Hollywood's Latest 'Conciliatory' Effort Towards Silicon Valley? Forcing Lobbyists To Drop Tech Companies As Clients

from the they-may-regret-that dept

Remember how Hollywood keeps saying that they now want to have this “conversation” with Silicon Valley and not be so antagonistic? It seems that feeling does not extend to lobbyists. According to Politico, the folks in Hollywood have been putting pressure on lobbying shops not to work with the tech industry — and Facebook in particular:

“They are doing everything they can to ensure that the tech industry and Facebook in particular doesn’t have any talent to go up to the Hill,” one tech lobbyist said of the content providers.

Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, the Glover Park Group and TeleMedia Policy Group have all terminated their lobbying contracts with Facebook, according to sources familiar with the lobbying terminations.

This is interesting timing. And by “interesting” I mean “bad,” for those lobby shops at least. Remember, Facebook, which is growing at an insane rate, just filed for a massive IPO and is going to be flush with cash. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has actually been scaling back some of their lobbying efforts. Betting on the losing team isn’t exactly a winning strategy. Of course, as the article correctly points out, this is Hollywood still thinking that the SOPA/PIPA fight was about lobbying, when it had little to do with that (not to say that lobbying wasn’t done over the issue, but no amount of lobbying was going to win that fight — it was the public activism that did it).

Either way, it’s an odd choice to go after Facebook’s lobbyists anyway, considering how little Facebook had to do with this fight at all. Of all the big internet companies, it actually seemed the least willing to even bother to do anything about SOPA/PIPA. Of course, Facebook has been ramping up its DC policy efforts on other fronts, so the lobbyists lose out, and this does nothing to benefit Hollywood. Kind of a weird move. Hollywood gets a few more lobbyists on its side… and it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on how the public views these attempts by Hollywood to attack the internet, rather than adapt to market realities.

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Comments on “Hollywood's Latest 'Conciliatory' Effort Towards Silicon Valley? Forcing Lobbyists To Drop Tech Companies As Clients”

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Kenneth Michaels (profile) says:

Lobby Firm Splitups

The lobbyists who want to keep tech companies as clients will simply move to tech friendly lobbying firms or split off and start their own tech friendly lobbying firms. This is a great opportunity for hungry lobbyists who want to strike off on their own. The better lobbyists will do so and the tech companies will wind up with the better lobbyists.

Anonymous Coward says:

This just shows again how that industry works, they work on “exclusion” they are not a cooperative bunch that could survive on their own and actually make deals they only know how to exclude others and that is the power that government granted monopolies creates. It spawn an entire group of self deluded morons that believe they can exclude everybody from everything all the time.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Does Not Bode Well ... For The Entertainment Companies

It makes perfect sense from the perspective of the content industry. Social media and communications are the reason they lost the SOPA-PIPA-ACTA fight. So they go after them.

The issue with that approach is they are opening themselves up to a war on two fronts. One war that can’t be won with those that infringe. Another war with corporations that have huge war chests and are now taking notice and beginning to fight back.

This kind of reminds me of that Australian fat kid that didn’t fight back, and then trounced the guy picking on him.

Mike42 (profile) says:

Seen it before...

A company that I worked for had a standing threat: if a head-hunting company hired someone away from it, they would not do business with that company. This company hired 20-30% of the tech employees in the area, so everyone was careful not to hire from them.
Plop in a CEO that hates IT, and suddenly the workers are being fired at an astounding rate. Everybody wants out of the company, but no one can get a job until they get fired or quit straight-out. It took 2 years for the head-hunting companies to figure out that this company wasn’t going to hire anyone for a long time. I suspect the lobbying firms are equally as dense.

kenichi tanaka says:

I have to say that I run, own and operate one of the more popular anime and man community websites and we rely on the “fair use” provision of the DMCA and while we have had no problems, other than to ensure that copyrighted material (i.e., anime or manga torrents) are not posted on our site, SOPA and PIPA could literally shut down fansites and forum boards like mine who simply provide a venue for anime and manga fans to join and to participate in forum discussions.

We’ve never had a problem with the anime or manga industry and have never received a C&D letter. But, while we support the rights of artists and anime creators to protect their work, tougher restrictions for websites makes absolutely no sense.

What this would mean is that a company who owns content can simply trot from one corner of the internet universe and start demanding that webhost providers start shutting down websites.

While I’m not totally aware of exactly what SOPA does, I do know that it would pose a definite threat to any website that uses images from such things as popular TV shows to scans of magazine covers to website logos that use these popular characters.

I find it disingenuous that Hollywood is even fighting back. This is what is wrong with the copyright laws in our country. Everything is copyrighted and you can’t do anything without causing severe harm to the internet. Soon, it’s going to be actual website names that are copyrighted and I think the entertainment industry may finally be getting its wish … shut down the internet because they see the internet as the very reason why piracy exists.

Anonymous Coward says:


The rise of Japanese animation over-seas through the years, is directly proportional to the rise of the pirate community. Otherwise, we would be stuck with what 4kids and other shitty western companies decide we need to see. With nothing going back to the original creators. Just look at Yugioh and other such cases. They used their creative accounting to stiff the Japanese makers. And I don’t even want to go into the shitty Hollywood movie remakes of popular titles.

Sneeje (profile) says:


Oh, how dearly I want you both to be right–but unfortunately for you to be right would mean we would have to ignore much of fundamental human nature.

Its in our DBA to be social creatures–and I just can’t believe that external social pressure (which can be very hard to muster) will somehow evolve to regularly overcome face-to-face, backroom deal, buddy-buddy social pressure.

Chargone (profile) says:


maybe if you made it illegal and instituted a deathpenalty for it… and enforced it.

but that would have all sorts of other unfortunate implications.

make it illegal, rule the associated behaviour as bribery and/or corruption with suitably harsh penalties (NOT cash penalties, those simply become ‘cost of doing business’.) might work.

frankly, the fact that the US system accepts lobbying of the sort it does and ‘campaign donations’ as legitimate is going to take a fair bit more than just electoral reform to fix.

(and even without actual lobbyists it’s hard to keep a lid on the various special interest groups influence And actually listen to the public at the same time.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Who here would hire a law firm to represent you in a claim against your insurance company, and then discover that the same law firm had been hired to represent the insurance company regarding your claim?

Under rules governing the practice of law one of the clients whould have to go because of a clear conflict. I see no reason that the same rule should not apply in other contexts, lobbying being one of them.

Jay (profile) says:


No, the way I usually refer to is by making the system more ineffective to lobbying. This means that we would find a form of governance that allows parties to be punished. For congress in particular, a mixed proportional system works best. Register your party, them have people vote for that party into congress. It would make lobbying work much harder since it is difficult for lobbyists to campaign so many parties and hope for effective results.

For presidential campaigns, I would propose an alternative voting system. We abolish the electoral college and implement these two systems and it would fix our republic, nominate judges that represent people’s interests instead of corporate and make the Democratic/Republican party campaign that much harder to appease the public instead of special interests.

Boo Boo says:

Go fight

When these big tech players get their shit together and decide to take on Hollywood and the music mafia , these guys will wish they never picked this fight.
All of this is ultimately about money and nothing else.
The big tech industry can go head to head on this front and keep going for as long as it takes.
What these idiots don’t seem to realize is , picking fights with the likes of Google and FaceBook is NOT the same as getting some file sharing site closed down , or seizing a domain here and there.
These are $100 billion + corporations and when they fight back,and they will, they are capable of inflicting serious damage.
Now with the TPP on the table and with Hollywood once again huddled in secret meetings helping to draft it, its time for big tech players to take the friggin gloves off and wade into this fight right now.

nasch (profile) says:


Under rules governing the practice of law one of the clients whould have to go because of a clear conflict. I see no reason that the same rule should not apply in other contexts, lobbying being one of them.

That doesn’t explain this:

“They are doing everything they can to ensure that the tech industry and Facebook in particular doesn’t have any talent to go up to the Hill,” one tech lobbyist said of the content providers.

It’s an unnamed source, so take with a grain of salt, etc, but if it was nothing more than a conflict of interest issue we would expect to see an equal number of lobbyists resolving it by terminating entertainment business to go with tech. Do you have any reason to think that’s happening?

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