Another Friend Of The Recording Industry Joins The House Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property And The Internet

from the another-revolving-door dept

There’s a new ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and it’s another copyright maximalist. Mel Watt, the former ranking member and one of SOPA’s biggest supporters, has moved on to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Before Mel Watt, there was subcommittee chair “Hollywood” Howard Berman, whose nickname clearly spells out which side of the copyright argument he espoused.

The newest ranking member is Jerry Nadler and he’s virtually indistinguishable from his preceding party members. Nadler’s previous legislative efforts have been the (unofficially titled) “RIAA Bailout Act of 2012” (in which he sought to raise satellite and cable radio royalty rates to match the exorbitant amount demanded of internet streaming sites) and an attempt to create a “resale right,” which would give rights holders a cut any time a creation was resold. Nadler also supported extending copyright protection to fashion designers, something that industry has proven it doesn’t actually need.

Now, he’ll be advising Bob Goodlatte (another SOPA supporter), who’s currently in the middle of a “comprehensive copyright review.” The deck seems to be rather well-stacked in favor of the copyright industries at the moment, and if the past is anything to go by, this won’t be changing in the future.

Back in 2008, there was a good chance that Rick Boucher, a legislator who had a history of siding with consumers in copyright battles, and who had been pushing to rewrite the DMCA, would succeed Berman. Rather than allow this opening to be filled by someone who might push for copyright reform, John Conyers (the head of the Judiciary Committee at the time — and another pro-copyright legislator) simply declared the subcommittee “unnecessary” and shut it down. When Boucher lost his reelection run, the subcommittee was magically resurrected and the open position given to Mel Watt.

Nadler issued some bland “working together” assurances in his press release about his new position.

“These laws are at the core of how we consume media, from watching TV and listening to music to enjoying a movie or sharing photos,” Nadler said in a statement announcing his new assignment.

“We will seek to strike the right balance between how artists, authors, musicians, photographers and other content creators are compensated for their work with the desire of technology companies to provide new and innovative ways for consumers to access this content like never before,” he said.

As The Hill’s article notes, the recording industry seems pleased with this decision, noting that Nadler’s views are aligned with outgoing member Mel Watt (and, of course, the industry’s) on the issue of levying royalties on AM and FM radio stations, formerly known as its preferred promotional tool. Nadler namechecks the future but his supporters have their sights set on extracting a revenue stream from old school, terrestrial radio. In context, the “right balance” means siding with the copyright industries and those not inclined to do so may find themselves to be ranking members of nothing, personas non grata on a subcommittee that no longer exists.

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Comments on “Another Friend Of The Recording Industry Joins The House Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property And The Internet”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Rather than allow this opening to be filled by someone who might push for copyright reform, John Conyers (the head of the Judiciary Committee at the time — and another pro-copyright legislator) simply declared the subcommittee “unnecessary” and shut it down. When Boucher lost his reelection run, the subcommittee was magically resurrected and the open position given to Mel Watt.

Who would be the person/committee to investigate this kind of stuff? I can’t possibly see that as being legal, especially if he was the one who both shut it down and brought it back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If only you knew what happens in politics in most countries… This is small scale trickery and can probably be defined as legal if you use the right interpretation of the internal rules.

Politics is dirty and this way of obstructing opposite opinions is not even close to the worst kind of sabotage.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Many people know this but I believe this person is referring to accountability.

>We need a committee. Why and what is its’ intent?

>WE no longer need this committee, it has fulfilled its’ goals. Here are the results/proof.

>We need that committee again. Here is what has transpired making it necessary again.

We are talking about the “most transparent color of black you have ever seen” government aren’t we? Surely they can come up with some [redacted] excuse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

you talk in support or artists, but what you really mean is ‘pirates’ and people who want to steal off artists, correct ??

I could believe you if you ever actually supported artists, but TD is about stealing and getting what you want regardless of the law.. lets be honest here (for once) please.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Equating ‘infringement’ with ‘stealing’ is dishonest and you should know better. No one is entitled to a government established monopoly privilege and there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with freely copying. IP laws should not exist to prevent your perception of ‘stealing’. They should only exist to serve the public interest. To promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts as required by the constitution. That the purpose of these laws has been perverted into something else entirely is arguably the single biggest reason I want IP laws abolished completely. Abolish IP laws. They aren’t intended to serve the public interest as you yourself even admit and you are not entitled to these government established monopolies. Taking my natural right to freely copy in exchange for serving your interests and the interests of others (and not the public interest) is not acceptable.

Indie B says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Maybe you could call me a bit biased as I work on the business side of the music industry. However, as a consumer and not an “artist” I will still not side with consumers in copyright battles. It’s refreshing that Nadler is not taking this approach. I do not feel consumers are entitled to consume media freely at the expense of the artist, whether that be an independent artist or not. That said, a balance does need to be struck, even if that means a more difficult time for technology companies. Who decided that the artist should suffer on behalf of the ease for these companies to make a profit exploiting their works? Some companies will adapt and prevail, and others won’t. That’s business 101.

As for abolishing IP laws and allowing free copying…that’s just purely absurd to me. Yes, IP laws have become extremely perverted since their inception, no doubt. But, as far as I’m aware, there’s no such thing as a “natural right to freely copy,” and never was. The “limited times” language has been abolished with all of the copyright extensions, yes. We need to find the balance, not abolish IP laws completely. What would we be left with besides amateur artists who never have the opportunity to protect their work and thus never have the opportunity to make a lucrative career? I’m not just thinking on behalf of the content itself. You abolish IP laws, you abolish ? rights. For example, should we really make things even more difficult for artists and take away their rights and ability to sell merchandise at shows without others exploiting their likeness cheaper in the parking lot without consequence?

Despite this narrow viewed article, I have hope Nadler will help find this missing balance between content creators, content distributers, AND the consumer. Nadler has shown an interest in the interests of indie artists and not just big media, and for that I’m very grateful and eternally hopeful.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

But, as far as I’m aware, there’s no such thing as a “natural right to freely copy,” and never was.

With all due respect, that is simply untrue. Prior to copyright and other IP laws, which have only been around for a small fraction of human history, copying others was exactly how humans learned. Histories and culture were passed from one generation to the next through song and stories. Innovations that improved living conditions were copied from the next village over and passed on to the next village.

The “natural right to freely copy” existed centuries before IP laws ever did.

Anonymous Coward says:

so sad not just to see the industries so intent on being stuck in the analogue ang but having to sucker up to governments to get particular people engaged in specific positions that will aid them stay in that era. i have to wonder on what they would say if there were such blatant bribing and protectionism displayed to have the reverse remain the norm?
as they are so anti-customer, why do they keep putting stuff out in the first place? they dont want any one who hasn’t bought a music or movie disk to watch or listen to that owned by someone else, they dont want any country or government that doesn’t give protection to their media above anything and anyone else to allow people to share. all they want is to put those very same people into jail or bankrupt them. i fail to see how taking away the ability for a person to buy something (no money, no freedom) because they didn’t buy it in the first place, gives any reasons for people to do what is wanted.
i also wonder what happens when these industry ‘big boys’ do if the have or go to a party? do they get signed permission from every artist that has their music played, or do they just play it anyway? the changing rules, i suppose.

Anonymous Coward says:

Fair enough – make the rules however you want.

Pirates will still continue unabated, despite whatever draconian rules they manage to pass (read: buy). Back people against the wall with bullshit laws, and the masses will simply disobey.

They certainly can’t afford to put everyone in jail, and trying to extract million dollar settlements from everyone will just continue to fail.

It amazes me that after all this time, they still think they can legislate whatever bullshit they want, and the masses will just fall in line.

Keep trying idiots!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Don’t like laws ??? then grow up.”

So I should just bend over just because it’s the law? You just slapped every black person who had to live through the segregation era and bartender who had to live through prohibition in the face with that statement, among others.

And for someone telling us to obey the law, you support people who have been actively violating the supreme law of the land: the Constitution, all in the name of the next idiotic dance craze or overpriced mindless action flick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Stupid Government, they should ONLY, and ALWAYS ONLY EMPLOY ENEMIES !!!!

what a freaking stupid argument to make, no wonder Masnick got Timbo to write this..

You going to Censor this too Masnick, we’ve noticed you have started you little game again.. very sad..

But expected, after all, real arguments and truth are something you don’t want your fan cultists to be exposed to.
and you have nothing else but CENSORSHIP.. (and no reputation to uphold)

bob (profile) says:

Sounds good to me

The content industries are, in general, much kinder to the people who work in them than the tech industry. They’re unionized and they get medical benefits unlike, say, the little people in the tech industry. If you’re not in the first dozen employees at a startup, you usually get a small amount of stock. And if you’re not in a startup, you’ll probably get run over by a GOOG or AAPL bus.

The fact is that all of the talk about “censorship” and “fair use” around here is really just a smoke screen for making sure that the few billionaires in silicon valley get ALL of the money. Anyone who stands in the way of Silicon Valley taking something without paying for it is accused of the worst human rights violations.

But we can translate:

“censorship” means “someone is trying to stop Google from taking everything that’s not nailed down.”

“net neutrality” means “GOOG or NETFLIX gets to take everything it wants without anyone getting in the way.”

“fair use” means “GOOG gets to make its profits without sharing anyting with non-billionaires outside of GOOG.”

Thank goodness there’s a democracy and not every member of Congress is bought by the tech billionaires.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Sounds good to me

” They’re unionized and they get medical benefits unlike, say, the little people in the tech industry. “

Comparing people at (your perception of) the bottom of the tech industry with the people at the top of the content industry is nonsense. Independent content creators aren’t exactly wealthy with benefits from their content creation endeavors (most of them have other jobs to compensate their income) yet just because you exclude them from the ‘content’ industry and only include a very small percentage of people doesn’t mean they ought to be excluded.

The tech industry provides for many more jobs than the content industry and they provide for many more jobs with benefits. Yes, they also provide people with jobs without benefits but to say that the content industries (that is content creators including independent content creators and your average content creator in opposed to just mainstream ones) provide for more on average is nonsense. Your bias is in who you count as a member of the content creator industry (only mainstream characters) vs who you count as a member of the tech industry (your average sales rep working at Fry’s electronics).

The ones in the ‘content’ industry that are being treated nice are, for example, stupid executives like Christ Dodd and others that don’t actually produce content but provide ways to scam the majority of artists with their Hollywood accounting. The Tech industry brings in much more money than the content industries and so it employs far more people and offers them more.

Do you have citations for claims or are they just made up nonsense?

Anonymous Coward says:

?We will seek to strike the right balance between how artists, authors, musicians, photographers and other content creators are compensated for their work with the desire of technology companies to provide new and innovative ways for consumers to access this content like never before”

No mention of considering consumers (other than allowing them to pay) in the talk of balancing. Just a matter of getting tech companies sales and “content creators” the money.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

Can we stop calling it “consuming,” please? The very idea of using that word drives me crazy because, as I have pointed out elsewhere, nothing is actually being subject to peristalsis and digestion when we experience content.

As with “infringement” V “theft,” nothing is being removed from site and no one is being deprived of anything. Effectively, you’re copying it to your memory and storing it there.

Using the word “consume” with “content” plays into the hands of the maximalists. It’s their word, which they use to imply loss – usually of earnings calculated via Hollywood accounting, and don’t get me started on that.

Can we please stop using their words to describe what we’re doing when we watch a movie, listen to a song, or read an article?

Anonymous Coward says:

Copyright laws currently are not perfect, but they?re in place to protect the creators of original work. Nadler is attempting to ensure that artists of all scopes can be protected from the throes of major labels. For there to be any balance between the people that use the media and those that create it, they do need to work together. Considering his prior position on the Constitution Subcommittee, he does seem to value the rights of the individual.

musickid (profile) says:

The Simplicity

Lets be real here the United States is missing out on millions and millions of dollars by not passing this law. Just look at what Pandora pays out (even if what they are paying is highway robbery). As it stands now the only people getting paid for radio play are the songwriters and music publishers. Nedlers bill if not passed will only increase the incessant winning coming from the digital streaming services asking to be treated the same as terrestrial radio. Think about it this way China, Rawanda, Vietnam, Iran and the United States (country of dreams) are stifling musicians by not paying the recording artists, record producers or record company their fair share of what they worked hard to create.
Put the money back into the musicians who created what the consumers enjoy so much and both industries will benefit greatly.

rawr says:


Terrestrial radio literally pays artists who perform songs nothing. When you discuss the issues with the “copyright industry” you need to realize that the people who are making the music are getting absolutely no money, and that is why copyright reform is necessary. Currently old school radio pays the publishers and the songwriter, but the performer and producer get nothing.

Maybe I just do not understand the argument against Nadler. Especially at a time when we see less independent artists every year, he seems like he is standing up for those hoping to actually make any money with their art and not have to have 2 other jobs just to support their dreams.

rawr says:

Re: Re: Problematic

Yes I am more than willing to pay for the products of your dream, if they are good enough to use. If you make music I will pay for it to be on my radio station, or on my television show. If you music sucks, then no I won’t use it, but if it’s good, then of course I would pay for it. It’s becomes mutually beneficial, I get a better product by enhancing it with good music, and you get to continue to make good music.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Problematic

First I need Time.

Kicking Kicking Kicking
Kicking through the air
Kicking Kicking Kicking
Because I don’t have a care

That’s why I’m Kicking
Kicking through the air
Because I know that kicking
Kicking will get me there

That is a song I wrote for my baby. I have need of time to write more songs, as well as a few stories, also for children. I should be able to live for a few years on @ $150 000. You can send the money to Mike who can forward it to me.

Angelina Evans (profile) says:

As a content creator I speak, we need someone like Nadler in the Subcommittee to have a voice for content creators. We need someone who is willing to cut against the gain and fight for the content creator community. The content creators should get their fair share. Without the creators you have no content, without content there is no radio or industry to create from it. So why can?t content creators get a royalty from their content being played on the radio or cable television? We need change, it?s about time someone stood up for the content creators to get their fair share of the royalties they deserve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Musicians and those who work with them will benefit greatly from this change. Copyright owners deserve to be able to create content and see the [financial] fruit of their labor. Music should be able to be an outlet for human expression; but when others start abusing the rights of the people making that content, people like Nadler must try to step in and make a difference.

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