Pro-SOPA Folks Push Fact-Challenged Op-Eds

from the at-the-sopa... dept

It seems that, in the wake of the big protests that helped shelve (for now, at least) SOPA and PIPA, the pro-SOPA folks have started pushing people to write op-eds in various publications about how important SOPA/PIPA are — while simultaneously dismissing the concerns of those who opposed the bills. I keep seeing more of them, but wanted to dig into three recent examples, all of which show how the pro-SOPA folks are trying to distort the debate through either outright falsehoods, or carefully misleading statements.

We’ll start with Duff McKagan, the founding bassist for Guns N’ Roses. He wrote a piece for Seatle Weekly telling people to stop whining about SOPA and PIPA. The logic here doesn’t make much sense to me. His argument is that people should have done big web protests about online infringement, not about attempts to censor the internet. Now, obviously, he thinks that’s in his own best interests — but, as we’ve seen pretty clearly over the years (and contrary to his claims), these reports of infringement destroying the entertainment industry is just not supported by the data.

The fury from the Internet class is that the broad language in the pieces of legislation will be bad for start-ups, might prevent the next YouTube, or give the government the ability to take down a whole site because of one link to copyrighted works. In short, they’re opposed to the legislation because they think it will be bad for the Internet business.

Bad for business. Anti-piracy legislation could be bad for the Internet business. It almost takes my breath away. Internet piracy has claimed half of the recorded music business, and made the prospect of making a living as a musician harder for artists of all rank and file. Why didn’t Google, or Facebook, or Wikipedia ever stand in solidarity with musicians, actors, and writers – most of whom have never known fame and fortune – as their works were stolen with no recourse on their sites?

No, actually, the fury was that it would be bad for internet users — including, by the way, plenty of musicians. And, again, the evidence that piracy has “claimed” half the market is simply not there. The recorded music business was a temporary bubble, but that money continued to flow (and grow) into the wider music industry. And, the prospect of making a living as a musician has not decreased — it’s increased. What McKagan doesn’t recognize is that, in the past, nearly everyone who went into the music business was not as lucky as he was. Nearly all of them ended up getting pushed out while making next to nothing. Today, however, thanks to the very “internet businesses” he doesn’t care about — companies like TuneCore and TopSpin and Kickstarter and Bandcamp — plenty of new artists can make a living that they wouldn’t have been able to make before. They don’t have to rely on Universal Music or EMI or Warner Music or Sony Music. They can do it themselves.

Then we move on to Gavin Polone, writing for NY Mag, about why he supports SOPA and his theory for why the entertainment industry “blew it” in trying to get this bill passed.

I have funded two films with my own money and am considering doing a third. Most of the people working on those films were not rich people, but rather middle-class craftsmen who make high-five-figure to low-six-figure sums per year. My decision on whether to fund another movie, thereby employing more people, will be based on whether or not I get my money back on the last two, and my prospects for making money on another. If a film of mine is put on a file-sharing site like Pirate Bay, Movieberry, and Newsbin2, and is then downloaded to potential customers, I lose revenue. Nobody is going to pay to see a movie in a theater, rent a DVD, or legitimately download or stream a movie once they already have it from a free pirate site.

If you think that way, perhaps it’s true. But if you actually don’t have a closed mind and look around at what other people are doing and realize that people are more than willing to pay if you treat them right, the entire premise that Polone has is wrong. Of course, if you naturally assume that your fans are evil, then don’t be surprised if they don’t want to support you.

Other industries have laws to protect them against third parties whose businesses facilitate a crime. Why not entertainment?

Ah, the “lawless” argument. This is ridiculous. Copyright law has been adjusted 16 times in the last 35 years, much of it to deal with new digital technologies. To claim that there are no laws to protect you is simply ridiculous. But, more to the point, as we’ve said over and over again, the best protection is to connect with your fans rather than pretend they’re all out to get you. Polone fails there. That’s his fault, not everyone else’s.

This is in no way censorship. A widely read op-ed piece by Rebecca MacKinnon in the New York Times likened SOPA and PIPA to China’s Internet firewall, which is used by that government to stifle criticism of its policies. This is a ridiculous exaggeration. There is no intent to suppress speech in these bills, only theft, and the risks of anyone being unable to find an outlet for their free speech because of SOPA or PIPA is minimal.

It is not a ridiculous exaggeration at all. And the intent of the bill is meaningless compared to how it will be used — and we know that it will be used for censorship because we’ve already seen existing copyright law used for censorship. This isn’t a theory, this is reality.

Blocking offenders will not break the Internet nor security. I’ve read numerous articles in which techies claim that DNS (Domain Name System) blocking — which forces ISPs to not allow access to sites determined to be trafficking in stolen entertainment — will undermine security and/or “break” the Internet. Like many of you, I am not versed enough on technical issues to explain how DNS blocking programs work or what may be the right method to ensure Internet security.

Uh, yeah. I don’t get this crazy tech stuff, but I’m sure what all those “experts” say is untrue. Sheesh. He goes on to say that because he can’t play online poker any more, and because some ISPs block child porn or malware, clearly blocking wouldn’t break the internet. Perhaps he should try actually understanding the details next time. The big issue is DNSSEC, not just DNS, and even Comcast (one of the major supporters of the bill) has admitted that DNS redirects are incompatible with DNSSEC. Furthermore, the fact that he can’t play internet poker any more isn’t because of DNS blocking. It’s because of a (questionable) US law that cut off money transfers to those companies — an approach that many of the folks against SOPA/PIPA supported in the OPEN Act which allowed for exactly the system that made it harder (but not impossible) for poker sites to function in the US. Look, it’s okay to not understand complicated tech, but to use an example that has nothing to do with the tech, and actually supports what folks on the other side of the debate are saying? That just makes you look silly…

Moving on, we have the new poster boy for the pro-SOPA movement, David Newhoff, who compared the arguments against SOPA/PIPA to the “death panels” used in the healthcare debate — claiming that the arguments of internet users worldwide were no more truthful than the claims of death panels from the healthcare proposal. That’s funny. It’s also wrong. Lots of people opposed to SOPA/PIPA laid out detailed, factual arguments for why these bills were dangerous. And we have plenty of very real evidence of how these laws will be abused (and how existing law is already abused).

But what’s really funny is that if anyone is guilty of “death paneling,” it has been the pro-SOPA/PIPA forces — insisting that their industry is being decimated, when it’s actually growing. They’re the ones calling things “piracy” and “theft” when we’re talking about infringement. They’re the ones talking about starving artists, when more artists are making money from their content creations than ever before. They’re the ones talking about less art will be created when we’re living in a time of massive abundance of artistic creations. Yes, there are exaggerations in this debate, but I’d put up the anti-SOPA/PIPA side against the pro-side anytime, and it’s entirely clear that the anti-side has the facts on their side much more than the SOPA/PIPA supporters do.

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Comments on “Pro-SOPA Folks Push Fact-Challenged Op-Eds”

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Anonymous Coward says:

” My decision on whether to fund another movie, thereby employing more people, will be based on whether or not I get my money back on the last two, and my prospects for making money on another”

who cares about people who make art for money. Fund movies because they are good and you support their message not because you hope you can gain a profit. I real could give fuck all about people who look at the arts as a money machine. Make art not cash cows.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

>> My decision on whether to fund another movie, thereby employing more people, will be based on whether or not I get my money back on the last two, and my prospects for making money on another”

From a business standpoint this is exactly the correct perspective. The great disconnect occurs when people interject the moral outrage of the concept of piracy. As a business person the producer should be worried about making money. Most of the pirated copies would not represent lost sales and cost the producer nothing. They are irrelevant except to the extent that they represent lost sales. And most of those lost sales are probably cases where things like windowing and regional restrictions created an incentive for the piracy. The moral outrage of piracy has no place in business decisions, but it ranks very high in the OpEd pieces we see floating around.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

From a business standpoint you should do real research and discover, well fuck I’m not actually meeting consumer demand with all of these barriers I put in the way of them paying to get my content. I’m a fucking moron, here let me fix that and make even more money.

It is much better to have the fall back of the movie tanked because of piracy, not because my vision of Rambo done with finger puppets was a really stupid idea.

If you stopped blaming everyone but yourself, and accept that you might have something to do with piracy happening you can see the truth. The way to stop piracy is to stop shitting on your customers.

and today I’m a potty mouth sorry.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sadly, cash cows pay bills, whilst “true art doesn’t”.

it’s easier to pay bills (and turn profits) when the numbers are smaller. maybe hollywood could stop spending so much on production and create a product that works with the current itunes/netflix/amazon revenue model?

naw. better push for a reduction in civil liberties. that makes *way* more sense.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes and no. There are plenty of “cash cows” that have been monstrous failures, and there have been plenty of quality smaller films that have made many times their production budget, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

Part of the problem with this conversation is that producers who think of nothing but the money often try to have it both ways. They’re only interested in producing what they consider “commercial” – i.e. no chances taken artistically, often aping what’s been successful recently – and end up with a mediocre product. If that fails, they will try to blame everything except the idea that their end product wasn’t something that anyone was interested in watching… Whereas, if a higher quality film fails, they will try to blame the film itself, rather than failures in marketing, distribution, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Fund movies because they are good and you support their message not because you hope you can gain a profit.”

Like it or not the capitalist system is predicated on making a profit and there’s nothing wrong with making a profit. However, as this site exemplifies, there are plenty of ways to make a profit from creating art without violating the private property rights of Internet owners through things like SOPA or excessively powerful government-granted monopolies.

Anonymous Coward says:

“insisting that their industry is being decimated, when it’s actually growing. “

Quite possibly the biggest lie around. I know you are trying to push this as your new talking points for presentations, but let’s try to be honest.

Fewer movie tickets sold… fewer than any point in a decade.

Less recorded music sold than any time in decades.

Live concert sales up, but ticket sales flat or down, as the major artists just keep jacking ticket prices, making it look like there is more money to go around, when it’s getting caught by fewer and fewer people all the time.

Yup, everything is so much more profitable. Right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


“Less recorded music sold than any time in decades.”

Yep, vynil also sold less than in any time in decades what is your point?

Old tech goes down, the thing selling if you didn’t heard was digital and that a lot of labels are not making most of their profits from it and not CD’s.

Further artists keep getting more money how? according to you they are not selling anything, how they get more money every year?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Few movie tickets sold”. Even if true, I hope you realize that the movie theatre isn’t the only facet of the movie industry? It’s merely one place out of several where you can watch movies. So what if ticket sales are down? There’s other places to watch movies – DVDs/Blu-rays/streaming, etc

“Less recorded music sold” – Citation please. Coulda sworn there was little thing called iTunes, you might not have heard of it.

“Live concert sales up, but ticket sales down” And how is this a problem of the online world? Live concerts are well…live, and being there cannot be replicated by watching it in person. Sure I can get a DVD recording of a concert/comedy show/etc, I can get an MP3 of a band’s music, but nothing digital can compare to a live performance. They’re two completely different markets. If your ticket sales are down, you do something to get more people into your show. Censoring the internet through SOPA does absolutely NOTHING to do that!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Microeconomics answers all your talking points.

The industry is growing. Its just not growing for big content. Not only is the old guard fighting on their own turf but many others. You have competition from all the lesser know musicians, video games, blogging, texting, email, web surfing and a change in attitude in the people that buy the products of big content.

All in all, like any non-competitive business, you guys are doomed. Over the next several years you are going to see your profits drop. None of it due to infringement.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Not only is the old guard fighting on their own turf but many others.”

This is one of the most significant paradigm shifts and one that explains so much – including why the entertainment industry would want to use something like SOPA to shut down a user-generated internet culture.

In the 90’s, I would go to Blockbuster and rent three movies a week minimum, sometimes six or seven. I’d also go to a movie theater at least once a week.

Now I have the internet (and I’m not talking about piracy). I have lolcat videos and YouTube and my own multimedia projects and retro movie websites and and Hulu, a video games, and web comics, etc., etc.

Sure, I’ll go see a movie in the theater, but its got to be a pub theater that only charges me $6 for a ticket and $4 a good beer. I’m not spending $20 on a decent movie that they’ve ruined and made overly expensive with 3D, in addition to having to take out a small loan for 32 oz small drink and a crate of popcorn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Instead of calling it the “movie” industry, why don’t we call it the “video” industry?

How much video is uploaded to YouTube every second? Yeah, I’m sure that has no effect on the wider cultural ecosystem. Nope. Must be piracy.

Also, how many people find it easier to rent from Redbox and watch it on their large screen televisions? While eating anything they want, while drinking anything they want? Being able to pause it in the comfort of their own homes? Nope. Gotta be piracy.

I could literally go on all day long but you don’t care. Because piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Fewer movie tickets sold… fewer than any point in a decade.

Less recorded music sold than any time in decades.

1) At the end of the day, the industry really isn’t concerned with attendance, they are concerned with how much money is in their bank account.

2) Incomes in general has largely stagnated in the past few decades (for those who even have jobs) for a great many people, while cost have continued to rise.

3) Many people have a lot more options for how to spend their entertainment dollar than they did even a decade ago, and a lot of them are intentionally choosing to not spend it on the major studios or labels (I disagree that less recorded music is being bought – while less RIAA/major label music is being bought, I think a lot of people are puposefully buying directly from smaller independent artists/labels).

4)Things may be tough(er) in the US (and the argument can be made this is directly in part due to Big Contents failures to adapt and simply try to legislate their business), yet you look at a country like Russia (which is constantly held up as a prime example of piracy run amuck) and it seems every week when I check Box Office Mojo it seems Russia is setting box office records left, right, and center.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

1) not true. The upside on price is not unlimited, which is the general failing of selling scarcity. You reach a point in price where you are no longer competitive with other options. Many here suggest movie tickets have reached that price already.

2) The recorded music industry is down 50% in a decade. I don’t call that stagnation.

3) See point 1, you cannot have your cake and eat it too as they say. If movies need to be price competitive with other options, they cannot continue to just raise prices. That creates diminishing returns over time.

4) Box offices in many emerging markets are setting records, mostly because the product wasn’t legally available in the past at all. $2 is a 100% increase over $1, but it still pales in comparison to sales in the main markets.

The point is Mike is working on a collection of cherry picked facts, and trying to make it look like something is going on that just isn’t true.

Khaim (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If movies need to be price competitive with other options, they cannot continue to just raise prices.
Who said movies deserve to remain competitive? I have a high-quality screen and good speakers in my home, and the technology to watch whatever I want. Why should I pay extra and drive to another building so I can suffer through other people talking?

In other words, the movie theater industry may be dying – but so what? The video creation industry is booming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

1/3 I agree they have long passed that point. But they have plenty of other options. They have to make going to the movies more attractive. Offer us something of value. Instead they try to go the opposite route thinking they can keep increasing ticket prices and all they have to do is push back the release date of other options and people will decide that the price isn’t too high. Subtracting value from dvd/streaming is not adding value to big screens. They seem to think the public is some moric hopefully addicted creature and they can’t possibly resist seeing their content for 50 days. Not to mention the consant negative press they are giving themselves, making people hate you does not open their wallets. You can find tons of success stories of small independent theaters that connect with their customers and find something to offer them that makes the experience worthwhile. Look to those not to increased windowing as an answer

2) I have seen where mike gets his numbers, how about your sources. Any idiot knows that 80% of unsourced statistics are made up 90% of a tenth of the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Fewer movie tickets sold… fewer than any point in a decade.

Highest movie ticket prices… higher than any point in history.

Which leads to…

More movie revenue… more than any point in history.

Maybe if it wasn’t so expensive, they would sell more tickets? But that might lower their revenue, because they’ve already figured out the amount to charge to maximize revenue.

Looks like the movie studios just know more about economics than you.

The Moondoggie says:

Re: Re:

Fewer movie tickets sold… fewer than any point in a decade.

>Might be implying he doesn’t have a DVD or a Blu Ray and an LED TV. Buying a copy so you can watch it over and over, whenever you want, is way more economic than watching it on the Big Screen.

Less recorded music sold than any time in decades.

>Might be implying he still use CD players for music. He doesn’t have a phone or any device that plays mp3 or mp4.

Live concert sales up, but ticket sales flat or down

>Serious Citation Needed.

clancy says:

Re: Re:

Maybe it’s because now hollywood has to compete with other forms of entertainment. Video games, netflix, facebook, life. Movies have earned record returns yearly. Maybe hollywood needs to make good product and consumers would consume. Copyright laws have been adjusted 16 times in the last 35 years, much of it to deal with new digital technologies. To claim that there are no laws to protect it is simply ridiculous. 1.Make a better product music/movies. 2.lower the cost of DVDs/songs.3.stop being so complacent and become inovative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: using the word

Ok, so make art, not profits. All your arguments are crying for the middleman and not the artist.

Nix the middle man and put your art out for the world to see.
We have developed the greatest information sharing system every devised by humanity. You, or anyone else with a modicum of talent can get their message out and really say something to the entire world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: using the word 'sold ' repeatedly. doesn'

Ok, so make art, not profits. All your arguments are crying for the middleman and not the artist.

Nix the middle man and put your art out for the world to see.
We have developed the greatest information sharing system every devised by humanity. You, or anyone else with a modicum of talent can get their message out and really say something to the entire world.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Fewer movie tickets sold… fewer than any point in a decade.”

…and here we see why the ACs fail at logic. Yes, if you take into account a single data point, this looks like a problem.

However, once you take into account that there’s more choice *and* the grosses for those movie tickets was still the 3rd highest in history, there’s not so much of a problem.

Add to that that there’s more money going into services that didn’t even exist a decade ago (e.g. HD streaming), then DVD/Blu, VOD, digital purchases and rentals through iTunes, etc., and hey presto things are looking up.

Try to consider all the data points and facts. I know if makes it more difficult to whine about scapegoats and talking points, but reality isn’t like that.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: I'll take this one...

More like because:

a) unlike “other businesses”, nobody is harmed in any way by piracy.

b) the “crime” in question is usually a civil rather than criminal offence.

c) the proposals made thus far have an astounding level of collateral damage and removal of rights from innocent people.

d) there’s a hundred avenues these businesses could explore to make piracy irrelevant without needing government protection, if they so chose.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


A little off-topic, but Gavin Polone said this: “Most of the people working on those films were not rich people, but rather middle-class craftsmen who make high-five-figure to low-six-figure sums per year.”

I know he’s a writer for NY magazine, and presumably lives in New York, so this may have distorted his perceptions — but for most of the nation, people who make high-five-figure to low-six-figure sums are definitely not middle class. They’re rich. On the poor end of rich, sure, but rich nonetheless.

The median US household income for the period from 2006-2010 was $51,914. He’s talking about people making twice that.

I think Gavin’s a bit out of touch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not sure why it is said that people are being “pushed” to write op-ed pieces. Maybe the wrote their pieces because they wanted to, and did not need anyone imploring them to do so.

Confused about one article using the word “blocking”, and the comment here using the word “redirect”. I thought these were separate and distinct. Any insight into the difference?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They are technically different, but redirection can be used to achieve blocking in the common sense. The ICE domain seizures do this. They don’t technically block the domain names they seize, they update the DNS servers so that the domain name points to a website ICE has set up instead. That is redirecting — but in the nontechnical sense, it is blocking access to the original site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If memory serves, SOPA specified one method, PIPA the other. Can’t recall which was which, though.

Blocking was basically erasing the DNS record and when you requested the IP address for, the DNS servers would just sit on it and not respond. Of course, there’s no way to educate users with a message in this case, and many of them will think their ISP is having network issues.

Redirecting would return a false IP address pointing to some government-owned web page that said “BAD PIRATE!!!1”.

Both of which are also vectors of malware attack called (respectively) DOS and DNS poisoning, which DNSSEC would route around, hence the techno-hoopla about these bills.

Bill Price (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Blocking was basically erasing the DNS record and when you requested the IP address for, the DNS servers would just sit on it and not respond. Of course, there’s no way to educate users with a message in this case, and many of them will think their ISP is having network issues.

Oooooo. That’s a severe breakage of the DNS. I knew SOPA/PIPA/COICA were evil, but I didn’t realize it was that bad.
In the best case, this would mean that each resolver and nameserver would need to be patched (but only in the USA: the rest of the world could still use the software that works properly). The NS data, wherever it is (authoritative or cached), would need a new field to distinguish between ‘blocked’ and ‘really does not exist’; and each nameserver or resolver would need to look at that information to know whether to return the current ‘name error’ or to just ignore the query.
Even worse would be patched software that never returned the ‘name error’ state: then, every query would have to request recursion, since intermediate nameservers (neither root nor authoritative) couldn’t let its requestor know that it needed to go up a notch.
And there I was, naively thinking that it was just DNSSEC that would be screwed up by SOPA/PIPA’s DNS blocking. Or maybe it’s just that this AC doesn’t understand DNS.

Rikuo (profile) says:

“Nobody is going to pay to see a movie in a theater, rent a DVD, or legitimately download or stream a movie once they already have it from a free pirate site.”

Hmm…just movies alone, I counted no less than forty-seven movies that are on my hard drive, downloaded from a “pirate site”…that I then later on went to purchase the DVD/Blu-ray.
Other times, the reverse happened: I bought the DVD/Blu-ray first, then downloaded. Ya know, things like Smallville, Stargate, Lord of the Rings.


Re: Some tired old arguments

What about TV? There’s free over-the-air TV. Clearly something like that will destroy all demand for cinema or DVDs or even cable.

There are plenty of ways for people to avoid paying the price you want to charge them. If you are worried about the bottom line, you need to fixate less on the “moochers” and instead try to figure out how to make a DVD or movie ticket seem worthwhile.

If they aren’t pirating it, then they’re renting it from Netflix or waiting for it to reach cable/broadcast.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘it’s entirely clear that the anti-side has the facts on their side much more than the SOPA/PIPA supporters do.’

the trouble is, that the pro SOPA etc people are the ones that get their opinions printed. more anti-SOPA articles are needed that debunk the need for SOPA, explaining why. as these articles seem to be few and far between, could it be the complete bias of the various news media, or just the fear of someone losing their job if they did put forward the truth? Fox news springs to mind, what with Murdoch being in charge and having the attitude that he has.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Duff McKagan, the founding bassist for Guns N' Roses.

founding bassist my balls

In June 1985, McKagan replaced bassist Ole Beich in Guns N’ Roses.

GnR in their current touring form are excellent, over 3 hour sets with some very talented musicians. And Axl sounds fine and only came on 30 minutes late.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Duff McKagan, the founding bassist for Guns N' Roses.

Only 30 minutes late. Wow he HAS cleaned up HIS act. NOT. over 3 hour sets – someone please kill me now. Because Chinee Democracy is such, I mean SUCH a great album.
WOW!!!! You wasted that much to see them? I have a lovely bridge… it is for sale and I think you would be interested.
It needs a little paint, but that’s all:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Duff McKagan, the founding bassist for Guns N' Roses.

really stubhub? some people actually pay face value by purchasing tickets before they sell out.

And you’re right, they dont have 25 years worth of material to choose from so they have to play everything off Chinese Democracy.

Ferrer, Fortus, Ashba, Thal, and Reed is a destructive lineup without regard to the band they are playing with at the moment. But please continue, you are not ignorant on this matter in the least.

Loki says:

Dear Duff,

I understand you are one of the handful that Big Content has made highly successful to dangle like a carrot in front of others (while simultaneously doing everything in their power to cut off any other distribution channels other than those they control), but many of the content creators they have shafted, and most of the customers they treat like dirt or serfs tend to disagree with you.

It is not our fault you are currently shackled to a major label, and those labels are continuing to be hit hard in retribution for treating their customers poorly (if not like outright criminals). But I can assure you that I, nor a rather large percentage of the people I know, will pay you a penny as long as you are part of that label, regardless of how many laws, treaties, or “executive agreements” the pay Congress to pass.

Sincerely, someone who once purchased every Guns & Roses album (several of them on both cassettes and CD).

Matt (profile) says:

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Orrin Hatch is one of the most outspoken advocates of Government regulation of the Internet. He received millions over SOPA/PIPA:

He’s said we should blow up computers remotely to help people understand the seriousness of copyright infringement, and that too- without due process.

This is what we’re up against

Anonymous Coward says:

DNSSEC … the most useless thing ever invented. Yes, it even surpasses the solar hat. Anything being developed fore 20+ years and still not being implemented in 1% of the infrastructure (or even supported for that matter) should definitely be worried about.

At least keep your arguments about SOPA/PIPA in the realm of reality. DNSSEC is not reality. It’s a pipedream.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 31st, 2012 @ 2:12pm

Yeah I know right. Take the internet for example one day it was an idea the next it was darpa and by Sunday everyone was connected. It wasn’t a theory for years a small military project for decades and then slowly rolled out to the public. If an idea can’t be implimented over a weekend it isn’t worth talking about. At least what the wright brothers said, and nasa said that often in the 48 hours it took them to think up build and implement space flight. Seriously why take your time and properly implement something. Let’s just throw together some vague ideas, tell people it will only do what we intend despite us not writing it resticively and implement it quickly. We can call it sopa

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 31st, 2012 @ 2:12pm

“You sir, fail at trying to point out failure. That’s failure to fail. Sad”

Wouldn’t that be failure to point? He wasn’t attempting to fail he was attempting, and succeeding, at making you look foolish.

So you failed to redeem yourself, and made yourself look stupider in the process. You succeeded at failing, congrats!

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Even Rockstars Have To Worry About the Voice of the Internet

Duff McKagan would appear to have partially recanted. It seems that his fans did not take his editorial at all well– they took it as evidence that he had sold out to “the Man,” and that he hates his fans. So he is scrambling backwards, trying to smooth them down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Even Rockstars Have To Worry About the Voice of the Internet

Read this response, it’s really well written.

It’s like the guy reads TechDirt or something, but he doesn’t mention “reason to buy” and does only hint at connecting with fans.

Rocinante [Moderator] 5 days ago
Real name: Mark

Hi Duff: I’ve been around Seattle a long time, since I was born according to my mother. I was in bands starting at the age of 14, hung around the U-District, Capitol Hill my whole life. I went to school in Ballard. I moved around, but for most of the ’90s lived on Capitol Hill, ran a label to self-release records, then cd’s, the ubiquitous van tours, the general struggle to pay for shit and not get much back. I met my wife because she worked for a music publisher in NYC. When it was just me, that was all good, I never once minded the low rate of return on my investment. I was happy to play for money, for drink tickets most times, have a beer with friends at the practice space, try and hustle some cd’s here and there. As long as I could pay my rent, it was all good. At the same time you were going back to SU, I was going to Seattle Central, just because that previous life was eventually a bit much to bear, didn’t want to be an old guy hanging out at the bar, especially not looking old, I had quit drinking and I had kids, and it seemed like every year went by, another old friend had died. I still prefer being around my kids to any club I’ve ever been in, and I miss my friends whose choices or diseases didn’t let them see another kind of life. I didn’t grow up, but I changed. But, I actually had found your story inspiring, and it was something I identified with. I eventually leaned towards academic work, then studied mass media law at the UW, and gravitated to the highest paying day jobs I could find just so I could afford to buy a house in the same neighborhood I grew up in. Okay, enough of the bona fides.

I don’t think this is an argument about who has what on the line, or what kind of perspective each of us bring, mainly because I doubt our voices will influence any final legislation. Its sad, but we dont get to speak to power when you have two multi-billion dollar industries arguing with each other. Anytime legislation is passed on the level this one would be, there are going to be unintended consequences. That has a macro-level effect. So, the macro’s get to decide. And, while I did read up on things, I doubt the site for HR3261 had 4 million hits that day. You are most certainly correct about that.

Now, above, you mention the holes in the legislation. After the UW, I worked for the House Democratic caucus. We would work with any number of constituents on drafting legislation. Any time you deal with billion dollar industries, they come to you with the legislation already written, and not a single word is included or excluded out of happenstance. Even when they write stupid, fucked up laws, its because they wanted a stupid fucked up law they could disavow later. In the case of SOPA and PIPA, these ‘holes’ are intended by the firms that drafted them to allow one party or another in a copyright claim a greater level of control over another. Law itself is an adversarial system, but what these bills often end up is in the thousands of pages. Especially in tech cases because, what you are doing with a law like PIPA, is trying to craft a law that suits a business model which runs at odds to the very technology platform that the business runs on. [for instance, consider if the law simply says reproducing a copyrighted file is infringement, and you are on a site, and a copyrighted image is downloaded, which is actually reproduction, onto your temp int folder in Windows. now, try and write legislation that makes that instance legal, since its an unintentional act that happens because you browsed a web page, versus actually clicking on and downloading a higher resolution image. Actually sorting that out could take hundreds of pages of legalese, and keep people in houses in Ballard, so, in a way, it creates jobs 🙂

As you can imagine, some of us are fans of yours, support you, have never downloaded illegal music, never will, yet disagree with copyright law itself. We also disagree with the assessment that the massive protest was the result of people blindly following each other off a cliff. Some of are very familiar not only with this legislation, but the history of copyright.

I would just throw this out there: a- I think copyright law itself has been abused by the large corporations, their banks and shareholders and hedge funds that own them. I don’t think you should be allowed to hold a copyright as long as is currently allowed by law. I think our culture, the music, the film, the plays, the arts, are all healthier the sooner these privately held rights to creative works pass into the public domain. I think the greater level of currency that this type of information can contribute to the public domain makes for a healthier and more creative society.
b- I don’t think any large media company is capable, by its very nature, of allowing or seeing how a free exchange of their products increases the overall value of the product. In fact, other than a good will accounting at time of future sale, its almost impossible to look at that value. But, our society makes a great deal of investment in infrastructure that supports the growth in value of these products. For instance, lets say Guns and Roses reunites for the RaR HOF, and that is simulcast on the internet for a mere $10. That is some coin coming your way. But it can happen because we as a society via our government and public research universities have supported and grown a system that reaches into nearly every home in the US. In every way, those who do commerce on the internet and the public investment in the internet are interrelated. The public interest in the products you create, then, is a valid interest. We have invested in you, your business, and, in addition to taxes, at some point we ask that you contribute that work itself to the public body of works. In short that it become a very part of the American culture from which the music initially grew. The very name I adopted for these responses is Rocinante, the name of Don Quixote’s horse. A ‘nag’ whose disagree-ability highlights some sort of truth. But, what’s more important, that work is considered one of the touchstones, lodestones, pre-eminent works in human history. It is to Spanish what Shakespeare is to English. It is known today because it was pirated so much after initial publication, which was very minimal. Its an example how people demanded access to content because it contributed to their lives in some deep and meaningful way. That is part of the conversation that is lost here: There’s all this demand this system cant meet. That’s as much of an issue as anything. The system has shown it has a much greater capacity to distribute product, yet there is this prohibition on the manner in which the distribution occurs. Instead of solving that problem, the approach has been to try and put this ‘evil’ back in Pandora’s Box. (Evil is what was in the box in the myth, not saying music or whatever is evil)
c- You have a right to make money. You have the right to make a lot of money. As much as people want to give you. People were complaining about $50 concert tickets, well, folks, if you want to live in a community where everyone has a good paying job, then shit costs more. Nobody is ever ripping anyone else off, we make exchanges based on our choices. But, you have the right to make money. The only question is, how much, how long? That’s a valid thing to disagree about.
d- I think we need to get ahold of ourselves about the music industry. Its always been changins. The music industry that you write of above only existed for about 35 years. I’m thinking about 1970 or so, just post all the 60s music festivals and the start of the way Led Zeppelin and Peter Grant and Apple and Allen Klein basically altered the way bands handled their business. Not to mention the Stones and the introduction of sponsored tours. But that’s really big level stuff. The important part is that since 1915, the music business, the media business has always undergone serious disruptions. The introduction of records was feared by a lot of music groups because they were afraid their tunes would get ripped off. And, its always been corporate, since RCA was formed by ATT, GE, Westinghouse, and the United Fruit Company to control radio patents. (thats the same UFC that funded US interventions in Central America). In the 70s and 80s, I don’t know how many times people were accosted a show for having a recording device, maybe 238. For anyone not old enough, the bootlegging business was approached by the record companies with the same zeal downloading is today. Of course, downloading has an impact that dwarf’s bootlegging. And, as we know now, bootlegging really was a fan based activity and often did not impact overall sales too much. But, go to NYC, and you can walk up the street and still buy bootlegged stuff. Nonetheless, this point is that disruption is a natural occurrence in the media industry. That is to be expected, because its a business based on technology, which is by ITS nature, in constant flux. But, that creates the conundrum: Media businesses need a constant influx of new material, they need to be able to make money off of that material to reinvest and create more material, that material then needs to pass into the public domain, if anything to create room for more privately held material, as well as to complete the implied social agreement of the copyright grant.

So, the media is in transition, I think you are right, in five years, there will be no company that looks like a record company once looked in 5 years. But just like Chaplin Studios became A and M records and is now Muppet Labs, that space will be occupied by something. I sincerely hope that its a model that provides support to artists, while at the same time giving the freedom to engage with content that music fans clearly want. I mean, if you’re creating a fan made video you are a fan. You are engaged. That’s loyalty no marketing campaign can buy. Its also copyright infringement. Unless the artists have a way to allow for it while still making a living.

e- There is no point e.
f- relative to point d, this is now the saddest of all keys.
g- I think its wrong to throw dwarves, but I like the Dwarves, however, only in small doses.
h- I am totally onto another tangent now: typing random sentences in a list.

Anonymous Coward says:

It would be nice if they asked artists who are actually selling music in 2012. Pulling a guy who was popular 20 years ago to speak out about something he doesn’t understand doesn’t really cut the mustard.

Having said that, current relevant music artist, Wale, who is signed Rick Ross’s impring Maybach Music Group which is under the UMG Umbrella and actually selling records in 2011-12 would like to keep giving music away for free.

It works very well for him.

John Thacker (profile) says:

Seems to me that there is a lot of similarity to "death panels"

In the case of the health care law, the government believes that there is wasteful spending and created a board to prevent people from getting various procedures on the government dime, some of which are procedures that certainly do extend life but are very expensive in doing so.

Like the various prosecutorial powers under SOPA, that ability certainly could be misused.

The only distinction is how likely you think that the government is to abuse the corresponding powers. Personally, I think that it’s unlikely that the government will actually restrain health care spending at all (the elderly vote a lot), whereas the government has certainly shown that it will crack down on various suspected piracy sites, even if it harms innocent users.

But the comparison is not necessarily all bad. Some people trust the government in both cases, some distrust in both cases, and some trust in one but not the other. (And many don’t care about the issue that concerns them less right now, but care about their own.)

crade (profile) says:

I do find it a bit wierd how people will admit they have no understanding of what is going on and claim you should listen to them over the people who do know whats going on in the same breath. Usually without even giving a reason, it’s like it should just be assumed that their admitted ignorance is a better guiding light than other’s admitted knowledge.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We really should challenge them to present the “proof” they are using to claim these losses.
I think we would end up in a game of telephone where each step back says something a little different, as each of them gets a cut of the actual profits.

I would have much more respect for someone posting one of these Op-Eds if they actually showed their math on the page.
Prove me wrong with facts not your crying about something everyone else can see is caused not by pirates but the den of thieves that represents you.
I’m willing to eat crow if you can prove me wrong, are your beliefs that strong?

Anonymous Coward says:

Pro-SOPA people apparently don’t care about the constitution, freedom or democracy what they are interested is only protecting their monopoly and exclusion powers, doesn’t matter if it affects free speech as long as they can get the pirates that is ok, doesn’t matter that they are dismantling the safeguards of the law that are there to prevent abuse of the system and it makes everyone less able to enjoy a fair trial or have their side of the story heard.

This are the kind of idiots that the Pro-SOPA camp has.

PaulT (profile) says:

Typical entitled fool mentality here, sorry for a quick rant:

“Gavin Polone… I have funded two films with my own money and am considering doing a third… Nobody is going to pay to see a movie in a theater, rent a DVD, or legitimately download or stream a movie once they already have it from a free pirate site.”

Erm, sorry but utter bullshit on both counts. Assuming it’s the same guys, Polone is the guy who produced Zombieland. $75 million domestic gross on $25 million budget – not bad at all.

Now, either he’s saying that the films he’s made off his own money were failures (assuming one of them wasn’t Zombieland), or that he’s sulking about the idea that they “could” have made more if not for piracy.

If they were failures and Zombieland was not, maybe he should investigate why that was – was it quality, lack of a marketing hook, bad release dates, or just bad movies? Who knows, he doesn’t name the titles. But, if he wants to pretend that Zombieland wasn’t pirated and that’s what got him close to 3 times the production budget back on his gross, I have a bridge to sell him.

The latter part is the usual crap that comes from someone who hasn’t been a real customer of the industry for a long time, if ever. Almost everbody who has obtained something for free – be it via a library, borrowing a DVD or CD from a friend, or actually participating in piracy has gone on to buy something they previously obtained for free. He’s living in a black-and-white fantasy world, like most SOPA supporters

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Consider the lilies in the valley ....

Entertainment is getting more and more an outlet for implied welfare. True, there are some serious entertainers out there (none that are that concerned about making money; they make great art and the compensation “happens” – well, with some sort of business plan, anyway).
There are huge numbers of “bloodsuckers” out there, though – going to college, or even trade school, is not an option; it is beneath the dignity of an “artiste” – and it involves actually providing something of TRUE value!
I don’t admire Hedy Lamarr because she was a “great artist”, I admire her because she invented the technology cell phones are based on. Without that, I would as soon forget her.

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