MPAA Attacks Demand Progress With Ridiculous & Unsubstantiated Claims

from the getting-desperate dept

Demand Progress is an online activist group that runs campaigns to get lots of people involved on political issues that impact the internet, innovation and free speech. You can see the list of campaigns that it’s working on currently, and you’ll see lots of stuff that we regularly talk about. The organization has been doing a bang up job trying to point out problems with the PROTECT IP Act, and apparently the lovely folks over at the MPAA finally noticed, and decided that rather than respond with facts, it was instead going to smear the well respected organization in a blog post (which, of course, you can’t comment on, because the MPAA knows that very few people actually support its stance).

Karl, who pointed this story out to us, highlights the ridiculous nature of the blog post:

It claims:

1. Demand Progress is an “ally” and a “partner in business” with “criminal enterprises that have a strong, direct, personal and commercial interest in continuing to steal from American creative workers and businesses.” It source for this? A screenshot where someone from Demand Progrss posted about COICA on Demonoid’s message boards. That’s right: merely posting on a forum makes you a “partner in business” with the site. Update: Demand Progress clarifies: the message board post wasn’t even by someone at Demand Progress, it was just someone at Demonoid who posted the info…

2. It says the signatures from Demand Progress are fakes. This is backed up by a claim that they tried using fake emails to sign the petition, and it worked. Demand Progress now has a system where emails from their site are sent to representatives directly, and asks for addresses and emails. However, other than their two fake emails, they show no evidence that any other signature is actually fake. Furthermore, the way Demand Progress usually works is that you sign their mailing list; they send an email to that list; and in that email is a link to sign the petition using your signup info. That system is hardly condusive to abuse.

And we should talk about the fact that they called Demonoid a “rogue website.” In their very next post, also from May 24, they quote Floyd Abrams (their hired lawyer), who claimed this:

“any website basically engaged in legal activities, such as commentary, socializing or commerce, cannot be pursued under the PROTECT IP Act. Indeed, the definitions of ‘dedicated to infringing activities’ specifically exclude websites that have any other ‘significant use,’ or websites that are not ‘primarily’ used for infringement.”

If Abrams is right, then Demonoid should NOT be considered a “rogue website.” Their forums constitute “commentary or socializing,” and is a “significant use.” Yet the MPAA presents this “commentary or socializing” as evidence of criminal consipiracy!

Separately, in looking at the MPAA’s blog post, I noted that it had no byline other than “MPAA.” As far as I can tell, every other blog post that the MPAA has put up has been signed by the person who actually wrote it. Kinda makes you wonder if whoever wrote this particular blog post knew that it was full of crap, and didn’t want their name associated with it.

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Companies: demand progress, mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Attacks Demand Progress With Ridiculous & Unsubstantiated Claims”

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65 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

omg, you are truly ridiculous.

Demonoid *is* a rogue website; one of the most notorious pirate sites, and one that had to flee their .com domain because they knew that they engage in blatant illegal acts.

Has “Demand Progress” demanded any progress in stopping illegal behavior on the net?

No, they just constantly back it and apologize for it like you.

LegitTroll (profile) says:

“Separately, in looking at the MPAA’s blog post, I noted that it had no byline other than “MPAA.” As far as I can tell, every other blog post that the MPAA has put up has been signed by the person who actually wrote it. Kinda makes you wonder if whoever wrote this particular blog post knew that it was full of crap, and didn’t want their name associated with it.”

Duh.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

I lost any respect I had left for the MPAA when I opened up the pdf of the Demonoid screenshot. Do they seriously consider a random message board post a partnership, or do they simply think politicians are dumb enough to fall for it?

Either way, this is despicable behavior from a professional organization. If anyone is hurting the entertainment industry these days, it’s the MPAA and the RIAA.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

“Demonoid *is* a rogue website”
Translation: it has torrents so it’s a pirate site.

“one that had to flee their .com domain because they knew that they engage in blatant illegal acts.”

Translation: before ICE illegally seized their “.com”, they were part of the mass exodus to go to domains outside of the reach of ICE and BS copyright law.

“Has “Demand Progress” demanded any progress in stopping illegal behavior on the net?”

Translation: Has Demand progress stopped people from breathing, drinking water, or used its mind powers to stop people wanting content through bittorrent?

“No, they just constantly back it and apologize for it like you.”

Translation: I have no argument as an Anonymous Coward except to point fingers angrily at the author of this post, shaking my fist, as I yell that piracy is causing the sky to fall.

chuck says:

Sweet! another great group I had no idea about…
Mike maybe you should consider putting out a list of worth while activist web sites? You know ones like the one listed in the OP.
I happily go there and sign their petitions using my REAL email address, thank you very much.
Simply not enough civil disobedience in the world these days.

Doug B (profile) says:

From intelligently written blog post:

Stagehands, makeup artists, and costume designers are only a few of the crafts served by IATSE. These hardworking, middle-class Americans are real people who are facing the all-too-tangible consequences of online theft: disappearing jobs, declining pensions, and diminished health and retirement benefits.

Exactly how does “online theft” (whatever the hell that is) cause declining pensions, and diminished health and retirement benefits?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

The cause of decline of such benefits would fall squarely upon those who have direct effect on such: the companies those people work for. Their benefits are eroding just like thousands of other company employees in countless industries across the country and around the globe for which piracy has NO effect whatsoever.

Piracy is a convenient scapegoat for particular industries to justify withdrawal or curtailment of benefits. For all the rest of us, “it’s the economy, stupid” or some other excuse/reason.

Karl (profile) says:

I was wrong on one point

Mike: Maybe you should update your post. When I wrote you about the whole thing, I was wrong on one, minor, point.

The “evidence” that the MPAA presented was a screenshot of Demonoid. You can download that screenshot here (PDF).

Because I don’t go to Demonoid’s site, I wrote this:

It source for this? A screenshot where someone from Demand Progrss posted about COICA on Demonoid’s message boards.

It turns out, however, that the screenshot was not of Demonoid’s message boards. It was a screenshot of a post on Demonoid’s front page.

In other words: it wasn’t even posted by anyone from Demand Progress. It was posted by someone at Demonoid.

If you go to Demonoid’s site now, that post has been updated to include this:

edit: Just a note: We are not in any way or form affiliated to DemandProgress.org and we are not in contact with any of their participants. We are publishing this note out of our own decision. Since it is important that the public is aware of this bill, we urge you to do the same.

In other words, there is even less of a connection that I’d originally thought. Which is to say: none whatsoever.

My apologies.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Demonoid *is* a rogue website

If that’s the case, then Abram’s statement is false. PROTECT IP would, in fact, be used to take down “commentary, socializing or commerce.”

Blocking access to Demonoid would censor all their news items, forum posts, and all other speech on the site. I’m not privvy to their forums, but everything on the front page is protected by the First Amendment. I imagine that most of what people talk about in the forums is commentary or socializing, which is protected speech.

So, either PROTECT IP couldn’t be used against Demonoid (or any similar site), or it is government censorship of protected speech.

It’s a lose-lose situation, no matter how you look at it.

fairuse (profile) says:

byline MPAA

The author “MPAA” has one entry, the disinformation blog post being talked about. Other authors such as Senator Chris Dodd (6 posts) have more than one blog post. The only blog entry without an author listed is: Michael O’Leary (MPAA)

Humm, of course that is not proof in any way. Pure conjecture to think the Executive Vice President, Government Affairs at MPAA would sign a post “MPAA”.

Prisoner 201 says:

Shut it down!

I know what is the biggest threat to large established industries all over the world, and by extension the wellbeing of all American citizens.

Progress.

Every decade, countless jobs are lost due to progress. New products and services whittling away at proud institutions like cancer, ruining the livelihood and often lives of honest American workers.

The legal system, which has to carefully deliberate laws to make them just and fair, is doomed to lag behind if progress is allowed to continue wreaking havoc. Every day, criminals who should be behind bars are free to ruin American lives.

It has to stop.

The only sane recourse is to ban all new ideas. If no new products or services are allowed to enter the market, the current, proven, honest business models will continue to provide excellent service to the people and justly deserved salaries to American workers.

Will you be silent and allow progress to change the world or will you stand up and fight?!

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Are you talking out of your ass again?

No, I’ve heard this before. It doesn’t apply in the music industry, but apparently in the film industry, the crew’s retirement and health care are funded solely by downstream revenue. Or so I’ve been told.

Of course, this leaves a couple of questions.

– There is no legal reason for this to be true. If they are connected, it’s because of deals between the labor unions and the studios. Why aren’t they to blame for making short-sighted deals? Furthermore, why don’t they simply change those deals to go with changing times?

– The “downstream market” of selling to consumers didn’t exist before the invention of the VCR. Are we to believe that nobody had retirement plans or health care before then?

– How could non-commercial file sharing possibly effect B2B deals (such as licensing for television programs), which accounts for about 60% of downstream revenue in some cases?

– Why is “piracy” to blame in any case, and not simply the bad decisions of studio executives (e.g. pulling shows off of iTunes)?

Hristi says:

One thing is for sure… if they so much as try to put internet under their direct control, a lot of people will disagree. And I mean A LOT. I don’t know if there would eventually be a third world war because of petrol and other valuable fuel deposits, but if USA’s government is tangling with the idea of controlling the net, then they’re putting their hands on a very real death trap.
It’ll be as simple as this – they take what belongs to us (internet freedom), we take their lives. Fair deal imho 😉 And if they disagree, we’ll wipe their nation and the whole infrastructure (if not the whole country) along with them.

They don’t have as much money as some people think. Why? Because they owe the whole world so much cash, that they won’t be able to pay it all in the next 200 years. Meaning the money they use are not theirs… no need to mention how they spend the greens of normal tax payers – by blowing up space shuttles for over 10kkk each… holy shit! Is that what american citizens are working their butts off? So some gay magician can spend the hard earned money on some expensive shit that blows up and disappears without a trace? Or to finance a war on countries that have petrol deposits so they can sign fucking contracts afterwards to put those countries in jeopardy? No wonder ALQUAEDA blows so much shit in USA… they’re fucking pissed off from fat american politicians stuffing their noses in other peoples business… like they do right now with trying to fck up the net in order to get more gold on their bank accounts (but instead of extracting those money from poor american citizens, they’ll be extracting it from the whole fucking world)… If our petition fails, next one will be adressed to the current Russia president. Something like this:
“Dear Mr. President, could you kindly stop this madness and put a fucking nuke in USA’s governmental ASS and blow it up for the sake of the whole world?” I bed well get over 2kkk people signing this…

Betrayed by Demand Progress says:

BEWARE!!! Demand Progress sells your personal info!!!

Not cool. I signed a petition on SOPA, sent an email to my friends and family, and NOW- all of us who signed the petition (giving our email and real addresses/names of course!) are getting TONS of spam from insurance companies who evidently bought our personal info from Demand Progress. I mean, I probably get over 10 spam emails a day now, all of them saying that I requested an insurance quote, and that they need more information.

SHAME ON YOU, Demand Progress. By exploiting the personal information that you collect from trusting people like me (and my family and friends), you undermine the very issues you say you stand for. It really makes me wonder if you are truly a conservative wolf in liberal sheep’s clothing, collecting personal info from people who actually CARE about freedom and privacy, and then laughing all the way to the bank from selling our personal info to your buddies in the corporate world. I don’t know for sure, but I had to unsubscribe from your mailings, and suggest that all my friends and family who had been duped by you do the same.

Not cool, Demand Progress. Not cool at all!!! 🙁

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