Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

from the guilt-by-arrogance? dept

I'm planning to do some more thorough coverage of many of the comments that were submitted to the IP Enforcement Coordinator for next year's "Joint Strategic Plan." I just need to find an open block of time to go through a bunch of them. However, the folks over at TorrentFreak have highlighted one of the more ridiculous claims made in the combined filing from the RIAA & MPAA -- suggesting that people like Kim Dotcom are guilty of breaking the law because they're rich, arrogant and are trying to influence public opinion:
In this case, the Justice Department and other federal agencies are now grappling with a set of wealthy and arrogant defendants who are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to sway public opinion against efforts to hold them accountable...
This reminds me of the debate I had with Jonathan Taplin, in which he referred to Kim Dotcom's (rented) yacht, and asked where were the musicians' yachts. Thing is, if I wanted to, I could easily find evidence of various rock stars with yachts. I could easily point to evidence of record label and movie studio execs with yachts, or who are phenomenally wealthy. Hell, I could just point you to the fact that the RIAA's boss, Cary Sherman made $3.2 million in salary in 2009 -- a number that I imagine is more than what nearly every single person reading this site makes in a year (or, in their lifetimes). Being wealthy is certainly no sign of guilt. And he got this amount even as he's leading the RIAA through it's clear decline in relevance phase, where he's still fighting the wrong war.

Similarly, it's not hard to find examples of massive arrogance on the part of these execs -- from the RIAA and MPAA putting down the public (repeatedly) or ignoring valid concerns about SOPA and PIPA, to decades of arrogant efforts to destroy all kinds of innovations they don't like, from radio to cable TV to the VCR to the mp3 player to the DVR.

Finally, these are the guys who run the media, and they're complaining about a few execs trying to influence public opinion? The MPAA's largest members are Universal (who owns NBC), Disney (who owns ABC), Viacom (who owns a bunch of TV stations and spun off CBS). And they're going to complain that some tech folks have an undue influence on public opinion? Really? And, let's not forget that these same groups have also "left no stone unturned" for decades in trying to influence public opinion. "Home taping is killing music." Remember that? You know those "FBI warnings" on every single movie you watch?

I'd say that if we're going to stack up which side of the debate has involved more "wealthy and arrogant" individuals "who are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to sway public opinion"... it has to start with the RIAA and the MPAA. But, of course, they're allowed to do all of that, because none of it is illegal. But to try to associate such activity with illegality seems to be a stretch way beyond anything reasonable. Is Kim Dotcom loud, arrogant, crass and tacky in his displays of wealth? Absolutely. I doubt he's the kind of person I'd care to spend any amount of time with, personally. But just because his style is so outlandish, it doesn't automatically make him a criminal, as the RIAA and MPAA imply. Similarly, I don't automatically assume that super wealthy, arrogant individuals who work for the entertainment industry are obviously criminals either.

It is really quite obnoxious and demeaning for these large trade agencies to go around smearing people based on superficial items like arrogance and wealth. Kim Dotcom may eventually be found guilty of criminal activity. And, at that point, they're free to publicize that his actions here were criminal. But in the meantime, they're acting like cliquish high school girls, tarring and feathering people because they don't like the way they look or act.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 10:59am

    Much of a dickbag I think kim dotcom is he still deserves fair treatment under the law.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 10:59am

    Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    If it is, that would apply to many MPAA and RIAA executives.

     

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    arcan, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:01am

    by the MPAA's and RIAA's logic mitt romney should be on death row atm...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:02am

    hahaha

    what a total piracy apologist. wow.

     

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    Anonymous Howard, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    What's that saying about glass houses?

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    People who live in glass houses....

     

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    DannyB (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Larry Ellison better watch out.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Re:

    I guess you don't understand what "ad hominem" means:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad%20hominem

    Now I agree that Mike's comments seem to be stressing the hypocrisy of the MPAA, much like А у вас негров линчуют.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynchin g_Negroes

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    'these are the guys who run the media, and they're complaining about a few execs trying to influence public opinion? The MPAA's largest members are Universal (who owns NBC), Disney (who owns ABC), Viacom (who owns a bunch of TV stations and spun off CBS).'
    and also dont forget that they influenced greatly (if not actually own) the majority of politicians in the majority of countries, or manage to entice or encourage them to do what they are told in order to try to keep these industries afloat and the execs in the manner to which they have become accustomed over the last however many decades!
    add to that the way they are allowed to lie, cheat and deceive to get 'evidence' all of which is able to be used against whomsoever they decide but almost all that is presented in the defense of those accused is thrown out or at least twisted beyond useable belief!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    ah, the pot and the kettle.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Every member of the mpaa/riaa gets a special device that distorts reality.

    It is permanently set to 11, completely removes the emotion of shame and has an added "victimized" response function.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    And by their logic, so should they.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    Don't throw stones at your neighbors house when you have a glass roof. Something like that. And it's a pretty peculiar occurrence here as it seems Kim has a pretty sturdy roof in this case. Regardless of his personality that I find quite amusing and entertaining (in disagreement with Mike) but I never met Dotcom personally so I can't really judge.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    Don't throw stones at your neighbors house when you have a glass roof. Something like that. And it's a pretty peculiar occurrence here as it seems Kim has a pretty sturdy roof in this case. Regardless of his personality that I find quite amusing and entertaining (in disagreement with Mike) but I never met Dotcom personally so I can't really judge.

    Damn didn't notice I wasn't logged when I posted that. Cheers ;)

     

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    gnudist, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    The Moving Pots Association of America meets Kettle.xom

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Oh the hypocrisy...

     

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    gnudist, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re:

    Er, com, not xom

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Considering they are trying repeatedly to throw Dotocom's past into the lawsuit it's not surprising they'll try to paint him in a very dark picture. It's pretty much what the MAFIAA did with STC (http://www.surfthechannel.com/). They acted as organized crime thugs and destroyed one man's life. Because they can.

    That's why Dotcom must win this, he has access to more resources than STC so there are more chances of wining. Despite whatever we may think of Dotcom, if he's innocent and the MAFIAA (via their US lapdogs) are twisting the law and doing all sorts of illegal things to bring him down then we MUST support Dotcom. Justice must be delivered in a fair manner.

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    Does anyone know what happens when we get too much irony in our diet?

    I feel sick.

     

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  20.  
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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    I think it goes something like this...

    Doc: You know what they say: People in glass houses sink sh-sh-ships.
    Rocco: Doc, I gotta buy you, like, a proverb book or something. This mix'n'match shit's gotta go.
    Doc: What?
    Connor: A penny saved is worth two in the bush, isn't it?
    Murphy: And don't cross the road if you can't get out of the kitchen.

    -Boondock Saints :D

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:32am

    Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    Actually the proper title would be:

    Is being rich, arrogant, drug addict, making flashy parties with a wealth of whores and running a mafia organized crime style business against the Law?

    Makes us wonder.

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    3.2 million



    OK, let's just toss some numbers around.

    If a person starts working at 20 and retires at 65, that's 45 years of productive work.

    3.2M / 45 = $71,111.11 per year.

    $71K/year, pre-tax, is at the upper end of the "middle class" spectrum. $71K post-tax, you're probably in the lower tiers of "wealthy".

     

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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re: 3.2 million

    Ugh. Somehow this lost the quote I put at the top, about Sherman's 3.2 million being more than most people would see in their lives.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    Re:

    I like "Don't throw stones in glass houses without proper protection."

     

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    Stig Rudeholm (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    It's simple, really...

    When you judge someone else, you always start by looking at yourself as a point of reference.

    They know what kind of persons they are, and how they got to be wealthy and influential. So, naturally, they assume that Dotcom is as big a bastard as they are.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    Actually the proper title would be:

    Is being rich, arrogant, drug addict, making flashy parties with a wealth of whores and running a mafia organized crime style business against the Law?

    Makes us wonder.


    Agreed. The MPAA/RIAA's of the world must be stopped.

     

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  27.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    ...should dress in the basement.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    This. I fully confess that I would not enjoy socializing with Dotcom. But being an asshole (or a sweetheart) should ideally have no effect on the application of the law.

     

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    Jay (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    Media consolidation is a grave concern. I'm surprised that with all of their chances to influence the public the MPAA hasn't done so like it did with the SOPA debates.

    Here's an idea though... If the industries want to lock up people for violating copyright law...

    Why don't we start with them?

    False claims of copyright?
    Massive destruction of culture?
    Affecting trade policies?
    Effective monopolies?
    Bribery?
    Extortion?

    What haven't we seen from these trade industries that indicate old fashioned mercantilism similar to what the Founding Fathers were fighting against when they created the Boston Tea Party?

     

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  30.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Mote's and beams?

    Glass houses?
    Pots and Kettles?

    How about motes and beams?
    From Matthew's Gospel
    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? ...

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    Do you have any evidence to support your criminal allegations? Because those are the only things that count.

     

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  32.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Eye. Mote. Beam.

     

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    mikey4001 (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    I don't automatically assume that super wealthy, arrogant individuals who work for the entertainment industry are obviously criminals

    And here is your first mistake...

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: 3.2 million

    Yes, this is about right. Furthermore, if you're pulling in over around $90,000 a year, that puts you in the top 10% of the income spread in the nation.

    I've long been fascinated by perception of wealth. I've known many people all across the income spectrum. Wealthy people who below the 1% or so mark very rarely think they are wealthy. I've always found that to be incredibly weird. Even weirder, there is a middle-class income range in which people are likely to wrongly consider themselves "wealthy".

    Poor people, however, know they're poor.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    Yeah if anything RIAA and MPAA would be most of the targets.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    As they say, it takes one to know one. I wonder what kind of behavior they think Kim is engaging in that they most definitely are.

     

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    Glen, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    +1000 internets to you sir!!!

     

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    bob, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    fbi notices

    netflix and hulu didn't have the fbi notices.
    and (I'm told) the pirated movies don't have them.
    I think the RIAA and MPAA should demand these notices be on every version of the movie.
    including in the theaters. :-S
    and peope in theaters, after watching previews, should have to sit through a minute or two of nothing but FBI/ICE notice on the big screen, so they all remember.
    see the feedback from that. ;-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Mote's and beams?

    Yeah, if you measure a man based on charitable donations, then people will find it reasonable to look at your own charatable giving.

    If you measure a man by how faithful to his wife he is, then it will be seen as fair game to judge you for all the times you snuck around with the office lady behind your own wife's back.

    It's not that hard a concept to grasp. You'd think people would learn this without the need to have it written down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    Scream.

     

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    Zos (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re:

    I bet you'd enjoy it more than you think.
    this guy seemed to find it pretty epic.


    http://www.dailydot.com/news/kim-dotcom-twitter-pool-party/


    Dotcom was having his usual Sunday rendezvous, driving around his estate in motorbikes and swimming, when a puzzled Twitter user, Ben Gracewood, asked Dotcom if he spends all day driving around and posing for pictures. “I could live like that,” Gracewood joked.

    Dotcom replied, “Come over now!”

    Gracewood, along with two others, lived “like that” for a few hours, at least. They went over to Dotcom’s house and tweeted for a few hours.

    To prove that this bizarre experience was actually happening, Dotcom posted photos and live-tweeted the event with the hashtag #swimatkims. He tweeted the pool party was “fun” and hinted that he might hold another one in the future. (We posted a Storify created by a New Zealand magazine of the event below.)

    “#swimatkims will return for everybody. Need a big public pool. Awesome DJ. Sound & lights. Who’s in?,” tweeted Dotcom. Gracewood created a website and posted on his blog about his ordeal.

    “It was a mix of completely surreal and utterly mundane,” Gracewood wrote .

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: fbi notices

    We already have rips of DVDs even with the "FBI warning" scare tactics.

    Somehow I doubt adding more of them will help matter.

    Also, I hear some of those movie rips still have the notices.
    Don't care enough about the crap the industry produces to find out.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, true, I don't know him so I have no basis to really know. But his public persona is one that I tend to dislike.

    That said, I do love epic pools parties, and I have no doubt that I would enjoy one of Dotcom's. That's a different thing, though. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

    Except for the fact only "rich and arrogant" were brought up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Pre internet memes!

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

     

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    gnudist, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: 3.2 million

    Except many of those who call themselves "poor" in first world nations would be rich in the third world.

    It's all relative.

     

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    Nasch, Aug 15th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    Tags

    Maybe someone could fix the broken bold tag in the comments.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 6:43pm

    Re:

    Teeny little correction there: Dotcom had more resources, before they were all seized/stolen. Currently, financially at least, the average person probably would be able to come up with more funding than he could, and given how much weight a hefty bank account gives to one's chances in the legal system these days...

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 6:45pm

    "... The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So"

    They do seem to think a lot of things that conflict with the preferences of those that choose (or not) to keep them aloft.

    Law or no law - I perceive their actions as long going and ongoing infractions against people. All people.

    The world where these guys now find themselves playing in grows a little bit closer, as a people, every day. The governments notwithstanding.

    Let them try to make their rules - but, henceforth, now is as easy as it's going to be for rule making and business plan raking. Yours is broken, you can only keep breaking other plans for so long until you're totally and completely recognized for the whores you so blatantly seem to be.

    "The Media" is The King. Ergo...

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Aug 15th, 2012 @ 6:47pm

    "... The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So"

    They do seem to think a lot of things that conflict with the preferences of those that choose (or not) to keep them aloft.

    Law or no law - I perceive their actions as long going and ongoing infractions against people. All people.

    The world where these guys now find themselves playing in grows a little bit closer, as a people, every day. The governments notwithstanding.

    Let them try to make their rules - but, henceforth, now is as easy as it's going to be for rule making and business plan raking. Yours is broken, you can only keep breaking other plans for so long until you're totally and completely recognized for the whores you so blatantly seem to be.

    "The Media" is The King. Ergo...

     

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  52.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 12:39am

    Re:

    Maybe we can get them charged with war crimes. After all, they're prosecuting a "war" on piracy...

     

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  53.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:10am

    Re: fbi notices

    "see the feedback from that. ;-)"

    Zero reduction in piracy and a bunch of consumers pissed off that they're being lectured not to pirate on everything stuff they've paid for (therefore having another good reason not to bother next time)?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re:

    True enough, but the assets are there so the lawyers defending him have the possibility of receiving every penny so they will take the risk for Dotcom.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:53am

    Irony

    Wealthy people using their resources to try to influence public opinion is now illegal while wealthy people using their resources to try to influence Congress, (ie. bribery) is not? Got it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Being rich and arrogant with someone else's money is the issue.

    Nice try, but wow, what a failure of a story. More slant than a Romney campaign speech.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: 3.2 million

    This is true, but this effect is because the "rich-middle-poor" range is too coarse for anything but gross generalizations.

    Most poor people in the US are what used to be called "upper-lower" or "middle-lower" class. These people are relatively poor by US standards, but average or moderately wealthy by the standards of the poorest parts of the world.

    However, the US also has many really, truly poor people by any standard.

    Also, even judging just by US standards, there are quite a lot of middle-class people who consider themselves poor but who are not anything of the sort. USians have a strong tendency to overestimate how wealthy the average USian is.

     

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  58.  
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    Togashi (profile), Aug 16th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or you can go with Demetri Martin's version:

    How about "Nobody should throw stones." That's crappy behavior. My policy is: "No stone throwing regardless of housing situation." Don't do it. There is one exception though. If you're trapped in a glass house, and you have a stone, then throw it. What are you, an idiot? So maybe it's "Only people in glass houses should throw stones, provided they are trapped in the house with a stone." It's a little longer, but yeah.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2012 @ 4:14pm

    Great post

    How about asking RIAA and MPAA to refund the tax they are still getting from recordable media (from back in the VHS days)?

    How about forcing them to make royalty payments to muscians more transparent (as if that shouldn't be a basic right) or to actually pay out all royalties collected, or to pay musician's the money collected from John Doe settlements?

    How about filing cases for bribery ("we paid for that trade bill")? I still don't understand how they have escaped RICO. Maybe it is time to break up "too big to fail" corporations / trade organizations.

    Maybe they should give the public a choice and not obscure whether a label is RIAA-associated or not. They know the public is against them.

    They (RIAA and MPAA) make Dotcom seem innocent in comparison, not the reverse.

     

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


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