RIAA: We Must Take A Shoot First, Ask Questions Later Approach To Censorship

from the really,-mitch? dept

Whaddaya know. Mitch Glazier (the man who tried to keep artists from regaining their own copyrights), the number two guy at the RIAA, has decided to speak out against the OPEN bill — the alternative to SOPA/PIPA that has been proposed by Senator Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa. We’ve discussed some concerns about this alternative, but it’s much, much better than the horror that is SOPA/PIPA. But Glazier’s specific reasoning for being against OPEN really is quite stunning and shows the RIAA mentality on this is: any bill must be about censor first, ask questions later.

Specifically, he uses the example of the ongoing ITC case filed against Apple & RIM by Kodak to explain why OPEN is no good. His particular concern is the length of time it’s taking the ITC to rule on the case:

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) recently reported that it will delay ruling on an important patent infringement claim brought by well-known camera company Kodak against smartphone makers Apple and Research In Motion (RIM).  The case, originally filed in January 2010, now anticipates a ruling in September 2012. The delay now means that the ITC will have taken 33 months to decide on a high-stakes and time-sensitive issue.  So this is the ?expedited? process SOPA opponents are embracing as an alternative in the proposed OPEN bill?

This is both disingenuous and obnoxious at the same time. First of all, as Glazier must know, but apparently is too intellectually dishonest to admit, a patent case involves some very different issues, involving some pretty specific efforts around figuring out exactly what a patent really covers. You don’t have to deal with “claim construction” in a copyright case. But in a patent dispute — in a federal court or at the ITC — there’s a big, long, complicated claim construction process to determine the actual boundaries of what’s covered in a patent. Then there’s the process (somewhat complicated) of figuring out if the products in question actually do infringe on the patent.

Copyright is different than patents. And while there does need to be a careful analysis of whether or not a copyright is infringed, the process is very different than with patents, and can absolutely be expedited, if need be.

Why in the world would we shift enforcement against these sites from the Department of Justice and others who are well-versed in these issues to the ITC, which focuses on patents and clearly does not operate on the short time frame necessary to be effective? In addition, the remedy traditionally offered by the ITC ? an exclusion order to prevent foreign criminals from accessing the US market ? is precluded under the OPEN Act.

Oh really? This would be the same “well-versed” experts at the DOJ who have been censoring multiple websites on no legal basis for over a year? The same “well-versed” experts at the DOJ who finally had to give back Dajaz1.com after an entire year in which it refused any and all due process?

I’m sorry, but I think there’s more than enough evidence that the DOJ isn’t that “well-versed” in these issues, and that when it acts in a “short time frame” it makes significant and serious mistakes. Similarly, where was that vaunted “short time frame” when it came time to admit that it totally screwed up and seized and censored a blog without legal basis? It took Dajaz1 over a year to get its domain name back, despite no legal action being taken against it. Multiple other sites are still being held. So, forgive me for questioning (1) if the DOJ is really that well-versed, (2) really should be operating on such a “short time frame” or (3) really does operate on such a “short time frame” when it comes to admitting it screwed up. And, the story of Dajaz1 seems like a pretty damn perfect example of why “an exclusion order” is a dangerous remedy. When you screw it up, you make a serious mess of things.

Realistically, what Glazier is making clear here, is that the RIAA wants a “censor first, ask questions later” approach to any site it doesn’t like, no matter how legal it might actually be. That’s scary. As the Dajaz1 case pretty clearly demonstrated, the damage such an approach creates is something we should all be against. Look, censoring a website is not something that should be done lightly. If we’re going to have such a remedy in the law, it should be a slow process that takes time to review to make sure mistakes aren’t made. Unfortunately, the current law and the laws that the RIAA wants appear to take the opposite approach: censor first, then take your damn sweet time in ever reviewing those censor orders.

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Comments on “RIAA: We Must Take A Shoot First, Ask Questions Later Approach To Censorship”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

Do not fool yourself into thinking this has to do with ignorance. The RIAA is not being ignorant. They fully understand and know the negative repercussions of this approach. They don’t care. They are more concerned with protecting every last dollar and every POTENTIAL dollar regardless how it affects the rest of the world.

This is why it’s scary. They aren’t concerned with civil liberties, they do not care about the constitution and they do not care about basic morals. They want to make as much money as they possibly can no matter who it hurts.

That is not ignorance. It is greed pure and simple.

gorehound (profile) says:

I have been an active boycvotter of the whole RIAA Industry since the late 1970’s.I am going to be 56 years old in one month and have been and still am an ctive punk rocker.I went to my first punk show in 1976.I bought my last RIAA or Big Label LP in the late 70’s and it was probably a Ramones LP as I love their first 3 or 4 LP’s.
I hate this RIAA and I hate the Big Labels and I refuse to even sit and listen to any Artist who sings with them.

These bozos will never see a dime out of me.And I would be happy to see them all die the death they deserve.
That is my position.And I now am an active boycotter of the MPAA.I am making sure that no money of mine ever goes to them.I will only purchase used physical products.
Take your SOPA/PIPA and any form of Censorship and shove it where the sun does not shine.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:


Because in the States the RIAA and MPAA fill up election coffers of Congress Critters who support them.

Not much different in Canada where they fill up the coffers of the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats and selected candidates as long as they tow the line.

And having less of an understanding of how the Internet works than the average granny these days, the politicians nod, smile and say “yes boss!”.

It’s not too comforting but that was, in many ways. the reaction established authority had to the explosion of moveable type printing in the 15th century up to and including censorship, seizure of property (the presses), arrest without warrants and so on. Or execution in some cases, if the printer was lucky.

The last is, so far, beyond the reach of the MPAA, RIAA and their Canadian branch plants though SOPA and PIPA place the rest well within thier reach.

“Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Anonymous Coward says:

This just really reiterates the REAL reason they are pushing SOPA. They don’t want to wipe out piracy, they want to wipe out COMPETITION. the MAFIAA knows that content creators are starting to find more ways around the gatekeepers. The only way the gatekeepers can remain as gatekeepers is to block all of the other holes in the fence.

This is just a regurgitation of a comment made yesterday (but something I’ve noticed for a few weeks now). The MAFIAA are just using piracy as the lever to move this through congress.

Atkray (profile) says:

This explains why the recent push to use the tearm “IP” for everything.
The next step will be to lump it all together as IP. No need for separate patent and copyright when they really are just IP which must be protected since it is the future of our country.

Think of it life + 100 for everything, automatic patent protection, gatekeepers for everything….hmmmm Maybe average_joe saw this coming?

Dan (profile) says:

Faster then the speed of internet

This approach is in direct response to what has always been said…”the internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” They want a solution that allows them to whack the moles that they have already learned, will spring up. The reality is they are learning in spite of themselves.

First they learned, ‘we need to do this’.
Now they know, ‘we need to do this quickly to keep up’.
The next inevitable step is, ‘we won’t succeed regardless how fast we are’.

The Padawans are slow to learn.

Anonymous Coward says:

People need to do more than just denounce SOPA. Content owners need to protest SOPA by promising that if the bill is ever passed, they will use everything in their power to use the law to shut down as many websites out there as they possibly can to ensure that the devastation will be so complete that there is no question as to the dangers of the bill.

Violated (profile) says:

Idiots With Guns

I am one person who directly knows that the “shoot first ask questions later” approach to copyright enforcement is a gloriously bad idea.

First is that when they attack a business they do often cause serious damage. Second is that when they discover their mistake they simply won’t turn around and say “our mistake let us compensate you”. In all they are not one bit interested in justice when you are simply their rival and they aim to destroy you by any legal means possible.

So society should be very cautious in handing these cretins any new powers to attack their rivals. Laws like SOPA & PIPA are prime for abuse and abused they will be.

I can say that I am a pro-piracy person when I support what is good for the general population. I would much prefer to see no further strengthening of copyright enforcement but if they do really feel the need to tackle piracy then OPEN is indeed the least Internet damaging option.

Kristian Rickert says:

Let's be honest here

SOPA will pass. Our federal government doesn’t work for people but for corporations. Once it passes, Obama will not veto.

This should’ve been dead by now. The public is against it and we’re in an election year. But congress in unified in a majority to pass it. So regardless of what we think, this bill will pass.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you close the whole library over one complaint about one book being slightly similar to another how can you be sure they won’t burn all the books while the library is closed? This reminds me of dictator fanatics burning all books to discourage free thought…just using a much more sneaky excuse to get their hands on all the books.

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

ICE web censorship

In order for any kind of censorship act to be fair, it must contain strong safeguards against abuse, including strong penalties for falsely censoring a website, and requirements that some sort of credible proof of infringement be presented before an allegedly infringing website is blocked. I see no such safeguards in SOPA or PIPA, all that is needed for a website to be censored is a mere accusation of infringement.

By way of a ridiculous example, I could assert copyright on this comment, send it in for posting and then accuse Techdirt of infringing my copyright by publishing the comment –never mind I sent it in for that very purpose– and instantly Techdirt would be off the Web. No proof, no hearing, no court order, no due process, just Bang! You’re censored. Guilty until proven innocent.

Penalties for abuse need to have substantial sting in them, enough to deter those who would dare to make false reports, or who would take a website down for no good reason, else people with nothing more than a grudge against someone could tear the Web to shreds.

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