Disney Refused Invitation From Senator Feinstein To Meet With Tech Companies Over PIPA/SOPA

from the all-stakeholders? dept

We’ve been pointing out for months that the entertainment industry — who more or less wrote SOPA & PIPA — has done everything it can to deny both the tech industry and consumers any seat at the table. Many of us have asked to take part, or suggested that the backers of SOPA & PIPA open up the process — as Senator Wyden and Rep. Issa did with their OPEN Act — allowing the public to comment on it, suggest specific changes, and actually have a real debate on the bill, rather than handling it all in the back room. Multiple times, MPAA boss Chris Dodd has suggested that Hollywood is more than happy to sit down with folks in Silicon Valley to talk over the issues related to the bill — though, when a bunch of us offered to do just that, somehow Dodd wasn’t so welcoming.

Turns out he wasn’t the only one. California Senator Dianne Feinstein — despite coming a bit late to the game in recognizing the concerns of the tech industry — has been trying to make up for lost time by trying to “broker a peace” between the North and the South. We’d been hearing some rumors that Feinstein had actually been trying to set up just such a meeting — given her role covering both Silicon Valley and Hollywood — but that Hollywood was blocking all attempts, and it appears that’s now been confirmed by reporter Zach Carter:

After that story ran, Feinstein attempted to broker a compromise, calling both tech companies and film studios.

Walt Disney Co. President and CEO Bob Iger declined the invitation on behalf of content providers. “Hollywood did not feel that a meeting with Silicon Valley would be productive at this time,” said a spokesperson. The meeting took place with only tech companies present. Feinstein, once a reliable vote for the existing version of Protect IP, is now working hard to amend the bill, according to Senate Democratic aides.

Basically, this claim of wanting a bill that works for everyone is all a facade that Hollywood puts up in order to pretend that it’s open to input on these bills when it’s clearly not. At all. Instead, as has been the case all along, the MPAA and the big Hollywood studios have arrogantly believed that they wrote the bill, they have the votes, so why should they waste time on petty little things like real discussions with real experts? When the actual opportunity — at the behest of a US Senator no less — to meet with the tech community came along, the Hollywood guys flat out ignored it and said they weren’t interested. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about how the industry views this bill, it’s time to start paying closer attention.

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Companies: disney

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Comments on “Disney Refused Invitation From Senator Feinstein To Meet With Tech Companies Over PIPA/SOPA”

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78 Comments
Scott (profile) says:

Senator Issakson's response

“Thank you for contacting me regarding intellectual property theft. I appreciate hearing from you and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

S.968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011, was introduced by Senator Leahy (D-VT) on May 12, 2011, and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On May 26, 2011, it was reported out of Committee and is currently pending in the Senate. The bill targets websites, particularly those registered outside of the United States, which are “dedicated to infringing activities.” These rogue websites typically offer unauthorized downloading or streaming of copyrighted content or the sale of counterfeit goods including music, movies, and pharmaceutical drugs.

Websites targeted by this bill are foreign owned and outside the reach of U.S. laws despite the fact U.S. intellectual property is being infringed upon and U.S. consumers are the targets. Rogue websites cost American workers jobs and cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue. As online technology and commerce advances, we must see to it that injured parties have the ability to stop infringers from profiting from counterfeit products. For example, a victim of infringement will have the authority to file a civil action against the owner or registrant of a rogue site. If an order is granted by the court, third parties will be required to stop processing payments from the infringing sites, therefore, preventing infringers from collecting payments. I will work to ensure that our laws our modernized to protect intellectual property, and will keep your thoughts on this bill in mind should it come before the Senate for a vote.”

I cant tell if he supports it or not

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Senator Issakson's response

There really needs to be a serious Boycott of all these Big Content Companies.The only thing they understand is money.They remind of the “Ferengi” in Star Trek.I have been watching ST:DS9 and now that I think about it I ask you all a question.
Do you think these Big Content Execs are like Quark the Ferengi ?

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Senator Issakson's response

No, Quark was wise enough to hear latinum on the wind and adjust his business plans accordingly.

Quark was intelligent, flexible, always quick to spot a possible new trend and immediately attempt maximizing its profit potential.

In short, the Big Content companies are like stoopid Ferengi. Greedy, lobeless, feckless, (worthless?) suits who know they want money, and like pigeons know only one trick and cannot be taught another one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Senator Issakson's response

I would like to go as far as extending the boycott to even the “pirate” sites. I’m wondering what would happen if sites like Pirate Bay tried to bury content from the major studios and labels, and instead pushed to promote content from independents. Having never used any of these sites I have no idea how they work or how well they could actually accomplish something like this.

I do know that only a small fraction of people generally buy anyways, so the key thing is getting as many eyeballs as possible.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Senator Issakson's response

It is also about them keeping their 1950’s business model alive and well.
They think they are creating demand by delaying giving consumers who want to pay them the content.
Then they cry when people forget they cared about that content while waiting for them to decide its been long enough.

The world is nearly completely connected and yet they treat it like we still need to sail ships to deliver the content to the furthest corners of the world, sailing past the sea monsters and avoiding the flat edge of the world.
They complain about the laws they demanded be put into place making them have to license everything for each little carved up section of the world, when they control both sides of the equation.

This is to enshrine their ability to force the world to adapt to their horse and buggy model, and to set fire to the people who are offering them the ability to move to the steam powered age.

vik says:

Re: Re: Re: Senator Issakson's response

I like this idea,
although not in support of piracy sites I still think there should be a complete blackout for media industry or specific content.
Netflix should have supported Wikipedia and would only have Independent movies today. Google should suspend any search results that lead to movie industry sites who support SOPA

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Senator Issakson's response

no Quark as you will see when you keep watching is far smarter then they are, He sees when hes doing something massively stupid(pissing off your customers) and tries to rectify the situation, the MAFIAA just keep doing the same thing….
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein.

that pretty much covers the MAFIAA, they are like the worst end of the Ferengi, the end that are nothing but pure unadulterated greed, its why, eventually they will fail/loose….

honestly, if they where Ferengi they would be looking for ways to make money off the people “Stealing” their content other then legal threats/suing, somebody needs to pass the MAFIAA heads a copy of the rules of acquisition 😉

demented (profile) says:

Re: Re: Senator Issakson's response

No no, Quark is very flexible about making profits. He would have started up a massive digital TV/movie/book site that allows you to rent/stream (with commercial interruptions) various forms of media.

When Quark saw potential, he leaped. He didn’t sit there shaking his head and saying, “No, not allowed! I hate innovation!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Senator Issakson's response

Same drivel I get from one of my Senators that I know supports these turds. The other one doesn’t even bother to reply with even that much! They are both going to get a nasty surprise during their next election cycle when I work to support whoever runs against them with donations and do my best to convince others to do the same.

A line has Benn drawn in the sand!

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Will heads roll?

Hollywood is generally not a forgiving place, at least on the business side of the operation. It is pretty clear that SOPA/PIPA is now officially a disaster for Hollywood. It might pass, but the cost has been extravagant. For the first time the IP industry has faced significant push back on a copyright bill. SOPA mobilized the opposition, and now that the techies have tasted blood I don’t think they are going to be nearly so quiet in the future. Worse, they have created an environment where members of Congress no longer feel that embracing a pro-copyright proposal is safe. Dianne Feinstein is a prime example. She has always been an automatic YES!!! on copyright maximalist bills. If that has changed, it is one more hit to the MPAA that the whole SOPA debacle has caused.

I wonder who made the call that now was the time to push SOPA/PIPA through Congress? It will be interesting to see how many people end up leaving the MPAA and the lobbying groups over the SOPA mess.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Will heads roll?

Kill them with what? Sticks? Fists?

If the entertainment industry went to war (actual war, where people hurt each other) with the tech industry, they’d be toast.

Not to mention that the content industry wouldn’t be where it is now if it wasn’t for inventions such as the printing press, the gramophone, the radio, television, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, BLU-RAYs, the Internet, etc, etc, etc…Inventions which were made by those pesky techies, by the way.

The entertainment industry owes more to the Tech industry than the other way around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Will heads roll?

Hollywood is where it is now because of piracy. Seems the movie makers didn’t want to pay Edison his royalties on his patents for the light bulb and motion camera.

They moved as far away from him as possible so they would be harder to find and serve.

Of course now, pirating has a different meaning to them than when they started.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Will heads roll?

The entertainment industry has been getting butt-raped by the tech industry since Napster.

Bullshit. The tech industry is the only reason the entertainment industry still makes any money whatsoever.

How much money do you think they would have made without iTunes? Without Netflix? Without YouTube? Without services like these, the entertainment industry would still be renting DVD’s through brick-and-mortar stores, and attempting to sell time-limited RealAudio files for $3.99 per song. And they would be making pretty much nothing.

Honestly, the tech industry has bent over backwards to kowtow to Hollywood and the majors. The entertainment industry has been trying to butt-rape the tech industry for decades, even before the internet existed.

I think it’s high time the tech industry told them to fuck off. They want blacklists, give them blacklists. Remove every official RIAA/MPAA link from Google; get rid of the ContentID system and the 50/50 split on ad revenue on YouTube; black out iTunes and Netflix for a day or two; get together to sue the RIAA and MPAA for billions of dollars on shaky legal grounds. See how much they like it.

I know, it won’t happen, but a man can dream, can’t he?

AzureSky (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Will heads roll?

You forget, the tech industry are the cause of dvd’s, and vhs/betamax tapes before it, they are also the cause of 8track,cassette, radio, tv, internet….Need i say more?

all of the above where going to ruin their businesses and funny enough they are still around making record profits AND one of the few industries thats growing despite this depression we are in….

dont get me started on how idiotic these people are….

leave you with a very good quote that covers this
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.

Loki says:

Re: Re: Will heads roll?

The tech industry created:

The motion picture projector
The radio
The Television
The VCR
The DVD
The internet

If it weren’t for the tech industry, there wouldn’t BE an entertainment industry. And in almost every case, the entertainment industry has had to be dragged into those technilogical advancement, despite the fact they’ve ended up increasing the entertainment industry by orders of magnitude.

To quote Wil Wheaton: Except for the part where this is completely false, it?s a valid point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Because Mike doesn’t write about things that only exist in your mind.

A quick search shows that there was a story all over the web Aug 4 of 2011 about Wikipedia losing editors that has nothing to do with the blackout.

There are other stories about some Wikipedia editors questioning whether the blackout undermines the credibility of their work. A legitimate question and one that I think is being debated professionally and reasonably.

What you describe is not occurring. Reading is fundamental?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You forget that you are dealing with someone from the industry here. In their alternate reality the protest sites are all small and they are falling apart because of the blackout. The ability to deny reality and live in a fantasy world is a prerequisite for MPAA/RIAA employment. If they give a link it probably won’t work because the Internet does not yet connect to alternate universes.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: losing editors

Mike, why have you choses to ignore the news that Wikipedia is losing editors because of the decision to blackout the site.

Probably because they aren’t.

Wikipedia has been losing editors since last August at least, according to this article in PC Mag, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the blackout.

In fact, if I tried doing a search for “wikipedia losing editors blackout,” I found not a single article that even suggests this is happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: losing editors

“Wales speculates that there might just be less content to add to the site”

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2390484,00.asp

I think part of the issue is that most prominent subjects have already been posted and so when people try to add minor pages on very trivial issues they tend to get deleted, which can be frustrating. But Wikipedia doesn’t want to turn into a source that hosts information so trivial that it’s effectively a social media platform.

Loki says:

Re: Re:

a href=”http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57360891/wikipedia-editors-criticize-sites-sopa-protest/”> CBS news

Ok, first 2 paragraphs are about concerns of some editors including this one:

“My main concern is that it puts the organization in the role of advocacy, and that’s a slippery slope,” said editor Robert Lawton, a Michigan computer consultant who would prefer that the encyclopedia stick to being a neutral repository of knowledge. “Before we know it, we’re blacked out because we want to save the whales.”

Which I agree can be a valid concern. Once you start advocating, at some point you have to know where that line begins and ends.

Of course after these first two paragraphs, there’s about 101-2 paragraphs explaining what Wikipedia is doing and why it feels it is necessary. Then another paragraphs of 2 about a few more concerns from editors.

I see no mention of losing editors, much less losing them in droves, over this bill. There is a little blurb in the last paragraph about a roughly 10% decline in contribution over the last YEAR, but none of that decrease is even suggested to come from this protest.

ABC news has the exact same story

Hiffington post has the same exact story.

Yahoo news has the EXACT SAME STORY.

So I see ONE story, carried by large number of mainstream media outlets. What I don’t see, in that ONE story, is any mention of Wikipedia actually losing ANY editors because of this blakcout (although I do not doubt they will indeed lose some because of this) much less any significant numbers.

Unless of course, you wish to suggest the decline of roughly 10% in contributors over the course of a whole years is somehow all directly related to an event announced only a few days ago.

Not That Chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

My best guess is this article from NPR (or at least one like it):

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/18/145382877/wikipedia-editors-question-sites-24-hour-blackout

I don’t believe it says anything about Wikipedia losing editors, just that some of the editors question if Wikipedia is losing neutrality by participating in the blackout.

Although really, it’s kind of hard to be neutral when one side is basically getting permission to shut down your entire site (or at least large chunks of it) because somebody may have posted something that somebody didn’t like.

JackSombra (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Managed to find the fore mentioned articles (really it just the one article re-posted on different sites)

http://news.yahoo.com/wikipedia-editors-sites-planned-blackout-225904304.html

Basically, out of some 90,000 editors they found a few who disagreed with the blackout (out of that many people would not be hard to find someone who disagree’s that “water is wet”) But note none say they agreed with SOPA, just that they disagreed with Wikipedia taking a stance on anything, and none are quoted saying they are leaving

So mike has chosen to ignore a total non issue/meaningless news article

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

And it’s really only to be expected that some believe Wikipedia should be a purely neutral source of information, and take no part in politics at all. Even if you ultimately disagree, you have to be sympathetic to such a position.

So really pointing out that some editors disagree with the decision is just stating the obvious…though I suppose the entire anti-SOPA campaign could be called the same – pointing out the obvious to a bunch of clueless lawmakers.

Anonymous Coward says:

did she or anyone else really expect anything different? all the entertainment industries want is to lock down the distribution methods available to ones that they want, when they want how they want and at prices they want. getting these bills into law would not only achieve that but also increase the strangle hold they already have by shutting down any competition that may exist, legal or not, and tie those sites up for such long periods they wouldn’t be able to reactivate their sites anyway.
if only the ‘net community could get together and boycott all media content so they realised how much they have pissed off their customers. if only the copyright laws that exist atm could be scrapped and rewritten. that would be of greatest benefit to all, instead of the totally one-sided outcomes we have now. then get rid of the bought politicians, or at least investigate all that have been backing industries willy nilly

Anonymous Coward says:

“some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.”

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120117/18231617441/translating-chris-dodds-sanctimonious-bluster-internet-protests-into-english.shtml

You mean like how the government – industrial complex tries to negotiate ACTA and other bills in secrecy instead of coming to the table with the public to find solutions to (non) problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

I Thought Pirates Were Bad?

Dear The Internet,

My staff tells me I’m getting all kinds of flak from you over a couple of bills they tell me I’m supporting? The piracy stuff? I thought pirates were bad.

Geez, can’t one of you guys come up with a summary type thing that sums up why pirates are good? Something with pictures would be good. Oh and don’t make it too technical, okay?

Thank You!

Washington, DC

P.S. Please use small words.

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