Legacy Recording Industry To Trump: Please Tell Tech Companies To Nerd Harder To Censor The Internet
from the feeding-right-into-the-program dept
Last week, we wrote about the ridiculous suggestion from the former Newspaper Association of America (now called the News Media Alliance) that President Donald Trump should scale back fair use because newspapers still don’t like Google. As we noted, at a time when Trump has been strongly endorsing censoring newspapers, for those very newspapers to tell Trump to undermine a key cog in protecting free speech was absolutely ridiculous.
And, of course, now we can add the legacy recording industry to this same “shoot foot” brigade. Upon hearing about Trump’s meeting with the heads of a bunch of top tech companies, the RIAA and a bunch of related recording industry associations (including ASCAP, BMI, A2IM, NMPA, SoundExchange and more… ) have sent a letter to Trump (found via Variety), asking him to force the internet companies to nerd harder to find better ways to censor the internet. This is fairly incredible, seeing as the traditional recording industry wasn’t exactly a major Trump supporter. For them to now reach out to Trump and urge him to increase censorship of the internet is fairly astounding and sickening. Basically, to the RIAA and friends, hatred of Google and the internet is more important than concepts like free expression or holding our elected officials accountable.
Of course, the legacy recording industry doesn’t come out and directly say “censor the internet,” but that’s exactly what they’re asking for here (though watch the blog posts from defenders of the industry howl about me making this intent obvious):
Surely the world?s most sophisticated technology corporations can do better ? by helping to prevent illegal access and paying fair market value for music with prices set by or based on the free market.
Strong protection for intellectual property rights will assure growth in both creativity and technology, benefiting the American economy as a whole.
We hope you will lead the effort to assure American creativity is encouraged, invested in, protected and fairly compensated in a manner that carries out the exclusive rights guaranteed in the Constitution to those who, with the genius of their mind, form the cultural identity of our great nation.
The call for censorship is in “preventing access” which means blocking what you can do online. The hilarious part is the “prices set based on the free market” because that’s exactly what the industry is protesting. The whole “value gap” bullshit is basically the industry saying “we do not like what price the free market is setting, and therefore we need the government to artificially inflate prices through monopolies.
Just to be clear, if you’re whining about not getting “fair compensation” you’re clearly saying “I’m upset about the price the free market has set.”
But the bigger issue here is the censorship piece. I shouldn’t have to detail here how many times we’ve shown that copyright is abused for censorship purposes (including by governments). The call to hold platforms more accountable and putting the onus on them to “nerd harder” is a call to ramp up tools for censorship-via-copyright. This is pretty ridiculous — and one hopes that musicians who have spoken out against Trump will also speak out against this demand to give him and his friends more power to censor parts of the internet.