An Important History Lesson For Legislators About The Entertainment Industry

from the sounds-familiar,-yes? dept

Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Electronics Association is continuing to show that his organization may be the biggest friend to consumers in fighting against the tactics of the entertainment industry to get the government to legislate to protect their increasingly obsolete business model. His latest effort is to take out a simple one page advertisement in the Capitol Hill newspaper with the title: You've Heard This Song Before, followed up by historical quotes from the entertainment industry, every time some new technology comes along:
"I foresee a marked deterioration in American music...and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue -- or rather by vice -- of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines..." -John Philip Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)

"The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials." -Record Label Executive on FM Radio (1925)

"But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder." -MPAA on the VCR (1982)

"When the manufacturers hand the public a license to record at home...not only will the songwriter tie a noose around his neck, not only will there be no more records to tape [but] the innocent public will be made an accessory to the destruction of four industries." -ASCAP on the Cassette Tape (1982)

Of course, each of those technologies helped expand the industry to new heights by opening up new opportunities. So why is it that, this time around, so many politicians seem willing to believe the dire predictions, even as there's increasing evidence (again) that these new technologies can help expand the market for anyone willing to embrace them?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Angry Rivethead, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 4:02am

    We've already established that...

    The RIAA and MPAA are just plain stupid. No other way to describe it. I'm convinced there is just something wrong with these guys. Over the years I've thought about this quite a bit and every other theory comes to a dead end.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Dom, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 4:12am

    Re: We've already established that...

    It's true. I also cannot see any other alternative. It's just a problem that the US government seems to buy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    John Bailey, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 4:39am

    Re: Re: We've already established that...

    Both organisations exist to protect the IP of the associated businesses. If nobody thereatens that, they don't need to exist. Therefore, piracy is what is keeping them in existance.

    And its not only the American government that is causing the problem, its the other governments that bow to the pressure to comply with the stupid IP laws. The recent Pirate Bay episode being a case in point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Jim, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 5:15am

    Re: We've already established that... by Dom on Jun 21st, 2006 @ 4:12am

    It's true. I also cannot see any other alternative. It's just a problem that the US government seems to buy it.




    Actually, my friend, the problem is, that the US govt. has been bought.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 5:21am

    So why is it that, this time around, so many politicians seem willing to believe the dire predictions, even as there's increasing evidence (again) that these new technologies can help expand the market for anyone willing to embrace them?


    The same reason that made those people make those quotes. The government and big business are afraid of anything that they cannot control. And by control I mean make money for themselves or destroy it beacuse they cannot make money off it or some other benefit. If someone were to offer an easy cure all solution that garaunteed the big business and the government would be the only ones gaining that person would be hail as a hero.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 5:34am

    Those not willing to learn from history

    Will reap doom and eat it. Dammit! I mean, are doomed to repeat it.

    I just wish it weren't so much like a flood, dragging along everything in its path. Hand me down my Clue Bat, honey, I'm a-goin' huntin'...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 6:33am

    The US Govt. isn't much smarter.

    Who else on earth would move the second largest oil drilling platform in the world to the Gulf of Mexico and then wonder why all of a sudden the pressure has dropped there literally wiping states off the map. When working with any governmental, judiciary, or even in most cases doctorate level people we must assume their idiocy. They don't take the time to learn the facts before they do anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Daryl Ducharme, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:00am

    re:The problem is the government?

    I don't think the problem is the government as much as the general public (and this includes you and me) have become so jaded to politics that we stay away from it. It is our government, or at least that is the design. We need to take responsibility and start using our own powers that allow us to govern ourselves to...govern ourselves rather than be governed to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Jeff from NJ, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:07am

    Follow the money...

    There is a quote from Upton Sinclair that applies here:

    "It is difficult for a man to understand something, when his income depends on him not undertsanding it."

    Congress gets big $$$ in bribes from the Music Industry & Hollywood. Why would it ever consider the best interests of the people, in these circumstances?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    mark, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:13am

    Re: The US Govt. isn't much smarter.

    wow, your obvious intellectual powers make me laugh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Ric, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:32am

    I think everyone is forgetting... THE SKY IS FALLING! it really is this time...seriously...those other technologies just led up to this...it will be bad.... Where did everyone go?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    J.R., Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:41am

    It's simple: they have a failed business model and they're so used to being the only way to do things that they cannot fathom adapting or dying. Several companies had this exact problem during the industrial revolution, but lobbyists weren't allowed and it was much harder to buy a politician in those days, so not as much was done to halt the efforts of forward progress.

    I think what offends us all so much is that even the smallest child can see that this is forward progress and the people fighting it are as much fighting progress and human innovation than the "loss" of profits.

    I think a lot of it has to do with a growing sense of dissatisfaction we all feel with our governments and how they're working at a never-before-seen parallel to keep funnelling money into the pockets of their friends, ignoring basic economics. This just seems like another case of "you line our pockets, we'll line yours" and it's just damnably frustrating for us all.

    But unlike oil companies, we can actually strike back at the entertainment industry, so we do; and frequently. With the robber barons we have in office today (not just in America), I think we all feel like we're being pushed around by a bunch of rich elitist bullies, and we're getting incredibly close to doing something about it and soon.

    The problem with us here, in America, is that we have the twin problems of politicians that are very good at distracting us and obscuring the issues and the fact that we're still very much a fractured nation and it takes a lot to get all or most of us to rally behind a single banner.

    So for right now, we're going to continue to see attacks on commerce and industry that isn't owned or at least sending bribes to those in power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    zipdrivedadd, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:49am

    prior art for clear channels patent

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    The angry one, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 7:50am

    It Is YOUR Fault

    Day after Day after Day after DAY, I read these posts. In matters not, what the subject. everyone bitches and complains about this law or that politician. You live in one of the very few countries which allow the citizens to change virtually anything. WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY, get that through you thick, unread brains. You don not get to vote on the laws that create the situations that so many of you WHINE about. the Legislators vote and pass those laws (Which by the way, are, OFTEN, written by the business' that the laws are suppose to affect). YOU LIVE IN A REPRESENTITIVE REPUBLIC. this means you get to vote for the person that will make decisions for YOU. In the future if you would like to slow the degradation of our lifestyle, try stepping away from the XBOX, or MySpace for a few minutes and rread about the Idiots that are trying to become your "LEADERS". VOTE, and vote in the primary elections they are more important. VOTE for some honest for a change try and find a candidate that tells the truth, ot just what lies you want to hear. and lastly remember this above all else, UNTIL WE TAKE BUSINESS DONATIONS TO CAMPAIGNS, AND THE LOBBYISTS PERKS TO LEGISLATORS OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN LIVE IN A COUNTRY "BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE"

    NOW one of you little brainless idiots, make some smartass comment about a mispelled word or something else completely unimportant, because that is all you do all day!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:01am

    The people elect the government and the people get the government they deserve. The real problem here isn't the MPAA and the RIAA, as retarded as those people are, they aren't the problem.

    If the government you elected isn't doing what you demand you must remove it by any means necessary. It's time that we refresh the country with blood as was needed in the first civil war.

    Sad but true...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:15am

    No honor in Government officials

    Today, most legislature passed, is sadly slanted towards the greed of our elected officials. Sitting time with the President costs less than $10K. How much do you think a vote costs these days? The RIAA, MPAA, all the special interest groups, and most importantly/sadly our elected officials, do not have the good of the American public at heart. The groups certainly can buy the votes needed to promote their agendas. These offences and the continuing degredation of our Rights towards Globalist agendas are the downfall of our once great Republic. Until we stand up, take back our Freedoms, reign in our cancerous government and begin to focus on fixing the problems we have here at Home, there is no way that we can reverse this treacherous course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    I, for one, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:38am

    Re:

    Says J.R. - "I think what offends us all so much is that even the smallest child can see that this is forward progress and the people fighting it are as much fighting progress and human innovation than the "loss" of profits. "

    Yes, that is correct. This is the nub of the "conservative" (with a small c). To "conserve" and "preserve" is to reject change and live in fear of progress. Conservativism and capitalism have never really shared the same political axis, the real entrepreneur seizes the opportinity offered by change and welcomes it at every juncture.

    There are many powerful interests who are manifestly opposed to technological development, many of whom are hiding behind the disguise of being household names in technology. Microsoft and Sony
    are just two obvious examples. They subcribe to a model of managed global development. In other words "sabotage the advances made in all other areas except where we already have an interest and control". Their tools are

    1) Propaganda - spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt
    2) Broad patent stockpiling - to inhibit competitors
    3) Control of government - lobbying, buying legislation
    4) Lockdown - obsolecence by design, DRM, lockout/in

    Put simply, many of the big names we associate with technology are actually anti-progressive, anti-technology Luddites of the highest order. Unlike the original Luddites who merely had some spanners to throw in the machines these enemies of progress have vast sums of money and governments in their pockets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:39am

    "Day after Day after Day after DAY, I read these posts."

    The question is, given your comments and attitude, why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    The angry one, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:47am

    "The question is, given your comments and attitude, why?"


    Because this is one way to glean where other individuals thoughts are, and to attempt to point out, what can be done to remedy some problems. Yet people seem to have plenty of time to complain or to "chat", and No time to vote or become proactive about our future. My future and lifesytle is unfortunately tied to everyones in some ways. How else to improve the situation?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 8:54am

    Re: No honor in Government officials

    Excellent post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    The angry one, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Seldomn

    I would like to say thank you.
    Anonymous Cowards 15, 16 and "I for One", and several other above. being in agreement or not, reading some of the more thought out, posts on Techdirt, makes me believe, at sometime in the future, when a majority of people have "had enough" we may "fix" some of the problems we deal with currently.

    One can only hope. But unfortunately, I think "They" will continue to placate the lazy masses with inconsequential "booby prizes" such as "Protecting us from the Terrorists" and giving us a $100 gas rebate, and we will continue to follow them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    elle, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Techdirt - You're Pwning Yourself Again....

    Mike

    You're saying that the entertainment industry has been making these sort of statements for 100 years, when every new technology comes out.

    In each case, the entertainment industry has adapted successfully, often getting the government to help the industry control distribution, which is.....exactly what it is doing now.

    "why is it that, this time around, so many politicians seem willing to believe the dire predictions..."

    A better question would be "Why is it that, this time around, TechDirt thinks that the entertainment industry won't have their way with politicians like they have for 100 years?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 9:22am


    ...WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY, ...YOU LIVE IN A REPRESENTITIVE REPUBLIC. ... UNTIL WE TAKE BUSINESS DONATIONS TO CAMPAIGNS, AND THE LOBBYISTS PERKS TO LEGISLATORS OUT OF OUR GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN LIVE IN A COUNTRY "BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE"

    NOW one of you little brainless idiots, make some smartass comment about a mispelled word or something else completely unimportant, because that is all you do all day!


    You make a good point but I dont give a rat's butt about your spelling erros. The problem is that since we live in a nation in which we elect peole to represent us we create a situation in which big business, lobbyists, and interst groups can conviently bride a small group of people (just a few people in some cases) to get just what they want. Imagine if laws were voted on by the people and the telcos or RIAA, or MPAA or whever had to try to pay off several million people to get the desired outcome. And about trying to elect an honest person. Given that there is a relatively small number of people in representative postions an honest person sticks out like a sore thumb, making her/him easier to target and destroy. The representative system itself isnt flawed but it does allow for groups to sway a small number of people to get big results.

    And in recent years people have been bombared with news about elections being bought out, voting machine errors, and the mess in Florida in the 2000(or was it '04) presidental race. There were a lot of people who voted for the first time in these elections with questionable result and they have been left with a sense of "Why should I vote if the election has already been decided?"

    Shouting in a forum with a few all caps phrases for emphasis isnt going to instantly restore people's faith in government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 9:38am

    Re: prior art for clear channels patent

    Thanks for the link to the patent buster site for Clear Channel. I'm familiar with a patent from 1995 that I hope will be very useful to the EFF.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    The angry one, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 9:48am

    RE Anonymous Coward 23

    1. I agree with most of your assertions. 2. I am not advocating change from a representitive republic to a true democracy, for several reasons, mostly because it is nearly impossible to govern via a nationwide vote on every decision. 3. The point that I apparently did not make very well; "things" are the way they are because, business' and other enterprises are allowed to funnel money, legally, to legislators and prospective legislator's. This in turn gains allegiance. We as a country need to work towards removing this specific tool from business and other special interests. when the legislator has to depend on donations from individual citizens, how ever that might be (government subsidy, or direct donation) he then is bound to the people (however screwed up they may be) instead of business. the only way to change that is to vote for honest represtentives and to push the issue whenever possible.

    as for bought elections, I am not aware of any elections that were "bought" there may be some "Florida" is a very good possibility". but all elections are bought ... that is what advertising and media is!, it is also why a company producing one of the worst Hamburgers in America is the largest foodservice company in the world.

    Shouting on EVERY soup box I can get on is going to get my thoughts across, I have no faith in our current government. I surely am not trying to restore yours.

    Thank you for the congenial response

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Panic, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 10:19am

    Patent Buster

    That patent seems crazy. I played in band back in 97 that had all our gigs recorded during the show, and cd's were ready for play and/or sale at the end of the show. How could they possibly NOT have prior art to that patent?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    cb, Jun 21st, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    They just dont get it

    They just dont get it .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 21st, 2006 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Techdirt - You're Pwning Yourself Again....

    elle,

    Predicting their own demise due to new technologies, when the truth was their markets got much much bigger is "adapting successfully"?

    Wow.

    Yes, they adapted. That's the point. So why is it this time they're not willing to adapt, but feel the need to force the gov't to keep their existing business model in place?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Dr. Gonzo, Jul 8th, 2006 @ 6:12pm

    Umm...okay

    "NOW one of you little brainless idiots, make some smartass comment about a mispelled word or something else completely unimportant, because that is all you do all day!"

    And this after a long winded holier than thou comment posting. It appears the irony is lost even on the "read."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Obsidian, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    In response to 'Angry One'.

    "WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY, get that through you thick, unread brains. You don not get to vote on the laws that create the situations that so many of you WHINE about. the Legislators vote and pass those laws (Which by the way, are, OFTEN, written by the business' that the laws are suppose to affect). YOU LIVE IN A REPRESENTITIVE REPUBLIC" I have to ask. Are you making an intentional effort to be wrong, or does it just come naturally? There is no such thing as a 'Representitive Republic'. That is redundant, as Republics, by their very definition, are Representitive. From Merriam-Webster: Republic-1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (Emphasis mine) Furthermore, you are also wrong about us not living in a democracy. A Republic is a form of Democracy. From Merriam-Webster again: Democracy-1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections (As before, the Emphasis is mine.) As the Definition above states, a Democracy is essentially 'Majority Rule' which is the VERY FOUNDATION of the United States. A Majority of votes by the idiots of this country chooses the President, a majority of Congress-idiots have to agree in order for a law to pass, etc. A True Democracy is when people come together and, through majority decisions, make decisions about the state. A Republic is a Democracy where the people, by vote of the majority, choose people to make the decisions for them, also through majority rule. 'Republic' is but another word for 'Representitive Democracy'. People who deny the Democratic form of our government are usually motivated by a hostility towards democracy, and a prediliction towards plutocracy, monarchy, or even fascism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Aidan, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 5:32pm

    Another Spanner in the Works

    Way to go Obsidian. Short Angry Man is an idiot...and he votes (I think).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This