CreativeAmerica: When Major Hollywood Studios Set Up Bogus 'Grassroots' Campaigns

from the don't-make-me-laugh dept

For a little over a week now, we've been receiving emails from various actors and musicians, telling us that they've been getting emails from various entertainment industry giants, telling them to join a new "grassroots" coalition called CreativeAmerica, whose main purpose is to advocate for passing the PROTECT IP censorship bill. The whole thing is clearly an astroturf campaign. It was registered via domains-by-proxy to hide who really bought the domain name. It highlights the video that was secretly created and owned by NBC Universal. It includes the totally false claim that "there's no such thing as a free movie."

If you dig into the website to figure out who's really behind it, it claims that it's a "grassroots organization," but fails to name a single creative individual who was behind putting the group together. Instead, it lists out the following companies and organizations who really put the site together (amusingly, they even block you from cutting and pasting this part, so I just retyped it -- meaning I circumvented their DRM... come at me, entertainment industry):
CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, the Screen Actors Guild, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, the Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Entertainment
Well, well. That's not a grassroots effort, folks. Now, the site also includes various unions, including the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and IATSE (stage hands, etc.). But these are the old school, out of touch unions that who have done little to nothing to help their members adapt to the times (often doing the opposite). Do we see any of the actually creative folks who have embraced new technologies, new methods of distribution and new business models? Nope.

In the meantime, how can the website seriously claim that it's a grassroots effort when it has every single major Hollywood Studio behind it. Do they think that people are stupid? And should we remind people that these are the same studios who have all sorts of scammy tricks for "Hollywood accounting" to make sure even the most successful films are never seen as profitable, allowing them to avoid paying royalties to the actual creative folks.

Next, if you dig into the website, they have a "send a letter to your elected officials" thing. And the real evidence that it's not a real grassroots effort? Just like other faux grassroots efforts, those agreeing to send the letter have no option to edit the letter. When groups like Demand Progress and EFF let you send letters about PROTECT IP, they let you edit them to your liking -- trusting people to express themselves.

But, this "Creative America" apparently does not trust its own members to be creative. The letter is 100% locked down. You can only send their text. Honestly, if a group supposedly representing creators won't even let its own members express themselves freely, you know that it's not actually about protecting "creative" America.

This is not a grassroots effort. This is not about protecting "Creative America." This is about protecting a few megacorporations who are scared of new innovations, afraid of their dwindling monopoly rents, and trying to force the rest of the world to go back to the way things used to be.

Filed Under: astroturf, creative america, grassroots, hollywood, protect ip, studios
Companies: cbs, disney, fox, nbc universal, news corp., sony, viacom

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Most Americans are Creative Americans

    "Despite the fact that many of them get residual payments and/or get health and retirement benefit funded by downstream revenues.... the same revenues that are eroded by your pirate friends Masnick."

    1. Most creative artists don't see a dime from residuals, or get health and retirement benefits from residuals. Not even most professional creative artists.

    The several hundred thousand in the motion picture industry do. They are professionals.

    2. In fact, as far as I can tell, your statement applies only to actors or film workers. They are work-for-hire, which means they never held any interest in the copyright in the first place. They got these residuals the same way all workers get money: not by threatening to withhold the copyright, but by threatening to withhold their labor. Collective bargaining, going on strike, etc.

    That's right. But it's actors, the directorial team, Teamsters, the crew, etc. Pretty much everyone on a set.

    3. The aftermarket may be declining, but there's no evidence it's due to piracy. (You also know that Mike does not have "pirate friends," but we know by know that you can't be honest.)

    Oh please. Millions if not billions of copies of copyrighted content downloaded every year and you suggest there's no evidence. C'mon.

    And yes Masnick has pirate friends. Some of the so-called "tech entrepreneurs" who signed the letter Masnick orchestrated have their own history of copyright infringement.

    4. Furthermore, without technology that allows rampant piracy, these residuals would not have existed at all. (See: Jack Valenti's claiming that VHS was like the Boston Strangler. In fact, VHS tapes created the aftermarket for consumer-owned movies.)

    Bullshit. Residuals are paid on foreign box office, broadcast television, premium cable and basic cable.

    I guess if damage to society is defined as the inability to get copyrighted content for free, you have a point. Otherwise, you're talking out of your ass.

    You keep making this statement, and it still doesn't hold water.

    You can be in denial all you like. That's your problem, not mine.

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