Biden Convenes 'Piracy Summit' That Appears To Be Entirely One-Sided

from the of-course dept

Vice President Joe Biden has long been known to be a supporter of Hollywood when it comes to making copyright laws more draconian (and, not surprisingly, Hollywood has been a strong monetary supporter of Biden campaigns). He doesn't even try to hide that he's willing to do Hollywood's bidding on copyright law. And, I don't believe I've ever heard Biden ever publicly recognize concepts like fair use or the rights of individuals. Unfortunately, it looks like the Obama White House has given Biden control over IP issues, which is why a bunch of former "anti-piracy" lawyers -- including a former Biden staffer -- are now in the Justice Department. So, I guess it should come as no surprise that Biden is convening a "piracy summit" at the White House (via Michael Geist) and the guest list appears to be entirely one-sided:
Among those expected are Sony's Michael Lynton, Warner Bros.' Barry Meyer, Viacom's Philippe Dauman, NBC Universal's Jeffrey Zucker, Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman, Harper Collins CEO Brian Murray, Universal Music Group's Zachary Horowitz, the MPAA's Dan Glickman, the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol, IATSE's international president Matthew Leob, AFTRA'S Kim Roberts Hedgepeth, DGA president Taylor Hackford, DGA exec director Jay Roth and SAG's David White.
Notice that there aren't any consumer rights representatives. No one from technology companies. No one representing a viewpoint from outside of these industries of how they might be abusing claims of "piracy" to prop up obsolete business models. Instead, it's just the echo chamber. The same folks who have been misleading politicians for ages. And, of course, whenever you get a summit like this, expect some sort of misguided "action" to follow. Update: Public Knowledge has put out a statement, noting how one-sided this gathering is, and questioning why politicians are attending what appears to be an industry gathering on how to prop up a business model. Update 2: In the press release (pdf) about this, Biden's office has the gall to claim this "will bring together all of the stakeholders." Ha! It's 100% entertainment industry interests. No tech. No consumer advocates. No ISPs. This is a complete joke. Update 3: This just gets more and more ridiculous. Reporter Ryan Reilly was covering the "summit," posting the seating chart and quoting Biden as saying that "piracy" is "flat unadulterated theft" but it looks like Reilly has now been kicked out of the summit. Openness and transparency apparently doesn't apply when it involves propping up one small industry's obsolete business model.

Filed Under: copyright, entertainment industry, joseph biden, piracy, summit

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  1. identicon
    Hephaestus's Ugly Rug, 16 Dec 2009 @ 6:41am

    Re: misguided actions ....

    It's a nice list, but totally out there. Almost every one of the items you list would violate privacy rights.


    the airports: if you are coming through customs, everything you bring through is subject to inspection, including inspections for smuggled or illegal content on your computer and other electronic devices. This is not new.

    I think there is a very strong potential that laws will be passed for "grand theft of IP" or something similar, where an individual in possession of a significant amount of pirated material would be subject not only to civil penalties (lawsuits) but criminal actions (essentially making "infringing" into theft, as it should be).

    You cannot criminalize P2P software, as it does have legitimate uses. However, I could see moves made to again criminalize operating a tracker for illegal materials, or operating a "pirate" site. Essentially, I could see ignoring DMCAs (ala pirate bay) turned into a criminal offense, not just a civil concept.

    I think in many ways this war is already being won. In Sweden, the IPRED laws and similar have made a major shift in how people are getting their music and such, and I could see other countries following down the same lines. I think that the grand time of internet anonymity is quickly coming to a close. I wouldn't be shocked to see ISPs required to keep much more accurate records of who is on which IP at what time, and perhaps a fast track for indentifying users from the IP address. IPv6 is likely to be a big government push in the next little while, and ISPs would likely be the first ones forced into action.

    You want net neutrality? Fine - but that would include not being able to hide.

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