Songwriters Guild: Network Neutrality Means More Piracy

from the oh-really-now? dept

There has been an effort made by some to try to connect the totally unrelated issues of network neutrality and unauthorized file sharing together. There is no connection between the two, but that won't stop busy lobbyists from doing their best to drum up such a connection. Copycense points us to the news that Grover Nordquit's group has decided to push this line of nonsense by parroting claims by the Songwriter's Guild of America (SGA) that accepting net neutrality is akin to encouraging piracy. How? That's not clear, because there's really no connection at all. The best they can say is that net neutrality would prevent efforts to crack down on file sharing (except, every plan for net neutrality has explicitly had exceptions for such things). I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am not in favor of laws mandating neutrality, but the arguments made by those against it are so over-the-top ridiculous that it's actually making me wonder why. There are reasonable arguments against mandating neutrality, but these groups don't make them.

That it's the SGA making these arguments initially shouldn't come as a surprise. The group has a rather antiquated view of business models and modern technology, and its boss has declared in the past that songwriting would not occur without copyright -- an obviously incorrect statement. The SGA has become a caricature of itself in the last few years. Rather than admitting that the market is changing and working with songwriters to help them adapt, it has basically decided the only reasonable strategy is to go crying to the government for more protectionism, and greater mandatory licensing fees. This is an odd group for the anti-net neutrality types to team up with, since most of them claim their reasons for being against net neutrality is to get away from government meddling in the internet industry. And then they go and team up with the SGA, who's entire purpose is to encourage more government meddling in the music business? Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed...

Separately, it's probably worth noting that ITIF, a "think tank" in DC and which has been a huge anti-net neutrality voice, has just come out with a poorly researched, poorly argued, joke of a report on "reducing digital piracy." In it, they promote kicking people off the internet (based on accusations, not convictions) under a three strikes regime, and also that ISPs should filter and monitor their networks to try to stop infringement. Apparently, ITIF is not a big fan of your privacy... but it's own... well, just try to find out who funds ITIF? That's secret. Funny how that works. Otherwise the report repeats a bunch of sweeping claims that have no support in reality, and does not back them up. It states, repeatedly, that you can't compete with free, even as many smart businesses do that every day. The report advocates DRM, and amusingly fails to mention the massive failure of every DRM system to date, and the harm it has done to legitimate users. But, of course, it saves most of its focus on supporting "technical measures" from ISPs to inspect your content and stop you if they think you're doing anything wrong. Welcome to the big brother state. The report also supports ACTA, even though it admits it doesn't know what's included. Basically, it's "recommendations" straight from the entertainment industry, with no basis in reality. And, with a nice "net neutrality" tie-in. Those ties seem likely to get closer, which is unfortunate. Funny that those who keep claiming they want the government to "stay out" of the internet, are so keen to have them very actively involved when it comes to copyright.

Filed Under: digital content, grover nordquist, net neutrality, piracy, songwriters
Companies: itif, sga


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  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 17 Dec 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

    "Obviously written by someone who has never written a song. It would simply be impossible to kill off the creation of new music. Music, well, quality music, does not come from your wallet. It comes from an unstoppable force within you."

    Thank God someone said it before me. This is a concept that people who don't create simply don't seem to comprehend. Like all forms of art, be it music, film, poetry, fiction, paintings, etc., true art is created because it MUST be created and can't NOT be created. That art can vary in degrees of quality, but I have never spoken with an artist who created solely for monetary gain, nor even primarily for monetary gain. The urge to create comes from within, it simply MUST be done.

    "The question I have for you is this: Why should we artificially prop up a failing business model? If this one dies, a new one will come into existence. As someone once said, P2P will not kill off the music industry, only the current industry."

    What I think is going to be the wonderful outcome of all of this is the return to regional art, music, fandom, etc. The mega-star on the international stage might be going away to some degree, whether they like it or not. What might, and I for one hope, replace the current artistic business will be one where many more artists have much smaller but much more passionate followings that are based more on common geography than label or publisher promotion. Smaller regional concerts at smaller venues....but three times as many of them!

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