Can Someone Explain Why The White House Should Be Playing The Role Of Copyright Cop?

from the thanks-congress dept

This isn't exactly a surprise, but the PRO IP bill, which is actually quite anti-IP, has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. This is the bill that would create a "piracy czar" with a new department reporting to the White House, whose sole job it is to crack down on piracy. Basically, it's turning the White House into the entertainment industry's private police force, allowing them to prop up an obsolete business model. This is extremely problematic. There's increasing evidence that piracy is not the real problem the industry is facing. The artists who are embracing file sharing and adopting new business models are finding that there are business models that work, that help to better promote and distribute content, while creating new avenues for making money. This is something that the market is working out on its own. Creating a special anti-piracy group within the White House is simply an anti-competitive move by an industry that doesn't want to update its obsolete business model. Yet, through misleading lobbying efforts, politicians have been convinced that this business model needs to be propped up. Why the White House should be forced to involve itself in a commercial dispute that is working itself out is beyond me. Even more to the point, why should the White House be setting up a special group just for this really narrowly focused "issue" when there are so many more pressing problems in this country?


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    David, May 1st, 2008 @ 8:37am

    In fact the White House does have a problem with the anti-piracy czar provision in PRO-IP because it undermines the DoJ's authority over intellectual property matters.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/30/AR2008043003360.html

     

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    Ima Fish, May 1st, 2008 @ 8:41am

    "Can Someone Explain Why The White House Should Be Playing The Role Of Copyright Cop?"

    Because the content industry pays politicians lots of money to have laws written in their favor. Any other questions?

     

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    Ben, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:01am

    Ha

    So now they want a war on piracy... i wonder if it'll go as well as the war on drugs, or the iraq 'war' (invasion)

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), May 1st, 2008 @ 9:16am

    Possession of unauthorised copies

    You wait until we get a law prohibiting possession of unauthorised copies (probably initially qualified as 'with intent to supply'). That'll be amusing.

    The people vs their elected representatives?

    Something's gone terribly wrong...

     

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    Teilo, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:26am

    The reason is actually simple: Because the White House's deepest desire is to control the flow of information, and impose their reality on the rest of us. This is not an attack on IP itself. This is an assault on the freedom of information.

    They are assembling a weapon, piece by piece. Net Neutrality (let the market decide, the say) is one. This is another. A third is the 4th Amendment violations which happen by the trillions of bits which they intercept in every major ISP in the country.

    And I say White House, and not just Bush, because it will not change during the next administration, no matter who is "elected".

    You want to change this, folks? You have to BE the government. Take over - from the bottom up. Start local, say, with a seat on the city council. The local governments are the foundation of the entire system. From there, move out to county and state. Run yourself, or support a candidate that supports freedom on all fronts like you do. Reject the party establishment. Just say "No" to every deal they try to make with you. Be prepared to go to battle with the entrenched "party men". Don't back down. Don't compromise. Be ready to sue them if they break their own party's rules. Take over your party Honestly, I don't care which one, because if we have two freedom-loving parties, then everybody wins.

    It's the only way. Information alone does nothing but give you something to complain about. Do you know what happens when you complain / protest / hold demonstrations or press conferences? Nothing.

    My gosh, I've become an activist. All this time I thought I was a John Adams-style conservative white Christian male.

     

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    GB, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Other Issues?

    there are so many more pressing problems in this country?

    There are other issues? Something I should know about? Dang, and I thought the cabi... the group I meet with was keeping me informed.

    GB

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:46pm

      Re: Other Issues?

      yes, we have rev wright to be worried about, dont look over here to this effort to remove your constitution rights...nope, look over here to this crazy preacher and his fanatical follower running for president

      This stuff gets through because Americans want to be entertained with day time tv like politics and not the real issue. This does start from the ground up, like, start paying attention to what your politicians are voting about, and not where there talking to, fucking, or what kind of drink they have at a bar.

      Things that go wrong, Americans are alot to blame for there voting habits.....I include myself because i have never voted

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Blame the govt all you want but...

    its really all your (our) fault. WE are the ones who elect these politicians. WE are the ones who elect the president.

    The govt is established based on who WE elect and put in power.

    Blame the govt all you want, but in the end we are just blaming ourselves.

     

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      barren_waste, May 1st, 2008 @ 10:08am

      Re: Blame the govt all you want but...

      While I agree with this to an extent, I have to say that politicians are quite good at promising one thing and delivering another. Not to mention backroom deals that end up promoting things diametrically opposed to the views thier party harps about. Yes, we need to take responsibility for our own votes, the war for example, but the politicians need to be forced to vote as they espoused at election time.

      As to the gov playing internet cop....well, this is really no surprise is it? I mean, it all got started when that group of little old ladies asked all the other little old ladies to send money so they could censor what could be seen or heard. I believe that was about five minutes after our country was officially founded. According to the constitution we were given the right to bear arms to ensure that we don't end up with the people vrs. the gov. Unfortunately it appears as though my license won't be in untill 2056, at which time I'll be comfortably ensconced and forgotten in some retirement home....

       

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    db, May 1st, 2008 @ 9:58am

    "Can Someone Explain Why The White House Should Be Playing The Role Of Copyright Cop?"

    "Can Someone Explain Why The White House Should Be Playing The Role Of Copyright Cop?"

    May have something to do with the whole "Executive Branch" thing.

     

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    Benjie, May 1st, 2008 @ 10:18am

    "its really all your (our) fault. WE are the ones who elect these politicians. WE are the ones who elect the president.

    The govt is established based on who WE elect and put in power.

    Blame the govt all you want, but in the end we are just blaming ourselves."

    I'd like to use South Park.. The problem is we have a choice between a turd and a douche. Either way we get screwed in the end.

     

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      Sweet Chuckie, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      Hi guys, sorry to inject such a long bit, but I feel it's important for people to see this. I haven't a clue as to how to correct this problem, but hope someone out there does. Thanks

      Subject: 545 People Responsible for Every US Problem


      This is good to read whichever PARTY you think you belong to. It should make everyone consider their voting VERY seriously. How did a media person ever write something like this? 545 People.
      By Charlie Reese --

      Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?

      Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

      You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
      You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.
      The House of Representatives does.
      You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
      You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
      You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does. (Private Corporation)

      One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

      I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

      I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes. Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

      What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

      The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

      Who is the speaker of the House?
      She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

      It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

      When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way. There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

      Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

      Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees. We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

      Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper

       

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    sandoz76, May 1st, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Case in point

    DB is a great example of why this crap happens. "May have something to do with the whole "Executive Branch" thing"

    Clearly, someone was taking a dump during their civics class. It isn't the executive branch's job to play police on behalf of an industry.

     

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    Frankenskid, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:12am

    I say we drop lobbyists altogether!

    And make it where it's illegal for lobbyists and such to basically bribe politicians to get laws written the way they want. It's government for the people by the people, not for the cash by the corporations, although it looks to be going that way.....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:20am

    Music is the new oil.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:52am

    "It isn't the executive branch's job to play police on behalf of an industry."

    No? If a bank is robbed, is the executive branch "playing police on behalf of an industry"?

    If someone copies a brand-name item and sells it, is the executive branch "playing police on behalf of an industry"?

    If someone infringes on a patent, is the executive branch "playing police on behalf of an industry"?

    If someone buys one copy of software and installs in on 100 computers, is the executive branch "playing police on behalf of an industry"?

    I wasn't asleep in civics class. I was thinking for myself.

     

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      barren_waste, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      Um...the executive branch doesn't deal with any of those things. Maybe more Civics classes?

       

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        Nasch, May 9th, 2008 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re:

        All law enforcement is part of the executive branch. The White House I hear actually made a good point on this one: it's the Department of Justice's job to prosecute crimes, why create a department just for this specific crime?

         

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    charlie potatoes, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:03pm

    the new oil?

    Oil is the New Oil. Do I smell $10 a gallon?

     

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    Total Control, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:05pm

    Copyright Czar. How interesting. So I guess this means that congress has just declared war on the american people. This is sick.

    Now the government will be the police force for the RIAA and the MPAA. Meanwhile, independent creators will be crushed and eliminated and their content appropriated for the good of those who are "connected" to the powers that be. When did this become a government of the people for the large corporations?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 2:35pm

      Re:

      "Meanwhile, independent creators will be crushed and eliminated and their content appropriated for the good of those who are "connected" to the powers that be."

      Why would that be? Independent creators are protected by copyrights as well. I'd argue that independent creators have the most to lose if copyright was ignored, because then large corporations with 100000x the advertising dollars as the independent creators can just take their creations, sell it themselves, and reach a much larger audience.

       

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 1st, 2008 @ 5:25pm

        Re: Most to lose?

        ...because then large corporations with 100000x the advertising dollars as the independent creators can just take their creations, sell it themselves, and reach a much larger audience.

        You mean, the way Disney and others have built so many of their valuable properties on top of material that was originally either in the public domain or copyrighted by others?

         

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    db, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    What civics class did you clowns take? A main role of the executive branch is law enforcement.

    http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/outusgov/ch3.htm

     

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    The Pope, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Err, it is the 'Executive Branch'

    Well, it is the 'Executive Branch' you know, and they are responsible for, uh, actually executing the laws enacted by congress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    hmm...i can see it now, 'war on piracy'

    how does our "wars" fair?
    war on poverty...fail
    war on drugs...embarrassing failure
    war on terror...again..failure

    im sure there is more, but i cant think about...point is, this will be another reason to put somone in jail so some asshole can get rich off tax payers money....AND it will give a nice paved road for RIAA and MPAA to be the bubba in your jail cell...

    FUCK YOU GOVERMENT

     

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      I Am Scum, You Are Scum, We Are Not Elite Enough , May 1st, 2008 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      i can see it now, 'war on piracy' how does our "wars" fair? war on poverty...fail war on drugs...embarrassing failure war on terror...again..failure
      That depends who is defining failure. For the ultra wealthy, all of these "wars" benefit them by making the police state more and more integrated into the lives of the dirty unwashed masses. They view all of us as the scum.

       

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    barren wastes, May 1st, 2008 @ 1:09pm

    RE: db, The Pope

    The Executive branch does indeed execute the laws. The point, though, was that the lobbyists buy laws that have nothing to do with protecting the people and everything to do with protecting the lobbyists concerns. And the Executive branch has nothing to do with that.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 1:39pm

      Re: RE: db, The Pope

      The Executive branch does indeed execute the laws. The point, though, was that the lobbyists buy laws that have nothing to do with protecting the people and everything to do with protecting the lobbyists concerns. And the Executive branch has nothing to do with that.
      Absolutely correct. Which is precisely why this law is nothing more than a move to shut people up. Understand, if you use a photo, a quote, a song snippet, a video snippet, the full force of the government can now come down on you. Is that what we want? A police state driven by the RIAA?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2008 @ 2:37pm

        Re: Re: RE: db, The Pope

        You're using quite a bit of hyperbole there. There is still such a thing as fair use, where you can use things like quotes. This issue is when you are using a substantial portion of someone else's work.

         

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    Michael Long, May 1st, 2008 @ 6:05pm

    It was inevitable...

    It was inevitable once we switched from an industrial/manufacturing-based society to an information-based one.

    For years we've transitioned from creating hard goods to soft goods: music, books, movies, software, and so on. But when those are your only real products, protecting them becomes an item of paramont importance.

    After all, once "information" is free, what's left? Selling corn?

     

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    Rekrul, May 1st, 2008 @ 11:47pm

    Let's not forget that the Pro-IP act also allows for asset seizure and forfeiture in cases of copyright infringement, no conviction necessary. Which means that they'll be able to seize the family computer because little Billy downloaded some music from a P2P network.

     

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