Entertainment Industry Explains How True Net Neutrality Is Just Another Word For Theft

from the say-what-now? dept

With comments due last week on the FCC’s proposed new net neutrality rules, we’ve already covered some of the filings, while noting the problems of carving out a special exemption for copyright. But, of course, that special exemption for copyright means everything to an entertainment industry that has no interest in adapting its business models. Both the RIAA and MPAA filed their own comments, which were pretty similar, and equally misleading. The RIAA’s filing (pdf) repeatedly referred to copyright infringement as “theft” (you would think lawyers would know the difference) and insisted not just that there should be a copyright exemption, but that the FCC itself should require ISPs to act as copyright cops. The MPAA’s filing (pdf) is almost a carbon copy of the RIAA’s. There is very little difference between the two.

But if you want to see an even more extreme argument, check out the filing from the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA) (pdf), who we’d already pointed out was running around aimlessly screaming that network neutrality would mean more unauthorized file sharing (they call it “piracy”). In the SGA’s filing, they claim that net neutrality wouldn’t solve any actual problem, and the real problem is the inability of songwriters to get paid in the way they used to, back in the idyllic days before the internet existed. So they’d much rather that the FCC break the internet in order to bring back those days. That’s a bit of a paraphrase, but it’s really not that far off.

The language used by the SGA goes even beyond that of the others, referring to things like “rampant looting” and insisting that with net neutrality we would face the end of songwriting. Seriously. While the SGA claims that it wants to promote new innovation and technology, it appears to only mean technology that can be used to block file sharing. It’s very excited about those technologies, and not at all concerned about all the technologies (even the ones used by lots of folks every day) that would be broken without a neutral internet.

Not that any of these filings are all that surprising, but it does show how low the entertainment industry has decided to stoop in trying to get others to bring back old business models, rather than adapt to the changing times.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: mpaa, riaa, sga

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Comments on “Entertainment Industry Explains How True Net Neutrality Is Just Another Word For Theft”

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Anonymous Coward says:

From the SGA claims:

(2)would enshrine actual practices that have led to the decimation of the music industry . . .

So the recording industry has lost 10%. That’s what decimate means.

And that leads to the “impending demise of the profession of American songwriting and music composition”?

Do they even read what they write?

Dictionary Reader says:

Re: Know your words

And you want to know if they read what they write???

dec⋅i⋅mate  /ˈdɛsəˌmeɪt/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [des-uh-meyt] Show IPA
Use decimate in a Sentence
See images of decimate
Search decimate on the Web
–verb (used with object), -mat⋅ed, -mat⋅ing. 1. to destroy a great number or proportion of: The population was decimated by a plague.
2. to select by lot and kill every tenth person of.
3. Obsolete. to take a tenth of or from.

RD says:

Cue the TAMHOLE/Apoligitards(tm) in 3,2,1...

One question I have never seen addressed is, why does this industry (music and movies) get to push around EVERYONE to get their way? They are, what, a 40bil a year industry at most? There are MANY other industries that are MUCH larger and they dont try to throw their weight around like this. Even Microsoft, which is worth that BY THEMSELVES each year, isnt as strident as these aholes. While they certainly fight and speak out against “piracy”, they arent lobbying to have laws changed in their favor, buying politicians and judges, and using the courts to sue people who dont even own a computer, dead people, and children. Someone needs to tell these jerks that they JUST ARENT THAT IMPORTANT, or even that large of an industry, to justify the disproportionate amount of effort, time and attention they are given over these issues.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

…says the greedy pirate, illegally gorging himself on a digital buffet of products he’s not entitled to.

lol. it stopped being about getting shit for free years ago. now it’s all about hastening the arrival of imminent change.

my “consumption” has become so conspicuous that if i hit play right now, i might be able to read/watch/listen to everything i have downloaded before i die.


Re: Re: There's no better thief than a corporation.

>> How many more freedoms will we lose at the behest of their greed!
> …says the greedy pirate, illegally gorging himself on a digital buffet of products he’s not entitled to.

No. What is greedy and immoral is taking away from the commons and then never giving anything back to it. This is what perpetual copyright is.

Rightfully, there should be a digital buffet of products out there free for the taking simply because their copyrights expired. Those were the terms under which those works were originally created.

Nick says:

Re: Re: Re:

“…says the greedy pirate, illegally gorging himself on a digital buffet of products he’s not entitled to. “

And here it is, clearly illustrated: the Entertainment Industry’s position that as long as the internet remains open and free, anyone who uses it is a pirate. Or at least, potentially a pirate.

Isn’t that the point of the Fourth Amendment? To prevent the government from treating all citizens as potential criminals?

Due process? Innocent until proven guilty? The RIAA hasn’t heard of any of this stuff. If you use a peer-to-peer downloading service, you’re guilty until proven innocent. They seem to completely ignore the fact that torrents have revolutionized the way big files are transferred across the internet.

Yes, torrents allow pirates to share large amounts of movies and music quickly. The same way that the interstate highway system and advanced automobiles provide criminals the means to escape from law enforcement. Should that be cause enough to put a police check point every 5th mile on freeways?

Glenn says:

So sad...

It’s apparent that song-writers want to get paid simply for writing songs, regardless of whether anyone wants to buy those songs (or even hear them). If they really want to go back to the “good old days”, then they can go back to the patron system: you get paid only what someone thinks your “art” is worth (which is where the term “starving artist” really comes from). I stopped buying music over a decade ago *because* the “music” industry decided to start treating *everyone* as a criminal; the industry has gotten worse since then. If the industry had actually been paying attention, it would have noticed that music “sharing” (theft, piracy, or whatever term you want to use) has resulted in more sales (because most people *aren’t* criminals), has essentially been a form of advertising (free advertising, in fact) for the industry. I don’t ignore the music industry now because there’s no music worth listening to (though much of it isn’t); I ignore it because the people who run the industry just don’t deserve my money. They can take their copyrights, and their “art”, and stick ’em where the sun don’t shine.

:) says:

The funny part.

The funny part is that the same laws some of them want can and will be used to hurt them.

DMCA could be used by people wanting to take down webpages that have any copyright and that means music sites too or movies that claim copyright on things they don’t have or maybe even for copyfraud where some films and tv shows claim copyright on the whole when they don’t have the rights to parts of it and that is a crime punished in the U.S. by a $2500 fine and is a criminal thing so only the U.S. government can initiate the process but takedowns on the other hand are just claims and maybe could be used to take down website movies on the behalf of the public I know that grey’s anatomy and ghost whisperer used footage on the public domain and claimed copyright on everything, I know that the NFL claim more copyrights then they have in fact so people could file DMCA’s to take down those sites just for the fun of it.

ISPs can discriminate against video and audio streams and charge more it would be like pay or don’t use it. That would hurt the little artists no?

Without a rule saying that ISP can’t discriminate against traffic it pretty much say that people can do what they please and with a government leading by example sanctions on people who don’t want to pay could be costly in the long run.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Funny, you complain about equating theft with copyright infringement but not a blockade with denial of entry.

While I don’t see anything wrong with blockade — I believe it was an accurate description — when others pointed out they did have problems with it, I changed it.

Have the RIAA/MPAA/SGA ever changed their wording when they realized people didn’t like it?

Adam (profile) says:

A young firefighter and musician in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dave Caroll, had his favorite guitar broken by United Airlines who then gave him the runaround about fixing it. He wrote a clever song called United Breaks Guitars, made a very low rent video, put that on youTube, and had it go viral (over 7 million views to date). Since then, he has appeared on Oprah, the View and been interviewed by Wolf Blitzer. He has now made two follow-on videos with parts two and three of his song. His group, the Sons of Maxwell, have been selling their CDs like beer at a ball game ever since. That, to me, is the way the music industry is supposed to work.

Mike Raphone says:

More entertainment industry whining!

The copyright control agencies, particularly the record labels started the whining about home taping in the mid 1970’s long before there was an internet. How quickly we forget how the music industry fought any form of home taping particularly the introduction of Digital Audio Tape technology. The music industry filed numerous lawsuits assuring failure the format. Then of course there was the fight against the MP3 technology. The entertainment industry are the reverse Luddites of the Twenty First Century. Unlike the Luddites of the 1800’s destroying automatic weaving equipment the music and movie Luddites are fighting any new technology that would give individuals more freedom how they use and play the media that they paid for. Consumers have no hope. Our corrupt government will continue support big business and fail to provide a balance between consumer interests and big business interests until the unlimited flow of money between big business and lawmakers is stopped.

Anonymous Coward says:

it really doesn't matter

As has been stated many many times, just about everyone under the age of 30 has totally rejected the concept of copyright. I don’t know if most people think like me but…
I won’t give these scumbags my money. Why should I? I haven’t gone to the movies in at least 8 years, rented or bought a movie. From what I occasionally see at friends’ houses or on tv I haven’t missed a thing. I have started driving in silence because almost all music coming out sucks. They don’t have to worry about me downloading stuff, it’s not worth the hard drive space. I just hope these lawyers end up in fast food when these industries mercifully die.

Simon says:

Re: it really doesn't matter

I don’t think they’ve rejected the complete concept of copyright. Almost everyone agrees that if person A clearly created something and person B takes it ‘as is’, claims they created it, and is using it in a commercial venture then person A should be afforded some protection by law.

What they HAVE rejected is what copyright has become and what the controlling entities want it to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

A le clergé perspective

Tell me how Net Neutrality is theft? The market will always dictate the final direction as it ebbs and flows. You can constrict at one point, and another method will ultimately be developed. This is the natural course of history. Industrialists favored the profit motive while factory workers fought back and unionized.

Don’t be mistaken; the industrialist mentality and it’s constant, ever-seeking profit motive won’t provide The Industry with a state of certainty unless it’s either subsidized by The State, or the very legal framework and free will is removed from the equation. But often, the market decides through it’s own ways. However, it seems they prefer the former to the latter.

I imagine that a better set of answers will point to a different discussion; as it appears Big Content is about to go through a relatively large industry restructuring pending the Comcast-NBC merger. The comments on the FCC website resonate of this.

But at the end of the day, we very well may have additional rights and liberties chipped away by industry apologists who are deemed “too big to fail”.

A sidenote on this: Too Big To Fail subsequently, and really means: "We have acquired a blank check from DC though our use of political ties"

But you have to take into account those who ignore the will of the market and believe that creating a better mousetrap on the coat tails of legalism will bring their company to the land of milk and honey. Understand that these mere mortals, only prolong their inevitable fate.

Someday soon, I imagine marketers of entertainment product will look to the “tiers état” as something more than a missing ATM reciept in their records. Until then, we will remain living in a class system with faintly blurred lines.

Yeebok (profile) says:

My thoughts

If the music industry is still in the realms of the 80s like it appears to be, it should provide a minder to ensure you don’t overstep the ‘limited rights’ they give you to their product. The laws are confusing, so really you need someone there to tell you what you are and aren’t allowed to do. The rules are also silly.
Eg : I spend however much getting all 10 seasons of whatever show at Big W. You can’t let a mate borrow them at $1/night, but you can give them to him for a night for nothing (the right to rent a title you’ve purchased is not one you get in Australia). Go figure..

TDR says:

To the RIAA/MPAA and their confederates:

“I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. You’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how this is going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and them I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. A world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

Heed Neo’s words, entertainment industry, or fade into the past forever.

Anonymous Coward says:

American corporations first need to get their heads wrapped around the concept that America doesn’t own the internet and that whatever laws it passes are meaningless to the rest of the world. Not much good fighting this way when ultimately the United States could be routed around and turned into an electronic island as far as the internet’s concerned.

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