Copyright Lobbyists Celebrate Latest Bogus Stats With Willing Gov't Officials

from the this-is-depressing dept

Every day, we see greater and greater evidence that too stringent copyright laws are harming creative efforts rather than encouraging them. The evidence is all around us and growing. But, very few in the government recognize this. They don't actually look at the real research on these things. Instead, they accept as gospel the ridiculous debunked research that comes out of the industry lobbyists who benefit the most from such protectionism that limits real and meaningful competition. And no one calls them on it. Take, for example, this Internet News report on how lobbyists for the music, movie and software industries all got together with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and talked up a new and misleading study from the International Intellectual Property Association that talks up the importance of copyright.

Unfortunately, the report has many, many problems. It mistakenly assumes that anything covered by copyright (i.e., any sort of creative output) is created solely because of copyright. Plenty of content/software/etc. is not created because of copyright -- but this study assumes that it is and that it needs to be protected -- even though for much of it, that's unlikely to be true. That leads to a very distorted picture, because it makes you automatically think that granting more copyright is better, even if much of that output would have been done anyway -- and even if there would have been more output without copyright. It falsely assumes that the production is because of copyright, rather than just covered by copyright.

But, with such bogus stats -- and gullible gov't officials -- it's easy to push for more protectionism and stronger copyright laws as being necessary to "protect" these industries. The industry officials went on and on at the get together, falsely blaming "piracy" for the music industry's troubles -- ignoring that real studies (i.e., not lobbyist-backed ones) are telling quite a different story. The overall industry is actually thriving -- in part because of the better ability to distribute and promote content and software at greatly diminished costs (often free). Ignoring these benefits, and treating them all as harm is a huge mistake.

But, it's these lobbyists and their bogus numbers that have the ears of our elected officials. What a shame. No one was invited to suggest the countering viewpoint or to show why the industry's numbers were clearly false. No one was there to discuss how stronger copyright actually harms creative output, and to show how these very industries have repeatedly fought against and shut down innovations that could have helped the economy. No one was there to question why politicians would simply accept industry-financed studies. And, no reporters seemed to have asked these questions, either. It's just politics and business as usual.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 5:38pm

    Crystal Ball: Revenue opportunity for the enterprising entrepreneur!

    Does Gary Locke have Facebook Fan Club where fans were able to collaborate on various propaganda designs (circa 1940s US or 2009 N. Korea) which profess undying support to Chairman Locke?

    These designs would be a big hit with Copyright interests and lobbyists if they were put on t-shirts, notepads, laptop bags, posters and executive desk ornaments!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Joseph King, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Crystal Ball: Revenue opportunity for the enterprising entrepreneur!


    I think this won't work because evil aliens have a proven track record of stealing the brains of government officials. But if you want to hawk wares to the alien population, have at it. :-P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    NullOp, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 7:28pm


    Why do we keep the idiots in office? Most of them have the brains of a duck and the duck wants 'em back!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Truth, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    Isn't it obvious?

    Governments are only "for the people" via rhetoric that keeps the populace complacent. Look at all the unfulfilled promises in the current US administration. Transparency? Ok not like we promised. End to Iraq? Well no, let's just tell the reporters to stop talking about it so much. Guantanamo? Still ticking. National health care? Hmm, Democrats have the executive chair and the majority of Congress but it won't happen. Why? Just blame the Republicans, that seems to work fine. Seriously, what change have we seen?

    If anyone is even the slightest bit surprised that it's "business as usual" they are being purposefully obtuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Bob Vila, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Isn't it obvious?

    Shut up douche. Nothing truthful about you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Mockingbird (profile), Jul 21st, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    The report is too perfunctory to be rightly deemed as having "many, many problems." Rather, it has the single overarching problem of being too vague. Because it never defines a "core copyright industry" and never breaks down its $13.8 billion figure, there aren't any precise mistakes mistakes we can catch the author, or the lobbyists, on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    robin, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 8:27pm

    Capture the Flag

    noticed this little gem hidden in the article:

    "Locke...has dispatched intellectual property attachés to piracy hotspots such as China, Russia and Brazil."

    which is the real reason behind the pro-ip bill that was also mentioned in the article: regulatory capture.

    mike's fulminations against patently bogus "reports" sorta misses their point, which is there is no point. they are simply window-dressing for the bureaucratic infra-structure of big content's d.c. strategy.

    it's not whether the politicians believe or not believe these reports, they see hundreds of such every day from every sort of constituency. it's a question of who has been paid how much for them to be granted political attention.

    calling mr. locke.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Industry associations come up with stats that are repeatedly criticized as "bogus". Of course the "bogus" hurlers never offer rebuttal stats. Instead, all they do is cry "bogus" and then disappear into the night.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Yosi, Jul 21st, 2009 @ 10:13pm


    I guess you're the one who asking "have you stopped beating your wife"? And than wondering why there's no honest answer.

    Stats are bogus because question itself is bogus. It's like asking "how match it cost to build a time-machine".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Tek'a R (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 12:10am


    allow me to offer a rebuttal in the language that many industrial associations would like to use.

    The Interplanetary Tranhumanist Intellectual Property Association is proud to report that so-called "IP-Theft" is not a real problem. This is plainly shown with this graph I have just drawn on a napkin.

    If you need a second opinion, please ask one of my licensed media partner corporations. They will be happy to repeat the numbers I have just given you, since I sent a memo around earlier.

    How did we at the ITIPA reach these conclusions? That's a very.. interesting.. question. The kind of thing a Terrorist would ask! Guards, Seize them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 1:58am

    Re: Re: Isn't it obvious?

    Actually Truth seems to be right on the money here, as much as I don't like to hear it.
    Just watch the Daily Show to see examples of everything Truth mentioned. (I know The Daily Show is a comedy show, but it does show the news, and they have (recently) pointed out that The White House is actually decreasing transparency, and how they haven't ended the war in Iraq, or how they haven't closed Guantanamo yet and how they are bungling up National Health Care.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Isn't it obvious?

    But that has little to do with this case. :)

    Corruption, however, is and conflicts of interest, and how lobbyists have the power now instead of the actual elected officials.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 4:16am

    Re: Why

    Vote for Ron Paul.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    That Guy, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 4:47am

    The real issue that was only mentioned at the end is that there is no one there to rubuttal(sp?hehe, butt). Its not that they weren't invited, it's that they do not speak up about how bad this is for whatever particular reason the government official would deem important. The other side needs to speak up. Politics is a battle of who can speak loudest and longest and the other side is now speaking very loud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    ..., Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 5:24am

    Re: Isn't it obvious?

    What was the topic again ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    Is this any different from the bogus readings of reports on Techdirt? Seriously, it's amazing to see how things get distorted, why on celebrate one side of the debate going big, when the file sharers and anti-copyright flacks are forever stretching the truth and playing loose and fast with the numbers?

    It's a dizzying mess lost under the piles of crosslinks in every story around here

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    This isn't just an issue of right and wrong. This is a fundamental issue of America's economic competitiveness.

    He is right is not about right and wrong, is about the capacity to compete which is being destroyed by IP laws that reward the lazy and incompetent at the expense of the really capable of surviving in a hostile and unforgiven environment, and the worst part it inhibit renewal in the market, new companies can't enter the market because is locked up, people who could have succeed will not get a chance to do so, and that is the end for creativity on any region that adopts that kind of behavior.

    As the president has said before, America's “single greatest asset is the innovation and ingenuity and creativity of the American people. It is central to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century.”

    Innovation, ingenuity and creativity needs a certain environment to happen that environment is being sterilized by IP laws that reward the incompetent and protect them not giving any reason for people to be innovative or be creative, that is why the American manufacturer's got a beating from Asia and that is why soon innovation, ingenuity and creativity will be in other parts of the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2010 @ 4:37pm


    You are right politics is about that, but reality is not.

    People don't need to speak up they just need to not give money to those morons. That is easy to acomplish they just need to keep doing whatever they been doing and soon more big labels will close their doors and hopefully big studios and all those TV stations too.

    This will be the silent treatment for all their blunders, they will fail and hand over power to other nations because they are stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2010 @ 4:44pm


    What didn't you heard, all the top 100 paid artists made more money in the last decade than they have made in the decade before you can check that in the public records.

    The numbers for losses are frequently compared to statistical growth and are found to be out of synch so either the way people teach statistics is wrong or those numbers are wrong which is it?

    There you have some good solid proof that you can check for yourself and find out the truth if you are willing to be honest which I doubt it your intent.

    Now which is the side with the "bogus" speech?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2010 @ 4:52pm

    IP laws are like rules that protect and old horse saying no other horse can go faster than the old horse or else they will be punished.

    Of course that is good for the old horse but it kills the incentive for other horses to go faster and be better, soon other horses from other places will be leaving the dust for them to see.

    Copyright is an abomination to nature, it creates weak creatures that can't survive in the race for life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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