Creative America Restocks... Hires Former DHS/ICE Spokesperson

from the joe-grassroots? dept

We've talked plenty of times about CreativeAmerica, the astroturf group that keeps pretending that it's a "grassroots" group. It was setup mainly to push for SOPA/PIPA in an attempt to pretend that "normal people" rather than just Hollywood fatcats supports SOPA/PIPA. Just one problem: it was so obviously run by Hollywood fatcats that no one ever took it seriously. It was slickly produced, was backed by the big studios, and all the big movie studios promoted it directly as well. Its executive director, Mike Nugent, came directly from Disney, where he was the company's Senior VP of anti-piracy. Meanwhile, its "communications director," Craig Hoffman came straight from... you guessed it... the MPAA. And before that he worked at Warner Bros. Grassroots!

Well, it seems they knew they were missing out on one key ingredient to prove just how "grassroots" they were... so they went over the law enforcement side of things, snapping up one Chris Ortman from Homeland Security. Yes, the same Homeland Security responsible for abusing copyright laws to illegally seize and censor websites for over a year under no legal basis.

Yes, that's right folks, the group that is pretending to be grassroots, but is really an astroturf organization -- which has bent over backwards to insist that SOPA/PIPA were not about censorship at all -- has hired someone from the very US government agency that has been using similar copyright laws to seize and censor websites. Perhaps his nickname is "grassroots"?

And the group wonders why actual artists aren't buying what they're selling. Perhaps rather than staffing it with former studio execs, MPAA lackeys and law enforcement censors... why not try actual content creators next time? Oh, perhaps it's because lots of actual content creators know that SOPA/PIPA are bad ideas.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Eric (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 5:47am

    A Thought

    Perhaps they're not getting the creators (artists) because they're paying the studio execs, MPAA people, and DHS and ICE, while trying their hardest to not pay artists. Next, we'll see politicians join them, if Chris Dodd doesn't rush that first.

     

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  2.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 5:52am

    Imagine how different this would be if they could look past the end of their noses and used the money to invest in new business models that embraced what the net can give them.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:00am

    Hiring unimaginative people to manage something with creative in its name takes some balls.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    joe, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:00am

    DHS is using the private company General Dynamics to monitor political dissent in the U. S.

    As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly thee hundred pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security's surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. The documents reveal that the agency is tracking media stories that "reflect adversely" on DHS or the U.S. government. One tracking report -- "Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI" -- summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters. EPIC sent a request for these documents in April 2004 and filed suit against the agency in December.

    DHS documents:
    http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/EPIC-FOIA-DHS-Media-Monitoring-12-2012. pdf

     

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  5.  
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    firefly (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:05am

    Obama has to leave, now

    Will Jon Stewart agree to be a write in candidate in the upcoming Democratic primaries? It's our only hope.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Do you know how to tell if a ship is sinking?

    It use to be you could tell a ship was sinking by seeing the fleeing rats. Now you know corporate ships are sinking when they start lawyering up. The MPAA/RIAA ship can't sink fast enough.

     

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  7.  
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    Planespotter (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:10am

    So... just to be clear on the subject, content controllers like movie comapnies and music companies that already pay for associations like the MPAA or the RIAA are now also paying for CreativeAmerica?

    Looks like we need to get in the game and create our own astroturf organisations so we can get some of the free money that is floating around!

    I thought times where hard and that piracy was affecting their balance sheets?

     

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  8.  
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    Loki, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    Let's see:

    Millions of dollars to spend on fancy CEOs.
    Millions of dollars to spend on "donations" to Congress.
    Millions of dollars to spend on redundant, overlapping lobby organization.

    Damn, I wish piracy was killing my balance sheets.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Loki, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Re: A Thought

    Maybe they could give Ray Bradbury a position. After all, he "gets" the internet.

     

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  10.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: A Thought

    I'll have you know that last night Mike Nugent personally gave a dollar to every single boom mic operator in America.

     

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  11.  
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    demented, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Another way in which Hollywood refuses to acknowledge how the Web works - they think news of this can't/won't spread, and nobody will notice their blunders.

     

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  12.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Since we're talking Creative America again, I thought I'd share another fun comment from their Facebook Page. This guy Simon Harper is actually anti-SOPA, but it's because he believes in a one-strike ISP cutoff solution instead. Here's his, uh, proposed legislation:

    Just in case

    SOPA may be so broad it could be used for control, to take down anything??

    So I suggest
    POUDMA!
    Prevention Of Unpaid-for Downloaded Media Act

    Preamble Whereas this Act is to restore to the rightful copyright owners their rightful income form their artistic work offered for sale

    PART I

    MAKING MUTHAS PAY

    Section 1 (a) An ISP shall install monitoring equipment to detect the bypassing of payment systems for...

    (b) the said ISP shall immediately suspend the service of any jerk who does not pay the advertised price

    for a period of three weeks.

    Section 2 The ISP shall before the expiration of the said three week period review the infringement and shall extend the suspension period as provided for in section 3 herein.

    Section 3 Where the amount of the item is

    (a) greater than $5 yet less than $20, the period of the suspension ("the period") shall be extended to a period of two months; and

    (b) greater than $20, the period of the suspension ("the period") shall be extended to a period of three months.

    PART II

    ISP MONITORING - ESTABLISHMENT OF ISP AGENCY

    Section 4 etc


    That oughta just about do it, I guess. Especially the "etc"

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    Such a blatant display of arrogance. Simon and the rest of his ilk sure do love dreaming up a wide variety of methods to control and censor the internet. What actual work do these people do besides sitting around extorting, bribing, scamming artists and using copyright as a beating stick?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    redrum, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 7:30am

    How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    You hear it over and over again, this is a fight for the little guy in Hollywood. Like the lighting and sound stage guys, the editors, the caterers, the behind the scenes folks et al. Brangelina don't need the help, these guys do. But wouldn't there be A LOT more demand for those services in a less restrictive IP enforcement environment? Less restrictions (should) = More movies. It seems so simple. Maybe it's me, I just don't get it.

     

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  15.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    Simon and the rest of his ilk sure do love dreaming up a wide variety of methods to control and censor the internet.

    Not only that, they expect it be financed with other people's money.

    Seriously, how far does that notion carry into the real world? My personal business model depends on me having reliable transportation to get me to work and back. So when my car breaks down, should I start expecting someone else to pay the repair bill since my entire business model depends on it? Is that how it works?

     

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  16.  
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    Michael, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They believe that because they produce copyrighted material, that entitles them to be the internet world police. The lesson: produce enough content and you will be granted regulatory power. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

     

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  17.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re: Obama has to leave, now

    He can't. He runs "Americans For a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow!" A Republican SuperPAC.

     

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

  18.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why do it on your dime, when you can con others into doing it for you?

     

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

  19.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    It's because of quantum filmmaking - you can either know what movie you're making, or you can pay those making it. You can't do both.

     

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  20.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Re: How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    To put it another way...
    Its like when Sally Struthers was doing those commercials to save the starving children. She say just infront of them, healthy and well fed, telling everyone else THEY needed to send money to feed the children. Lady your sitting right there and spent thousands to get there, and film your little commercial... how many could we have fed without paying to send you to Africa?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    Speaking of which, the media makes a headline whenever someone donates large sums of money to charities, particularly those involving Afria. In fact, I recall that Bill Gates donated a billion and American Idol held a fundraiser which supposedly donated, to the best of my recollection, over a hundred million. Have you or anyone else ever seen a tangible result from all these millions of dollars being sent over there? I sure haven't. Where is all of this money going?

     

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  22.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    Tangent ahead...
    I was watching PBS and caught part of a show where they were discussing what worked in Africa and what didn't. The biggest problem is the huge ME-centric ideas, Our model is the only model that can solve hunger, you poor people have no idea how to help yourselves or the best way to distribute things. When an aid agency actually listens to people and looks at the reality of the situation the solutions are less costly and help more.
    The problem with charities is we expect them to actually want to solve the problem and go out of business. People like their jobs and like getting paid, no one wants to put themselves out of a job.

    And to go back to being relevant...
    Creative America exists to deal with the "horrible" problems that have a simple solution, but they will do EVERYTHING they can to avoid just adapting their business model. If they just told their employers the math, studies, and common sense points to adapting is better than throwing more money at other draconian solutions they would be unemployed at the end of that. The content producers would move forward and embrace all the net can offer them and make more money, but the money is not guaranteed, and they can't handle change. They will only take tiny babysteps forward... like Ultraviolet movies - something so horrible and crappy because they demanded 1000% control of it...

    They could find better ways to do things, if they would just stop trying to control every single step and second of the files lifetime.

     

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  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    They can't embrace new business models. The chart of their distribution contracts is uglier than the patent thick and lawsuits in the cell phone industry. They have basically painted themselves into a corner.

     

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

  24.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re:

    You forgot, they have massive job losses! But I think not hiring a hooker on Friday evening, shouldn't count as a job loss.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 10:01am

    This revolving door issues has gotten ridiculous.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    issue *

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Matthew Stringer, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Re: How do they get people to fight AGAINST their own best interest

    Actually, what's puzzling to me is that most American industries have seemingly worked very hard to reduce or eliminate the "little guy". Whether it's Wal-mart pushing out Ma & Pa businesses from small towns or it's U.S. manufacturers shipping all their bulk jobs overseas.

    If anything, you'd think that above-the-line Hollywood talent would be empowered to produce greater high-end content with LESS below-the-line hands (aka costs) involved, considering today's improved production methods and streamlined, digital filmmaking technology and workflows. Maybe it's the competition for quality animators or something that drives costs up? (considering their addiction to churning out weekly "blockbusters" and the demand for top drawer FX to go with them) I'm really no expert, though.

    Either way, what this is really about is a slew of executives working with legal teams to maximize revenue, and if they can protect public perception for a few astroturfing dollars more, so be it ("You wouldn't download a car?"). But you'd think it would help them to also reduce production costs, right? However, I think they realize that may mean a more leveled playing field with more competition. "Prosumers", web distribution, DSLRs, faster home computers, etc, a general return to folk culture, the public's changing perception of what constitutes entertainment value, etc, that's all dangerous stuff. What happens if the next "Paranormal Activity" phenomenon happens entirely online? There'll be no studio exec to brag about finding it in Variety.

     

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  28.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    So it is their failure to adapt their contracts that is killing them?

    This makes as much sense and the RIAA members complaining about the costs of international distribution and licensing...to their own sub-companies.

    They could do it, it won't be pretty or kind but they really need to wake up and realize that they can't buy laws to save them anymore.

     

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  29.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thats more the fault of those pesky AGs shutting down the adult section of Craigslist.

     

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  30.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    can't we just hook up a nascar engine to the door and launch them further away?

    Ooooh lobbyist puree... the newest reality show from the Discovery channel.
    Lets see if this exiting member of the government can survive the revolving door of death!

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    ian, May 8th, 2012 @ 3:20am

    ACTA

    are there any astoturfing groups for pro-ACTA as well?

     

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


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