MPAA: Real Patriots Don't Share
from the nationalism-as-a-business-model? dept
There has been a war of language and thought going on in the copyright debate for years. People think in language just as they speak in language, which is why content industry groups have gone to such lengths to pervert nuanced legal language into stacatto and misleading buzzwords crafted purely for public consumption. This language war is the reason why when I Google the word "piracy", the first page gives me the Wikipedia article for the war act of piracy and then in the news items I get a story about lawmakers wondering if search engines contribute to piracy.
Well, the MPAA, never shy to jump on the hyperbole train, is doing its best to make the debate about patriotism, rather than the actual issues, by cloaking itself in the American flag. Michael O'Leary, Vice President of the MPAA, spoke at a hearing with the House Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property, Competition, and Internet Sub-Comittee (say that three times fast). Look at the whole quote first:
"The key foundation of American industry, the expectation that hard work and innovation is rewarded, is imperiled when thieves, whether online or on the street, are allowed to steal America's creative products and enrich themselves along the way. Rampant theft of American intellectual property puts the livelihoods of the workers who invest time, energy and fortune to create the filmed entertainment enjoyed by millions at risk; to these men and women and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits. We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration's work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will go a long way towards shutting down the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works and close a gap in the intellectual property law."
Three sentences with so much intellectual dishonesty, subtle word games, and nationalism wrapped up in a tidy knot that it's sickening. First, to get it out of the way, note the word games being played through the legally incorrect use of the words "thieves", "steal", and "digital theft". This is the game they play with words and thought.
But more prominent is the plea for American nationalism in his words. Like so much bad policy before it, COICA legislation (which has been dutifully renamed "rogue sites legislation" by O'Leary, as the word games continue) is being wrapped by supporters in the flag. We've seen this movie before and we know how it works. The Patriot Act was wrapped in the American flag (more word games) because if the time spent saying, "This here bill is good for 'Merica" was spent actually explaining to people what it was, the public outcry would be heard loud and clear. It's the same with COICA, as the MPAA subtlely informs us that taking down "rogue" sites without true due process is somehow as American as Superman and apple pie (pay no attention to the innocents caught in the crossfire).
But as long as O'Leary wants us to pledge allegiance to flag of the Motion Picture Association of America, I have a couple of questions. Is applauding government censorship American? Is it American to push around our fellow nations of the world to adopt laws simply because our industry wants them to? Does the land of the free and the home of the brave really mean tucking your tail between your legs and running to daddy government because you don't know how to maximize your profit margins in the digital world?
I'll tell you what, O'Leary: I'll start taking lessons in patriotism from the MPAA about the same time I accept an invitation to the Ku Klux Klan's symposium on racial tolerance...