domain of contributory crimes with even broader penalties for which they will be judge, jury, and executioner. I don’t think so; if they’re not responsible enough to keep a goldfish, I’m sure as hell not giving them a pony.