Don Henley Hatred Of YouTube Clouding His Vision On PROTECT IP

from the but-you-can-see-him-for-just-two-grand dept

While the entertainment industry thought that getting PROTECT IP approved was going to be a walk in the park, they've been taken somewhat by surprise at the level of resistance to the bill over the last few months. It looks like they're now trying to break out "the big guns." And, by "big guns" we mean out-of-touch millionaire old fogey rockers who have name brand appeal, but little actual knowledge. In this case, it's an op-ed piece by Don Henley in USA Today. Henley has become quite the curmudgeon over the past few years, lashing out at everyone for not giving him more money. A year ago, he was claiming that it's all YouTube's fault:
And Henley reserved particular ire for YouTube, which he described as a "fence" for stolen intellectual property. "YouTube is one of the biggest violators or copyright laws in the world," he said. "A tremendous amount of the content on YouTube is a copyright violation.... I'm not a fan of YouTube at all for their part in aiding and abetting copyright violations."
Given his belief that YouTube is a "rogue" site, his views on PROTECT IP are especially troubling. It appears that Henley really wants to shut down YouTube. Most of the article is a misguided, misleading or simply false attack on both Google and anyone, such as the EFF, who supports basic user rights:
Critics of this pending legislation need to be honest about the company they keep and why they essentially aid and abet these criminal endeavors. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a civil liberties group, claims such a bill would "break the Internet," while Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says it sets "a disastrous precedent" for freedom of speech. No one has the freedom to commit or abet crimes on the Internet. Stopping crime on the Internet is not, as EFF says, "censorship." There is no First Amendment right to infringe intellectual property rights.
First of all, no, there is no First Amendment right to infringe, but no one has claimed that there is either. But PROTECT IP goes way, way beyond what Henley describes. He also fails to respond to the "break the Internet" claim, which comes from a group of very well-respected technologists who had a major role in building the internet's core infrastructure. Henley just brushes that off by pretending that Google just wants to keep "accepting untold advertising dollars from illegal online pharmacies."

But the bigger issue is that Henley totally ignores the points that the EFF has raised about the problem of PROTECT IP. He's right that stopping infringement is not censorship, but the bill is extremely broad and goes way beyond stopping infringement. In a weak attempt to do so, it advocates outright censorship with no due process.

In the meantime, if Henley wants to look at "the company anyone keeps," perhaps he should look at his friends who are supporting PROTECT IP. And we should remind Don Henley that not so long ago he was pointing out that piracy isn't a problem, and the real problem was the RIAA and the major record labels. Apparently he's changed his mind.

Oh, and if you'd like to see just how badly Henley is suffering from all this infringement in person, you can buy tickets to an upcoming Eagles concert for $2134 a pop. At least they set aside some "cheap seats" for the kids. The nosebleed seats where you can barely see the stage... those will run you a mere $116. Actually, that's just the list price, and you can't buy a single ticket at that price. You have to buy two. There are some (more expensive) tickets where you can buy just one, but then you have to add in the service fee ($21.65) and a delivery fee ($15). Amusingly, even if you choose to show up and pick up the ticket yourself, you still pay the delivery fee. So the absolute cheapest price you can pay to see Don Henley in concert, in the nosebleed seats will run you... $153.65. Yeah, but all that infringement is killing the music business, huh?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Eagles Concert

    $2K+ for some seats right by the stage sounds like "access" to me, so why the fuss? For a site that deals with economics, supply and demand seems to have taken a back seat to looking for a reason to diss Mr. Henley just because he happens to support some pending legislation.

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