Openness? Transparency? Not When Biden Gets To Hang With Entertainment Industry Lobbyists: Press Kicked Out

from the gotta-keep-that-on-the-down-low dept

Well, this is just lovely. I added it as an update to the original post about Biden’s highly questionable, one-sided “piracy summit,” but it’s an issue that deserves an additional post. Reporter Ryan Reilly was attending the summit, and was Twittering what was going on, so we got to hear Biden say that piracy is “flat unadulterated theft” (apparently the Vice President of the US is unfamiliar with US law and the difference between infringement and theft, which is… um… scary). Then we heard that Attorney General Eric Holder was reinvigorating the Justice Department’s “task force” on copyright. Why? There’s still no indication of any actual harm (both the movie and music industries are growing). Then, Commerce Secretary Locke noted that anti-camcording efforts are an important part of the anti-piracy effort. Funny timing, given the recent fiasco over a young woman arrested for incidental capturing of snippets of New Moon.

So it started out just great. And then? Well, then the press got kicked out. Seriously. Isn’t this the Obama administration that’s supposed to be all about openness and transparency and not giving in to industry lobbyists? So it gathers up a bunch of the highest ranking government officials, (and doesn’t invite any consumer advocates or tech industry representatives) puts those politicians in a room with industry bosses and lobbyists, claims that “all stakeholders” are present (seriously, that’s what Biden’s press release said), has those government officials make a few blatantly false or misleading claims, and then kicks out the press. Yikes. Update: Reilly has now published his article on the event, which includes a list of attendees.

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Comments on “Openness? Transparency? Not When Biden Gets To Hang With Entertainment Industry Lobbyists: Press Kicked Out”

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84 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Got tin foil?

Godwin alert!!!

“Careful Mike, you don’t want the men in the black vans to show up.”

I wonder if some dissenter was ever told, “Careful, Noah, you don’t want the men with the red arm bands to show up.”

Oh, and in case you aren’t my favorite corporate shilling moron….you’re an idiot.

lee (user link) says:

Factuality vs Organized Crime

There is a major difference between issues of theft and counterfeit in the commerce sector versus legitimate use in an educational and personal (non-economic) environment.

YOU STILL FAIL TO MAKE CLEAR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE CONSTRAINTS, CHOOSING TO SUPPORT ORGANIZED CRIME OVER THE MAJORITY OF THE WORLDS’ POPULATION.

I strongly suggest you fix your policy and approach immediately, this is not the first time I’ve had to call you directly.

Richard says:

Re: Re: Re: Factuality vs Organized Crime

Or it could be because of retro active copyright extensions?

And FYI the public domain is not in competition with IP juggernauts, it inherits their work when their monopolies expire. Hence its a reflection of what was going on 20 years ago in the case of patents, 4.59364 billion years ago in the case of copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Factuality vs Organized Crime

Uhm… with sites like creativecommons.org the public domain, or at least work released under creative commons licenses (ie: licenses designed to circumvent intellectual property) has been growing. The problem is that there is a government granted monopoly on telco/cableco infrastructure and the evil corporations in charge are reluctant to introduce work from independent musicians and artists on such infrastructure. If you remove such monopolies this problem will likely disappear. Furthermore, I content that everything on public airwaves should be in the public domain, if it’s not in the public domain or released under some creative commons license it should not be wasting public bandwidth on public airwaves. There are plenty of independent artists that would be more than willing to have their music and art broadcasted on public airwaves even under a creative commons license.

Brian (profile) says:

Re: Re: Factuality vs Organized Crime

No, about 98% of the public probably doesn’t know wtf intellectual property is. The big corps would use tons of money to flood the TV with commercials about how IP is “good for us all”. The American people being the incompetent morons they are would vote for some even more draconian system than exists today without realizing whats actually going on.

***Please bear in mind that I have come to regard the average American as a moron who can only choose between Side A and Side B and will only ever look at the facts given to them in a fanciest and flashiest of manner.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: More camcordering laws, please.

Actually the end result will be keeping ACTA secret until its to late …. then the inevitable law suits from EFF, Public Knowledge, CDT, etc, to extend the time for review and public comment. The judge may be choosen in advance, and the outcome predetermined. Its gonna be a total mess although its going to be fun to watch.

My dirty little secret is, I am counting on ACTA passing.

After ACTA goes into effect the consequences of being an artist with one of the big labels are all negative. Your song on a criminal case where 14 year old mary is going to juvie for being a fan of your music. Loosing fans because you are with a label that helped put these laws into effect.

…… unintended consequences gotta love them!

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Looks like we're boned

The only change I can believe in is quarters, dimes, and nickles. I don’t trust pennies. They want you to think they are copper, but they’re mostly zinc.

Seriously though, Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of the same coin (see how I brought it back to change?). Until we eliminate the two party system, or establish term limits, we’ll get more of the same crap we’ve been getting. As we all know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well I’d say most voters are insane.

Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

Worse than I thought

The seating chart reads like the hall of fame of most shameful TechDirt quotes.

RIAA’s Mitch Bainwol
Patent Office’s David Kappos
MPAA’s Dan Glickman
WMG’s Edgar Bronfman Jr
Our IP Czar Victoria Espinel

Now of course Espinel and Kappos would be included in anything like this, but seriously, my point is not one independent thought across the bunch. No John Riccitiello’s or John P. Holdren’s who even attempt to recognize the value of dissenting thought.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Worse than I thought

The seating chart reads like the hall of fame of most shameful TechDirt quotes.

Don’t forget Michael Lynton (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090515/1301064900.shtml, http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091027/1255556697.shtml, http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090526/1159125014.shtml) Alec French (who’s been known to read and comment on Techdirt, mind you: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090114/2123083415.shtml) and our favorite, Rick Cotton, who is so concerned about the poor, poor corn farmers (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070621/004352.shtml) that he can’t figure out how to make money from tremendous demand (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081124/2204372942.shtml).

Those last two are from NBC Universal, so it should come as no surprise that another NBC Universal lawyer has taken to Twitter to attack this post as well.

Apparently, in the minds of those execs, there’s nothing at all odd about top government officials making false statements that clearly support a single industry’s perspective, declaring that “all stakeholders are present” and then shutting the doors.

Even if this happens all the time, you have to be blind to think that this represents the transparency the administration has insisted it believes in. It looks bad, no matter how “normal” it might be.

I equally expect that various industry lawyers will start blogging more attack pieces on Techdirt again shortly. The pace (and ridiculousness) of such attacks have been growing. They don’t like it when we point things like this out. It was much better when they could have the government prop up their business model in private.

Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

Re: Re: Worse than I thought

“I equally expect that various industry lawyers will start blogging more attack pieces on Techdirt again shortly.”

Even if something could be accurately described as an attack piece, I don’t think it makes you look good to call it that. Any exposure from such attacks can probably be a good thing, especially if your responses to them are more reasoned and calm and collected than the attacks themselves (which they often are). And of course, the few readers of that industry lawyers blog are exactly the sort I’d think would be perfect to get exposure with. And I don’t mean to focus on just that phrase, it’s the overall tone I’m criticizing, and that phrase is just a good example of it.

You’re a smart guy Mike, please take my criticism as such.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Worse than I thought

Even if something could be accurately described as an attack piece, I don’t think it makes you look good to call it that.

Fair enough. I just find it funny that in the past year or so, a series of industry bloggers have taken to making posts that regularly criticize what we write by taking statements out of context. I used to respond to them directly, but it didn’t do much good.

Lobo Santo's Ugly Ferret says:

Mike, today you sound like you are about to burst a blood vessel in your head or something. You are on an angry anti-government rant, that is for sure.

Here’s the scoop:

You only get to come to the table if you are in the business in question. When they have a summit about oil prices, they don’t invite Bob from the local barber shop to come prattle on for hours. Bob is a consumer, and he isn’t really a stakeholder in the game. If Bob doesn’t like the end result, Bob gets to vote the bums out of office next time.

Honestly, can you imagine yourself in a room full of industry and government people trying to do your silly whiteboard “supply and demand” thing for them? They would look at you like you are cracked. They don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on ideas that start with “give your product to the pirates, go out of business, and let’s end copyright and patents too while I am here”. It would be a fail beyond the understanding of man.

So you can be all upset, and all uppity about it, but in the end, the people who actually run the vast majority of the music and entertainment industry are the stakeholders, and they are all in that room.

It also points out another reason why the DIY music industry isn’t the best way to do much of the time: You don’t get the power by being a widely distributed group of unrelated people with no real leadership or financial clout.

It’s one of those things you trade away when you go it alone.

Derek Bredensteiner (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I like this nation you speak of. Don’t like the way the government is run? Shut up and try and vote again in 4 years. Sounds great, peace and quiet, no one complaining or nothing. Damn hippies.

Why should we have a discussion about oil prices that doesn’t include Tesla or Brammo? Or a piracy discussion that doesn’t include the head of Sirius/XM or Pandora?

Let’s just pretend these dern upstarts don’t exist and tax/fine them out of existence, keep things the way they are cause that’s the way they are. You can’t change anything so just give up and shut up.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Bob is a consumer, and he isn’t really a stakeholder in the game. If Bob doesn’t like the end result, Bob gets to vote the bums out of office next time.”

No, BOB IS a stakeholder, and yes, this is the point we’re trying to make, vote the politicians in place out of office exactly because they are not being transparent but are hiding from the public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“So you can be all upset, and all uppity about it, but in the end, the people who actually run the vast majority of the music and entertainment industry are the stakeholders, and they are all in that room.”

Just look at the mentality of intellectual property maximists. If this isn’t enough to infuriate the public then I don’t know what is. This is absolute nonsense, why do we tolerate these evil tyrants running our nation. These people have absolutely NO regard for morality and it’s their very words here on techdirt that has further convinced me that intellectual property is a bad thing. I honestly do believe that some intellectual property can be good but the intellectual property maximists, their very words, have made me further question the motives of intellectual property.

The fact is that NO ONE NEEDS YOU to produce art and music. The only thing you are responsible for doing is ensuring that you get a monopoly on any art and music that is produced and to ensure that you restrict the distribution of any art and music that competes with your monopoly. and outside the Internet you have accomplished exactly this and you want to do the exact same thing within the Internet. There are plenty of people perfectly willing to create art and music and if it weren’t for your evil efforts to restrict the distribution of that art and music they would have distribution of their art and music just as well, even outside the Internet. You STEAL from the artists, you steal from the public, and you have no regard for morality. The only thing you care about is yourselves and society would be much better off without you. I don’t see how the likes of you can look at yourself in the mirror. How do you live with yourself after all the harm you cause society. Do you care about all the people you harm just so that you can make money? This is just another example of your selfishness, your very words express your selfishness. You claim to be the only stakeholders, you’re the only ones that matters, no one else matters but YOU. Seriously, I don’t understand how you people with no regard for morality can exist.

Jerry Cronin says:

Re: Re:

Hahah, are you out of your mind? The stakeholders are all in that room?

If you need another perspective to figure out why that’s such a rediculous statement, just tell me this: How much music has been created by the people in that room? Oh, none? Huh. I guess musicians (or thier direct representatives) don’t count as stakeholders in the music industry anymore! They’ll be thrilled!

And that’s only the most obvious and rediculous omission. There are many more. In fact, just about any person you can find in the music industry has more to do with the creation of music than the people assembled in that room. They ONLY thing the guys in that room do, day in and day out, is focus on how much money they have, and are in the process of earning. They’ve likely been much more focused on lawsuits and lobbying than music for years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Bob is a consumer, and he isn’t really a stakeholder in the game.”

Bob is a stakeholder because he pays taxes. and if the government doesn’t want to represent him then they shouldn’t tax him. Just like when the government pays 30 million to fight piracy

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091215/1817437375.shtml

taxpayers are paying for that. Bob is paying for that. He IS a stakeholder. and no one is forcing the government to tax Bob if they don’t want to represent him.

RD says:

Amazing ApoligiTard(tm)

“They don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on ideas that start with “give your product to the pirates, go out of business, and let’s end copyright and patents too while I am here”. It would be a fail beyond the understanding of man.”

The only fail here is you, and that room full of greedy execs that you lovingly and fervently support so much. Since when has this site EVER said “give your product to the pirates?” Really? You think that? Show your proof. Oh thats right, you have none, because that isnt the point, and isnt the agenda. You are every bit as misleading and ranting as you accuse Mike and this site of being.

I’d explain further, but you are so far up the ass of your industry buddies that I dont want to get stuck up there with you.

Karl (user link) says:

What to do?

Does anyone know what an average voter can do about this?

Frankly, writing your local representative probably isn’t going to help – since your local representative isn’t even involved in this summit.

And traditional grassroots organizations (like moveon.org) usually won’t tackle issues that fall outside of their specific political wing. (See any press on this outside of tech blogs?)

Maybe start a campaign to write Biden’s office directly? That’s the only thing I can think of.

Anonymous Coward says:

I too am amazed at Biden’s failure to differentiate between “infringement” and theft. He is, after all, a lawyer and should know better.

As Justice Blackmun noted in Dowling v. U.S.:

“While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful [473 U.S. 207, 218] appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.”

Ooops. My mistake. Bad citation. Justice Blackmun associates “copyright” with “property”, something we all know is a no-no.

the truth of the meeting says:

6 billion lawsuit in canada against puppet of RIAA

yea see they have to get tactical now that of the 10 billion in profit canada might get 60% of it so there going to lobby now and spend a billion and bribe er lobby to get some new laws that the record industry is immune to lawsuits and that they can thusly infringe all they wish

however tis good to see both those groups start suing each other means too much money they get

CHRoNoSS says:

they used ot do that too my blog mike

right round the gulf war i had top level officials taking clips and stuff off my blog
and yea know i just said thats it closed shop on it members only no more anonymous jerks, oh and i found out whom hte mole was and i took him on sept 13th 2001 to show him a huge section of that talibans website a hacker had destroyed

yea see mister bush was calling us terrorists when it is people with guns that kill you not a hacked website

next day he retracted that and said the gosh darned most stupid thing i have heard in a decade.

“ok hackers aren’t terrorists, but could you not attack the site we need to see what they will do next”

HAHA like they gonna put the plans on a website publically OMG you Americans that should have been a que that guy was a complete idiot

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

"..When Biden Gets To Hang With Entertainment Industry Lobbyists"

US V.P. Biden’s history has already proven he’s a VERY gullible entertainment industry stooge anywayz. }:>
~
Hell, they probably take turns wiping the drool off each others’ neckties.. which are definitely sinched way too tight. Can’t wait for the day when one of OUR reporters hurls a shoe at Biden. Or Glickman! (even better!!). ;D
Hey, it wasn’t me who put these morons in charge! ;P

pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ says:

So, um, I guess, I am a little confused.

When you die, do you get to take it with you? Or do you just desire to leave all your riches to the man aside you on your deathbed?

If you’re worth anything, they will oftentimes be lawyers and people who have a vested interest in you… Dying.

What we’re starting to see here is the divestiture of early boomers into businesses to strengthen their 1970s mentality, ergo into their family. Should it continue, it will be a very troubling future.

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