Inauspicious Start For Chris Dodd At MPAA; Starts Off With 'Infringement No Different Than Theft' Claim

from the they-pay-you-$1.5-million-to-lie dept

No surprise, really, but former Senator Chris "I won't become a lobbyist" Dodd has begun his new tenure as a lobbyist for the MPAA on an inauspicious note -- by falsely claiming that infringement is no different than "looting."
"You know if you walk down main street people would arrest you if you walk into a retail store and stole items," Dodd said. "It's called looting in some cases. That's exactly what is happening with intellectual property. It's being looted and that needs to stop."
So, it looks like more of the same from the MPAA: more focusing on the wrong problem. More blaming everyone else for their own failures to adapt. More playing the victim. And, for that, they're "only" paying Dodd $1.5 million, an increase from the $1.2 million they paid predecessor Dan Glickman. The entire MPAA budget is about $100 million per year, and they spend almost none of that money on actually helping the industry adapt, but throw tons of money away lobbying for laws that won't help (and that trample the rights of others). Can't we just skip ahead to the inevitable failures and try something different?

Filed Under: chris dodd, lobbying
Companies: mpaa

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  1. identicon
    Joe Publius, 16 Mar 2011 @ 2:31pm

    Let's review this carefully

    If you went into your local bestbuy, and started ripping DVDs onto your laptop, and then left with those ripped movies on your machine, do you not think you have stolen something?

    The discs are still in the store, aren't they? So I sure didn't steal them, so what exactly happened to the movies on my hypothetical hard drive.

    They were copied. Copying is not the same as stealing.

    You can tapdance on the head of a pin, but in the end, you have something that you didn't pay for, don't have the rights for, and obtained without permission. That pretty much all adds up to theft.

    Copyright infringement has to do with the improper use of the expression of an idea. Once an idea is expressed, what natural right does anyone have to keep it? Once you sing a song, how do keep another from remembering it or singing it themselves or their friends? Once you assemble a dress, and it hits the catwalk, what rights do you truly have to dispense permission for others to use the color scheme on it?

    The rights and permissions that you assume are so inseparable from ideas exist only because of laws. As a matter of morality isn't it reasonable to find it opressive and forceful, and therfore wrong, for one to express an idea, then spend time preventing others from using it?

    Remember, when you "buy" a DVD, you aren't buying just the shiny plastic disc, but you are also buying "rights". Even if you replicate the contents of the disc, you still have not purchased the rights. Thus, you have stolen something.

    Since IP has more to do with laws, than good and evil, it makes sense to understand what the purpose of the law is for. A generally accepted definition is an exlusive right to copy, adapt and distribute an original work. That's pretty exclusive, right? I write a book, and I legally get to decide who makes a copy, how it gets out there, and even who can write something based off it? That is a monopoly on an idea, and in many countries, including this one, monopolies are frowned upon as potentially bad for consumers and markets.

    So why allow something that we normally see as counter-productive? In the US, the reason was to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

    IP laws are business arrangements. You get a temporary monopoly, you produce something useful for us. Some people, quite a few, I'd imagine, think that this arrangement has gone out of whack. Instead of an incentive to create, it's an economic bludgeon used to,its worst expressions, extort and suppress. And even worse, these monopolies are becoming even longer. These are bad laws imparting bad rights.

    They may be laws, and I may be a person lawful enough to follow them, but that doesn't mean that they are good laws.

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