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Slate has a new blog post out under their Future Tense section entitled "Hollywood's Copyright Lobbyists Are Like Exes Who Won't Give Up."
In it, the Hollywood Copyright Lobbyists (whoever they are) are taken to task for acting like exes who won't get the hint. What hint? The blog post says these unnamed lobbyists remain undeterred by the defeat of SOPA and are once again trying influence law makers. In other words, lobbyists are continuing to lobby. How dare they. It's not like google ever does the same thing, right?
SOPA by the way, stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act. Along with PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Piracy Act. According to the Slate post, these were introduced as a response to what was seen as the faulty Digital Millennium Copyright Act from 1998.
Under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, WordPress, and Facebook aren’t responsible for the copyright infringement of each of their millions of users, so long as they take down specific posts, videos, or images when notified by copyright holders. But copyright holders thought that wasn’t good enough. They wanted to take down whole websites, not just particular posts, and without ever going to court. In 2011, they proposed a bill that would let them do just that.
Never mind the fact the DMCA was passed five years before the existence of The Pirate Bay, and seven years before Youtube even existed. Never mind that according to a study from George Mason University, the number of DMCA copyright takedown notices from mainstream copyright owners is 6.5 million per month on over thirty thousand different websites. Never mind anyone who tries to enact a take down notice falls down a complicated rabbit hole that seems more designed to discourage the copyright holder than anything else. It's those pesky copyright holders, dagnabbit.
The rationale by Silicon Valley that we already have the DMCA and it's working just fine-- seems positively Right Wing in its rabid belief system of law. Conservatives say much the same thing about guns. "We don't need new laws, we need to enforce the existing ones." It amusing to me that this backward sentiment is the same. Really though, it's neither left nor right wing. It's just pure cynicism by people who think we're stupid.
To blame Hollywood copyright lobbyists for trying to influence law when google does the exact same thing is either ignorant or hypocritical. And to ignore the fact it isn't just "Hollywood Copyright Lobbyists" but entire countries that are reacting to what they see is Big Tech run rampant, suggests once again the narrative is being controlled in Big Tech's favor.
No surprise, really. The blog post was written by Marvin Ammori. He is a lawyer and Future Tense Fellow at New America. New America Foundation is a nonprofit and (ha-ha) nonpartisan public policy institute. Wanna guess who chairs the board of directors? Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of google.
Update: Soon after this article was published, Slate felt the need to update Mr. Ammori's post with this disclosure. They didn't mention google's connection to the so-called Future Tense think tank but this is what they said.
Update, March 11, 2014: Disclosure: The author represented Google and other companies fighting SOPA/PIPA in 2011 and 2012. He currently represents Google and other companies on several issues, including copyright reform. These views are his own.
Question: If you represent an interested party, and then write a blog post skewering the other side, how exactly are your views your own? Asking for a friend.
Second update: In response to the google lawyer/lobbyist's rant, Kurt Sutter, creator and writer of Sons of Anarchy (as well as writer for the Shield and Outlaw Empires) delivered a pointed response to that blog post.
Here's just one small snippet of it.
Everyone is aware that Google has done amazing things to revolutionize our Internet experience. And I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Google are very nice people. But the big G doesn’t contribute anything to the work of creatives. Not a minute of effort or a dime of financing. Yet Google wants to take our content, devalue it, and make it available for criminals to pirate for profit. Convicted felons like Kim Dotcom generate millions of dollars in illegal revenue off our stolen creative work. People access Kim through Google. And then, when Hollywood tries to impede that thievery, it’s presented to the masses as a desperate attempt to hold on to antiquated copyright laws that will kill your digital buzz. It’s so absurd that Google is still presenting itself as the lovable geek who’s the friend of the young everyman. Don’t kid yourself, kids: Google is the establishment.