Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

from the guilt-by-arrogance? dept

I’m planning to do some more thorough coverage of many of the comments that were submitted to the IP Enforcement Coordinator for next year’s “Joint Strategic Plan.” I just need to find an open block of time to go through a bunch of them. However, the folks over at TorrentFreak have highlighted one of the more ridiculous claims made in the combined filing from the RIAA & MPAA — suggesting that people like Kim Dotcom are guilty of breaking the law because they’re rich, arrogant and are trying to influence public opinion:

In this case, the Justice Department and other federal agencies are now grappling with a set of wealthy and arrogant defendants who are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to sway public opinion against efforts to hold them accountable…

This reminds me of the debate I had with Jonathan Taplin, in which he referred to Kim Dotcom’s (rented) yacht, and asked where were the musicians’ yachts. Thing is, if I wanted to, I could easily find evidence of various rock stars with yachts. I could easily point to evidence of record label and movie studio execs with yachts, or who are phenomenally wealthy. Hell, I could just point you to the fact that the RIAA’s boss, Cary Sherman made $3.2 million in salary in 2009 — a number that I imagine is more than what nearly every single person reading this site makes in a year (or, in their lifetimes). Being wealthy is certainly no sign of guilt. And he got this amount even as he’s leading the RIAA through it’s clear decline in relevance phase, where he’s still fighting the wrong war.

Similarly, it’s not hard to find examples of massive arrogance on the part of these execs — from the RIAA and MPAA putting down the public (repeatedly) or ignoring valid concerns about SOPA and PIPA, to decades of arrogant efforts to destroy all kinds of innovations they don’t like, from radio to cable TV to the VCR to the mp3 player to the DVR.

Finally, these are the guys who run the media, and they’re complaining about a few execs trying to influence public opinion? The MPAA’s largest members are Universal (who owns NBC), Disney (who owns ABC), Viacom (who owns a bunch of TV stations and spun off CBS). And they’re going to complain that some tech folks have an undue influence on public opinion? Really? And, let’s not forget that these same groups have also “left no stone unturned” for decades in trying to influence public opinion. “Home taping is killing music.” Remember that? You know those “FBI warnings” on every single movie you watch?

I’d say that if we’re going to stack up which side of the debate has involved more “wealthy and arrogant” individuals “who are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to sway public opinion”… it has to start with the RIAA and the MPAA. But, of course, they’re allowed to do all of that, because none of it is illegal. But to try to associate such activity with illegality seems to be a stretch way beyond anything reasonable. Is Kim Dotcom loud, arrogant, crass and tacky in his displays of wealth? Absolutely. I doubt he’s the kind of person I’d care to spend any amount of time with, personally. But just because his style is so outlandish, it doesn’t automatically make him a criminal, as the RIAA and MPAA imply. Similarly, I don’t automatically assume that super wealthy, arrogant individuals who work for the entertainment industry are obviously criminals either.

It is really quite obnoxious and demeaning for these large trade agencies to go around smearing people based on superficial items like arrogance and wealth. Kim Dotcom may eventually be found guilty of criminal activity. And, at that point, they’re free to publicize that his actions here were criminal. But in the meantime, they’re acting like cliquish high school girls, tarring and feathering people because they don’t like the way they look or act.

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Companies: mpaa, riaa

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Comments on “Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So”

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59 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

‘these are the guys who run the media, and they’re complaining about a few execs trying to influence public opinion? The MPAA’s largest members are Universal (who owns NBC), Disney (who owns ABC), Viacom (who owns a bunch of TV stations and spun off CBS).’
and also dont forget that they influenced greatly (if not actually own) the majority of politicians in the majority of countries, or manage to entice or encourage them to do what they are told in order to try to keep these industries afloat and the execs in the manner to which they have become accustomed over the last however many decades!
add to that the way they are allowed to lie, cheat and deceive to get ‘evidence’ all of which is able to be used against whomsoever they decide but almost all that is presented in the defense of those accused is thrown out or at least twisted beyond useable belief!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Don’t throw stones at your neighbors house when you have a glass roof. Something like that. And it’s a pretty peculiar occurrence here as it seems Kim has a pretty sturdy roof in this case. Regardless of his personality that I find quite amusing and entertaining (in disagreement with Mike) but I never met Dotcom personally so I can’t really judge.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re:

Don’t throw stones at your neighbors house when you have a glass roof. Something like that. And it’s a pretty peculiar occurrence here as it seems Kim has a pretty sturdy roof in this case. Regardless of his personality that I find quite amusing and entertaining (in disagreement with Mike) but I never met Dotcom personally so I can’t really judge.

Damn didn’t notice I wasn’t logged when I posted that. Cheers ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ninja (profile) says:

Considering they are trying repeatedly to throw Dotocom’s past into the lawsuit it’s not surprising they’ll try to paint him in a very dark picture. It’s pretty much what the MAFIAA did with STC (http://www.surfthechannel.com/). They acted as organized crime thugs and destroyed one man’s life. Because they can.

That’s why Dotcom must win this, he has access to more resources than STC so there are more chances of wining. Despite whatever we may think of Dotcom, if he’s innocent and the MAFIAA (via their US lapdogs) are twisting the law and doing all sorts of illegal things to bring him down then we MUST support Dotcom. Justice must be delivered in a fair manner.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Teeny little correction there: Dotcom had more resources, before they were all seized/stolen. Currently, financially at least, the average person probably would be able to come up with more funding than he could, and given how much weight a hefty bank account gives to one’s chances in the legal system these days…

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re:

I think it goes something like this…

Doc: You know what they say: People in glass houses sink sh-sh-ships.
Rocco: Doc, I gotta buy you, like, a proverb book or something. This mix’n’match shit’s gotta go.
Doc: What?
Connor: A penny saved is worth two in the bush, isn’t it?
Murphy: And don’t cross the road if you can’t get out of the kitchen.

-Boondock Saints ๐Ÿ˜€

Anonymous Coward says:

Is Being Rich And Arrogant Against The Law? The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So

Actually the proper title would be:

Is being rich, arrogant, drug addict, making flashy parties with a wealth of whores and running a mafia organized crime style business against the Law?

Makes us wonder.

Agreed. The MPAA/RIAA’s of the world must be stopped.

Jay (profile) says:

Re:

Media consolidation is a grave concern. I’m surprised that with all of their chances to influence the public the MPAA hasn’t done so like it did with the SOPA debates.

Here’s an idea though… If the industries want to lock up people for violating copyright law…

Why don’t we start with them?

False claims of copyright?
Massive destruction of culture?
Affecting trade policies?
Effective monopolies?
Bribery?
Extortion?

What haven’t we seen from these trade industries that indicate old fashioned mercantilism similar to what the Founding Fathers were fighting against when they created the Boston Tea Party?

Richard (profile) says:

Mote's and beams?

Glass houses?
Pots and Kettles?

How about motes and beams?
From Matthew’s Gospel

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? …

John Fenderson (profile) says:

3.2 million

Yes, this is about right. Furthermore, if you’re pulling in over around $90,000 a year, that puts you in the top 10% of the income spread in the nation.

I’ve long been fascinated by perception of wealth. I’ve known many people all across the income spectrum. Wealthy people who below the 1% or so mark very rarely think they are wealthy. I’ve always found that to be incredibly weird. Even weirder, there is a middle-class income range in which people are likely to wrongly consider themselves “wealthy”.

Poor people, however, know they’re poor.

bob says:

fbi notices

netflix and hulu didn’t have the fbi notices.
and (I’m told) the pirated movies don’t have them.
I think the RIAA and MPAA should demand these notices be on every version of the movie.
including in the theaters. :-S
and peope in theaters, after watching previews, should have to sit through a minute or two of nothing but FBI/ICE notice on the big screen, so they all remember.
see the feedback from that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anonymous Coward says:

Mote's and beams?

Yeah, if you measure a man based on charitable donations, then people will find it reasonable to look at your own charatable giving.

If you measure a man by how faithful to his wife he is, then it will be seen as fair game to judge you for all the times you snuck around with the office lady behind your own wife’s back.

It’s not that hard a concept to grasp. You’d think people would learn this without the need to have it written down.

Zos (profile) says:

Re:

I bet you’d enjoy it more than you think.
this guy seemed to find it pretty epic.

http://www.dailydot.com/news/kim-dotcom-twitter-pool-party/

Dotcom was having his usual Sunday rendezvous, driving around his estate in motorbikes and swimming, when a puzzled Twitter user, Ben Gracewood, asked Dotcom if he spends all day driving around and posing for pictures. ?I could live like that,? Gracewood joked.

Dotcom replied, ?Come over now!?

Gracewood, along with two others, lived ?like that? for a few hours, at least. They went over to Dotcom?s house and tweeted for a few hours.

To prove that this bizarre experience was actually happening, Dotcom posted photos and live-tweeted the event with the hashtag #swimatkims. He tweeted the pool party was ?fun? and hinted that he might hold another one in the future. (We posted a Storify created by a New Zealand magazine of the event below.)

?#swimatkims will return for everybody. Need a big public pool. Awesome DJ. Sound & lights. Who?s in?,? tweeted Dotcom. Gracewood created a website and posted on his blog about his ordeal.

?It was a mix of completely surreal and utterly mundane,? Gracewood wrote .

Togashi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Or you can go with Demetri Martin’s version:

How about “Nobody should throw stones.” That’s crappy behavior. My policy is: “No stone throwing regardless of housing situation.” Don’t do it. There is one exception though. If you’re trapped in a glass house, and you have a stone, then throw it. What are you, an idiot? So maybe it’s “Only people in glass houses should throw stones, provided they are trapped in the house with a stone.” It’s a little longer, but yeah.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: 3.2 million

This is true, but this effect is because the “rich-middle-poor” range is too coarse for anything but gross generalizations.

Most poor people in the US are what used to be called “upper-lower” or “middle-lower” class. These people are relatively poor by US standards, but average or moderately wealthy by the standards of the poorest parts of the world.

However, the US also has many really, truly poor people by any standard.

Also, even judging just by US standards, there are quite a lot of middle-class people who consider themselves poor but who are not anything of the sort. USians have a strong tendency to overestimate how wealthy the average USian is.

Rapnel (profile) says:

“… The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So”

They do seem to think a lot of things that conflict with the preferences of those that choose (or not) to keep them aloft.

Law or no law – I perceive their actions as long going and ongoing infractions against people. All people.

The world where these guys now find themselves playing in grows a little bit closer, as a people, every day. The governments notwithstanding.

Let them try to make their rules – but, henceforth, now is as easy as it’s going to be for rule making and business plan raking. Yours is broken, you can only keep breaking other plans for so long until you’re totally and completely recognized for the whores you so blatantly seem to be.

“The Media” is The King. Ergo…

Rapnel (profile) says:

“… The RIAA & MPAA Seem To Think So”

They do seem to think a lot of things that conflict with the preferences of those that choose (or not) to keep them aloft.

Law or no law – I perceive their actions as long going and ongoing infractions against people. All people.

The world where these guys now find themselves playing in grows a little bit closer, as a people, every day. The governments notwithstanding.

Let them try to make their rules – but, henceforth, now is as easy as it’s going to be for rule making and business plan raking. Yours is broken, you can only keep breaking other plans for so long until you’re totally and completely recognized for the whores you so blatantly seem to be.

“The Media” is The King. Ergo…

Anonymous Coward says:

Great post

How about asking RIAA and MPAA to refund the tax they are still getting from recordable media (from back in the VHS days)?

How about forcing them to make royalty payments to muscians more transparent (as if that shouldn’t be a basic right) or to actually pay out all royalties collected, or to pay musician’s the money collected from John Doe settlements?

How about filing cases for bribery (“we paid for that trade bill”)? I still don’t understand how they have escaped RICO. Maybe it is time to break up “too big to fail” corporations / trade organizations.

Maybe they should give the public a choice and not obscure whether a label is RIAA-associated or not. They know the public is against them.

They (RIAA and MPAA) make Dotcom seem innocent in comparison, not the reverse.

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