My Challenge To Jim Urie Of Universal Music: Instead Of 'Drowning Out' Those You Disagree With, Let's Come Up With Solutions

from the right-and-wrong dept

Back in June, we wrote about a ridiculous major label astroturfing campaign, spearheaded by Jim Urie, the CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution, involving a faux “grass roots” group called MusicRightsNow, which is just a major label front group, connected to Music United — also a major label front group. Well, he’s back. As a few of you have sent over, Urie appears to be claiming that the letter he sent out back then is responsible for the new pro-censorship Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The new letter urges people to click a link to send emails to elected officials supporting the bill. Amusingly (but not surprisingly), the link in the email (which I’m not providing here), does not allow people to edit the letter. It shows you what you’re sending, but the only text input is your name and address. Oh, and you can change the closing. It suggests “Sincerely” but you can change that. That’s it. The text of the actual letter includes blatantly false and debunked statements like the following:

The theft of copyrighted works like music, movies, books, software and games is a devastating problem. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates such theft costs our nation’s economy roughly $58 billion in total output every year; more than 370,000 domestic jobs; $16.3 billion in earnings; and $2.6 billion in tax revenue for state, local, and federal governments.

Every one of those numbers has been debunked. It’s so sad that the major record labels are so hung up on looking backwards that they can’t at least admit that they’re relying on bogus numbers.

As for Urie’s new letter, the really ridiculous part is the following:

Each and every one of us needs to act NOW if we expect the legislation to gain momentum. Our community has never matched the noise created by those on the “copyleft” — we need to be louder than ever to drown out those who don’t care about our art, our jobs and the difference between right and wrong.

How incredibly insulting and how incredibly wrong. The people that Urie is lying about here care very much about art and the difference between right and wrong. It’s why we focus on new ways for artists to make money. It’s why we look at what the actual evidence shows, including the fact that artists are making more money today than in the past — in part, by getting out from behind gatekeepers like the major record labels. And this makes us happy, because we do care about art and we do care about the ability of musicians to make a living and to keep doing what they love doing.

Honestly, this is what bugs me the most. Plenty of us are working hard to help musicians make more money, and to create real win-win solutions that make artists and consumers better off. Yet, in response, those who have relied on artificial government subsidies for years, and pretend to represent artists when they really spend much of their time working to keep money away from artists, go out and claim that we’re the ones trying to harm artists.

Rather than talking about “drowning out” those of us who are actually helping artists, I have an open request to Jim Urie: why not meet up and let’s have a public discussion about how everyone can work together to create a better world for both artists and consumers, rather than going around falsely portraying some of the biggest music fans around as “not caring” about music.

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Companies: universal music

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Comments on “My Challenge To Jim Urie Of Universal Music: Instead Of 'Drowning Out' Those You Disagree With, Let's Come Up With Solutions”

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Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Funny...

“we need to be louder than ever to drown out those who don’t care about our PROFITS, our COPYRIGHT and the difference between INDENTURED SERVITUDE and SLAVERY”

There fixed that for you.

Truth be told this is what you see in the 5 stages. They are at the pleading and begging stage. Thats just before the depression and suicide stage … hoo-ah!!

I love this line … “Our community has never matched the noise created by those on the “copyleft”” … it shows serious worry. It says our secret pact (ACTA) is about to fall apart and we beg you to help us.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Funny...

“never in any circumstance underestimate their ability for a complete and total relapse to any of the other above 3 stages. :)”

Funny you should say that. Since they are such a large group of individuals they keep cycling between stages 1 and 2. They constantly have the next “thing to save their industry” due to the size of the group and the rationalization that occurs. This is the first time I have seen the third stage, begging-bargaining, which is why I mentioned it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Is Jim looking for a double rainbow all the way..?

…”The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates”…

You mean the nation’s largest and oldest lobbying firm? I’m sure they work wonders for you. However, when I go into get a haircut, the stylist will say whatever they can that would persuade me to leave a larger tip. Just like The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Now as for the music business…

Anonymous Coward says:

If they’re going to hype up numbers like that, why even stop in the ‘billions’? If they want to shock people into voting and thinking it’s all a bigger problem than it is, then just you ‘quadrillions’ or even ‘quintillions’. Honestly, if I received an email that said “Piracy is costing our nation’s economy hundreds of quintillions of dollars every month!!! It’s time to act now or we’re all going to DIE!!!”, then I’d be more apt to fill it out and send it in thinking I’m doing a great service to America.

If they’re going to spread on the bullsh*t, why do it only a little bit when they can really layer it on as thick as possible and get people to react?

Anonymous Coward says:

“we need to be louder than ever to drown out those who don’t care about our art”

Why, because only your art is important? The art of others should be ignored? The art of those who release copyleft works should not be cared for? Only your art?

“, our jobs”

It’s not the governments job to grant you with a business model via providing you with legislative subsidies (ie: copy protections and patents). That’s your job.

“and the difference between right and wrong.”

Who made you the ultimate authority of morality? The only people that don’t care about the difference between right and wrong is you. The only thing you care about is your job. Heck, why should we take your moral opinion seriously when your moral opinion clearly conflicts with your best interests (your job).

Anonymous Coward says:

Google tells the story of what is going to happen.

“Let’s face it, how can I care about a company who thinks Justin bloody Bieber is the pinnacle of pop culture?

You’re a money machine. Be honest. It’s not about a love of music, it’s about a love of cash.”

This will not end well for him.

Nobody likes them.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Appreciate this article. Found the website for the letter and sent one. Of course, the Rep. for my home is Alan Grayson, who is too busy admiring himself in the mirror to even read an email from a constituent

You have no problem allowing Universal Music to speak for you, with blatantly false statements that you are unable to edit?


Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It works fine for the church and religion. After all, not only do they put voices from supernatural beings above evidence, they invented the idea of monopolies on works of literature and iconography. They would have patented it too, if there’d been a patent office thousands of years ago.

If you are a devout believer in copyright then its holy sanctity is a matter of faith, not evidence.

It’s probably going to take more than imprisoning cinema goers who point their iPhone at the cinema screen (Emmanuel Nimley) to stir up the public into revolt. Perhaps something like burning randomly selected villagers at the stake or sending anyone in possession of unlicensed copies/content off to the IP inquisition for ‘re-education’. Then, the public might just start wondering if copyright is really written on one of Moses’ tablets.

Websites critical of copyright and patent will have been censored long before we get to that point of course.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Please don’t misrepresent the Christian view on copyright and patent. We are on your side – see this site.

In the true Christian tradition all creativity is a gift from God – and it is wrong to try to monopolise it for profits. Remember the one time Christ got really angry was with the money-changers in the temple. To quote Matthew 10:8 “Freely you have received, freely give”.

Anonymous Coward says:

The idea that this blog focuses on new ways for artists to make money is laughable at best. How much front page content is about that, really?

The current number of front page posts about new ways for artists to make money is 0.

This blog has turned into a nonstop bitchfest about anything and everything. The focus of this blog is stirring up as much righteous indignation as humanly possible. It’s a wonder any innovation gets done with so much complaining to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The focus of this blog is stirring up as much righteous indignation as humanly possible.”

Considering your post: Success!

“It’s a wonder any innovation gets done with so much complaining to do.”

Right back at you buddy. Thanks for stopping by.

Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with TechDirt in any way. I am just yanking your chain. Signed: Anony.

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