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. icon
    Jose_X (profile), 1 Jan 2010 @ 6:00am

    It's up to us

    When more people (eg, artists) start leveraging open licenses and learn the joys of experiencing and being a part of what can be created when you work in concert with others, then we will be creating such a high volume of interesting material that we will be using these draconian laws against these very companies as they try to "leech" of us and "pirate" us and "steal" from us etc etc etc. We already know that they employ a double standard when it suits them.

    It doesn't take a super person to create something interesting. With modest determination and collaboration much can be achieved even with modest "talent".

    The industry still has the ability to tap into expensive productions and marketing, but the little person is getting close because of the low costs of the Internet, of free open source software, and of sophisticated cheaper hardware.

    It's also important that people creating also include the source material to the works and not just the finished product. This way value can be added throughout the various parts of the production by different contributors with different talents.. and so that the secrets get spread faster.

    People, if you don't want to share your secrets with the public (the "public" will include like-minded peers you never knew existed), then you won't learn the benefits of leverage.

    In short, to humble the large industry players down, we need to create more things through inexpensive tools and through collaboration and through share-alike licenses (see Creative Commons share-alike licenses and GPL license). Also, we should try to rely 100% on legally licensed material in order to really gain the leverage we want. Today, people adding value frequently are starting off with material already copyrighted and owned by these titans.

    Also, the open source software movement will have to reach out because most artists don't know how to create their own tools and many (inexpensive) tools today are digital tools that can or have been created using open source and would be /are available for $0.

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