MPAA: Real Patriots Don't Share

from the nationalism-as-a-business-model? dept

There has been a war of language and thought going on in the copyright debate for years.  People think in language just as they speak in language, which is why content industry groups have gone to such lengths to pervert nuanced legal language into stacatto and misleading buzzwords crafted purely for public consumption.  This language war is the reason why when I Google the word "piracy", the first page gives me the Wikipedia article for the war act of piracy and then in the news items I get a story about lawmakers wondering if search engines contribute to piracy.

Well, the MPAA, never shy to jump on the hyperbole train, is doing its best to make the debate about patriotism, rather than the actual issues, by cloaking itself in the American flag.  Michael O’Leary, Vice President of the MPAA, spoke at a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition, and Internet Sub-Comittee (say that three times fast).  Look at the whole quote first:

"The key foundation of American industry, the expectation that hard work and innovation is rewarded,  is imperiled when thieves, whether online or on the street, are allowed to steal America’s creative products and enrich themselves along the way.  Rampant theft of American intellectual property puts the livelihoods of the workers who invest time, energy and fortune to create the filmed entertainment enjoyed by millions at risk; to these men and women and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits. We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration’s work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will go a long way towards shutting down the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works and close a gap in the intellectual property law."

Three sentences with so much intellectual dishonesty, subtle word games, and nationalism wrapped up in a tidy knot that it’s sickening.  First, to get it out of the way, note the word games being played through the legally incorrect use of the words "thieves", "steal", and "digital theft".  This is the game they play with words and thought.

But more prominent is the plea for American nationalism in his words.  Like so much bad policy before it, COICA legislation (which has been dutifully renamed "rogue sites legislation" by O’Leary, as the word games continue) is being wrapped by supporters in the flag.  We’ve seen this movie before and we know how it works.  The Patriot Act was wrapped in the American flag (more word games) because if the time spent saying, "This here bill is good for ‘Merica" was spent actually explaining to people what it was, the public outcry would be heard loud and clear.  It’s the same with COICA, as the MPAA subtlely informs us that taking down "rogue" sites without true due process is somehow as American as Superman and apple pie (pay no attention to the innocents caught in the crossfire).

But as long as O’Leary wants us to pledge allegiance to flag of the Motion Picture Association of America, I have a couple of questions.  Is applauding government censorship American?  Is it American to push around our fellow nations of the world to adopt laws simply because our industry wants them to?  Does the land of the free and the home of the brave really mean tucking your tail between your legs and running to daddy government because you don’t know how to maximize your profit margins in the digital world?

I’ll tell you what, O’Leary: I’ll start taking lessons in patriotism from the MPAA about the same time I accept an invitation to the Ku Klux Klan’s symposium on racial tolerance… 

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: mpaa

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “MPAA: Real Patriots Don't Share”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
118 Comments
Michael (profile) says:

Answers

“Is applauding government censorship American?”
– Yes

“Is it American to push around our fellow nations of the world to adopt laws simply because our industry wants them to?”
– Yes

“Does the land of the free and the home of the brave really mean tucking your tail between your legs and running to daddy government because you don’t know how to maximize your profit margins in the digital world?”
– Yes

But at least we allow movies about time machines.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Answers

There’s also no law that says NC-17 films or AO games can’t be sold in retail stores, but I defy you to find either in Wal-Mart or Best Buy. You don’t have to outlaw something to ensure it fails, and especially in the case of movies getting a “bad” rating can essentially be the same as “you will never recoup your budget.”

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Answers

“There’s also no law that says NC-17 films or AO games can’t be sold in retail stores, but I defy you to find either in Wal-Mart or Best Buy”

That is the way it is SUPPOSED to work. That is the free market at work. A retailer can make a decision – do I cater to parent’s that have young children, or do I support the people that want to watch adult films? Smart retailers like Wal-Mart will make the decision based on what will make them the most money and smaller niche retailers will be able to sell what they do not.

Why make laws to do what a free market will automatically do on it’s own?

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Answers

“Why make laws to do what a free market will automatically do on it’s own?”

You’re missing my point. I don’t want a law that would bar the sale of AO and NC-17 movies. Rather, your comment implied that the MPAA ratings don’t matter because “they aren’t law,” but it can be shown that they are far more influential than that statement implies. I think it’s problematic when a small, private organization essentially has wide-ranging censorship powers.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Answers

“Rather, your comment implied that the MPAA ratings don’t matter because “they aren’t law,””

That wasn’t me, but I don’t think he meant they did not matter. Wal-Mart not selling a movie or game is not censorship. It is a company making a decision to not sell something based on their beliefs or the beliefs of their customers. Think what a problem it would be if they couldn’t do that. Every store that sells movies has to offer EVERY movie?

A free market allowing the production and distribution of unpopular content creates niche markets – and that is a good thing for smaller companies, makes for good PR for the bigger companies, provides diverse products for the customers and provides an environment barrier for customers that want to avoid the unpopular content. This is all good.

The MPAA unfairly applying their rating system sucks, but you cannot blame Wal-Mart for that.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Answers

Sorry, my work system sucks and can’t display those AC icons.

I agree that WalMart not-selling a game or movie isn’t censorship, and they should by all rights be able to make that decision.

My anger is solely* with the MPAA and their unfair application of ratings — because that’s [a huge component of] what WalMart et al are basing their retail choices on. If the MPAA gave your movie a “bad” rating, it doesn’t matter if there’s a “worse” movie with a PG-13 on the shelves.

*and maybe a little towards people who fail to see the practical implications of systems like this…

Jay (profile) says:

Audience

Note the audience that the MPAA has in front of them.

It’s the Senators that make $176,000 in a year, and barely use their oversight powers to get to the bottom of the problems in any industry.

These are the people that believe more in ideals than they do in pragmatic solutions. We see through open secrets that these are the most morally bankrupt group of legislators, lobbyists, and private interests that care not one whit about the ideals of freedom, liberty, and speech.

So these people eat up the idea of wrapping a grand ol’ flag around America that can be served on a small platter. The idea that somehow nationalism can solve the problems of the country will hit the right chords when they are far removed from the plights of the laws in effect.

This can’t be more prevalent than in Orrin Hatch and all of his antics over the years. Sadly, he continues to be voted into power. That’s the true travesty.

Squirrel Brains (profile) says:

Wrong message to the wrong people?

You would think that the MPAA would try to style a message so that it appeals to the under 35 crowd. If they want to hearts and minds, that is the audience they are going to have to reach. You try to tell someone of the internet generation anything about “it being patriotic to do this… not to do that…” and all you are going to get is a bunch of eye-rolling.

Unfortunately, most politicians are:
A) Older than dirt; and
B) overly sentimental rubes

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The key foundation of American industry, the expectation that hard work and innovation is rewarded,”

“hard work” … can’t breath … laughing to hard … god, I just tore a stomach muscle from laughing so hard … ” and Innovation” … please stop … not again … I need to breath …

also

“is imperiled when thieves, whether online or on the street, are allowed to steal America’s creative products and enrich themselves along the way.”

For a second there I thought they were going to confess to something … well pot meet kettle

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

To expand on your comment, I’d like to add that this guy’s statement is so full of bullshit it’s makes me ill. The statement implies that by the mere fact that they did work, they are entitled to being paid for it. If you didn’t get your prospective consumer to agree to pay for it before you created it, you’re the one at fault when it ends up on the internet, because you did the work for free without establishing fair compensation with the customer. Their mentality is akin to a guy who just built a house for someone without solicitation and then demands payment because “it was hard work”. If you perform a service without establishing obligations for both parties beforehand, it’s your fault if you don’t get paid. There’s not a contractor in the world, with his mind intact, who would do a job without securing payment obligations from the customer. You’d have to be an idiot. Maybe that’s what we’re dealing with here?

I’m willing to bet that the reason the industry perpetuates this travesty is because it is run by ignorance and apathy.

Darryl says:

Re: Re: ignorance and apathy, and stupid logic

There’s not a contractor in the world, with his mind intact, who would do a job without securing payment obligations from the customer.

Your kidding right ????? or are you just an idiot ?

So you think Apple wait for someone to enter the shop and ask for an iPhone before they run out the back and make one ?

Or a band stating they are not going to create a song unless is sells a certain number of copies?

Or FORD building 10,000 cars BEFORE ANYONE HAS SAID THEY WILL PURCHASE THEM ???

what about a block of units ? do you think they are all SOLD and pre-occupied before a developer takes the risk of paying for them to be built ?

Do you know what a “spec home” is ?

in fact MOST things are built before there is a confirmed ‘sale’ of that product.

Certainly more than are not, therefore your entire argument is based on flawed logic. And worthless.

There is ignorance and apathy, but its all coming from you.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s a reason CEO’s are so rich. Unlike the bottom level workers, they get to choose how much they are paid when they review payroll.

Kind of like Congress. Except when a CEO can’t balance his company’s budget he can just jump ship with his golden parachute and stock options, where Congress simply keeps getting paid regardless.

SomeGuy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To be fair, a CEO (ostensibly) takes on the risks of the entire company, and they they have the authority to direct an entire corporate entity, they also hold the responsibility to be accountable if their direction leads the company to a bad place. I’ll leave aside an argument over how these risks are minimized to a point that they hardly seem like risks at all in practice and just point out that while any able-bodied person can (and probably will) take a laborer job, the same is not true for assuming the risks of a CEO. CEOs get paid more (in part) because of a difference in supply and demand.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What a load of shite! You have no shame at all, do you?

The average CEO could be replaced by a Rhesus monkey. You put the layoff lever in front of the CEO-monkey, and he pulls the lever and gets rewarded with a treat. Afterwards, having gorged on treats, and reduced the workforce below the minimum needed to actually get a quality product made, the CEO-monkey gets to masturbate all it wants, assuming all that layoff lever pulling didn’t give him repetitive stress injuries to his wrist. If so, then the board approves hiring a highly paid admin to do it for him. That’s a hell of a lot cheaper, and not at all different from what actual CEO’s generally do. There may be one or two exceptions in this galaxy, but they must be laying pretty low nowadays. Once their boards figure them out, they’re history.

Anonymous Coward says:

Poor USA, this is what happens when the people stop making decisions based on logic, beliefs, morals, etc. and just listen to what the government spoon feeds the population.

Sure there’s quite a few of you willing to fight for your rights and freedoms, but so many citizens don’t even notice the government stripping you of your rights and in some cases dignity. It starts with being groped at the airport, and ends the same way the USSR did.

Revelati says:

It’s ok MPAA! just convince your local politicians through large financial donations and PACs to start a “WAR ON INTERNET PIRACY”

Just think, you too could have your issue become a WAR! Just like our other products “WAR ON TERROR” and “WAR ON DRUGS” (Trademarked) You can become a part of the great American Jihad designed to oppress our people through ridiculous laws, rampant disregard for privacy, and contempt for civil rights!

Benefits include:
Automatic support from Americans with IQs under 100.
Zero oversight for your private militia/internet censors.
Pass bills through congress without anyone reading them.
A whole line of T-Shirts and bumper stickers proudly exclaiming that you support “WAR ON ____”
A dedicated line to the DEA, ATF, DHS, FBI, CIA, and Attorney Generals office so that you can have the door of that 14 year old kicked in and have him behind bars in minutes!

And don’t forget to try our gold package, now including our newest addition of military tribunals! Liberal judges got you down? Talking about constitution this, and civil rights that. Don’t let that punk download a movie and get away with it! Now you can have a tribunal set up to rubber stamp that guilty verdict, no more embarrassing questions from the press, no more appeals, now you get YOUR brand of justice served up on a silver platter.

So raise the prices on your movies and your music so that you can start your “WAR ON INTERNET PIRACY” today!

Anonymous Coward says:

We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration’s work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will … close a gap in the intellectual property law.

Yes, where the “gap” in law is the First Amendment prohibiting prior restraint.

The only hope in the U.S. is that this legislation does not pass, or it is found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, if the legislation is ever litigated (U.S. citizens will have to suffer for at least a decade). If it is continually abused for economic or political reasons, put a fork in the U.S. because it is done–the U.S. would be just waiting to fall like Rome.

rubberpants says:

Orin Hatch.

He’s my Senator. (Well, not really, he’s the MPAA/RIAA’s Senator) I’m a grown man with two kids and he’s been in office LONGER THAN I’VE BEEN ALIVE. He represents everything that’s wrong with our government and I would like nothing more than to see him retire into that cushy lobbying or consulting job that’s waiting patiently for him.

The problem is that in 2012 he’s probably more likely than he’s ever been to get voted out. But, it won’t be because he’s too crazy or corrupt but because he’s not crazy *enough* (see Bob Bennett).

If I thought that someone better could beat him I’d spend a significant amount of money and effort to make it happen.

Honestly, I think we’re just all going to have to wait until he dies.

Anonymous Coward says:

To Answer the questions...

Is applauding government censorship American?… YES
Is it American to push around our fellow nations of the world to adopt laws simply because our industry wants them to?…YES
Does the land of the free and the home of the brave really mean tucking your tail between your legs and running to daddy government because you don’t know how to maximize your profit margins in the digital world?… YES

Thank god I live in Australia… while rapidly following your lead at least I can laugh at America (all it really is good for now) for a short time *sigh*

Darryl says:

USA vs Australia ------ no contest..

yes, we Aussies are a lucky mob πŸ™‚

especially campared to the “mighty” US of A πŸ˜€

our dollar is stronger, we have far more employment, we have if anything a shortage of skilled labour, therefore if you know ANYTHING you can get a job here, and a good one.

We have no idiots running around thinking guns are a good and fun thing.

far less crime, far more employed, far more housing and no housing crisis.

and stronger IP laws !!!!!!.. what does that tell you yanks ?

I guess, nothing.. learning is not your strong point America.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop Β»