Hollywood's Latest 'Conciliatory' Effort Towards Silicon Valley? Forcing Lobbyists To Drop Tech Companies As Clients

from the they-may-regret-that dept

Remember how Hollywood keeps saying that they now want to have this "conversation" with Silicon Valley and not be so antagonistic? It seems that feeling does not extend to lobbyists. According to Politico, the folks in Hollywood have been putting pressure on lobbying shops not to work with the tech industry -- and Facebook in particular:
"They are doing everything they can to ensure that the tech industry and Facebook in particular doesn't have any talent to go up to the Hill," one tech lobbyist said of the content providers.

Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, the Glover Park Group and TeleMedia Policy Group have all terminated their lobbying contracts with Facebook, according to sources familiar with the lobbying terminations.
This is interesting timing. And by "interesting" I mean "bad," for those lobby shops at least. Remember, Facebook, which is growing at an insane rate, just filed for a massive IPO and is going to be flush with cash. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has actually been scaling back some of their lobbying efforts. Betting on the losing team isn't exactly a winning strategy. Of course, as the article correctly points out, this is Hollywood still thinking that the SOPA/PIPA fight was about lobbying, when it had little to do with that (not to say that lobbying wasn't done over the issue, but no amount of lobbying was going to win that fight -- it was the public activism that did it).

Either way, it's an odd choice to go after Facebook's lobbyists anyway, considering how little Facebook had to do with this fight at all. Of all the big internet companies, it actually seemed the least willing to even bother to do anything about SOPA/PIPA. Of course, Facebook has been ramping up its DC policy efforts on other fronts, so the lobbyists lose out, and this does nothing to benefit Hollywood. Kind of a weird move. Hollywood gets a few more lobbyists on its side... and it's unlikely to have a significant impact on how the public views these attempts by Hollywood to attack the internet, rather than adapt to market realities.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    RedMage, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    Uh...

    Yawn. The Politico article said it best. Lobbyists will be lining up for miles to represent Facebook. It was like representing Google in the 2000s (and really, it still is). This is basically the entertainment industry just throwing another hissy fit and trying to exert power that it increasingly does not have.

     

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  2.  
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    Kenneth Michaels, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Lobby Firm Splitups

    The lobbyists who want to keep tech companies as clients will simply move to tech friendly lobbying firms or split off and start their own tech friendly lobbying firms. This is a great opportunity for hungry lobbyists who want to strike off on their own. The better lobbyists will do so and the tech companies will wind up with the better lobbyists.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:13pm

    Well duh!

    After all, it wouldn't be fair if lobbyists represented others besides Hollywood. That would be cheating.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    This just shows again how that industry works, they work on "exclusion" they are not a cooperative bunch that could survive on their own and actually make deals they only know how to exclude others and that is the power that government granted monopolies creates. It spawn an entire group of self deluded morons that believe they can exclude everybody from everything all the time.

     

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  5.  
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    eh1eh, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Well duh!

    Well crafted sarcasm. Bravo.

     

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  6.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    I'm not so sure how much longer lobbying firms are going to be around, or how much influence they will have over the political process if they do last. With the rise of more robust social networking, tools the average citizen will be able to have an ever increasing political voice that will only become harder for politicians to ignore in the future.

     

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  7.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    Does Not Bode Well ... For The Entertainment Companies

    It makes perfect sense from the perspective of the content industry. Social media and communications are the reason they lost the SOPA-PIPA-ACTA fight. So they go after them.

    The issue with that approach is they are opening themselves up to a war on two fronts. One war that can't be won with those that infringe. Another war with corporations that have huge war chests and are now taking notice and beginning to fight back.

    This kind of reminds me of that Australian fat kid that didn't fight back, and then trounced the guy picking on him.

     

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  8.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    People are finally beginning to see this.

    Politician: hey look a bunch of silly kids are making fun of us on twitter about our pay for law scheme.
    Lobbyist: Yeah it will never amount to anything. Just ignore it.

    Big Ole Grin ... :D

     

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  9.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    Seen it before...

    A company that I worked for had a standing threat: if a head-hunting company hired someone away from it, they would not do business with that company. This company hired 20-30% of the tech employees in the area, so everyone was careful not to hire from them.
    Plop in a CEO that hates IT, and suddenly the workers are being fired at an astounding rate. Everybody wants out of the company, but no one can get a job until they get fired or quit straight-out. It took 2 years for the head-hunting companies to figure out that this company wasn't going to hire anyone for a long time. I suspect the lobbying firms are equally as dense.

     

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  10.  
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    kenichi tanaka, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    I have to say that I run, own and operate one of the more popular anime and man community websites and we rely on the "fair use" provision of the DMCA and while we have had no problems, other than to ensure that copyrighted material (i.e., anime or manga torrents) are not posted on our site, SOPA and PIPA could literally shut down fansites and forum boards like mine who simply provide a venue for anime and manga fans to join and to participate in forum discussions.

    We've never had a problem with the anime or manga industry and have never received a C&D letter. But, while we support the rights of artists and anime creators to protect their work, tougher restrictions for websites makes absolutely no sense.

    What this would mean is that a company who owns content can simply trot from one corner of the internet universe and start demanding that webhost providers start shutting down websites.

    While I'm not totally aware of exactly what SOPA does, I do know that it would pose a definite threat to any website that uses images from such things as popular TV shows to scans of magazine covers to website logos that use these popular characters.

    I find it disingenuous that Hollywood is even fighting back. This is what is wrong with the copyright laws in our country. Everything is copyrighted and you can't do anything without causing severe harm to the internet. Soon, it's going to be actual website names that are copyrighted and I think the entertainment industry may finally be getting its wish ... shut down the internet because they see the internet as the very reason why piracy exists.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 4:39pm

    Re:

    The rise of Japanese animation over-seas through the years, is directly proportional to the rise of the pirate community. Otherwise, we would be stuck with what 4kids and other shitty western companies decide we need to see. With nothing going back to the original creators. Just look at Yugioh and other such cases. They used their creative accounting to stiff the Japanese makers. And I don't even want to go into the shitty Hollywood movie remakes of popular titles.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Seen it before...

    You're not from East Texas are you? I work for a place just like that

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 5:59pm

    Mmmmm, legacy.

     

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  14.  
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    Sneeje (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh, how dearly I want you both to be right--but unfortunately for you to be right would mean we would have to ignore much of fundamental human nature.

    Its in our DBA to be social creatures--and I just can't believe that external social pressure (which can be very hard to muster) will somehow evolve to regularly overcome face-to-face, backroom deal, buddy-buddy social pressure.

     

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  15.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Uhm... Once we have electoral reform, I'm sure that the role if a lobbyist would be diminished.

     

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  16.  
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    Zane Stuart (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Have to agree with Jay. The role of lobbyists seems quite entrenched in the machinations of Washington. RIAA/MPAA et al probably realize this - it would be one of the rare occasions they are correct.

     

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  17.  
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    Chargone (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    maybe if you made it illegal and instituted a deathpenalty for it... and enforced it.

    but that would have all sorts of other unfortunate implications.

    make it illegal, rule the associated behaviour as bribery and/or corruption with suitably harsh penalties (NOT cash penalties, those simply become 'cost of doing business'.) might work.

    frankly, the fact that the US system accepts lobbying of the sort it does and 'campaign donations' as legitimate is going to take a fair bit more than just electoral reform to fix.

    (and even without actual lobbyists it's hard to keep a lid on the various special interest groups influence And actually listen to the public at the same time.)

     

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  18.  
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    Kaden (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Look at this as a job creation program. Come November there'll be a boom in lobbying start ups in DC from recently unemployed politicos/wonks, and you can count on The Tech Industry being the target demographic featured in most of the business plans.

     

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  19.  
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    Al Bert (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 8:59pm

    Re:

    A burgeoning tech lobbying sector? Heh. Somehow, i don't imagine that's what the entertainment industry seeks to imply when it claims it creates job growth.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 9:21pm

    Who here would hire a law firm to represent you in a claim against your insurance company, and then discover that the same law firm had been hired to represent the insurance company regarding your claim?

    Under rules governing the practice of law one of the clients whould have to go because of a clear conflict. I see no reason that the same rule should not apply in other contexts, lobbying being one of them.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 11:45pm

    Re:

    You seem to have left out the portion of your argument where you explain why the rules governing the practice of law should be the same as the rules governing the practice of lobbying.

     

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  22.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 24th, 2012 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, the way I usually refer to is by making the system more ineffective to lobbying. This means that we would find a form of governance that allows parties to be punished. For congress in particular, a mixed proportional system works best. Register your party, them have people vote for that party into congress. It would make lobbying work much harder since it is difficult for lobbyists to campaign so many parties and hope for effective results.

    For presidential campaigns, I would propose an alternative voting system. We abolish the electoral college and implement these two systems and it would fix our republic, nominate judges that represent people's interests instead of corporate and make the Democratic/Republican party campaign that much harder to appease the public instead of special interests.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    Have a little snort and then have a little toke. Then go run a movie and record company.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, I did provide at least one reason...the inherent conflict created by a single person or entity simultaneously representing two persons or entities haveing diametrically opposed interests in the outcome of an issue.

    Conflicts of interest are not at all unique to the legal profession.

     

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

  25.  
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    Russ Gilbert (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    I have to wonder if perhaps there's something going on behind the scenes we aren't privy to. This move seems so bizarre in the context of SOPA/PIPA that there might be another war being fought that isn't public yet.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    However irrational it may be to go after Facebook, it fits the pattern of going after the perceived "weakest link." Hollywood really is just a bunch of overgrown schoolyard bullies.

     

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

  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    However irrational it may be to go after Facebook, it fits the pattern of going after the perceived "weakest link." Hollywood really is just a bunch of overgrown schoolyard bullies.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    However irrational it may be to go after Facebook, it fits the pattern of going after the perceived "weakest link." Hollywood really is just a bunch of overgrown schoolyard bullies.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Electoral reform will come somewhere between national single payer health insurance and a gay marriage bill. Hint: the people voting on it don't want it and even fewer people have it on their Top 100 list.

     

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

  30.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 25th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The gay marriage bill is already going through a LOT of states. And electoral reform is right behind campaign finance reform. It might be sooner than you think.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, and that is why lobbying is a direct conflict of interest with democracy.

    It gives companies more influence than society.

     

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  32.  
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    Boo Boo, Feb 26th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Go fight

    When these big tech players get their shit together and decide to take on Hollywood and the music mafia , these guys will wish they never picked this fight.
    All of this is ultimately about money and nothing else.
    The big tech industry can go head to head on this front and keep going for as long as it takes.
    What these idiots don't seem to realize is , picking fights with the likes of Google and FaceBook is NOT the same as getting some file sharing site closed down , or seizing a domain here and there.
    These are $100 billion + corporations and when they fight back,and they will, they are capable of inflicting serious damage.
    Now with the TPP on the table and with Hollywood once again huddled in secret meetings helping to draft it, its time for big tech players to take the friggin gloves off and wade into this fight right now.

     

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  33.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 26th, 2012 @ 9:53pm

    Re:

    Under rules governing the practice of law one of the clients whould have to go because of a clear conflict. I see no reason that the same rule should not apply in other contexts, lobbying being one of them.

    That doesn't explain this:

    "They are doing everything they can to ensure that the tech industry and Facebook in particular doesn't have any talent to go up to the Hill," one tech lobbyist said of the content providers.

    It's an unnamed source, so take with a grain of salt, etc, but if it was nothing more than a conflict of interest issue we would expect to see an equal number of lobbyists resolving it by terminating entertainment business to go with tech. Do you have any reason to think that's happening?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re:

    Only if they follow up by actually voting. Part of the reason the SOPA/PIPA protests accomplished anything was the temporal proximity to an upcoming election. Come December, protests will again be far less influential than lobbying dollars. Sorry, dark side view I know, but there you have it.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Odd that you don't similarly insist that almost every one of our elected representatives vacate their posts in the very same argument. They have been representing conflicting interests (i.e. anyone who pays) for seemingly ever; sadly, they hardly ever seem to represent us.

     

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  36.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Part of the reason the SOPA/PIPA protests accomplished anything was the temporal proximity to an upcoming election. Come December, protests will again be far less influential than lobbying dollars.

    All of the House and a third of the Senate is always up for reelection within two years, and these days campaigns last that long.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    Being familiar with the lobbying "industry", clients and their associated causes are constantly in a state of flux. A lobbying group representing one industry today may very well drop it as a client if a competing industry is viewed as being a more profitable client in the long run.

     

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


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