RIAA CEO Tries To Connect China Google Hack With Google's Attitude Towards Copyright

from the how-out-of-touch-are-you? dept

The RIAA has made some bizarre and totally nonsensical arguments in its time, but it may have just set a new low. castilho points us to an opinion piece written by RIAA boss Mitch Bainwol that tries to pin the blame for the Chinese hack of Google on Google’s opinion towards copyright. Seriously. Of course, the logical leaps and bounds you have to go through to make this sort of statement is a bit crazier than your average roller coaster, and in the process Bainwol seems to be implying both that those who give away anything for free are against content creation and that getting hacked actually has something to do with copyright law.

In January, Chinese hackers infiltrated the systems of the biggest technology dog on the global block and, according to the company, stole Google’s intellectual property.

I see where you’re going with this, but to compare hacked code being copied with fans sharing music (neither of which, by the way, is actually “stealing”) is so far off-base that it’s guffaw-inducing. In Google’s case, this was information for private use — not something protected by intellectual property law that it was trying to sell. The two situations are entirely different and, unlike Mitch Bainwol, the folks at Google clearly do understand the difference.

In texting parlance, Google has finally had an OMG! moment when it comes to intellectual property. Unfortunately, it took this theft of their IP to flip on the switch.

Ignoring the bizarre and slightly creepy attempt to sound hip, nothing in Google’s response suggests any change in opinion on the issue of intellectual property. That’s because, as stated above, the hack had nothing to do with intellectual property or intellectual property law. If it caused any sort of epiphany, it should have been in relation to the problems with gov’t mandated surveillance, which is what opened Google up to being hacked. Again this has nothing whatsoever to do with intellectual property law and everyone knows it. Except, apparently, Mitch Bainwol.

Frankly, Google has never been very warm to the idea of copyright protections. Google routinely has sided with the “free access” (more aptly the “free of charge”) crowd against those who actually create the intellectual property.

I can’t speak for Google, obviously, but my sense has always been that they actually do take copyright law incredibly seriously. They went out and hired one of the world’s foremost experts in copyright. But it’s that second sentence that is so amazingly wrong that I’d like to formally request that Mitch Bainwol and the RIAA issue an apology for being blatantly insulting to everyone who believes in the use of “free” as part of a smart business model. I’ll note, of course, that the RIAA itself has long used “free” in parts of their business model — and to then imply that this is against those who actually create intellectual property is obnoxious in the extreme.

I create intellectual property every single day, as do people at Google, and many others who recognize the value of free content. To imply that those who understand basic economics are somehow “against” content creators is ridiculous. How can you claim that, when we spend so much time showing how content creators — including a bunch who the labels that Bainwol represents have clearly ripped off repeatedly — are now making more money by ignoring copyright and leveraging free to their advantage, often to make more money than any RIAA-label ever helped them make?

Mitch, you owe all supporters of “free” an apology.

Remember the Big G’s idea to digitize every book in the world and put it in their digital library? That went over so well that Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild of America sued to stop Google from creating the virtual library.

Wait, what? A lawsuit, by itself, doesn’t mean anything. Mitch? The Authors Guild hasn’t won its lawsuit, and has admitted that the reason it settled was because a bunch of copyright experts told them they had a pretty good chance of losing the lawsuit to Google.

Hell, the RIAA has been sued for racketeering a bunch of times. By Bainwol’s own logic here, the RIAA must be racketeers.

Google argued that they were just trying to make the world a better place by making important works of literature available to people all over the globe. A rather egalitarian idea (unless you’re the authors and publishers who depend on people actually buying books in order for you to make a living).

Yes, you heard it here first. The RIAA is apparently against people having more access to books. As for that final sentence, again, Bainwol is playing fast and loose with the facts. Google Books only showed mere snippets of books, and most authors found that when their books were available on Google books it helped them sell more and make a better living. Isn’t that the point? Or should we not be surprised that the guy who’s the spiritual leader of an industry that sued tens of thousands of its biggest fans and presided over the massive collapse of its revenue doesn’t quite understand how to focus on the actual bottom line results rather than making up false stats?

Last month, Google found out just how dangerous free access to one’s property can be to one’s business model. Like Inspector Renault who is “shocked” to find gambling in Rick’s saloon in “Casablanca,” Google was “shocked” to find their systems hacked and their precious intellectual property stolen. Now, I’m not expecting Google to make a 180° turn and join us in our fight to protect IP the way Claude Raines joined Bogart to fight the Nazis, but perhaps Google will have a more reasonable view of the need to protect IP.

Why? Seriously? Please explain how the hell intellectual property laws would have made the slightest difference here. You could have had the most powerful copyright laws in the world, and it would have had zero impact on the ability of Chinese hackers to break into Google’s servers. The hack had nothing to do with intellectual property laws.

The problem here — and this is quite common with folks who don’t actually understand this topic — is that Bainwol is confusing intellectual property laws with the intellectual property (which isn’t actually property, but that’s another issue…).

What’s the effect of IP theft on the U.S. economy? First, let’s look at the IP industry’s share of the economy. A 2007 International Intellectual Property Alliance study found 11.7 million people working in the total copyright industries. That’s 8.51 percent of the U.S. workforce. These industries help drive our nation’s economy. In 2007, IP companies added $1.52 trillion or 11.05 percent to the GDP. When people say “we don’t make anything in America anymore,” just hit them with those facts.

I see your bogus $1.52 trillion dollars and raise you to $2.2 trillion. That’s the amount of the US economy dependent on exceptions to copyright law such as fair use. And that, by the way, is using the same methodology as your $1.52 trillion bogus number. And you know, companies like Google are a big part of those that rely on exceptions in copyright, such as fair use — something your organization has tried to deny exists.

In cities and towns throughout America, the IP community creates good paying jobs that have an enormous, positive impact. Those jobs come with health care plans and retirement savings accounts. They benefit our cities and towns with increased tax revenues that help pay for the services we all need.

See what Bainwol is doing here? He keeps shifting back and forth between content and IP laws, as if they’re the same thing. But they’re not. Most of those jobs don’t rely on IP laws to exist. In fact, as noted above, a much greater number rely on avoiding IP law through exceptions to have those jobs, with that even larger enormous, positive impact.

Most importantly, the IP industries create products that are enjoyed the world over–games, movies, books, and of course, music. Yet every year, as broadband technology advances, intellectual property thieves become increasingly more sophisticated. The assaults grow more ferocious. The broader the broadband, the easier to steal copyrighted works.

Mitch, those aren’t “IP industries.” They’re content industries, and a significant portion of their income doesn’t come because of IP laws. Hell, if we just look at your own industry, music, we see that a significant and growing portion is the part that doesn’t rely on IP laws at all. And please can the faux moral panic about broadband being to blame here. You and your organization have had well over a decade to learn how to adapt. Many in the music business have adapted. It’s just the organizations that you represent that have been resisting and making bad decisions — many under your leadership — that have resulted in nothing but greater and greater losses. This isn’t about broadband, but about a basic failure to adapt to a changing marketplace.

Like our friends at Google, we fully support the adoption of broadband and the new and exciting opportunities it provides for consumers to enjoy movies, television programs and music.

And that, right there, explains why you’re so far behind. You still don’t realize what the internet is. It’s a communication platform. It’s not for consumers to just enjoy music, television programs and music. It’s for them to communicate. You want to turn the internet into a broadcast medium when it’s a communications medium. The reason people share content online is because that’s what the internet is for. To communicate — and communication is just a way of sharing information. Until you understand that simple fact, you’re going to keep flailing.

Yet there is no question that despite our extensive and innovative offerings of legal content, the levels of online and physical theft around the world extract a profound toll. That activity has a direct and harmful impact on American jobs and our economy. And as Google has found out, this illegal activity is exacerbated by the unwillingness of some–including some businesses and even some governments–to take reasonable steps to address these problems. As we know too well, IP theft has “enablers” all over the place.

Again, no, what Google found out was that it needed better security, not stronger IP laws.

If it is in the national interest to protect the millions of Americans who use Google’s services–and it is– it is also in the national interest to stop the theft of intellectual property. But doing so requires cooperation by other industries and a commitment on the part of government to take reasonable steps, both at home and abroad, to combat the harmful economic effects of IP theft.

Again with the apples and oranges comparison. You’re still talking about two totally different things. And your readers know it. They’re not stupid. Why treat them as idiots who can’t tell the difference?

Working with our partners in business and in government, we hope to ensure that the American intellectual property community remains a strong, vibrant world leader that helps fuel our nation’s economic resurgence. With the light shining on Google, one of the 21st century’s business icons, perhaps we will see a renewed sense of purpose at home and abroad to protect the heritage and the future of our IP community.

Again, what Google needs is better security. But, given that one of the stellar moments under your watch was when the recording industry decided to place security-eviscerating rootkits on people’s computers in the form of DRM, perhaps we should prioritize computer security as an issue before we focus on your wasted effort to prop up an obsolete business model.

I try to take the folks at the RIAA seriously, but when they published something this ridiculous, insulting and wrong, it really makes you wonder.

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Companies: google, riaa

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Comments on “RIAA CEO Tries To Connect China Google Hack With Google's Attitude Towards Copyright”

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57 Comments
Daniel says:

The hack was with Internet Explorer... so what does that say about Microsoft??

Microsoft is rabid about protecting its intellectual property, and it was in their product that the hack was used. So if Google’s views on IP is why they were hacked, what does that say when we apply the same logic to Microsoft’s Internet Exploder browser having the security hole in it? I guess that means that Microsoft’s views on IP are actually just like Google’s since they must’ve ‘intentionally’ left the security hole in so they could ‘fight’ the system.

What a dumbass…

Woadan says:

Re: The hack was with Internet Explorer... so what does that say about Microsoft??

Unfortunately, you can’t simply look at the browser involved and then point the finger at the manufacturer. It was Internet Explorer, yes, but it was version 6.0, which is the original version that shipped with XP. Microsoft will soon stop supporting that outdated browser, so the fault is not with an old version of the browser or its maker, but with the idiot who hasn’t updated their browser.

If it had been version 1.5 of Mozilla Firefox, would you have been as willing to blame Mozilla? One doubts as much, but that’s how MS haters operate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Google and Free

I laugh when i read about someone attacking google for giving something away for free. When you really think about it google sells it’s users to advertisers, and making and giving stuff away for free would be the industrial equivalent of building a factory and buying raw materials because free stuff brings in users which can then be sold to the highest bidder

wheatus (user link) says:

BWAH BWHA WHAT!?!?! oh yeah.

Mitch ma bruvah,

A. you lost me at “parlance” you dickhead.

B. there are no content creators at the RIAA, only managers.

C. who cares anymore…I am resigned to the fact that, outnumbered and unrepresented, I am to be harvested as a food source for the baby boomers that they may live longer and have longer, more profitable erections. I suspect that any day now I’ll be informed of the law that frees me from the troublesome ownership of and thus, the financially burdensome need to insure, my own genitalia. On 2nd thought, I’m more likely not to be informed, as then the chances are higher that I’ll accrue greater penalties for my 1st set of ignorant violations, of the You No Longer Own Your Cock Insurance Company & RIAA Protection Act of 2010.

good bye,
brendan b brown
wheatus.com

iamtheky (profile) says:

Re: BWAH BWHA WHAT!?!?! oh yeah.

@Mr. brown

…or maybe an Austin concert not tied to sxsw. (And in verifying there was no scheduled texas visit) I read something about scoring for “April Showers” but have not found any tracks attributed. It is bound to result in multiple 99cent transactions if you could point me towards which ones have your fingerprints on them.

Thanks/

wheatus (user link) says:

Re: Re: BWAH BWHA WHAT!?!?! oh yeah.

At the risk of being a thread hijacker…most of our music is free or donate at wheatus.com The 2 songs from April Showers are “You & Your Stoopid Guitar”, & “Now”

I’d like to play SXSW but it’s honestly such an industry douche salad that we get next to nothing out of it, unless you count parking tickets and a slipped disc.

With the chances of a sound check invisible even to the Hubble Telescope all those “gatherings” end up the same way: unsolicited advise shouted into my already ringing ears by the drunk, coked out 19 year old A n’R intern from (insert 1 of 3 here) Records who makes $75,000 his 1st year cause his dad is the CEO’s plastic surgeon….”yeah you guys were ok…I couldn’t hear your guitar for the 1st 9 songs though…u kinda let me down on that. You guys need a sound guy, and a publicist, and maybe try to write something more urban”

In another universe, one of the parallel ones you hear so much about, I am a Satanic Superhero who drags people like that into the woods for sacrifice to The Dark Lord.

yep,
bbb

iamtheky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: BWAH BWHA WHAT!?!?! oh yeah.

“…or maybe an Austin concert NOT tied to sxsw.”

i agree, industry douchebaggery abounds at sxsw. but thanks for having strong opinions about the event that agree with the population. I think the biggest deterrent in ’08 was that I would have had to put up with bowling for soup AND the ridiculousness that is sxsw.

And I would encourage hijacking these threads, it shows excellent Cwf that is in itself a fantastic Rtb.

wheatus (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 BWAH BWHA WHAT!?!?! oh yeah.

BFS are good guys….and a hell of a tight ass touring band. They did the best they could putting their own showcase together…

But the unavoidable truth is that there is so much resource allocated towards the comforts of the label employees who attend that farce that the artists are forced to load in through the shit pipe just for the privilege of getting on stage. So when you do actually perform, you sound like shit, are tired and cut up, pissed off, & your gear is broken. Then all the label folk get to drink, mingle and discuss how shitty you were. There’s this idea from the 70’s still floating around…like “fuck it! it’s rock n roll Maaan” and other twat mouthed notions dreamed up by hippy fart sockets who never stood on stage for a second. They kid them selves that the duck tape and glue performance conditions necessitated by their opulence are actually some sort of legendary prime breeding ground for good shows….and since they can’t tell a real artist’s performance from a salmonella infected turtle, well then it’s all the same innit?

It’s like you’re a West Indian Native, imported to some European Court circa 1490. You are forced to dance your savage rain dance before the monarch until, laughing, he decides that he and his subjects are going to eat you after you’re slow roasted on a spit with some grapes shoved up your ass and a nice Burgundy…

what’s the matter crybaby, don’t you wanna be a rockstar?
bbb
wheatus.com

barcinski says:

Haha that is too stupid to be read all, but before I lost my attention.

“Frankly, Google has never been very warm to the idea of copyright protections. Google routinely has sided with the “free access” (more aptly the “free of charge”) crowd against those who actually create the intellectual property.”

He brainstorming with his 5 year old son, no? πŸ™‚
Ciao!

Yano (profile) says:

they are grasping for straws trying to make their outdated illogical business models seem relevant; it looks like they started accusing those who find alternatives like the ridiculous IIPA (of which the RIAA is a member) section 301 filing to scrutinize the countries that make use open source software, they aren’t just after those who ‘pirate’ their stuff but also those who aren’t interested in what they offer and reject them as artificial gatekeepers.

John Doe says:

Bravo...

This is quite possibly your best work with a clear and concise point-counter point. This guy has really woven a tangled web to equate Chinese hackers to IP protection. The one thing he fails to mention is, if the Chinese are willing to ignore anti-hacking laws, then all the IP laws in the world won’t stop them either.

Flakey says:

Buffoonery

I am constantly amazed at the buffoonery that comes from the talking heads representing the majors of entertainment when it comes to protecting their precious rights.

The lipstick on the pig, is the claim they represent the artists, or serve the best interests of their clients. The only client of consideration when you cut through all the BS, is the right and left pocket; neither of which has a clue what’s on the other side of the garment.

If there was a group, actually targeting and tailoring attacks against IP buffoonery, no one is better qualified to hold that position than the aimer of the gun, pointed at the toes. It’s amazing to me that such alphabet groups as the RIAA and ilk can even stand up in public and attempt to look the same in the eye.

As was stated in the court case in Australia in AFACTA vs iiNet, the problem with piracy is a very simple one.

To quote torrentfreak’s article on the subject:

β€œThe studios themselves admitted during the court hearings that making content freely and cheaply available online was an effective way to combat piracy. People are crying out to access the studios materials, so much so some are prepared to steal it. A more effective approach would be for the studios to make their content more readily and cheaply available online,” notes Malone.”

The source for that quotation can be found at the site mentioned under the article about it.

The point of the quote is that it just isn’t applicable to the country of Australia. It works around the world the same answer will render pretty much the same result.

This drives home the absurd jaw dropping dialogue spewed forth by Brainwold for what it is; pure slop, nothing but slop, and never to change from slop.

The real problem behind Brainwold’s imagination stretching spew is greed. That’s the short and simple answer.

PEBKAC (profile) says:

“…perhaps we will see a renewed sense of purpose at home and abroad to protect the heritage and the future of our IP community.”

But who will protect us from the likes of this chucklehead and his purchased pols, seeing all and everyone as IP “thieves” when IP isn’t even in the vicinity?

And how dare he claim to be protecting anything! Protecting from what, continually ignored and under-served paying customers? His future is an ugly one, the same sized bag being packed with ever more crap. His future is one of stagnation and choke chains on progress or forward thinking. His future is locked down and inaccessible and will doom those who live in it to obscurity and apathy.

He wouldn’t know vibrant if it kicked him in the mouth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Last month, Google found out just how dangerous free access to one’s property can be to one’s business model. Like Inspector Renault who is “shocked” to find gambling in Rick’s saloon in “Casablanca,” Google was “shocked” to find their systems hacked and their precious intellectual property stolen. Now, I’m not expecting Google to make a 180Β° turn and join us in our fight to protect IP the way Claude Raines joined Bogart to fight the Nazis, but perhaps Google will have a more reasonable view of the need to protect IP.

See what he did there? He compared Free access people to Nazi’s. I call Godwin’s law. We’ve won!

NAMELESS.ONE says:

and no proof yet it was chinese govt

again ask the riaa who really did the attack and that new york times reporter interviewing that idiot hacker for hire
if you know what i mean

and you twits referring to godwins law are closet numbscals

the amount of fascism is directly proportional to your lack of rights and increasing power of corporations over you.
that is exactly the path of nazi germany. NOW all they need is a system of govt that they can continue to bribe to do there wishes and have limits on the one mans power. OH WAIT
USA

BruceLD (profile) says:

I gave away free service...

Several years ago I operated a small independent income tax preparation booth in a mall. I ran a modest operation and I had the big name competition booths not very far from me, including a volunteer operated free income tax service for seniors.

I personally never felt threatened by the competition. In fact I felt it was great that due to competition it kept our prices down and the customers were the winners. I certainly never saw the free income tax service as a threat to my business.

As time progressed I noticed the long line ups outside the free senior service. They were standing in long lineups for long periods and I felt bad for them. Both of my parents are deceased so I have a soft spot for seniors. I had steady business and was making money, but I decided I could no longer tolerate seeing seniors with their canes and walkers standing around in long line ups. I did have some free time to spare to help out.

I began to offer completely free service to seniors. What I found was that most of them were actually willing to pay me, so instead I made my services free or by donation. They were incredibly grateful and pleased with my desire to offer my services for free to the senior community.

Word got out very quickly. I had so many seniors coming in either asking for free service, were only able to pay a few dollars and some were even willing to pay me more than what my actual rates were. In addition, they sent ALL of their family members to me as full paying customers all of whom were incredibly grateful for helping out their parents and grandparents.

By mere fluke I created an entirely new kind of business based on reputation alone by offering free service. I closed down all of my for-profit competition, and I even had the volunteers from the free income tax service coming in and shaking my hand and thanking me for helping them out.

Did I feel guilty about closing my “for-profit” competition? No. They failed to adapt their own business model due to their own selfish greed and unwillingness to help those who were not privileged enough to afford their service. Did they hate me? I’m sure they did. This reminds me of exactly how the RIAA operates.

That is what happened when I offered my services for free. I actually earned more money than anyone else. In the following year, the mall knew about what a great thing I was doing for seniors so instead of charging me the $1,000 a week rent they only charged me $1,000 for the entire tax season.

It’s amazing how offering something for free can become so profitable.

herodotus (profile) says:

“But the unavoidable truth is that there is so much resource allocated towards the comforts of the label employees who attend that farce that the artists are forced to load in through the shit pipe just for the privilege of getting on stage. So when you do actually perform, you sound like shit, are tired and cut up, pissed off, & your gear is broken. Then all the label folk get to drink, mingle and discuss how shitty you were. There’s this idea from the 70’s still floating around…like “fuck it! it’s rock n roll Maaan” and other twat mouthed notions dreamed up by hippy fart sockets who never stood on stage for a second. They kid them selves that the duck tape and glue performance conditions necessitated by their opulence are actually some sort of legendary prime breeding ground for good shows….and since they can’t tell a real artist’s performance from a salmonella infected turtle, well then it’s all the same innit?

It’s like you’re a West Indian Native, imported to some European Court circa 1490. You are forced to dance your savage rain dance before the monarch until, laughing, he decides that he and his subjects are going to eat you after you’re slow roasted on a spit with some grapes shoved up your ass and a nice Burgundy…

what’s the matter crybaby, don’t you wanna be a rockstar?”

That was fucking hilarious.

And all too true. I blame CMJ.

Richard (profile) says:

Yet there is no question that despite our extensive and innovative offerings of legal content, the levels of online and physical theft around the world extract a profound toll.

The thing that stuck out to me in that sentence was the bit about physical theft. I wonder what the actual numbers are on “theft of CDs”. I’m guessing it’d be down a bit from past years, what with the kids these days not having to 5-finger discount the CD from the store when they can download it.

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