Biden, Goodlatte Preach To The IP Maximalist Choir, Vow To Make 'Second-Rate' Countries Bend To US IP Laws
from the what-do-you-give-industries-that-have-everything? dept
One of the rules of public speaking is: know your audience. You can hold people’s attention better and garner support by following this rule. This doesn’t mean you need to prostrate yourself before them and give them exactly what they want, however. Once you do that, you’re just preaching to the choir, like Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Robert Goodlatte did recently.
Here’s the pitch:
Vice President Joe Biden told members of the tech and entertainment industry that intellectual property protections need to be bolstered to account for changing technologies and foreign threats.
That’s a pretty delusional assumption on Biden’s behalf. There’s no indication that “bolstering” IP laws is the only route worth taking, especially when considering “changing technologies.” Stronger IP protection isn’t a panacea. It’s little more than legislatively pleasuring overly-satiated incumbent industries.
But every choir needs a preacher, especially this one.
American creativity needs protections at home and abroad to thrive, he said, speaking at an event hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America and Microsoft.
Give the people what they want to hear. That’s the real message Biden is sending. Lifetime plus 70 years still isn’t enough protection. 20-year patents (plus extensions triggered by any number of variables) isn’t enough protection. Trademark forever isn’t enough protection. ICE partnering with the MPAA to play copyright cop isn’t enough protection.
But enough about the domestic front. The other “obstacle” these industries face on their way to record sales numbers is “weak” protections abroad.
In addition to benefitting American creators, other countries would benefit from having stronger intellectual property protections, he continued.
“Until they clamp down on copyright infringement … those nations will remain second-rate powers, unable to nurture that environment that enables home grown innovation.”
Oh, sweet lord. Trust Daddy Yankee. The First World is the First World because copyright lasts well over 100 years in most cases. All of you “second-rate” countries need to lock IP the fuck down if you ever want to make something of yourselves. Look at all this condescension! Play by our rules if you want to succeed, Biden says, without offering anything in the way of evidence.
You can practically hear the “amens” from here. Of course Microsoft and the MPAA want to hear the US will shame, cajole, threaten or TPP every other country into compliance. Might = right, and the US wields the mightiest IP laws of all.
Goodlatte also pitched in a bit, pretending he and his committee are “conducting a sweeping review” of copyright law. He’s also taken part in the “Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus,” which had done little more than “call on” ad networks to stop “supporting” whatever sites the Caucus/incumbents have determined to be “pirate sites.”
Here’s Goodlatte’s contribution, which follows a statement where he expresses faith in legislators’ ability to bend China to America’s will.
Ultimately, the U.S. needs to have laws and business models that protect intellectual property, Goodlatte continued.
“We’ve got to convince consumers that they’ve got a long term investment in paying something,” he said.
“If you don’t reward the creators, you’re not going to get the creativity.”
The US has “laws and business models that protect intellectual property.” Does he actually believe the US doesn’t? What Goodlatte envisions is some sort of IP utopia where nothing is ever
stolen infringed and incumbents are allowed to return to their profit-margin heydays of physical goods and exorbitant profit margins. The MPAA simply isn’t thrilled with the options that do exist, with the attendant irony being that it has had a hand in the creation of these suddenly inadequate laws.
But Goodlatte goes further and blames those who pay for content for not paying enough, or often enough. Stupid consumers, Goodlatte says, why don’t you just make everyone rich(er)? If you’re not going to buy DVDs for $20-25 and CDs for $15-20, then the whole creative system will just collapse. At some point. In the future. Presumably.
Napster killed everything off in 1999, according to RIAA lawyers, and since then, it’s been a real struggle to find music being made or movies being produced or books being written, said no one outside of the incumbent industries ever. The world is full of creative works, which are being generated at a pace faster than any time in history. Technological advances have made every computer a recording studio/production studio/publishing platform, and yet somehow “technology” is pointed out as the entity that destroyed creativity.
The MPAA wants you to believe that without its help — and its lobbied-for IP laws — no one would make movies. Microsoft wants you to believe that other countries are destroying its business, while it retains lucrative contracts with government agencies and controls the most widely-used software in the business world. Won’t someone step up and give these poor souls a hand in their fight against third-rate countries with lousy IP laws and even worse extradition policies?
And up come BIden and Goodlatte’s free hands, signaling their intent to browbeat the rest of the world into deploying the same crappy IP laws that gut the public domain, block affordable generic drugs and generally make it that much harder for our “second-rate” brethren get a leg up in the international economy.